So, you've heard a loud banging sound each time a cylinder fires, and you've looked under the hood to confirm that it's not an engine knock. If you notice a strong odor and perhaps a stain on a cylinder head or on the manifold, then you've got a blown gasket on your hands. You'll need to install a new one because a gaping gasket leaks out poisonous gases from a running engine that the people inside your car can inhale. Here's how you can do it yourself in about an hour.
Required skill level: Intermediate
Tools and materials needed:
- new exhaust manifold gasket or gasket set
- socket set
- wrench set
- gasket scraper
- wire brush
- sealant (optional)
- screwdriver (optional)
Removing the old gasket materials
Open the hood and locate your exhaust manifold and engine block. Remove any pipes, tubings, or braces that are connected to the manifold before using a socket to remove its bolts or nuts. Be careful in setting these tiny parts aside. Pull off the old gasket. Afterwards, check if there are any deposits from the old gasket on both parts because blown gaskets can sometimes leave materials that can cause leaks if they are not removed. Scrape off the gunk, making sure not to let any pieces fall into the manifold. Then, clean the mating surfaces with the brush and the rags.
Placing the exhaust manifold gasket
Slide the new gasket in place over the exhaust manifold. If you removed nuts earlier, you'll need to fit gasket's bolt holes over the studs and slide the gasket up against the head. If you took off bolts instead, place a screwdriver through each end of the gasket to hold it in place.
Securing the exhaust manifold gasket
Place the manifold against the head Then, install and tighten the nuts or bolts you removed earlier with a socket or wrench.
Testing your new gaskets
Start up your engine and check for any exhaust leaks. If there are none, close the hood and congratulate yourself for a job well done.
Tips and Warnings:
- Make sure that the engine is cool and that the hood struts can support the hood before installing a gasket.
- If none your sockets can fit into the tight spaces close to the wires, use a wrench to remove the bolts or nuts from the manifold instead.
- If you need to use a sealant, apply it to both the mating surfaces of the engine and the manifold after you have cleaned them. Set the gasket onto the manifold only when the sealant becomes gummy. Do not apply the sealant to the new gasket itself.