JB Weld is your friend...
Okay...so I'm finally ready to start putting the '94 van back together. I had considered wrecking it, but I guess I'm going to go through with the engine re-build instead.
I am not certain why, but the block around the #1 cylinder, where the head gasket failed, was badly pitted and the residue from the gasket was particularity difficult to remove. It was almost as if the residue had been chemically bonded (glued) to the block. I finally ended up using a deck scraper to remove the gasket crud from that spot. Once cleaned, the extent of the pitting on the block was evident. I asked Marv what I could do to fix it; short of having the block machined. He told me I should "fill" the damage with JB Weld.
I've never used it before.
I mixed up a small amount, which was more than adequate to fill the damage, then applied it and shaved off the excess with a razor. The JB Weld is setting up and will be curing overnight.
Next we got some of the crud off the engine.
There was quite a bit of gunk - chiefly oil mixed with coolant - in the engine vee between the cylinders. I shopvac-ed it all out and cleaned what was left with paper towel. To do this, I had to remove the return pipe from the lower rad hose to the water pump. The pipe is in two sections, with a gasket in between and another gasket where it connects to the pump. I am pretty sure the pipe was leaking; judging by the amount of fluid crud that was sitting just underneath it on top of the engine block. I cleaned the pipe with steel wool.
I discovered severe pitting inside the sleeve that connects the two sections.
More JB Weld, please...
This little "repair" is turning into an all-out restoration project.