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Old 10-21-2006, 04:28 PM
Moneypit SEL's Avatar
Moneypit SEL Moneypit SEL is offline
Now what?
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: SE PA
Posts: 525
Do the seals. All my plugs looked like your worst one, and I've got more than twice your mileage. I went from a quart of oil every 300 +/- miles to nearly 3000 miles. The valve seals are very DIY. A universal valve spring tool is all you need. Don't have compressed air to pressureize the cylinders? Put a length of thin rope in through the spark plug hole and turn the engine by hand to hold the valves in place. I suggest using a replacement lawnmower start cord. It's the right size, costs only a few bucks, and has a handle on one end so you can't accidentially lose the other end of the rope in the cylinder.

If you decide to pull the head, then you might as well do the valve guides at the same time, though I doubt they're already shot.

EDIT: Letting the job go for a while is probably not a good idea. Oil through the engine and out the exhaust will eventually kill the catalytic converter. Leaving it for a few miles should be OK. IIRC, I did about 1000 miles between the time I replaced the converter and when I did the seals. Still passes emissions.
1989 300 SEL that mostly works, but needs TLC
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