Jump to content

Grimmy's 88 Ford Courier/B2000 of white smokey head gaskety hell


Recommended Posts

Hey Team.  Been AWOL quite a long time.

Had some serious hickups in life that slowed me down and forced me to let go of my last project. a mk3 Ford Cortina.

And frankly, I went through a pretty nasty period of depression.

But you can't keep a good guy down. And you won't stop a grease monkey eventually getting covered in grease.

Around a month ago, My Daily Driver 2000 Ford Mondeo slipped a tooth on the timing belt on the exhaust cam, and did some bendy valve stuff.

A friend had this sitting in his hay shed taking up space. And Rather than try and rebuild the Mondeo motor (Which had only done 30,000k since I did a rebuild on it anyway) I jumped at the chance to get into something RWD, with a carb, and a tray.

Repainted sometime in its past, But rather neglected of late.  I saw this as a chance to tinker with something oldish again.

Fresh Battery and some fuel and she fired right up. She didn't sound right, but she did start.

Got her home running like a bag full of assholes. Popped the bonnet to find green alien blood pretty much pissing out the Number 4 exhaust. (Sigh... Headgasket)




So.... List of things on the to do list...

Head Gasket (Or just pull the motor and rebuild the whole thing, It's done 300,000+ k)

The steering wheel is toast.

The Fuel Sender is bung (This is pretty common in these from what I've read)

The tray needs that water trap bedliner scrapped and a spray on liner done.

The offset on those rims is FAR too positive.

Add more tie down points.

Fix the Fuel door

Stupid little interior blanks with holes drilled in them need sorting

Screws missing in the interior.

Giant speaker holes in the door cards.

Apply power steering (If I can find the stuff to do it)

Headunit with bluetooth.

Other minor cosmetic things.

Sort the suspension.

Answer every question/problem in life with "Just chuck it on the back of the ute"

Create discussion thread.

  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Got a line on a donor '88 b2000.

Rusty as.  fried clutch, no class, no wheels, no rad.

Which is good, 'cause further inspection says the leafs are well over due for resetting/replacement.



And here's the donor from facebook marketplace.



So to do list now includes rear suspension, And frankly, might as well do the front while I'm at it. I'm just gonna end up doing in the future anyway. Might as well clean the chassis up and sort it all while I have the try off and have it in pieces. (We all know how this goes right) Do the brakes. Do the shocks. Rebuild the whole dammed thing. At least the suspension parts are relatively cheap and easily available compared to some of the cortina stuff.


Link to comment
Share on other sites


Bluetooth heady. Because Priorities.

Ripped the rad out. Not the original rad, Not even a courier rad. But plastic tanks and fairly new. So we'll keep that. Find a better way of attaching it. Because tec screws. But could be worse. Could have a blown head gas... Oh wait.

Link to comment
Share on other sites



Used to be red. Because Red is faster. Pretty keen on swapping over to the Mazda front end, Saw the chrome Mazda grill on Tard me, and it seems to be just a bonnet swap to make the Mazda grill work.  Will know more when I get the donor. And the bonnets have to come off anyway.

Rained off work today.  So was able to sus a few things.  I currently don't have a car with a tow ball.  So the first mission was sussing something that can tow a car trailer. And a car trailer.

Luckily my brother to the rescue. Has a towbar on his Toyota work shitter.  V6 3L Avalon. Not the ideal tow vehicle. But better than none. And booked a trailer with the boys at Tool Hire Taranaki for Tuesday arvo. (Gotta time in with my brother's shift work, my own work, and the owner of the donors work hours)

Think I might prep and underbody seal the engine bay while the motor is out. Attempt to get another 30 years out of it. Not overly worried about looks. I quite like the idea of patina rust repairs going on because work ute. And if I do the engine bay now. I shouldn't have to touch it again. (famous last words)

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Massive change of plans and a heap of ratshit weather saw us off to pick up the donor on the weekend.

Description on Facebook was "Rusty, Burnt clutch, I'm keeping the flat deck, on hold.  Bring your own wheels. No Rad, No glass"

After talking to the guy, I only had to take 1 wheel, And he left the flat deck on because CBF.

Got it back to mine and started stripping it in the back yard because despite the fact I have 3 car+ garage space. I actually have no room.



And then proceeded to somehow funnel rain water straight into the carb (F%$K MY LIFE!)

