2003 S10 4.3 Head gasket replacement - S-10 Forum
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2003 S10 4.3 Head gasket replacement

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Old 10-18-2012, 06:50 PM   #1
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2003 S10 4.3 Head gasket replacement

I did some testing and found that I had a bad head gasket on my pickup. I decided I was willing to attempt this on my own and started to tear into the project. I've gotten all of the head bolts on the drivers side (bad side) out, but I found that the fuel lines are mounted to the head on this side.
I can't see where the bolt or clasps are to release the lines.
Can anyone tell me how to get the fuel lines disconnected from the head?
I tried manuevering the head around to see if I could clean the surface and get a new gasket in without taking the fuel line off and there just isn't enough space. I was able however to pull out the trashed gasket, just can't get in to clean things up.

Any suggestions? This is my first time tackling such a project.

(I did a quick search and didn't see anything but don't have a lot of time to use the computer, since I don't have my own pc currently).

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Old 10-18-2012, 10:52 PM   #2
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Re: 2003 S10 4.3 Head gasket replacement

Enjoy that job, I just did that one on my truck



They are 14mm bolt heads. DO NOT FORGET TO HOOKUP THOSE GROUNDS after re assembly. I learned the hard way.

Do you have the correct procedure for re installing the heads?
You need new head bolts and a degree gauge that attaches to the torque wrench.

Here is a guide for you, save you from screwing it up:
http://www.handymanlyness.com/archiv...all_GM_V6.html

If you plan on keeping that engine for a while use the Fel Pro metal intake gaskets, the other kind do not last.
Old 10-19-2012, 12:11 PM   #3
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Re: 2003 S10 4.3 Head gasket replacement

Do you know the part number for that felpro kit I picked up a felpro top end gasket kit and it looks like it has everything in it, but I'm hoping these are the same gaskets you mentioned.
I can take pics too if that helps.
Old 10-19-2012, 12:14 PM   #4
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Re: 2003 S10 4.3 Head gasket replacement

So you are not going to take the head to a machine shop to get it checked out and surfaced?
Old 10-19-2012, 12:43 PM   #5
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Re: 2003 S10 4.3 Head gasket replacement

I am on a pretty tight time table, and don't have a ton of cash (thus doing the job myself). what risks am I running by skipping this step?
Old 10-19-2012, 02:06 PM   #6
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Re: 2003 S10 4.3 Head gasket replacement

Quote: Originally Posted by DriverJ
Do you know the part number for that felpro kit I picked up a felpro top end gasket kit and it looks like it has everything in it, but I'm hoping these are the same gaskets you mentioned.
I can take pics too if that helps.
http://www.autozone.com/autozone/par..._259705_19388_
Old 10-20-2012, 05:57 PM   #7
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Re: 2003 S10 4.3 Head gasket replacement

If the head is warped then it will leak again or shortly after you finish installed the new gasket. If you have a legit straight edge (not a metal ruler) you can check to see if the head warped by yourself and if not then you can skimp on having the head resurfaced. If you don't have a straight edge you can have a machine shop check it for you at least for not a lot of money, probably would take them 5 mins to check if it warped or not.
Old 10-20-2012, 06:12 PM   #8
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Re: 2003 S10 4.3 Head gasket replacement

You basically can't go wrong following @Burned's advice. He's THE man for these 4.3's!

If you're on a tight time line an budget, just clean the mating surfaces with sandpaper and slap it back together (follow the tightening order @Burned noted). Using new head bolts is the right thing to do, but I've re-used old ones on these late-model motors without harmful effects.

Heads have to have been pretty overheated to get warped enough that you can't take up any differences with the gasket. If you haven't had a ton of overheating, don't worry about the head warping. If the block got overheated for a prolonged period, it could get certainly get bad, but you'll have to make that call. Doing a big job like this twice kinda blows.

If I were in your shoes, I would damn the torpedoes and do both head gaskets since you're this far into it. Also, pull out the hydraulic lifters and make sure none of them are collapsed/clogged and that they all move reasonably freely.
Old 10-26-2012, 06:46 PM   #9
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Re: 2003 S10 4.3 Head gasket replacement

I've never had the truck over-heat so I'm not worried with that. I already plan on ripping both heads off and doing both gaskets, figure nothing wrong with having both new instead of having the other side go in a few months and having to rip the top off again.

Thanks for the help guys I was able to get the head off and I'm getting cleaned up. Looked the front and back cylinders are a bit dirty compared to the middle cylinder on the drivers side, but nothing too concerning I see (scoring or damage to the cylinder walls.
Figure I'll finish the job in the next few days when I have time to swing over and get it done. Aside from the pain in the ass of getting the exhaust manifolds out of my way to get to the bolts on the side, and getting the bolts out of the back of the head this has been a pretty straight forward simple job.
Old 11-15-2012, 09:41 PM   #10
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Re: 2003 S10 4.3 Head gasket replacement

I finished the job this past week and the damn truck will not start. I checked and made sure all of there was spark, and fuel getting to the cylinder (can smell it when I pull the plug). The distributor is in the position show in the chiltons, and the plug wires have been replaced in the places I removed them from.
The truck will not fire, but does turn.

I am drawing a complete blank on what the issue could be
Old 11-19-2012, 10:36 AM   #11
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Re: 2003 S10 4.3 Head gasket replacement

Got it started. still seems to be leaking. Most of the head gasket notes I've found said to install them aligning them by the front or this side up marking, mine had neither of he markers. I'm betting I installed them incorrectly. Is there any other easy way to match it up? I tried matching it up using the bolt holes and the look of the water jackets.
Old 02-17-2014, 07:12 PM   #12
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Re: 2003 S10 4.3 Head gasket replacement

I'm having to replace my headgasket on my 03 mfi 4.3 sonoma. what all do i need to do it myself and what wold it cost if i got a shop to do it? any help is welcom.
Old 02-18-2014, 08:57 AM   #13
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Re: 2003 S10 4.3 Head gasket replacement

I've read this blown cylinder head gasket for the 4.3 is a common problem.

1.are people just believing what GM says about leaving the dex cool in for 100K miles and this leads to cooling sys. problems?

2.will the engine run w/ a blown cylinder head gasket

or just turn over?

burned excellent link on engine repairs

3.why are you not recommending a GM cylinder head gasket?
Old 02-18-2014, 11:30 AM   #14
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Re: 2003 S10 4.3 Head gasket replacement

Quote: Originally Posted by RoadRipper
I've read this blown cylinder head gasket for the 4.3 is a common problem.
Intake gaskets are a very common problem. Head gaskets not so much of a problem on these engines.
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