Thought I'd share some info on my project. Truck is a 97 Lariat 4x4 that I've owned since 50k and it now has 135k on the odometer. It developed a head gasket leak between a cylinder and water passage about 3 years ago but continued to run just fine with the occasional missfire code and intermittent heat and even passed a couple smog tests. I also had to leave the radiator cap loose because it would build up quite a bit of pressure in the cooling system. I like the truck enough and enjoy not having payments that I decided to rip into it and make it last hopefully another 100k.
I'm most familiar with chevys and recently finished a frame off on my 72 Cheyenne (pics below), so I was a little concerned because I've never worked on one of these mod motors. This was the main reason I decided to lift the cab off...... and also to save my back!.....as well as hopefully keep myself from throwing wrenches across the garage because I can't find or get to that last bolt! I found a ton of info on this site and various opinions on doing it with the cab on or off and since I had access to the equipment, I went that route and would do it that way again.
Anyway decided to share since the info I found here was so useful!
Cab off.....took me an afternoon to do it....took my time!
Per my occasional misfire codes, I knew it was the #5 cylinder that was getting water, but after I got it apart it looked like #1 was leaking too. The cylinders all looked pretty good (still could see crosshatching on cylinder walls) with a little bit of pitting in #5 from the water sitting in the cylinder when I wasn't driving it. The motor still has great oil pressure, so I just decided to clean up the heads and put it back together.
Cleaned the cylinders up by taking a lacquer thinner soaked rag and setting on top of the piston.....dissolved carbon pretty quickly.
Got the heads torqued down today and I'm waiting for parts now....ordered most from Rockauto......couldn't believe how much less they were than NAPA! Heads are all cleaned up with new valve seals, chambers and valves all cleaned up as well. Putting new lifters in while I'm this far, as well as a knock sensor since it's under the manifold. All the timing components look perfect, so I'm reusing them. Should have it all back together by next weekend.
OK....now if you're a die-hard Ford guy, you can turn your head now....heres some pics of my 72 Chevy.