leaky headgasket woes



I had partially rebuilt my 200 ci awhile back and I plan on finishing now. After the partial rebuild (new rebuilt head, honed cylinders, new bearings and such) I drove it for awhile and it over heated like crazy. I think that was mostly due to a coolant leak around the vacuum regulator thing screwed into the thermostat housing. Of course I did find a little coolant on the head when I removed the valve cover and in the area where the lifters are at when I removed the head. I don't remember having frothy tan oil, so if the head gasket was leaking it wasn't very much. The 3 and 4 spark plugs were always getting fouled, so I'm going to actually bore out the cylinders and get new pistons this time... wishing I did it last time.
Back to the problem, potentialy leaking head gasket, I can only think of two reasons. 1. The head I got was a rebuilt unit from Auto zone and it wasn't either checked for flatness, or milled incorrectly. 2. When I removed the head I noticed bits of hardend loctite every where. Is it possible that the loktite squeezed out while I was tightening the head bolts and did something screwy to the head gasket?
I had the block check for flatness at the machine shop where I had the rest of the stuff done, so I'd tend to think it is the head. It is going to the shop regaurdless, but I thought I'd see what kind of responses I'd get here anyways.
What about just going with a never seize or good lubricant on your head bolts. You may get a truer torque. Also, put lube on the underside of the bolt head to keep friction building up..ZZ
Heh Mike, I wouldn't be too concerned about the anti-freeze in the lifter area or the last 2 cylinders, probably just leaked there when you pullled the head off, I had a similar problem problem when I pulled my head off even though I drained everything as best I could. If you didn't have any white smoke when it was running and the oil looked OK, you probably don't have aleak in the head area. I am not sure what you are talking about when you say the vaccuum regulator thing screwed into the thermo housing, I would run a 160* thermostat, and replace the radiator cap. You do need sealant on a couple of head bolts, but if my memory serves me correctly, they are in the front over the water pump opening. Good luck
A couple of things to check:
1. Calculate the compression ratio and, if you have enough room, get the head milled a little to make it falt. Usually, there is approximately 2cc lost in the chamber for each .010" milled off.
2. If you need one of Ford's own thin composition gaskets (to recover the quench band performance) to improve the sealing around the cylinders, drop me an e-mail at: markgp@concentric.net (or see my post in Buy-Sell-Trade). I have a couple of Ford's own gaskets left.

One of the problems with the Victor or FelPro head gaskets that everyone sells for these engines is that they are too thick. The head bolts torque to 60-70 ft-lbs (depending on year), and the extra thickness of these gaskets usually need more torque for good sealing. Adding hardened washers under the head bolts on reassembly can help spread the torque out, too.
Mike D.

One more hint to try. the heads often get an air bubble behind the thermostat that is hard to fill with fulid. Try drilling a small (1/8) hole in the thermostat and then when you reassemble make sure the hole is to the top of the housing to bleed off the air.

Good Luck