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Post Info TOPIC: FORD F-SERIES TRITON EXHAUST MANIFOLD STUDS


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FORD F-SERIES TRITON EXHAUST MANIFOLD STUDS


Over the past many years I have always cringed at the thought of doing Ford Triton engine exhaust manifolds for the simple fact that Fords did not use good stainless hardware to secure their exhaust manifolds to the cylinder heads... add in the mix the fact the nuts and the studs were way too small to even consider using inferior hardware... but they did! Damm the well known galvanic corrosion phenomena that is known to exist between alumimum and steel! Duck em' if they can't take a joke right?

All that being said I usually just sent them down the road, where someone else usually sold them a new truck and the dealership sold the truck to some wholesaler to butcher together a cobbled resolve. Now I don't want to sound superstitious or anything, but since this 2004 V10 F250 Triton has darkened my bay, two others have been dropped off for the same exact thing! Talk about bad luck... back to back to back Triton manifolds! What a pisser!

So this thread is a continuation of the socket replacement (aka ball joint replacement) on "Big Blue" as she is affectionally known around here... Anyway, back in October I informed the customer that he was missing four manifold bolts, due to the common problem all these Triton engines have with the exhaust manifolds popping the head studs... There are a lot of videos out there, some better than others, about extraction methods... often times the head is off the vehicle, or someone gets lucky... and as of todays date, most ALL the videos out there are well over six years old! So in this time these rusted bolts have only gotten more rusted...

This thread serves to set the record strait as it pertains to the infamous "Exhaust Manifold Stud" problem... In my case, the V10 Triton engine from 2004 was not giving up a single stud or nut without breaking! And this was even using a torch to heat them cherry red! One after the other would just pop! And when they would pop, they would snap closer to the head, leaving nothing left of the stud to bite on.

tm1.jpeg

 

This was really frustrating since usually the heat wrench always wins... however you can see in the stud hole above to the left, the entire gap fills with corrosion and it has nowehere to go.

At this point, the idea of welding nuts on flush broken studs was something I wanted to avoid! Sure, if I had to excract a "few", no problem... but all 20? I'm good, but what you have to keep in mind is that this project is an all or nothing game! You have to save them ALL, or the head has to come off. Mess up just one, and that's the game... do something stupid and mess up the head and that will set you back $1,000 each in addition to the existing work and increased labor! It's for this reason I am extemely up front with the customer about the prospects of these jobs and what it can entail in the wost case.

At this point I'm trying to save me time and the customer money so I decided to just blow the heads off all the remaing studs to ensure I at least had a nice chunk of steel to bite on with a pair of vice grips!

tm2.jpeg 

 

You'll find that getting access to the manifolds will require removal of the wheel well like shown above. Often I leave the vacuum tank connected as the bolts will just break on rust belt vehicles anyway. Just drop the wheel well out with it attached and disconnect the vaccum lines. From there you have great access to the top bolts, but not so good for the bottom. Removing the sway bar helps you asscess the back three with the torch to burn them off... the front lower isn't too bad but the 2nd stud in on the lower requires a bit of skill with the torch and a mirror.

 

tm3.jpeg

 

tm4.jpeg

 

So all of the bolt heads have been burnt off... 

tm5.jpeg

 

tm6.jpeg

 

This is where you immediatly cut up a rag and stuff the exhaust ports and the collector pipe to ensure nothing falls into them. THIS IS IMPORTANT! Do not skip this step.

Then if you're going to use a torch to heat the studs I'd recommend using a spray bottle to wet the rags in there bores and keep doing this as you work so they don't catch fire.

I was completly shocked at how hard these studs were to remove, even after the manifold had been removed and the stud heated cherry red with a large pair of vice grips! Usually they will just twist out by hand, but not on this one! I literally had to head the stud four or five times to get it moving without heat, and even then they were tight until the last remaning threads! Then the worst happend... By chance I looked into one of the holes and noticed that they were turning to powder, sometimes with only four threads remaining towards the outside! This meant heli-coils or time certs! And it was looking like this would be the case for ALL 20! 

