Post head gasket replacement report
Well the Pony runs again. Got it all completed last night and running. I guess I got the cam positioner back in the same place, it runs a lot better and is more quiet than before. The plugs were way over gapped so new ones were installed and gapped correctly. No major screw ups but I did install the power steering pulley on backwards. First "rush" mistake. I cranked the car for about a minute before adding water and the belt...just in case. All was fine. Stuck it on there and didn't notice until I had it half way on...WTH?? Break off the wheel, grind down the center and knock it off. Luck we have a dealer about 5 minutes away and they're open until 7. A $24 mistake.
Now for the real report. We drove it around and warmed it up good, guage reading on R or just above. Pulled into our local C-store so my wife could get a Lotto ticket. I popped the hood and let it idle. Turned on the AC to produce more hear but turn on the fan. The needle rose to the center of the M and stayed there, didn't move. Drive home (about 1/2 mile) and let it sit in the driveway for another 10 minutes, stick on M. No leaks or anything. I did bleed the system by removing the plug in the engine.
So I'm glad I noticed that chirping on Friday which convinced me to pull the heads. About $200 and it really is running good...lets hope it stays that way. I wanted another day of testing it myself but when I walked out to go to work my son and wife had taked it to school!!! No phone calls so maybe we're good to go. Still impressed with how much better it seems to be running. Hoping for some better gas mileage.
Thanks for those who supplied some valuable input.