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I have a 1995 Mustang with a blown head gasket. I know that it can cost upwards of $1500 to have a garage replace if for me, so i would like to replace it myself. Can someone please tell me the difficulty of replacing a head gasket? What will I need? Does replacing a head gasket require taking the engine out? Please give me as much info as possible. thanks!
 

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If this is the first time you are doing something like this, I would highly recommend paying a mechanic or working along side a friend with experience. There is so much more to pay attention to that it is not even funny. Along with what was mentioned above, if you are not familiar with setting valve lash/lifter pre-load, you are in for an experience in noise with changes in engine temperature. Also you will not want to mix up the push-rods and rocker arms when you take them out. This could go on and on of things to pay attention to. We didn't even mention checking the block and head(s) for flatness and if any machine work to the head may be required.

If you have to ask this question, again, I would recommend not trying to do something you are not comfortable doing because it could cost you more in the long-term in time, money and aggravation.

Someone could explain this to you step by step and still leave out something material that could cause problems for you. If you do decide to take on this task, you will learn why it costs a decent amount to perform the job correctly for long-term reliability.
 

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The great thing about Ford's is that they in general are easy to work on. Which engine do you have??? You will need hand tools, a new head gasket set, and some help from either a Haynes manual or ALLDATA data base found in many libraries. It has the complete procedure with pictures and easy to follow directions. Another good thing to do, is to use a felt tip marker to label bolts and stuff as you remove them. Or, even better, use a cell-phone that takes pictures to preserve each step in your process of dis-assembly. Clean all parts thoroughly. Use Gum-out and power wash from local DIY washer. You may need to borrow or rent a torque wrench. Good luck. Remember to use ONLY genuine Ford coolant. Fel-pro gaskets are fine, too. When you remove the head(s), take them in for inspection at reputable machine shop. They will clean and examine them for reasonable price. Try to figure out WHY you needed to dothis job. Bad cooling temperature switch??? Figure it out so the same thing does NOT happen again after you repair engine.
 

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I couldn't tell you step-by-step, but I can tell you a few things. No, the engine doesn't need to come out, but you'll be taking a lot of the top half of the engine apart. You'll need a torque wrench and some sort of guide to tell you what order to tighten down the head bolts. They have to be done in a specific order, and so many foot-pounds at a time. Chilton will have it, and everything else about that car.

There'll be a lot of wires and hoses to disconnect, it's best to use bits of masking tape and a marker to mark where the wires/hoses go.

Here's the bad part. If you screw it up and still have to take it to a mechanic, they may charge you *more* for trying it yourself. If you don't think you can handle it, don't even attempt it. :)
 
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