92 S10 leaking coolant by thermostat

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I just noticed my truck lost all heat and the engine temp was 240. The radiator was empty! It does lose coolant after a few months. It's done that for 3 years.
I noticed it is coming on on the driver side top of the head between the head and intake next to the thermostat. Is this the dreaded S10 4.3 leak that everyone posts about? My mechanic wants $550 to do just the intake gasket.
I've watched over a dozen engine rebuilds but have never done one. How hard is it to replace the intake gaskets on this thing? I have a Chilton's book for it. I just got done putting shocks and a idler arm on it last weekend, now this. :) That other work was actually quite easy. I was scared of it and put it off, but turned out to be a breaze.
What are the hudden steps and tricks to putting new gaskits on? Is there anything I should clean or fix while in there. I noticed a recent tick from the driver side lifters. Could the leak be casuing that? I just changed the oil and it was fine. Nothing abnormal.
Lannie PS I'm working on it tomorrow, so need advice soon!! :)
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Mine was leaking on the back corner
A 2-3 hour job, just mark everything when you take it off, keep the nuts and bolts you take off in the same holes, and watch how the throttle cable brackets come apart. Would help if you have a grinder with a wire wheel to clean up threads and the manifold surfaces, but a wire brush and some mechanics sanding strips will work just as good...Put a drop or two of oil on the cleaned bolt threads ....get all the old gasket off the contact surfaces and sand them clean, washing off any oil with carb spray..(I like Berryman's B-12 Chemtool) Put a good bead of sillycone on the front and back engine contact surface, and I'd even put a bead around the water inlets holes on both sides of the manifold gaskets....Use care on the gas line nuts and threads, (no stripping allowed)
Lastly crawl up on top of the engine for the best possible aim when you drop the manifold back on. Nice if you have a couple of line-up punches, but two Philips screw drivers will work to help guide you to the perfect "drop zone"
the book should tell you a pattern to put the bolts back on and the torque..but if you don't have a torque wrench , just get em all goog n snug
did I miss anything?
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Did you miss anything? When will you be here? I plan on starting at 10am. Can you get here in time? :)
It shows 35 pounds of torque and does show the pattern. It says when putting on the bead of calk on the front and back, to go up the side ofthe head 1/4 inch on all four corners to help hold the gaskets inplace and seal the ends.
Will I need to time it again or will it be close enough? I have everything but a timing light.
Lannie

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I forgot about removing the dist and the oil pressure sending unit--it's in the way, I think
Mark the wires (of course) and where the rotor points towards with some white-out, tape, or paint (fingernail polish works good too) and then mark exactlly where the dist base is in relationship to the engine with something that will scratch metal...a punch, a knife blade,
When you pull the dist out the rotor will move as much as 30-40 degrees. Remeber that when you replace it or you're in deep shit.
E-mail if you need any info tomorrow.. I'm in Calif so unless you close by........
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I'm in Iowa. :) 14 inches of snow and 8 degrees and no heater in the garage yet. :) It will be fun.
The book shows in detail how to mark the distributor to keep it in time. Thanks for all the help!
Lannie

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Ihave the intake off and everything cleaned up. The water jacket on piston number 1 of the intake is pitted. It's about 1/8" deep. I called a few used parts places and all three of them said to just put sealer around the water jackets on the head, then put the gasket down and put more on the intake and it will seal up.
None of them have any used intakes anyway. What's your thoughts?
Lannie

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Use some RTV silly-cone to fill the pits and hope it works.....Which you probably have already done
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It's back on and oil changed. I think I will wait overnight to fill it with coolant and let the RTV cure. I'm nervous about the pit, but others seem to be confident in filling them with RTV.
Thanks for all your advice.
It wasn't near as hard as I thought. Took me 5 hours total.
Lannie

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I'd like to correct a couple of things. Torque specs are for DRY threads unless otherwise specified. Oil will increase the torque applied. If you don't have a torque wrench, borrow or buy one. H
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I'm going to buy one when I get the gaskets and supplies. Which are better, the ones that have a dial and click or theones with the little needle?

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nuts
cleaned
Berryman's
inlets
line
you
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the beam type torque wrench are alot more accurate than the click type. they are also alot cheaper and never need adjustment. clickers are alot easier to use in the moderate torque ranges (30lbsft-200lbsft). when you get down to the inch-pounds, I'd use nothing BUT a beam type, as I've stripped out holes when the "click" of the clicker wasn't strong enough to be audible OR tactile.
if you buy a clicker, spend no less than $150 and get it checked every few years (or sooner, depending on the frequency of use).
HTH, Bret
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I always clean up and oil head bolts and washers B4 torqueing them....Is there another way to do it? And do the same, when needed, in other applications
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Of course. There are many ways to do it. Some right and some wrong. I NEVER reuse head bolts unless new ones cannot be found.

Torque values given are always dry values unless otherwise specified. Don't take my word for it. Find an SAE manual and check it out for yourself. H
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Funny I was always thought in class to clean and lightly oil (but not so much you get hydrolock).....
~KJ~

NEVER
Don't
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you're right KJ.... head bolts are "wet" torque, as specified in the manuals.
-Bret

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Basically I was told anything your really going to go balls to the walls on it's best to clean and oil. Less stressful on the threads...smoother stretching of the shank.
~KJ~

them....Is
yourself.
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nope.... only oil when specified. I have to go engineering conferences yearly for this crap. if you lubricate threads and torque to the "dry torque" setting, you can be exerting more than twice the clamping force intended for the joint. at work (I am an iron worker)we deal with bolts up to 1.5" in diameter and they HAVE to be DRY. we don't use torque to set them, as it's been shown that the clamping force can very up to 40%. Check out "Specification for Structural Joints Using ASTM A325 or A490 Bolts" basically a A325 is a heavy hex grade 5 bolt, and we set them by tightening them down snug, then hitting them with a slug wrench and turning them another 120deg. this is very similar to many head bolts using "torque + 90deg turn", which results in a MUCH more uniform clamping force.
-Bret

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I'm talking when you want to do it the navy way "tight as you can and then 3 turns more" Just in general is what I meant. Like my (wrong) lug nuts. Thanks for the info.
~KJ~

wrong. I

specified.
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