Friday, March 25, 2011

Head Gasket Tools


I thought I'd make a list of the tools I needed to do my head gasket job with a comment or two included with each tool.

18" Klein strap wrench - $75 - Wouldn't have been able to remove or replace the crankshaft pulley or the camshaft sprockets without this tool. I did pay a little more buying locally than some of the online prices I've seen, but who knows what shipping would have been.


1/2" drive torque wrench - Gift - Turns out most of the fasteners are better suited to the 3/8" torque range than the 20-150 ft*lb range of this wrench. I was needed for the crankshaft pulley bolt at 130 foot*pounds.


3/8" drive torque wrench - $22 - The 5-80 ft*lb range of this range was better suited for most of the fasteners. It turns out that I could have used a lower rated wrench for some of the bolts which were rated to about 7 ft*lbs.


1/2" drive Craftsman socket set (ebay) - $32 - I felt more comfortable on the high torque fasteners like the head bolts, crankshaft pulley bolt than just using my 3/8 sockets with an adaptor. Plus, I needed a 22mm for the crankshaft pulley. I also had two half-inch drive ratchets, and two half-inch drive breaker bars.


K-tool seal remover set - $7 - (one shown - orange handle) Slipping the tip of one of these under a hose and the pulling with the other hand made difficult hose removal much easier


Digital Torque Adaptor - $50 - Peace of mind when using my inexpensive Harbor Freight torque wrenches since a torque wrench with a national lab calibration certificate starts at about $170. I really needed to get another torque wrench with a lower end, but this allowed me to get the low torques required by some of the bolts.


Shaft Type Seal Puller - $12 - I didn't need it for the camshaft seals because I took the camshaft caps off but it was great for the front main oil seal. It still left a small scratch on the crankshaft, but maybe I wasn't careful enough. Because of this tool driving the front crank seal back in was harder than getting it out.


Torque Angle Meter - $10 - Honestly, I could have stood to spend an extra couple buck for the Lisle one because this one was difficult to use in the tight space I had and not very confidence inspiring. However, it worked perfectly on the driver's side when I used the socket caps and 11/16" combination wrench.


1"x48" pipe for a breaker bar - $15 - Without this I wouldn't have been able to remove my crank pulley.


Craftsman Professional 11/16" combination wrench - $12 - Needed it to turn the 1/2" socket cap (below) as I only have a set of metric combination wrenches. The professional is longer and only $2 more than the normal version. Believe me I needed the extra length.


Craftsman Socket Cap Set - $11 - Again there's a space issue in screwing in head bolts using the socket and the torque angle meter. These saved my life. I didn't have them for installing the head on the passenger side and it was really frustrating trying to get the angles right on the bolts. The driver's side, which has less space went very smoothly with one of these on the gauge.


OEM offset feeler gauge set - $5 - (not pictured) free with my Autozone rewards $ I would have liked to have more blades in the smaller size but this should work for adjusting the valve clearance.


Great Neck Putty Knife - $3 - free with my Autozone rewards $. I used my file to keep a good edge on this and it was great for removing gasket material and even some small metal irregularities.


1/2" drive 25" breaker bar - $12 - I wish I'd had one of these for a long time. This made getting stuck fasteners loosened easy and even just made is easier to tun some tight ones. Plus, adding the 48" pipe to this made it possible to remove the crankshaft pulley. It was able to get the frost plug, about which I've read horror stories, out without a problem.


Actron Compression Tester Kit - $40 - (not pictured) - without a compression gague I wouldn't have found top dead center of cylinder 1. I would have bought the one that was $10 cheaper but they were out.

One Side Head On

I finally got the passenger side head on last night. Honestly, I was hoping to get both heads on but the bolt torquing process took me much longer than anticipated. Luckily, I was able to resolve the issues I've been having with the exhaust manifold.

As it turns out the header didn't have residual gasket it was pitted. I called the machine shop but they wanted $208 to manchine both sides. So talked to a few people and came up with an alternate procedure. First I polished the header with a steel brush to get off any old gasket and rust. I cleaned the resultant dust off with a rag and some brake cleaner. Then I filled the largest of the pits on the passenger exhaust using JB Weld, and scraped the area flat with a razor blade before it hardened. After letting that cure for 24 hours, I cleaned the headers with brake cleaner and spread a layer of copper coat gasket compound under the new exhaust gasket. The plan is to spread some of the compound on the top of the gasket to before bolting the manifold to the head.

Passenger side exhaust header. This is the one I polished and filled the defects with JB weld. The pitted areas are still obvious in the lower left area of the picture due to the color difference but now they're at least flat instead of actual pits.

