A cylinder head sits on top of the cylinder block, sealed inside the head gasket. Cylinder heads allow air and fuel into the combustion chamber and the outward flow of exhaust gases. Other essential components, including spark plugs, fuel injectors, and fuel valves sit inside the cylinder head unit. Therefore, for a working vehicle, optimal performance, and maximum fuel efficiency, you need a cylinder head working at full power. Knowing what to look for when buying used cylinder heads ensures you choose a cylinder head that fits your vehicle and delivers maximum performance.
Used Cylinder Head Cleanliness
Before purchasing a used cylinder head, check for cleanliness. If the exterior is particularly dirty, this indicates a lack of proper care and maintenance. However, the exterior is very simple to clean. Look inside and check for grime and sludge. As fuel passes through the cylinder head, it leaves residue behind. This residue sticks to the interior and attracts any particles that enter the cylinder head. Dirty cylinder heads with any residue and grime build-up do not perform well, which increases your vehicle's fuel consumption, reduces fuel economy, and reduces power. Therefore, where possible, opt for a clean cylinder head. However, it is possible to clean the head yourself. To clean a cylinder head, use an aqueous solvent or cylinder cleaning kit. Clean your vehicle's cylinder heads regularly, as part of routine car maintenance.
Used Cylinder Head Material
Aluminium and cast iron are the most common materials used in the construction of cylinder heads. Cast iron cylinder heads are very durable and are the least expensive option. They are comparatively easy to maintain, but are more expensive to repair than aluminium models, and are considerably heavier. While cast iron cylinder heads do offer a range of performance options, they do not dissipate heat well. Aluminium is the more expensive option, but weighs much less, helping you to increase your fuel economy. Aluminium models are easy to modify effectively and offer high thermal conductivity, dissipating heat quickly and improving volumetric efficiency.
Used Cylinder Head Type
The most common cylinder head used in contemporary cars is the dual overhead camshaft engine cylinder head, featuring two camshafts, controlling the inlet and outlet valves independently. Most offer variable valve timing, allowing you to optimise performance. For those with older cars who want to maintain authenticity, the flathead cylinder engine is a popular choice. These old-school models lack any mechanical parts, and so are easy to maintain, but are more prone to overheating than other types.