Branson 4220 head gasket failure

   / Branson 4220 head gasket failure #1  


Silver Member
Sep 5, 2007
Crab Orchard, TN
Branson 4220
The head gasket has failed on my Branson 4220. There are just 650 hours on the tractor, so I'm a little disappointed, but now I must deal with it. I noticed that the tractor was running hotter than normal, but it never overheated. Then I noticed that there was white smoke from the exhaust even after the tractor had warmed up. I was set to check to see if there was exhaust gas in the coolant, but the engine hydro-locked this morning. I pulled the glow plugs and was able to turn over the engine and it blew quite a lot of coolant from the #3 cylinder. #3 shows 400 psi of compression, the other three show 500 psi, so I don't think I bent any valves.

I'm getting ready to pull the head, but before I do I'd like to briefly start the engine just to lift the FEL out of my way. I think I can get to everything to pull the head with the FEL down, but it will be easier if it's up.

I'd appreciate any advice on whether it's safe to start the engine with no coolant just long enough to lift the FEL. I think it will be fine, and I doubt the head will even get warm to the touch in the minute or two it will take, but still, there's plenty I don't know.


I decided not to start the engine. Removed the hood and the radiator and I think I can easily reach everything I need to reach.
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   / Branson 4220 head gasket failure
  • Thread Starter
One more thing.... I understand that the engine is a Cummins 2300 clone. I'm about to order a set of gaskets from China through eBay, and wonder if anyone has any experience with the Chinese head gaskets, etc. My guess is that those are the same gaskets that were put into the engine originally in Korea.
   / Branson 4220 head gasket failure #3  
These are Kukje licensed made Cummins A2300N2/N4 series. Gasket kits from China should be fine, most of them are Kukje Machinery labeled kits from what I have seen.
   / Branson 4220 head gasket failure #4  
If you can get something to hoist or jack up the loader you can tie the loader joystick in the up position so it can be raised. Don't forget the cylinder stops when working under a raised loader.