1961 Falcon: Cylinder Head Troubles

In what I’m assuming was an effort to save a few pennies, Ford decided to use steel freeze plugs in some of their engines. The problem with steel (as opposed to brass) is that it tends to rust out, not something you want happening to your freeze plugs! After topping off the radiator with coolant and burping the cooling system, it became apparent that there was a massive water leak somewhere.

What I thought was a bad head gasket ended up being one of Ford’s brighter ideas failing miserably. In order to replace this leaking freeze plug, the cylinder head must be removed. This is a relatively simple task as there isn’t much going on in terms of accessories or moving parts to one of these inline six engines.

The first step is to drain the remaining coolant and remove as many bits and pieces from the cylinder head, taking extra care when removing the exhaust manifolds. These cylinder heads are notorious for cracking, the last thing I need is to be looking for another head.

With the valve cover off, the rocker assembly and pushrods can be removed. Someone has definitely been in this engine before as the head had relatively fresh looking valve stem seals. I did however notice a bent pushrod, this will need to be addressed before the next fire up.

With the cylinder head off, I was able to take a good look at the bores. The crosshatch is still visible and in excellent condition which is great news!

Before going any further, I had to drop off the cylinder head at the machine shop to be milled flat as they are prone to warping. The head is also being hot tanked and new brass freeze plugs will be installed.

Check back for updates!