Driver side header. This one isn't as shiny because it was in better condition from the beginning. (The lighting conditions are a little different too.) I didn't spend as much time polishing it and didn't need to use any JB weld to fill pits.

This is the driver side header after putting on the copper based exhaust sealant and the gasket. Hopefully that'll prevent any leaks. Plus, it looks pretty neat.

As I mentioned tightening the head bolts took me over an hour. Mostly it was due to the multi-step process for tightening the head bolts and the access issues associated with leaving the engine in the car. Tightening the bolts is a 7-8 step process for 6 bolts not including getting each 10" bolt in far enough to start torquing. This is the critical step in the process where proper torque matters. Thanks to this digital torque adaptor below, which I mentioned in a previous post, I felt confident that my wrenches were applying the proper torque to the bolts.
As you can see it is clamped in my bench vise. The torque wrench goes in the top and the torque being applied is displayed on the screen. You can set a target torque and the device provides both audio and visual warning when you are approaching that level of torque. I checked both my wrenches with this device each time I used them and I checked all 3 items at a given torque level. It looks like my inexpensive Harbor Freight torque wrenches (1/2" and 3/8" drive) and the device shown above are at least precise and likely accurate too.

Here's the head on one side of the engine. The assembly process has started.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Header Complications

I've spent at least 4 hours scraping old gasket off the headers and the components which attach to them. Most of that time (>90%) has been focused on the exhaust system. Unfortunately, I have learned from this experience that sharpened scrapers, sand paper, and chemical gasket remover are not sufficient to remove residual exhaust gaskets from headers. I'm going to have to apply different methods of removal to ensure I don't reassemble my engine only to find I have an exhaust leak. I've included a picture of each header below show my current progress.

This is the passenger side into which I've put most of the work. Despite my efforts several areas of residual gasket remain (red arrows). Although it may not be apparent in the photograph, rubbing a finger over those areas makes the imperfections very apparent. I'm most concerned with the lowest arrow in the picture as the area covered by the gasket is so much smaller.

The driver side, which I has not had as much scraping or been cleaned yet, looks worse but does not have as many imperfections.

Possible solutions:
1. Use a large flat sharpening stone to remove the excess material and flatten the surface completely.
2. Use a handheld grinder/polisher, such as a Dremel tool or angle grinder, to remove the excess material and polish the header.
3. Find a exhaust sealant to use in conjunction with the gaskets to fill the gaps created by the residual gasket that is safe for use upstream of the catalytic converter, which I just replaced.
4. Get a great suggestion from someone who knows what they're doing.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Head Gaskets Are Off

Here atre the head gaskets. I started about a week ago and I'm finally ready to take my heads to the machine shop.

Here's the heads, a pile gaskets above each (intake, exhaust, and head), and their bolts to the right.


The pistons on the passenger side after the heads were removed. For some reason there is more space on this side of the engine and the heads lifted off much easier.

The pistons on the driver's side. It looks like I got the pistons in the right position because they are all out of the way so the can't be hit by the valves. This side didn't have as much clearance and Michelle had to hold the air conditioning compressor out of the way to get the head out. I actually had to try a couple of times because as it turns out the transmission cooler lines are bolted to the bottom of the head on this side.



Here's my newly constructed workbench serving its intended purpose. The camshafts, camshaft caps, and rocker arm assemblies are carefully laid out on labeled towels for simple installation when the time comes. The rest of the parts are on the bottom shelf with the bolts in labeled plastic bags. Hopefully I'm organized enough to get it all back together quickly. I used to like to play with legos as a kid.

Here's a picture of the intake manifold after removing it.


Complications:
1. I read about the camshaft caps requiring a Torx wrench. Unfortunately, I didn't realize that half the bolts were T-40 and the other half 5 mm allen. As it turns out I got the passenger side cap off using a T-35 in place of the 5 mm without stripping any bolt heads. I don't plan to use that for reassembly.
2. I already mentioned about the transmission cooler lines being bolted to the underside of the head on the driver's side. That made life interesting.
3. When I removed the exhaust manifold there was one stud that unscrewed itself from the head rather than the nut coming off the stud. I'll probably end up replacing that stud and nut.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Head Gasket Part 1

I started my head gasket replacement project on Friday night. With a couple of hours Friday and a couple Saturday I've successfully got most the stuff out of the way. I'm now working on finding all the electrical connections so I can lift the intake manifold off. I'll post more details and pictures in part 2, but for now I'm just glad that I was able to get the crankshaft pulley off. Here's a couple of pictures.

