Saturday, April 2, 2011

Head Gasket Job is Complete

It's finished and it's driven 10 miles. I finally took all the parts off my bench and put them back in the engine compartment, except, of course, for the parts which I replaced. I had a good time doing it and actually wouldn't mind doing it again, though I hope I don't have to with this car. Hopefully, when I do it again I'll be faster.

When the car didn't start on the first few cranks and I became disheartened, but luckily it started on the next try. Likely, it was circulating the oil, coolant, and building up the fuel pressure. I'd overtightened the throttle cable so it was idling really fast but that problem was easily resolved. Otherwise, there was a bit of steam/smoke for the first few minutes, but that seems to have been improved and I'm attributing it to burning off excess gasket sealant, lube, or fluids (oil and coolant) in the wrong place.

This is a picture of the driver's side head with the camshaft, camshaft cap, and rocker arms reinstalled. I was too lazy to move the battery and alternator cables to get a good picture.
This is a picture of the passenger side head after getting the camshaft, camshaft cap, and rocker arms installed (a much better picture than the driver's side.) I also adjusted all the valve clearances on both sides after getting the timing back together.
The front main oil seal around the crankshaft. It was a bit of a challenge to get it set back in place. I had to use a 1/4" extension to push on the seal and the head of a 1/2" ratchet as a hammer. The clean new water pump is also visible on the right of the image. I didn't remove the oil pump and replace the seal behind it so we'll just hope it lasts a while longer. Here's the timing belt with it's associated sprockets, idlers, tensioner, and the water pump. The idler sprocket (bottom just right of center) was the biggest pain to get on after everything else was lined up. I was concerned because if this had been off I would have had to take everything apart again and had a valve job done. I did turn the engine a couple times, while I was adjusting the valve clearances, to listen for valve interference. I figured that if I was off I would do less damage if one valve hit a head rather than all of them when trying to start the engine. I was glad I bought a Subaru timing belt because it sure made alignment easy.
Passenger side camshaft sprocket aligned with the mark on the belt and the left camshaft cap.

The driver's side camshaft sprocket. Although it doesn't appear to be aligned perfectly, a change in one tooth on the timing belt in either direction didn't improve the condition.


The crankshaft sprocket with the timing marks aligned.

In the end I replaced both head gaskets, all the head bolts, the exhaust and intake manifold gaskets, both camshaft oil seals, the valve cover gaskets and spark plug tube seals, the water pump, the front crank seal, the timing belt, the 3 timing idlers and tensioner, the upper and lower radiator hoses, both accessory drive belts, adjusted the valve clearance, changed the oil, and the coolant.


Total Cost = $1110
Tools ~ $300
Parts ~ $680
Head Machining ~ $130

Savings = $2700 (estimate) - $1110 = $1590



Finally, I need to thank Ric for being my on-call mechanic and helping me at all hours with questions that couldn't be answered by reading the Chilton guide or factory service manual.