Apparently when you have three sets of head bolts, picking out the 16 that look best isn’t the way to go. I didn’t notice, or read anywhere, that two of the bolts are an inch shorter than the rest. When the engine was built, it started up, but would spray coolant from between the head and block.
I pulled the engine out again and started disassembling it. Ordered new gaskets and a new cable for the knock sensor because why not if i was in there again, may as well replace it new. pulled the heads, cleaned and ran a tap through the holes on the block, M12 x 1.75, put head on, test torque, no good. The bad hole won’t do more than 30 ft/lb, the threads are either torn up, too short, or both. I drilled the hole out with a 31/64 bit, and installed a helicoil with red threadlock. Installed ARP head studs and so far it’s holding good to recommended 100 ft/lb.
The whole thing is disappointing, but at least i am 100% sure it won’t have the same issue as before, and it did start when it was in the Z! Hoping to get the engine back in the Z before winter and then by April the roads should be clear enough of snow and gravel to take it to the shop for wheel alignments front/back (hicas delete bar installed). Canadian weather/seasons stink for having decent drive time per year