How to remove and refit a cylinder head?
13 December 2019

How to remove and refit a cylinder head?

All car owners know that the minute the car starts performing badly or makes unnatural noises, it is time to check up on the cylinder head. A faulty cylinder head is also responsible for overheating. It can also cause the emission of foul odor on starting the car.

So, one may wonder what is this cylinder head? To put it simply, you can say that the cylinder head is the power center of the vehicle. The reason being, it is connected to various crucial pipes like exhaust and intake. It is also responsible for taking coolant to various parts of the body. The cylinder head also houses intricate valves and bolts that are crucial to a car’s performance.

Thus, as soon as you feel that the car is not working correctly, the first thing you need to check is the cylinder head. And in most cases, you will have to replace the cylinder head.

Here is a step by step process to remove and refit the cylinder head

The first step of working with any machine, including a car, is safety precautions and being prepared. So, before you begin to work ensure that the following items are ready

  1. Necessary tools
  2. Car’s manual
  3. Cylinder head
  4. Items to clean the cylinder head
  5. Fluid collection pan
  6. Drawing or a picture of your cylinder head and its various connection
  7. A safe place to put the car parts without damaging them
  8. And car parked on a flat surface

So, once you are ready you begin with

  1. Lift up the front of the car with a jack stand to give you ample working space. Once your car is in position, place the liquid collecting pan under the engine coolant plug. Let the coolant drain completely before proceeding to the next step.
  2. Once the fluid is completely drained, remove the parts that surround the cylinder head. These parts include steering pump mounting, air filter, throttle body, and various valves.
  3. Once your cylinder head is free of the parts, the real work begins. There are two types of cylinder heads. And each one has a different mechanism.
    • Pushrod cylinder head – If you have a pushrod cylinder head, the process is a little simpler. You start by unscrewing the rocker cove bolt. Once it is free put it on the newspaper in an inverted position. This will help in removing any oil drops that it carries. After that lift the pushrods in the sequential order. Remember to follow the sequence and also place them on numbered cardboard for refitting. This is a crucial step. Now unfasten the bolts holding the head. Each model may have a different method. So follow the instruction given in your car manual. As soon as you remove it, ensure to protect the engine from dust. Once the head is removed, discard the head gasket.
    • Overhead cam cylinder head – For this type of cylinder head, the first step is to disconnect the timing belt. Then check the engine if it has any timing belt. If it does, you will have to free the belt from the camshaft. You need to be very cautious so as not spill oil or any other item on the timing belt or on the engine. Once you remove the belt, remove the camshaft cover. And then proceed with removing the head by loosening the bolts.
  4. Once your cylinder head is removed, clean it properly and it is ready to refit into the car again. Some cars may need you to spray the head with Aluminium paint so recheck the instruction before proceeding.
  5. Now your cylinder head is ready to go back. Follow the reverse procedure of removing the head and you will do just great. Remember, follow the exact sequence and steps while closing all the valves, bolts, pushrods and so on.
  6. Now start the car and listen to your car starting perfectly!

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