Disgusted, and knowing that the odds of doing all 20 without at least one of them going south, I have decided to pull the engine and see if the local machine shop will heli-coil them all, or if I have to pull the heads off... either way I got authorization to pull the engine and heads if needed since this guy really loves his truck and plans on keeping it. At the same time we're going to clean up some break-out rust areas in the engine bay, reseal the upper half (if the heads have to come off) and do whatever else is needed while we're in there.

tm7.jpeg

 

I'll have some better photos of the threads once the engine is out so everyone can see what I'm talking about. Makes me wonder if perhaps they used thread lock of some sort on some model years. No idea why the back threads would disolve to dust but the first four would still remain in good shape? Any thoughts how this phenomena happens?

 



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I always hate when one of those jobs rolls in, because you just never know how bad it's going to escillate. So far I've had the best luck with welding nuts to the studs and then using a socket to turn them out, but sometimes it takes several attempts for each one, and sometimes you still have to drill them, which depending on their location can be impossible with the engine in chassis. Luckily the newer V8 engines have more robust hardware.

Don't forget to pick up an EGR tube block off plug which typically doesn't come with a new left manifold (Unless that one actually has EGR).


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The positive side of all of this, is that the work will be regular for a few years...And you'll get better & better at doing the job.

Don't forget to put plenty of lube / grease on the new studs, or y'all be doing it again in a few years time it seems...

Maybe it's the pictures, but that rear welch-plug looks a bit dodgy...Maybe time for welch-plugs too ?...( I think you guys call them core-plugs ?).



-- Edited by Rastus on Thursday 17th of February 2022 04:07:22 AM

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Yes Rastus, they call them "Freeze Plugs" here, but I did mention to him they were looking a little sketchy due to the rust... the moisture you see around them is from me spraying the cloth in the ports so they didn't catch fire.

We have all had a good laugh at that Red LocTite meme,

loctitered.jpg

 

But it's not so funny when that vehicle pulls into your bay!

I knew something wasn't right when I was trying to remove these studs! They had to be heated up four times and literally fought the entire way out once they were free! Even if they were cherry red!

These photos are of the actual stud holes from this job,

tm001.jpg

 

tm002.jpg

 

And this seems to be the case on every single stud on the passengers side! Just CRAZY! I was pulling my hair out trying to figure out why these were not just twisting out by hand after breaking them loose!

Now we have our answer! Clearly you can see the massive amount of red LocTite that was used!

My question to PowerStroker would be, did they use red LocTite from the factory on some years? From the looks of the hardware and gaskets it appeared to be all factory! 

Never seen crazyness like this... Red LocTite used on aluminum... WTF were they thinking!

Safe to say these heads are going to require 20 heli-coils!

Decided to pull the entire engine, because at this point we're all in and we might as well clean this old girl up before the rust everywhere else takes hold and gets out of control. 

This should be an awesome before and after thread, so stay tuned!

 



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I haven't seen red loctite on those before, so I'd say someone has already been in there.

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What a biaatch...

If the studs eventually came-out cleanly, a thread-chaser tool is all you need SELLC, as then you can tell if you have 100% usable thread still living in there...

The only issue with going oversize, is what happens the "next time" this corrosion issue occurs ?...Will there be enough metal in the head to go another size over ?...

 

* Also, because the cylinder-bock is an earth-point, corrosion of some sort will happen between the stud & head, since one is steel & the other aluminum, so something durable will have to interface there, even if the factory says leave the threads dry.

If you don't think "grease" will go the distance, maybe some simple clear silicone will be the thing to use. Our Aussie Holden V-8 head studs located themselves into the water-jackets, & if the OEM stuff wasn't available for the studs/bolts, simple clear silicone did the job well, as it seals & acts as a lubricant too. And you won't get the hassle that LocTite-red will give, as silicone stays soft.