This is the setup I used to get the crank pulley off. I used the strap wrench with a 19" handle to hold the pulley and the 2 foot breaker bar on the bolt plus 2 feet extra pipe for a cheater bar. To get the bolt off I had to stand in the engine compartment on the handle of the strap wrench while Michelle pulled on the 4 foot cheater bar.

Close up of the strap wrench and breaker bar on the crank pulley.

My four foot cheater pipe with the breaker bar inside. A yardstick is below for comparison.
Now the trick will be getting the bolt torqued down to the recommended ~130 foot pounds when I put it back together.

Friday, March 11, 2011

February 2011

I just realized that I posted all the pictures in this post in reverse order (again)... oops! Guess I need to start paying attention. Oh well. Read upside down if you like. :) This is what we were up to in February. :)

I know Tyler already posted about our computer keyboard incident, but I thought I'd post again. I feel pretty good about my efforts (sad to say). When I picked this up off the floor all the keys were gone. Wish I had a picture of that. Note to self: NEVER leave kids unattended for more than 30 seconds. No more solo showers, potty breaks or checking email for me.


Cole and Brookie LOVE fixing stuff with Tyler. They had a great time working on the vacuum! We're so glad we have such a handy dad!

New favorite game: hiding in the curtains. :)

Another new favorite passtime: hiding under the table and sharing contraband - jelly beans this time. Hey - at least they're sharing...

4 wheeling in our snow. We were all so happy to have some snow to play in!!

Nothink can stop these guys from playing outside. They can freeze their fingers and toes, be wet to the bone and still want to "play bikes." These pictures were taken around 7 am - still in our jammies, but enjoying some great white stuff!

We went with some friends in our play group to a farm in their ward in Albany. It was so fun to see Cole and Brookie and all the kids love seeing and feeding the animals!! Such a great experience! Here are the baby pigs they got to touch.

Clara and Coleman peeking at the piglets.

Brookie could bareley see over the wood, but she was thrilled to take a peek.

Still checking out those piggies!

Coleman got to gather an egg (can you call it that when it's just one) from the chicken coop. We fed the chickens some bread then took turns gathering the eggs.

Brookie wanted to sit on the horse, but when she got up there, she wasn't quite as thrilled - until she got down - then she was a grin from ear to ear, proud and happy. This girl loves animals. She's still talking about this trip and it's been almost a month!

Feeding some bread to the big pigs.

Checking in with the piglets again.

We fed the cows some bread too. They must have eaten 10 loaves!! Hungry hungry cows. The kids had a blast!!










Just happy to be at the farm. There really is something special about a farm.
Decorating cookies at a little Valentine's party. A few of the families in our ward came over for a little get together. We decorated cookies and made valentines and just played. It was great!

Brookie Sugar Evans was in heaven!





Bath boy!

Bath girl! - we love our baths around here!! Brookie sometimes asks to "have a baffy" 4 or 5 times a day... :)

We put together a little trip to the fire station here in Salem. The kids got to "drive" the fire truck and look at all their cool equipment. They dressed one of the fire fighters up and talked to the kids about not being affraid of people dressed like them. They answered all sorts of questions and gave them cool badge stickers. Cole and Brookie were thrilled. Such a fun outing!!

Checking out the fire truck.

The back of the truck and all the excited friends.



Brookie driving the fire truck.

Coleman driving the fire truck.

Brookie driving again. We had to have a baby with us the whole time. She's such a girlie girl!! :)

Checking it all out.



Brookie and her "brella" playing in the rain. Really, nothing stops these guys from wanting to be outside. :) I love having a yard!!

2 umbrellas, 2 happy kiddos and their "bikes"


We're also really into cooking lateley. Both Cole and Brookie love cracking eggs. They're pretty good at it too! We've been baking a lot. Have to get in a few more batches of cookie before summer. No AC is a bummer for using the oven. If anyone has any BBQ cookie recipes, please send them our way. :)
Brookie Homemaker and her baby and cooking.

Coleman is our fisherman. He loves to pretend to fish. Guess we'll have to take him fising for real sometime. I have such good memories of fishing as a kid (and as a big kid).

We finally took down the last of our Christmas decorations. We figured we had better take a picture of these creations before they were gone. Cole made this really neat graham cracker gingerbread house at Silver Falls before Christmas and he and Brookie made these cute pine cone Christmas trees later to go with it up on top of our TV. Wish we had room to save them, Cole was really sad when we had to take them down, but it was time to do a little cleaning up. We miss Christmas. :) Undecorating is the worst.