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Surprise, surprise. My intake manifold gasket needed replacing. So this weekend I did the deed. That took a lot longer than anticipated. If anyone is interested, a few tips I'll pass along:

1) I spent way too much time monkeying with that bracket that holds the wiring loom in place on the passenger side near the coil. Ended up taking the coil off, disconnecting the little plastic "clamps" that hold the wiring in place, and just bent it out of the way.
2) Be sure to mark the distributor and rotor. I marked the position of the rotor before I removed the distributor and after. The rotor will rotate about 20-30 degrees CCW as the distributor is removed. After 90K miles, I decided to replace the rotor and cap while I had them out, too.
3) I wish I had made a list of connections that I disconnected/stuff removed as I was dissassembling. Then I could have checked them off as I was putting it back together so I would have known everything got hooked back up.
After getting it all back together, hooked up my fuel pressure gauge and cycled the key a couple of times until the fuel pressure was up where it should be and checked the fuel lines for leaks. After deciding that all was well, tried starting it. It started right up, but ran real rough, like it was misfiring. The SES came on, but the engine smoothed out after a few minutes. Took it for a little test drive and the SES went out and didn't come on again. Had Autozone pull the code (cylinder 1 misfire). I almost think this was from changing the rotor. The rotor appeared to have a film of wax or something on it to prevent oxidation, and that first few minutes, when the code was set, was while that waxy film was being worn off. We'll see if anything come back. This was when I wished I'd had a checklist of connections. I was afraid I had forgotten to hook something back up.
I still haven't decided if it would have been worth paying someone $400-$500 to do it for me. It was a good challenge, and I feel like I accomplished something doing it myself. On the other hand, it took me the better part of two days (constantly being interrupted by little ones who wanted daddy to play with them a little bit. A man has to have priorities.). I could have used those two days for other pursuits. Of course, $400-500 goes a long way towards other pursuits, too.
10 miles later, the intake manifold gasket seems good. However, I've also discovered that my water pump is leaking, too. That was probably why the leak was getting worse. I guess that will be this coming weekend's project. Somewhere along the lines, I've got to change the radiator in the Explorer, but that will be easy.
Just thought I'd share.
 

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RE: finished: intake manifold gasket

Great job, feels good knowing you are not at the mercy of mechanics doesn't it?

Glad to hear all went well, Did my head gaskets earlier this year. Now those are a pain in the ass. Took us 4 days, mainly because of things braking.

Again glad to hear it went well.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
RE: finished: intake manifold gasket

Well, guess what. After a few weeks, the intake started leaking again. From the rear this time. Before I go in again, one question: How much pitting (apparently due to corrosion) can be tolerated in the gasket sealing surfaces? I noticed when I had it apart that there was some corrosion around the coolant ports, and I'm wondering if that is part of why it's started leaking again. It could also be that I didn't use enough RTV to fill in those pits. At what point should those sealing surfaces be machined? If they need to be machined, that means the cylinder heads have to come off, doesn't it?

One other question: Last time I did it, I pulled the fuel lines out of the top of the fuel meter body. But the o-rings that come with Fel-pro's kit are the wrong o-rings for those lines. And the kit from the dealer that contains those two o-rings is quite expensive (apparently contains o-rings for all the injectors and such). Does everyone else break the connection for the fuel lines at the back of the manifold rather than remove them from the top of the fuel meter body? Is that what those o-rings are for?
 

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RE: finished: intake manifold gasket

first make sure it is not the heater hose port.

The o rings you may be able to get seperately someplace like NAPA, Carquest, or other autoparts stores.
 
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