Head Gasket Replacement Procedure

Head Gasket ReplacementReplacing a head gasket is complicated procedure.  However, its complication has more to do with the length of the procedure than the actual intricacy of the job.  Lengthy procedures can get a weekend mechanic into trouble more often than not because of the number of parts you’ll have to remove, the number of fasteners that results in, and the fact that it usually can’t be completed in one sitting means you have to remember a lot of small details for a few days, or perhaps even over the work week.

The head gasket replacement procedure we’ll discuss in this article will have a few tips and tricks for accomplishing this long procedure without forgetting any crucial parts or connections to make sure you get your head gasket is replaced correctly the first time.  The basic procedure for any head gasket replacement is similar for most motors.  If your engine has over head cams, it adds a little complication, but we’ll cover that in the last few steps.

The first step in almost any repair procedure for your car is to disconnect your battery cables.  This opens the electrical circuit and will make sure you don’t have any arcing or sparking during your job.  This also makes sure you don’t do anything silly like try to start you vehicle’s engine while it’s all taken apart.  Next, start by draining the coolant.  Your cars coolant surrounds the engine block and head so if you don’t drain it you’ll end up with a mess and water in your engine oil.  Make sure to use the radiator and block drain to remove all the coolant.

Next we recommend disconnecting any electrical connectors that will get in the way of removing the head.  This will include temperature sensors, injector clips, spark plug wires and coils and any other wires that cross over the head.  Next, remove the intake and exhaust manifolds.  This can include remove a significant amount of intake and exhaust piping so take your time.  Our rule of thumb is to remove as much as you can in this step to give yourself more room to work.  We’ve got some handy tips and tricks below to make this part easier.

Once the intake and exhaust manifolds are removed you need to remove your timing chain or belt if your vehicle has overhead cams.  If not, you can skip this step.  You’re now ready to remove the cylinder head!!  Pull off your valve cover(s) to expose the valves and the head bolts.  For a pushrod motor, make sure to loosen the valves and remove the push rods to avoid problems later.  When loosening the head bolts we recommend loosening them in the tightening sequence about a half turn at a time to avoid warping the head.

Once you’ve got the head off, it’s important to have it checked for cracks and straightens before installing a new head gasket and replacing the head.  The procedure from reinstalling the head is the opposite of disassembly.

To make reassembling your motor easier, we recommend doing a few.  First, grab some masking tape and a black marker.  Next, label everything as you remove it.  When it comes to electrical connections, wrap a piece of tape around each side and give them the same label.  We recommend using numbers and labeling in the order your unplug them.  If you really want to get to know your car, find out what component or sensor each connector goes to and label it correctly with its purpose.  When removing pipes, hoses or vacuum lines, we recommend labeling both ends of every piece and where it connects so you know exactly where it went.  It may seem like as long as you have the right hose it can connect either way, but after years of being installed one way, it’s smart to reinstall it the same way to avoid it slipping off or leaking in the future.  For larger components like intake piping or manifolds, we recommend labeling each bolt or nut as your remove it so it goes back in the same location.  Sometimes this ends up not mater, but often different locations are connected with different length bolts or different size nuts.  Once the fasteners are all labeled, set them all in a zip-lock bag and tape it to the component they were removed from.  Make sure you’ve got a safe well-lit area to lay all the removed components and keep that area free of clutter.  Lastly, take lots of pictures.  Take a picture before you start the work, take a picture after you remove each component, you may even take pictures of your labels in case they fall off!  Pictures are good insurance for an easy reassembly process.

If this whole procedure seems overwhelming to you, you’re not alone.  There is a reason most mechanics charge a lot of money to replace head gaskets.  It’s a lot of work and if any small piece is out of place, it can ruin your engine the first time you turn the key.

Rather than going through this lengthy process, first try using BlueDevil Head Gasket Sealer.  BlueDevil Head Gasket Sealer is a special formulated non-particulate head gasket sealer that will form a chemical weld at the leak point in your head gasket sealing the leak and getting you back on the road without the headache of hours under the hood and a work bench full of engine parts.  BlueDevil Head Gasket Sealer is safe for your cooling system, easy to use and guaranteed to seal your leak!

BlueDevil Head Gasket Sealer
For more information about BlueDevil Head Gasket Sealer, visit our product information page here: Head Gasket Sealer

You can also purchase BlueDevil Head Gasket Sealer at our partnering local auto parts stores like:

  • AutoZone
  • Advance Auto Parts
  • Bennett Auto Supply
  • CarQuest Auto parts
  • NAPA Auto Parts
  • O’Reilly Auto Parts
  • Pep Boys
  • Fast Track
  • Bumper to Bumper Auto Parts Specialists
  • S&E Quick Lube Distributer
  • DYK Automotive

Pictures Provided By:

head_gasket_replacement.jpg –  By Steve Mann – Licensed By Thinkstock Photos – Original Link