Choosing the Best Cylinder Head
Your cylinder head is most likely damaged if it is cracked or if your exhaust emits white smoke. In addition to that, if your oil dipstick is milky or if there is oil in your anti-freeze, then your cylinder head is likely busted. Bear in mind that failing to address these problems may result in severe engine damage, which would cost you loads of cash. Fortunately for you, replacing your broken cylinder head will definitely restore the performance of your engine. Before buying a new cylinder head, take the following facts into consideration.
Types of cylinder heads
Flathead engine cylinder head
A very simple head, this item offers superb cooling mechanisms; however, it's rather limited. Inefficient compression and poor combustion are results of limited airflow that requires a 90-degree turn to enter the combustion chamber. Also, due to its complicated exhaust path, the engine runs the risk of overheating with such a cylinder head.
Overhead valve (OHV) engine cylinder head
This cylinder head features an embedded camshaft and eliminates the use of pushrods to actuate valves. This head types comes in two variants. The first one is for a single overhead camshaft (SOHC) engine, which features one camshaft built into the head. The second one is for a double overhead camshaft (DOHC) engine, which has two camshafts in the head. The most modern OHC heads feature integrates variable valve timing systems that provide improved performance. We recommend that you go for this cylinder head type over the flathead engine type.
Top components to choose from
- Edelbrock Street Legal Performer Cylinder Head- Made of cast aluminum and includes hardware.
- Autotrust Platinum Aluminum Cylinder Head- Comes with OE replacement product fit for easy installation.
- Replacement Cylinder Head- Made from aluminum with a direct fit OE replacement cylinder head.
- Omix Cylinder Head- Very sturdy and legal in 49 states.
Do-It-Yourself: Replacing a Cylinder Head
Driving around with a cracked cylinder head can be very bad for your engine. Should this component become impaired, then your internal combustion engine could break and require costly replacement. To prevent this from happening, all you have to do is to swap out your cracked cylinder head for a new one. Doing so requires only basic tools and will prove to be a worthwhile DIY job. Just follow the steps listed down below and your engine will be back in business.
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Tools you'll need:
- Wrench set
- Ratchet, extension, and socket set
- Standard and Phillips screwdrivers
- Shop rags
- Breaker bar
- Pry bar
- Replacement head gasket
- Aluminum paint (optional)
- New engine oil
- New antifreeze
- Torque wrench
- New intake manifold
- New exhaust manifold gasket
Step 1: Place a catch pan underneath the radiator then open the drain valve in order to drain the coolant.
Step 2: Remove the throttle the body, steering pump mounting bracket, air cleaner system, and other accessories around the cylinder head as they might obstruct your progress. You'll need your wrench, ratchet, extension and socket set, and screwdrivers to do this.
Step 3: Use a wrench, ratchet, extension, and socket to remove the intake manifold from the cylinder head, exhaust manifold, valve cover (s), and timing belt or chain.
Step 7: If your cylinder head comes with a rocker arm shaft, then unfasten it beginning with the two mounting bolts located in the center. If your vehicle comes with two cylinder heads, then repeat this step for the other head.
Step 8: Unscrew the head-to-block mounting bolts using your ratchet, extension, and socket.
Step 9: Lift the cylinder head off of the block. If you're having trouble doing this, then wrap a shop rag around a pry bar and insert it into either an intake or exhaust port. Then carefully dislodge the head from the block.
Step 10: Spray both sides of the new head gasket with aluminum paint (unless advices by the manufacturer not to), then leave it to dry. Set the gasket on the engine block and make sure the gasket is properly oriented with the "Front" mark at the front of the engine block.
Step 11: Push the clean cylinder head firmly on the engine block.
Step 12: Apply a coat of new engine oil to the threads of the head-to-block bolts and the under of the bolt heads. Install the bolts and tighten them.
Step 13: Install all the components and accessories you removed.
Step 14: Refill the coolant system with new coolant; be sure to use 50% antifreeze and 50% water.