EF-EL Head Gasket Problem Area

Is your EF or EL Falcon loosing a lot coolant but there is no evidence of a leak? Now I’m not trying to scare you, but it could be that the head gasket is leaking, albeit in a place that hides the evidence very well! We have seen this issue many times over the years so I thought it would be wise to document the next Falcon that came in with the problem.

The area I am talking about is behind the exhaust manifold and can only be seen by removing the heat shield – two 10mm bolts down the bottom and two 13mm manifold to cylinder head bolts.

ford falcon cylinder head

Have a look in the area around the fourth, fifth and sixth cylinder for evidence of scum buildup between the block and cylinder head and down the surface of the block –

ef-el head gasket

falcon head gasket

falcon head gasket

Obviously coolant loss can be caused by many other things, but if you are having trouble identifying the source it may be worth your while removing the heat shield and taking a beau peep.

16 thoughts on “EF-EL Head Gasket Problem Area

  1. Hi,

    I am in the midst of doing some major surgery on my ’95 XG Falcon and amongst the problems I found the steel welch plugs were paper thin and I too easily poked a screwdriver through them. You can see them in the above article by Craig, which look quite solid, but mine shown signs of weeping and similar traces as pictured from under the head.

    I have been struggling to keep the coolant in the car due to leaks in the radiator so it has run with straight water a lot of the time in the past year which has probably killed the welch plugs before their time, but being steel from the factory hasn’t helped either.


  2. Hi Terry,
    A nice new set of brass welsh plugs will outlast the original ones, even if you do run it without coolant for a while! Would an article on how to replace the welsh plugs be of any help to you or do you have that covered?


  3. my XH has been loosing coolant for a while, i’ve just been topping it up. So far I’ve replaced – water pump, thermostat housing, all colling hoses and heater tap, no mechanic was able to tell me my head was the problem. Today I removed my head shield and bingo – lots of water stains from the head. Time to read through your article on replacing the head gasket!

  4. Hi Rob,
    I haven’t managed to track down a 6 cylinder Falcon as yet to do a complete article on replacing the welsh plugs but I have just put together an article on replacing them using a scrap Toyota engine.

    I’m hoping this article will be of some help to you, and I intend to cover the steps needed to access the welsh plugs on the Falcon engine as soon as I can track down a suitable vehicle. You can see the article here – http://autofix.com.au/blog/how-to-replace-welch-plugs


  5. This is exactly what happened to my EF, it even looks the same. I’m in the process now of getting better instructions to remove the power steering pump to get the head off.


  6. Hello, I have had an El falcon since new. Regularly serviced by my Ford Dealer at Kooweerup until they closed, and since, done by a local (Tyabb) guy. Anyway, at 250000K it developed the head gasket problem. Went to someone recommended to me in Langwarrin for a fix ( after the dealer closed and before I found someone I liked to service it). Did everything he should have I guess for $1200. At 290000K it started weeping again. Took it back and he did the job again for $700. At 330000k it started weeping again. I have not gone back to this guy but have done another 20000k with the weeping head. Actually loses very little water. It may drop the header tank to its warning light level in 10000k so I add 1 litre. I have a drip also from the heater “something” down near the sump passenger side, but water usage is as above and included.
    I have heard that you can use AU gaskets on EL’s. Has anyone actually done this and how have they found the result and is there anything special to note when using this gasket on an E (different bolts etc). I am not going back to the guy who has done it twice, however I am not that confident with the guy who is servicing it now either. He said AU gaskets cannot be used. I previously had an EA. It did its head gasket at 107000k but I sold it at 400000k and never had another problem with the engine other than replacing the timing chain at 350000K and the engine was running perfectly when it was sold.

  7. Hi my head gasket is on its way out, if I put some stop leak in it will that temporarily fix the problem or make it worse when I go to replace the gasket

  8. Hi Adam,
    Stop Leak won’t make it worse when it comes time to replace the gasket and depending on the problem may help in the short term, just keep in mind that it’s a very temporary measure at best!


  9. hi mate,
    1st, I think yer doing gods work here. 2nd, pretty sure the head gasket in my 96 ef 6cyl has gone. again. evidence of coolant leakage south of the thermostat, may have heard a subtle “pop” shortly before parking yesterday, but not too sure. how best to diagnose? just run it and look for the leak, or do I risk doing further damage to the head?

  10. Cheers Adrian 🙂 You may be lucky enough to see a leak just by running the engine (more likely to see a leak at normal operating temperature), but a surefire way would be to have a pressure test done on the cooling system, this is really the only accurate way to diagnose a leak or head gasket issues.

  11. Hi Craig ,
    Got this water problem with my ef falcon ,both head & head gasket been done four years back, but lately cars using alot of coolant , about litre a day .Had gas hoses replaced and ran them to heater tap ,welsh plugs are fine , had pressure test done but pressure good no leak , do you think it’s the gasket mate please help it’s doing my head in topping it up everyday , car go’s well but this is a problem I need the fix , cheers mate

  12. Hi Craig,
    I am a bit the same as Travis. (1996 EL). I checked the head gasket as above and it all looks good; welsh plugs also look good. Had the radiator replaced a few months back, plus the water pump. It was still gushing coolant/water from the overflow after that but it turned out they had forgotten some cap or something. I’m useless when it comes to cars; I should have looked to see what they meant. Is there supposed to be a cap on that overflow pipe? The car was great for a while but now it is guzzling coolant again. I haven’t checked the overflow yet as it was only just now I noticed the lack of coolant/water. If you could tell me what cap they might be talking about so I can look for it, I would greatly appreciate it. Or suggest what else I should look for …… Thanks.

  13. What type of Exhaust Manifold Gasket is on this one as the one on my Nephews car is exactly like the one on the picture , Where do you get one like that one

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