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Head gaskets as preventative maintenance

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Head gaskets as preventative maintenance

Old 05-25-2020, 10:20 AM
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Default Head gaskets as preventative maintenance

I have a 1989 Yamaha V6EXCELXF 225 I recently inherited.
According to old receipts one head gasket was changed in 2012 and one in 2004. Hypothetically it could have been the same one because the receipts donít specify left or right.
Engine has lived in salt water itís whole life May through October.
there looks to be a ton of corrosion between the powerhead, cylinder heads and water jacket covers but maybe thatís just on the outside? Motor turns 5600 rpms so no signs of a leak...yet.
what are everyoneís thoughts on changing the head gaskets as preventative? Yes I know some bolts will break but I just had the exhaust cover pulled due to a small leak so Iíve already invested time and money into saving the engine and want to keep it running strong as long as I can. No money for a repower so when it goes Iím done with boating for now.

if I donít change them what are warning signs to watch for indicating one may need changing
Old 05-25-2020, 10:54 AM
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Compression checks should tell the story. I asked this very question to my mechanic - my Yamaha is 2001. He said “ if there is not a problem, don’t mess with them”. Others will disagree but old motors are sometimes like old houses - once you tear into them, you just keep going and going!
Old 05-25-2020, 12:19 PM
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Is the thought that a head gasket that is supposed to be designed for a marine environment isnít really and it will corrode through?
Iím not a big outboard guy so I donít know if this is a chronic problem with outboards.
I certainly have years of experience with small outboards (<25 hp), and never heard of replacing a head gasket as a Ďpreventativeí thing, on any engine. I almost wanted to ask if you have the head gaskets on your car replaced routinely, but maybe this is a big outboard thing?
Another reason to like inboards I guess.
Old 05-25-2020, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by NedLloyd View Post
Is the thought that a head gasket that is supposed to be designed for a marine environment isnít really and it will corrode through?
Iím not a big outboard guy so I donít know if this is a chronic problem with outboards.
I certainly have years of experience with small outboards (<25 hp), and never heard of replacing a head gasket as a Ďpreventativeí thing, on any engine. I almost wanted to ask if you have the head gaskets on your car replaced routinely, but maybe this is a big outboard thing?
Another reason to like inboards I guess.
honestly I don't know. I'm relatively new to outboard maintenance myself. I just know that both gaskets have needed replacing over the engines 30 year lifespan, so I'm assuming they will again. and from my experience so far, when dealing with salt water, all bets are off.
Old 05-25-2020, 02:09 PM
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I would only do that job if I was getting warning signs that there was water in a cyl. Then itís a calculated risk due to the problems in taking apart a raw water cooled Aluminum engine. I did the same thing on my inboard. Had a bad overheat in Ď13 but because compression was still good and no water in the oil or a cyl I ran it 2 more seasons. At the end of the 3rd the HGs failed and I took it apart as an experiment. As it turned out I was able to save it with a pair of reman heads. But if it kept running well with no water in oil or cyls no way would I have pulled it apart!
Old 05-25-2020, 02:20 PM
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I have a 1991 V4 130hp. I went to change the thermostats and broke a bolt. Couldnít get it out so I took the water jacket off and broke another bolt. Couldnít get it out so I took the heads off. Then found out there is an anode behind there that needs to be changed at at least every 30 years! So now I have new gaskets, thermostats and anodes. Really not that difficult on a 2 stroke and parts werenít that much.
Old 05-25-2020, 03:02 PM
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I just did mine on my 2001 OX66. Temp alarm was coming on every time I cruised over 4000 RPM. It was a simple job and there was a ton of crud in the water passages. Didn't break any bolts and I don't see why anyone would shy away from replacing gaskets. Not an engine rebuild.
Old 05-25-2020, 04:15 PM
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I had my head gaskets replaced a few years ago, but only because I was getting overheating buzzers. I took it in to the shop and told them to replace all 6 gaskets. They said they also blew out the cooling passages & resurfaced the cylinder heads. The cost was $660 in 2012. 6 gaskets: 2 head; 2 water jacket; 2 exhaust cover.

However, I would not have had it done if I wasn't getting warning buzzers and overheating. This job is more than just preventive maintenance.
Old 05-25-2020, 06:23 PM
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You are bound to shear off some or all of those head bolts so I wouldn’t mess with it unless you just like headaches.
Old 05-25-2020, 08:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Jim311 View Post
You are bound to shear off some or all of those head bolts so I wouldnít mess with it unless you just like headaches.
This.... job could turn into a nightmare on an older motor.
Old 05-25-2020, 08:54 PM
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Yep, I was surprised that I got all the head bolts out of my '88 4.3, they would not budge by hand so I broke out my De Walt impact gun and amazingly they all came out, without breaking even one.


salt water was in #2 cyl on the right side...right after taking heads off...

rear seats out! and new heads on!
Old 05-25-2020, 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by jayyy View Post
This.... job could turn into a nightmare on an older motor.
one of the heads was pulled in 2012 and 7/14 bolts snapped

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