How to Replace an Engine Cylinder Head

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How to Replace an Engine Cylinder Head

The cylinder head plays a very important role in the combustion process, as it feeds the engine with fuel and air and is involved at every combustion stage. A faulty head can result in bad fuel economy and even greater damage to the engine. Replacing it in a mechanics is a costly procedure, but with the right tools and some basic knowledge, you can professionally perform the replacement in your own garage.


Assess the Situation

The cylinder head by itself can cost a lot of money, so make sure that it really needs replacement. Use a cylinder head tester to determine whether loss of engine power and loss of cooling liquids are due to a faulty one. Testers and tester kits are widely available and cost a lot less than a new part.


Necessary Tools

A good number of tools are necessary since replacing a cylinder head involves minor engine disassembly and reconstruction. Make sure you have a spanner and ratchet, a ratchet extension, a socket set, and a set of screwdrivers. As the vehicle nose needs to be elevated, jack stands are essential for a good work environment.


Removing the Cylinder Head

Raise the nose of the car and remove the left front wheel to create a clear access path. Take off all the belts for the accessories in the engine; loosen the V belt and the timing belt tensioner. Before removing anything else, drain the coolant fluid after placing a catch pan under the radiator. Relieve the fuel pressure, and proceed to clear everything connected to the cylinder head. Use the socket set to take off the exhaust, and remove all other hoses and sensors connected on the engine head. You must remove the cylinder head bolts in a specific order that varies depending on the engine model, so look for specific information pertaining to your engine. The engine head may be hard to remove, so use a pry bar to separate it from the block.


Installing a Cylinder Head

Pick a new or a refurbished option compatible with your block. A refurbished one can cut the costs of the repair, but make sure to purchase from a trusted vendor. Installing a new cylinder head gasket is unavoidable, so purchase one prior to opening the engine. When you remove the old one from the block, scrub clean the contact surface. Seal the new gasket with gasket sealer, unless it is contrary to the manufacturer's suggestions. Let it dry and place it front side down on the engine block. Set the new cylinder head on top and make sure it rests evenly on the block. Put the bolts and all other components back in the reverse order to complete the replacement.

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