Just a simple very light coat evenly over the thread-of-the-stud should be all that's needed. This should ensure no corrosion, & easy removal next-time.



-- Edited by Rastus on Monday 21st of February 2022 07:41:47 PM

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So you're suggesting a thread chaser is going to replace the missing threads in the back portion of the hole, where there are none?

Oversize? A heli-coil keeps the original size stud... it would be stronger than aluminum threads, even though the stainless steel coils are threaded into aluminum.

I was watching some videos and apparently this guy claims these studs can rot out after just six years!

Keep in mind this video above was made in 2015, so it's older than six years itself! It's a good video, a little long but shows what is involved in normal cases. Since the truck in the video above is a 2004 V10 F250 it's clear there was no loctite used. He said in the video that he just did the studs and manifolds six years ago himself, so I guess PowerStroker could be right that someone could have been in there once or twice over by now! I for sure did not expect to find red loctite on these studs... but I knew something wasn't right.

I also thought this video was funny... dude in a polo shirt with poor welding skills, showing how to weld nuts to the studs

Don't get me wrong, these guys are pretty good... but none of them are 20 red loctite good! LOL... the way them studs without loctite just turn out by hand once broken free really makes me jealous!

Figured I'd add these videos for guys who might not have red loctite issues...



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SELLC said

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


1. So you're suggesting a thread chaser is going to replace the missing threads in the back portion of the hole, where there are none ?...

2. Oversize ? A heli-coil keeps the original size stud... It would be stronger than aluminum threads, even though the stainless steel coils are threaded into aluminum.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


R1. The holes are blind, so that means some area would have been needed for the "shavings" of metal to go when the thread was first made...And it can't just disappear, so that if it was stuck to your thread on the stud, it would have destroyed the rest of the remaining thread when you pulled-it-out... Aluminium threads tend to either crack-off in portions & stay behind, or they will come-out with your stud completely.

By cleaning out your threads with a thread chaser, & then blowing out with carby-cleaner or whatever, you will see what remains, & not necessarily need to heli-coil is all I'm suggesting. A lot can go wrong when heli-coiling, even with the right tools etc...And depending on the diameter of the stud, you only need "x" amount of threads to get maximum strength anyway.


R2. Very true, but if anything was to strip, it would be the aluminium, so you'd have to go over-size next-time. It's very difficult to work new threads into blind-holes the full length.



-- Edited by Rastus on Monday 21st of February 2022 08:11:06 PM

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I think the person who did this job before thought exactly as you do, and used red loctite to compensate for poor thread quality or the lack there of...

My customer is paying good money, so he wouldn't be interested in anything but a proper job... It's not my problem anymore since I have decided to pull the heads and have them sent out to a machine shop. These manifold studs arent the only thing I'm dealing with, it has a small valve cover leak forming because all the valve cover bolts have started to disintegrate as well... also the oil pan has a softball sized rust mushroom looking to start pin-hole leaking any day, and the hardware holding the pan on is also pretty much the same.

This truck run real well and only has 70,000 miles... the worst thing you can do with any vehicle is let it sit. The customer plans to get many more years out of this truck so I'm going to get it back in nice order. Had I known then what I know now I'd have just sent it down the road... there is no way I could have known before hand that some a$$hole cross-threaded and used LocTite on the exhaust manifold studs. 

What you fail to realize, Rastus, is there is at least 4 manifold studs that are broke off flush or even worse yet, below the surface of the hole! These broken studs will be next to impossible to remove with easy outs or even welding nuts on... they will have to be drilled and re-tapped anyway. Like I said before, had it just been four or maybe six out of the twenty, I'd have probably tackled it myself... but I have to put a warranty on this beast for at least one year or 12,000 miles! Not only that I can clearly see other MAJOR problems down the line with the oil pan, valve cover gaskets and other componets that will fail in short order and cause him to be right back here! No point in doing that to him, he likes the truck, he has the money - let's just do it all now so he can enjoy the truck without being in the shop every few months with major issues... I sure as hell don't look for these kinds of jobs, and I won't lie... this beast has been a major obsticle in getting the gravy jobs in and out during this cold winter! I should seriously look into getting another bay going here at my house to prevent these kind of bottle-necks in the future, until such time as I have a proper multi-lift building. 