I'm tempted to keep the flat deck.  I'd get far more use out of the flat deck than the well side. Would need cutting down. But that's actually not a big issue.

Anyway.  Supercheap are doing some club card deals on jack stands and trolly jacks, and I need some gaskets. Not that I ever need an excuse to spend money on tools.

But my current axel stands are left over deck piles, and my trolly jack is at least as old as I am and leaking fluid. I could fix it. But NEW TOOLS.

Got a mate with an "Engine crane in my 40ft container at work. Might need fluid, I've never used it. You want it?"  Yes. Yes I do. Sure beats the endless chain in the carport.

So stripped a heap of worthwhile things out of the donor. Belts, Bench seat, trim pieces, screws, Jesus handle for the drivers side etc. Full loom, tow bar.  Diff and gearbox will be coming out too. Along with leafs and the rest of the suspension.

Been trolling the mazda mini truck forums and a cortina downdraft weber with headers and HEI is the done thing on these there. Makes sense. Totally into the rebuild the original motor idea.  Something I can do in the garage over the rest of the winter.  then the donor motor only really needs to survive a few months (OK lets be honest, it's going to need to last longer than that, because budget and time always goes out the window.)

My compressor is an hour away at my brothers place, so I'm tempted to get a battery rattle gun.

Thoughts on Air rattle guns vs Battery ones?



To keep or not to keep the flat deck... That is the question.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Engine crane liberated from it's hidden location. My mate George is the go to guy for moving big or heavy things. He also owes me a favour or 3.  Fluke called this one in.

I have to say. I've had a few mates chime in on this one already. My best mates Step Dad sussed a car trailer and a ute to get the donor here. And managed to pick up an engine crane.

Might conduct one of those "lean by doing" weekend seminars in a quick and nasty engine swap with the bribe of warm beer and stale pizza.


  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Annnnnnd. Done.

new frost plugs. New exhaust gaskets. New thermostat and crap universal gasket (that fuckin leaks). New oil and filter. Gapped plugs. “Serviced” everything with parts cleaner and a wire brush. Cranked it without plugs. Timed it. Added Choke. Fired it up.

things still to do on the motor...

fix stupid thermostat housing gasket if not universalness.

fix vac diaphragm in the carb (or replace the whole carb with a Weber. Anyone got a line on a Weber 32/36?)

Still some other shit to do. But at least it moves under its own power again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So after a couple days of not fixing the "Universal" Thermostat Housing Gasket. And running not quite right. But Running. I had a couple hours to fix the Cooling system leak.

She got hot on the half hour drive to my mums/my workshop and had used more water than she should have out of the small leak.

Dip stick looked like this.


My milkshake brings no one to the yard.


Several fucks were uttered.  As well as a handful of other expletives.

Fuck it. cheap donor. Getting the original motor reconditioned anyway. Block sealer in a bottle of some description if it works it works. My personal experience with cooling system block sealers is about 50/50.

  • Like 3
  • Sad 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

So contender number 1 on the list of quick and nasty head gasket repairs:


I’ve not tried it before but apparently the system doesn’t need flushing and it will work will most coolant additives.

failing that. Chemiweld is an option.

All of them work in a similar way. The idea being teeny tiny particles block up the hole as they pass through it till it’s sealed. Then heat and air sets it.

So dumped the oil. Ripped the rocker cover off. Cleaned the head. Swapped the carb. And the fuel pump. Fixed the thermostat housing gasket leak. Checked the plugs before firing it up. And yup. Cylinder 2 isn’t burning right.

swapped plugs. Fired it up. Gave the carb a quick tweak.  New oil and filter again. An took it for a quick blast.

That was Thursday’s efforts.

shes still using water but running better. Oil is pretty clean at this point. But she’s done less than 100k since the k-seal. 

Next plan is to back flush the rad and flush the cooling system for Chemiweld. Which I’ve heard good things about from a couple sources.


  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

So. Chemiweld applied to the cooling system after flushing it again. And back flushing it. And flushing it some more.

still no water in the oil. Idles slightly smoother. For best results leave Chemiweld in the system for 7 days and monitor fluids and temps. Cross fingers. Cross testicles. Cross everything.

Local engine rebuilders reckon not to bother with the head on the old motor and just replace it. Quoted a figure roughly where I expected it to be for a new head and swapping the head set over. Bedding valves etc. There really isn’t much point in chucking a brand new head on a block with 300,000+ Km on it without giving the block a freshen up. And new timing gear. And water pump. Anyone that’s had an engine rebuild done. To what extent? And roughly what sort of body parts am I going to have to sell?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So in an attempt to kill me today the lower ball joint on the passenger side decided to let go.

