Cylinder head repair cost can be difficult to estimate without removing the cylinder head from the engine and having it inspected by a professional engine builder or machinist. Many of the factors that add up to a high cylinder head repair cost are things that can’t be seen with the naked eye and even with the right tools can’t be checked with the head still installed on the engine.
If your vehicle has an inline engine, like an inline 4 cylinder or inline 6 cylinder engine, then it will have 1 cylinder head covering all the cylinders. If you have a “V” style engine like a V6 or V8 or a boxer style engine, it will have 2 cylinder heads, 1 over each bank of cylinders. On an engine with 2 cylinder banks, it’s important to keep both sides of the engine balanced so it runs smooth and minimizes vibrations so it can often double your cylinder head repair cost.
There are a few different things that you may need to repair on your cylinder head.
- Uneven or warped surface
- Valve seals
- Valve guides
- Valve seats
The most common repair that has to be done on cylinder heads is smoothing out a warped surface. If your vehicle has a blown head gasket it can cause warping near the leak. Also, your head can get warped due to uneven clamping loads from the head bolts, or simply years of cold starts. To fix an uneven surface your head will need to be machined. This means a small amount of metal is cut off the mating surface until the surface is completely flat again. This is important to do before reinstalling a head on your engine to ensure a good seal on your new head gasket. Remember, removing material from your head will change the size of the combustion chamber which will increase the compression ratio of your engine if you don’t compensate for it with a thicker head gasket.
The next most common cylinder head repair is replacing valve seals. Engine oil flows through your engine’s head to lubricate the valves and the camshaft if your engine has an overhead cam. There is a seal at the top of each valve stem that keeps the oil in the head rather than allowing it to leak down the valve seal into the combustion chamber. This seals usually don’t wear out but if an engine is allowed to sit for a long period of time they can dry out and start to leak. Replacing these seals is a tedious job as your engine may have 16, 24 or even 32 valves!
Below the valve seal is a valve guide. The valve guide is a smooth piece of metal that the valve stem slides in. The guide keeps the valve straight and allows it to seat correctly each time it closes. These guides can wear out and allow valves to wobble over time damaging the valve seat and causing inefficiency in your engine. Replacing these guides can be smart if you’ve got higher miles on your engine.
The valve seat is a smooth rim machined into the valve opening where the valve lands and forms a seal. This seat needs to be extremely smooth and exactly the same shape and size as the valve head to make a good seal. If you had worn valves guides or a bent valve it can be important to make sure your valve seals are in good shape before reinstalling the valves. A bad valve seal can damage a new valve, lead to lower compression and even cause backfiring or other problems with your engine.
Once you’ve pulled the head off your engine, it’s worth having it checked to flatness and the valves checked to see if they need to be replaced or if the seals, guides or seats should be replaced or resurfaced.
When considering cylinder head repair cost, it’s important to get the head inspected first to see what repairs may need to be done. That would include inspecting the deck for flatness and the valves for wear. Once you’ve had the head inspected you can call around to different shops to get different quotes on repairs. Cost for inspecting and resurfacing a head can range from $100 to $350 per head and cost will go up from there if the valves seats need to be reworked or if the guides and seals need to be replaced
If you’re considering cylinder head repair costs because you’ve got a blown or leaking head gasket, consider using BlueDevil Pour N Go to seal the head gasket leak rather than removing your heads and going through the extensive process of having them inspected and then repaired. BlueDevil Pour N Go can seal a leak in your head gasket allowing you to keep your heads installed and saving you time and money!
Now that you
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