Replace Head Gasket on F-350 Ford 351C

Asked by Feb 16, 2013 at 10:26 PM about the 1978 Ford F-350

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

3 Answers

many hour job. several hundred plus a weekend and parts- oh, don't forget a milk crate or solid stepladder.

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easier than the newer ones

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First of all, If you have a Ford F-350. You probably don't have a 351-C. The 351-C was discontinued in 1974 and was never available in a F-350. You more than likely have a 351-M or a 400 which is basically the same block as the cleveland motor but with some outside demension changes and a different crank and pistons. You could also have a 360, 390 if your truck is a pre-1976 or a 460 if a 77-79.. I've included a chart with engine codes directly from Ford. It's neccessary to know EXACTLY what engine you have before attempting a head gasket overhaul. Changing a head gasket is not easy but not super difficult either. You will definitelt need a bucket or milkcrate to stand on. and a gasket set commonly known as a "TOP-END" gasket set. This set will give you all or most of the gaskets that you need all in one convenient set. The first thing to do is disconnect the negative cable on the battery, then drain the radiator and disconnect the upper radiator hose and both heater hoses and remove them. Then disconnect plugwires from the sparkplugs (make sure you mark or number them with masking tape and a sharpie so you know where they go during re-assembly). Disconnect carb linkage and the main wiring loom coming from the firewall up and over the intake manifold to the distributer, sending units,etc. and pull that out of your way also. Next try to loosen up the exhaust manifild bolts,you might have to soak them overnight with PB Blaster penetrating oil spray. Then disconnect the exhaust pipe from the manifold and remove manifold. Next remove valve cover and remove head bolts and move on to the intake manifold. remove the intake manifold bolts and pull the intake off with carb as one piece with carb still attached. Then the head can be removed. You might have to tap it with a rubber hammer to loosen it up, same with intake. Once removed, clean up both surfaces of bottom of head and top of engine. They must both be smooth, clean of any leftover gasket material and dry. Install new head gasket and re-assemble all components in reverse order. You might have to remove some brackets and/or accessories on the front of the engine depending on what options you have like air. cond., power steering, etc. and you might want to take the head once you have it off to an automotive machine shop (most NAPA autoparts stores have a machine shop) and have them magna-flux the cylinder head to make sure it isn't warped or cracked or has any other problems, plus they clean it up and check the valves for bent or broken ones, valve guides and stems are also checked. They jjust make sure the head is in good shape to reinstall. You should also change out the thermostat, backflush the cooling system and install all new anti-freeze along with fresh oil and oil filter because with a bad head gasket, anti-freeze could have leaked into the oil passages or into the cylinders and washed down the cylinder walls losing all compression and thinning out your oil to the point of it doing no lubricating to your engine which could damge you engine later on. Good Luck, Kenny/MrBlueOval.

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