Of course it don't help matters much that I have another Triton engine truck (5.4 V8) behind it that needs the exact same thing... however I am keeping my fingers crossed that nobody used loctite on them manifold stud threads.

We got brand new manifolds and top quality STAINLESS studs and hardware for this project

tm010.jpg

 

Interesting enough, ARP does not offer these studs but I can tell they are the same quality stainless as the ARP's because I use ARP in a lot of my projects. I'm also planning on replacing ALL the oil pan and valve cover hardware with either new, or stainless... if I can find them in a stainless offering.

 



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Good move SELLC...

I completely disagree with your first sentence...I suggested regular-clear-silicone, since it acts as a lubricant, will prevent corrosion & won't ever be a problem in removing studs.

I also suggested cleaning-out every hole with a thread-chaser & carby-cleaner to determine their state, before doing anything, so that you didn't have to waste your time helicoiling every frigging hole LOL !. I never do anything less than a good job, so that it doesn't come back & bite-me-on-the-ass ;) ! There's also a good chance that carby-cleaner or similar will chemically react with the LocTite red-shyte, making it easier to remove. The idiot that did the job last-time obviously filled the frigging holes up with the stuff instead of a light smear over the studs thread...

The studs won't be a problem to remove...In fact, now the heads are off, the ones broken "below the surface of the hole" become the easiest to remove...

Studs do not have any stress or tension placed-on-them, since they can't physically be tightened.

Snap-On make a great tool where the center of the stud is drilled, & then an insert with 4 x cutting edges bite in, & then removed with a female nut that suits the "bite-tool"...And even then, and this is critical, as long as the initial hole that's drilled ( pilot) is well centered, you just keep drilling larger & larger until what remains of the stud simply falls away.

I've had many studs unscrew themselves on a drill-bit whilst doing this method, & generally the thread has remained in serviceable condition. It's critical to mark the drill-bit-length, so you don't drill too far, & hit a water jacket...Maybe that's what the idiot did before you, & why there's so much red-shyte in the hole, to plug-up the head ?...

It is a biaatch of a job, & in no way am I suggesting you take short-cuts.

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Rastus wrote:


I completely disagree with your first sentence...I suggested regular-clear-silicone, since it acts as a lubricant, will prevent corrosion & won't ever be a problem in removing studs.


 

I was pulling your chain Rastus... lol

Studs generally do not have stress on them, but when they are thread-locked with red LocTite that's going to be "stress"... Plus you can double nut a stud and put just as much tension on it as a bolt. These new studs I have allow for allen style bits to tighten them. Typically speaking most studs don't get tightened like a bolt, but the pull from the nut is just as hard on the threads.

I've Heli-Coiled a great many things due to aluminum threads being compromised. One that I can think of off hand was documented on this forum here - https://autotrend.activeboard.com/t64188508/2000-cadillac-dts-project-northstar-46-dohc-32-valve/

Don't mind doing a few, but 20 is a different story. Probably a good idea to have the head decked, new valve seals, and some ARP head bolts while it's off anyway. It will also allow me to freshen up the timing chains or guides if needed along with all the top end seals. 

Of course I won't have any heli-coils installed if they aren't needed! But I will leave that up to the machine shop. 

 



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Thought I'd give a little update on this thread... it's been awhile but as I have mentioned before we decided that removing the engine and sending the heads out would be the best course of action. 

During this process we will also be able to address a great deal of future issues that are almost all due in part to rust... that being said, the job has been upgraded to an R&I + O/H, at least from the lower half up... given the low miles (70k), if this is the original engine it should be pretty clean inside... at least in terms of the lower reciprocating assembly. Perhaps PowerStroker could let me know where to look on this engine to find out if it's the original engine? I have yet to clean the engine enough to read out any numbers, and I know they have to be there somewhere... Just be nice to check all the boxes.