Doing some bendy stuff to the guard. The hub and rotor shield, and lower wishbone. And wheel rim, nuts. studs. all the stuff you pray never shits itself at 100kays. (Which is exactly what happened) . Did it entirely without warning. Just dropped the passenger side and watched the wheel go racing up the fog line ahead of me. Had no choice but to call in the towie. Was an hour from civilisation, in the pissing down rain. with 3 wheels on the ute. I sooo hate calling in the pros in.

So... Most urgent on the list.  New front ball joints.  Nab some stuff from the donor, Swap more shit over.

Also, Drink many beers. Be thankful I'm still alive, haemorrhage some more money into the fucking thing.

Oh. Pics of the carnage coming soon.

  • Like 1
  • Sad 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

So, the more I open up this vehicle the more shades of shit I come across.


Those leaf springs that I didn't really have a proper chance to look at?  Heated to lower... What fuckery is this? I've heard of Barry's doing it. I'd never actually seen it.

If I'm completely honest with myself. I never looked over the car properly to begin with. So it's my own fault.

In an attempt to find anyone else to blame for the vast amounts of money it's starting to cost me (And find someone else to share in pouring money into it) I decided to make a visit to the issuing garage.

In general garages, WOF inspectors, And the LTSA really don't give a fuck what state the car is in. If it got a wof. It got it on the day because it was legit on the day. It's just on the day and it's pretty much damn near impossible to prove a car was bullshited through a wof. It's a system that protects the inspecting authority. And let's be honest. Fair enough too. Otherwise we'd have no inspectors out of fear of themselves being blamed for everything.

I spent the entire morning with the NEW wof inspector at said establishment. And they admitted the previous wof inspector was "Let go" for "reasons we'd rather not go into"... The fact that I'm getting some kinda Grimmy discount on labour tells me that as much as they daren't accepted responsibility. They are wanting to keep me as a customer and are prepared to go an extra couple steps to fix the issue. And take some blame on board.

So. The ute is now in the hands of the local Mom & Pop workshop. Brand new bushes and suspension all round. Spares are coming from the donor. New rubber. Alignment, Fresh wof. And all the half ass attempts to make it cool and low are being done the right way. Which was kinda my plan for it anyway

Oh yeah... remember how the guy that sold me the donor was going to rip the flat bed off but couldn't be fucked? He's been in touch and keen to get the tray back. And he's a panel beater by trade. "Yeah, you can have the tray. My ute needs straightening out in a couple places. you bring your hammers and dollys when you come to get the tray and we'll call it a day."

As far as my own recovery after the slam.  At the time I didn't think I'd been hurt. I'm the sorta guy that walks shit off. Pain heals, Chicks dig scars, Glory last forever. Mumma didn't raise no sissy. But my back still isn't quite right.  (Don't fuck around with your back guys, If it ain't right after something like a wheel falling off at 100 clicks... Get it checked!)

So after checking in with my GP,  having X-Rays, and getting some serious pain killers.  I should be back to "normal" within the next week to 10 days.



  • Like 4
  • Sad 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Flying update. I hate updates without photos. I like the pretty pictures... I also read playboy for the articles.

Things missing off the donor. IE things I’ve replaced...

Engine. Shocks. Leaf springs. Bumpies. perches

90% of the right front corner. Lower control arm. Spindle. Hub. Rotor. Shield. Tie rod.

Dash. Cluster. Door light switches. Door cards.

Theres a few more things piled up in the garage. But there isn’t a lot left.

List of new stuff:

ball joints. Bushes. Shackles.

gaskets. Frost plugs. Plugs. Crank seals.

2” blocks in the rear and reindexed the front to suit.

still to go:

Had a good look under the Ute While it was on the hoist and made a check list. Brakes need attention. There’s a teeny tiny fuel leak coming from somewhere. And the fuel sender needs replacing. The radiator/exposed fan needs sorting. Tappets need tweaking up. Rims and tires. Alignment and wof.

gotta play musical rims/tires a bit with my bongo van (southern hospitality spec green and white turd) to get the rims and tires I want on everything but should all be done and dusted well before the more attractive half and I take on Fleetwood Mac and the v8 Supercars in Auckland.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another picture free update. Because ute still at the garage.

