It’s no small undertaking to replace your cylinder head, and it only makes sense that you want it done correctly. Ensure yours is properly installed with these guidelines and common mistakes to avoid.
Keep in mind that these are only general guidelines, and you should refer to your manufacturer’s instructions for more specific information on your engine type. To learn more about indicators you should replace your cylinder head, read our blog post, Signs You Need to Replace Your Cylinder Head.
If you’re looking for a new cylinder head, Highway & Heavy Parts has a wide selection, and our team of experts can help you get the right parts for your engine!
6 MOST COMMON CYLINDER HEAD INSTALLATION MISTAKES
1. YOU DIDN’T CLEAN THE BLOCK AND COMPONENTS
First, be sure the engine block has been completely cleaned. Any dirt or debris can damage components during operation. You should also clean any additional components prior to install to keep debris from circulating through your engine and creating larger problems.
2. YOU DIDN’T INSTALL DOWEL PINS
Tap the dowel pins into place on the engine block. Be sure to check for burring on the pins, which could lead to later problems.
3. YOU DIDN’T INSTALL THE HEAD GASKET
Check the manufacturer’s instructions to correctly orient the head gasket on the engine block. Improperly positioned gaskets won’t seal correctly and can create combustion issues.
Make sure the bolt holes are completely clean as well. Position the gasket on the engine block, most likely without any sealant or adhesive. (This depends on the gasket material, but most do not need it.)
4. YOU DIDN’T POSITION THE CYLINDER HEAD
Lower the cylinder head evenly into position on the alignment dowels to avoid damaging the head.
5. YOU DIDN’T INSTALL HEAD BOLTS
Ensure that the bolts are clean, the proper length, and free of wear. Be sure to follow the recommended torque guidelines.
6. YOU DIDN’T INSTALL REMAINING COMPONENTS
Following instructions for your engine type, reinstall the remaining components to the head as needed for your specific model. For instance, push rods, rocker arm assembly, camshaft, etc.
INCORRECTLY INSTALLED CYLINDER HEAD COMPONENTS
Installing your cylinder head and related components incorrectly could result in further damage to your engine. Here are some common mistakes you should avoid:
INSTALLING WORN FASTENERS
Be sure to evaluate your fasteners when you’re deciding whether or not to reuse them. Wear or pitting on the bolts can lead to failure, so look for any sign of that.
Even inspect new fasteners, as installing them bent or warped can create just as many problems. You want your fasteners to be straight, as free of wear as possible, and the proper length to ensure that everything fits together as it should.
Make sure that your bolts have not stretched beyond their limit, and don’t ever reuse bolts that are one time use only.
USING SEALANT ON THE GASKET
Most gaskets nowadays don’t require the use of sealant. Depending on the type, sealer could cause the gasket to deteriorate and fail.
HEAD GASKET SEALS
Ensure that the head gasket seals properly. A leak in the head gasket can allow oil into the cylinders, leading to high oil consumption in your engine.
Paying attention to orientation marks and manufacturer instructions can help with this. Make sure your liner protrusion has been checked and is in spec before installing the head.
Incorrect liner protrusion may lead to premature head gasket failure and possibly another cylinder head replacement.
If you’re experiencing cylinder head problems, Highway & Heavy Parts can help!
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Ordering from us is fast and convenient—you can call or shop online. And we have a huge inventory of replacement parts to help keep your engine running like it should!
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