Obviously, I'm not set up to remove the cab from the frame here... so removing the engine from the front was the only option, which required full removal of front clip (less fenders)... it was probably a good idea since we have found many places that are just starting to pop, where if treated now it would go a long way in ensuring 'ole "Big Blue" stays solid, rather than getting further rotted and weak. 

So I pulled out the engine.

tmo1.jpeg

C'mere cutie!

Not the most fun, but it's the best way to really get in there and freshen this old girl up. But before all of that engine compartment and frame sprucing I have to get these heads off to the shop! So on the pedistal she goes!

tmo2.jpeg

Next up, I got to strip her down.

tmo3.jpeg

tmo4.jpeg

tmo5.jpeg

Along the way I like to remove the debris with a vacuum because I am super anal when it comes to this kind of work on rusty old engines where I'm trying to save the lower end.

tmo7.jpeg

tmo8.jpeg

This is the best way to prevent dirt from getting into your engine! Never use a vacuum when raw gas or vapors are present (for obvious reasons). 

Getting every spec of rust, dirt and grime away from the engine now prevents a lot of issues with dirt getting into the engine when removing the pans and covers.

It's for this reason I like to treat, prime and put the first few coats of paint on an engine... because once I seal the intake and exhaust ports this is going to be the only time you could get away with such an operation... using a French Tickler I will also descale the sides of the engine block and everywhere else that has rust scaling... but getting the dirt out like shown above is the first step, from there you seal the engine before doing any cleaning... again this is only in cases where you are re-using the lower end. I am making an assumption that everything inside the engine will be good before I break it open, but that is only because I drove the vehicle prior to opening it up and know it's sound. If you are changing out engines or doing a full rebuild then none of these steps would apply, but we are planning to use the existing low mile short block.



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Getting a closer look at some of the problem areas, due to rust, have a look at these valve cover bolts!

vcb.jpeg

You can see the one to the right is getting bad, but the one I am pointing to has pretty much lost all of it's biting power. 

vcb1.jpeg

This is because the retaining washer has rusted away! All new hardware is in order. 

And then of course we have the classic Northern Rust Belt Ford rust mushroom oil pan phenomenon at work

rustmushroom.jpeg

New oil pan and all new hardware is also in order here.



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Tomorrow, after plugging the left side exhaust ports and taping off the intake runners I will be using the French Tickler to descale the engine block to prep for rust inhibitor / primer treatment.

Clearly it's going to need a new dipstick and transmission dip stick tube. This happens due to condensation from the heat of the exhaust manifolds in close proximity. 

ft1.jpeg

 

As I mentioned above, I do this now while the engine is sealed up... it makes for a little more work and final touch up when cleaning the other surfaces later, but it greatly reduces the amount of risk of debris getting into the engine too! So that is key, and worth the extra work... again, this step is only when you're saving the lower end... if your getting your engine rebuilt or replacing with a reman then none of this applies. 

But this one should clean up real nice... even though it looks pretty rough now.

ft2.jpeg

ft3.jpeg

 

After I knock all the loose rust and old paint off I'll treat it... then lay two coats of paint and allow to dry 24 hours before opening the engine. 

More to follow.



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Stellar Enterprises has circled the wagons around Big Blue...

bigbluea.jpg

bigblueb.jpg

 

and wouldn't you know it, during the coagulation she's turning BLUE!

bigblue.jpg

We caught this rust just in time! Any longer and some of the sheet metal areas would have been un-savable. 

I keep telling myself I'm not going to get wrapped up in any more of these big jobs but honestly this one sucked me in... I tried to avoid getting deep but I got a soft spot for these damn old Ford trucks!



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Bet you guys all been wondering WTF has been going on, huh?

LOL

Well, thanks to Chuck's... well actually our A1 Machinist "Rick", we got ALL 20 of them studs out of the heads, along with a fresh overhaul!

Detailed photos to come!



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