But we can tick brake rebuild off the list. New pads and shoes with rebuilt calipers and new slave cylinders.

When the towie dropped it off at the garage he somehow managed to smash the drivers side tail light.  And tracking down a replacement has gone from fly in my ointment to thorn in my side pretty quickly. And it's just escalated to pain in my ass.

Hopefully a new one should be here tomorrow and then I'll finally get her back to actually do some more work on it myself.

I've got the Rad shroud from the donor. So might be time to make a road trip to see a friend of mine at the local ford wreckers and sus out a courier rad and mountings that will take the shroud.

Weighing up rebuilding the Original carby FE motor VS shoehorning an FE3 with an aftermarket ECU in. If I can even find an FE3. Apparently they came in early 90s 626s or another option is a kia sportage from the same time period. As they used the same FE3 motor.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Suspension done. She’s sitting kinda high considering she’s on 2” blocks. So I figure reset leafs is on the cards in the future.

Full brake rebuild done with new slaves and shoes in the rear and rebuilt calipers and pads in the front.

Rocking the black steelies on the front and an alignment has sorted out the geometry issues.

fuel leak has been nailed down to a gasket on the sender. Which will be replaced when the new sender is fitted.

wanna recover a bit from the ass reaming my wallet has suffered before the next round of changes.

rad. And rear wheels are next on the to do list. Door cards. And speakers and we should be all go for a while.

minor bumps and scrapes are gonna be a weekend job with my best mates dad whom happens to be a panel beater. Then rock the primer gray patches of awesome for a while while the engine rebuild/replacement gets sorted so we can gun the whole thing in one go while the motor is out. That’s the rough plan anyway.


  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Found some rims. Factory Courier from a slightly younger Ute. So obviously the right offset.

Dunno if I like them in black. Hoping thats a rattle can that will come off without too much drama.

Tips for stripping rattle can off alloy rims?

Paint stripper?


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Slowly ticking small jobs off the list.

Got speakers in front and rear in the factory locations.

Did an LED dash light swap. Which doesn’t make a lot of difference to the dash lights themselves. But the illumination is now clearer and has a whiter glow to it vs the amber glow normal bulbs have.

Also got some steely rims sorted that seem to work for me at the moment.

shes due for a wof. Couple little things I wanna sort while it’s up on the hoist. But it’s mostly up to the fun stuff now. Really wanna set of wiper louvres. But I haven’t seen any anywhere for years.



  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

She's getting a little warm.

Well, ever so slightly warm on the temp gauge. About a needle width. (Yeah I know, A needle width.) But she hasn't moved a mill since the engine was sorted beyond getting up to temp when the thermostat opened.

Happens when I get into 50k traffic. It climbs over a couple of minutes shooting through town and settles back down when I get it out on the main road again.  Doesn't like being stuck behind anything at 80k for too long,

Signs point to a blockage in the rad or the thermostat, Could be the water pump. Not really in a rush to even pull the thermostat housing off, let alone the whole front if it's the water pump.

Drained and refilled the rad. It's not using any water.  But the water does look like the wrong end of a good curry. It could do with a back flush.

Got it up to temp and gave the top rad hose a little squeeze.  Nothing, No surge, not a heap of pressure.

So. Not open at the thermostat, or the pump isn't pumping.

Remember where I said I had a serious case of the CBFs over pulling the thermostat housing off?

From memory the waterpump was OK. It was the best of the two waterpumps when we swapped motors in the driveway. Cannot be fucked pulling all the pulleys, The timing belt. Etc to get to the waterpump. Fingers crossed it's the thermostat just blocked up with dislodged crap from a motor that's sat the last 20 years.

So Plan...

Back flush the rad, pull the thermostat, check it's working like it should. Flush the water passages, reassemble, flush a couple more times over a couple temp cycles.  Cross fingers and see what happens.

Failing that the rad comes out, the front comes apart and I do the waterpump.

It's less than a week overdue on it's wof. I knew it wasn't going to pass on the rims and tires it was on out back.

And I've noticed something I don't quite like in the rear brakes under heavy braking. So I need to get them looked at.  Again crud in the lines is the high suspect here. Everything else is pretty much new.

Ass end is stiff as fuck. and still sitting high despite being on 2" blocks.  I'm wondering if the leaves being from a single cab make a difference. Slightly longer possibly.

Wondering if pulling a leaf out of the pack is an option.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...