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This page is not a step-by-step outline of how to install a cylinder head but rather a list of helpful tips that are most commonly overlooked or skipped that can cost you time and money.
Always refer to the Manufacturers Manual for Proper Installation Procedures and Specifications.
Match all the new parts you are replacing to the old parts to assure they are correct. To check the cylinder head for correctness you check the casting numbers from both the old and new head.
You should also check every port, water jacket, combustion chamber shape, water outlet, smog holes and various bracket and bolt holes to be sure they all match. If they do not match, you should immediately call CylinderHeads.Com BEFORE installing the cylinder head.
Check and clean the cylinder head surfaces, intake manifold, valve cover surface and engine block surface for debris.
Place the cylinder head gasket on the block making sure the gasket is in the correct position. Many gaskets if installed backwards will bolt up but will block oil and water passages potentially damaging the cylinder head or engine. Note the gasket markings top and front to position correctly.
Always use new head bolts when recommended by the manufacturer. If you have a cast iron, American cylinder head with head bolts that are in good condition you can reuse them. Later model aluminum Japanese cylinder heads like Toyota, Mazda, Isuzu and even the 4 cylinder and V6 aluminum American cylinder heads from Ford, Chrysler and GM use torque to yield head bolts that must be replaced. Follow the torque sequences and specifications in the Manufacturers Manual. Failure to do so may cause head gasket failure, leaking head gasket or even crack the cylinder head.
Fill the cooling system and bleed the cooling system per the Manufacturers Instructions. Failure to do so will create air pockets that will cause the cylinder head to crack. Very Important.
When it is time to start the engine for the first time allow the engine to run at an idle between 1200-1500 rpm for about 15 minutes to allow the system to build appropriate pressure.
Check head bolts and valve tolerances and re-torque as necessary.