Monday, December 15, 2008

Head Gasket Part 6

Well, I ran into a bit of a problem. I'll explain shortly.

The head isn't really that heavy, but it is a little awkward to pick up and get in place. I enlisted the help of my 19 year old son and my wife to get the thing in place. After taking great pains to get everything ready and explaining to my helpers exactly what I needed to do, we made our first attempt to place the head on the block.

I had expected my son to lift the back of the head, with me lifting the front and my wife fishing/guiding the timing chain through the opening in the head. Unfortunately it didn't quite work out that way. There really isn't enough room for two people to stand side by side and lift the head into place, let alone a third stand there guiding the timing chain through.
What I did was after we tried it the way I had hoped was to have me lift it onto the block. I placed a piece of wood over the last two cylinders and put the back of the head on top of the wood. As I lowered the head down, I kept the front of the head more elevated and fished the timing chain through and handed the wire securing the chain to my wife who held it and kept it from falling down in the timing case (yes, I installed that prior).

I had my son make sure that the head didn't fall or slip off of the back of the block since the wood was higher than the index dowel on the back of the block. As I was maneuvering the head, the block of wood finally slipped off the block and the head sat on the gasket. Once I got the head clear of the chain guides/tensioner, it sat completely on the head gasket and block. One problem, I couldn't get it to drop over the two index dowels, it just rocked side to side. I tried for several minutes to get it to seat by moving it this way and that but no luck. We took the head back off.

When we got the head off, the rear index pin was stuck in the head, so that one had gone in OK. The front was the problem. I removed the one from the head and put it back on the block. I used the block of wood to tap it back in place. I noticed that the other dowel seemed a bit higher than the back one, so I tapped it into place with the wood to and it appeared to have seated farther into place. It also seemed to be a little out of round, so I tapped it ever so lightly with a hammer being careful not to damage the head gasket. After doing this for a few minutes, I gathered my helpers together again and we placed the head like before and this time it seated immediately in place over the index dowels. It sat flatly on the block without rocking.

I was a bit tired after the second attempt, so I decided to take a break and get some breakfast. After breakfast, I felt better, so I went out and started to get the head bolts put in place. Prior to setting the head, I made sure all of the bolt holes were cleaned and chased. I didn't have a thread chaser, so I took one of the old head bolts, cleaned it real good and then dipped it into some Berryman's Carb Cleaner and threaded it into each hole. I cleaned it after it came out of each hole to see if there was any dirt or other foreign matter on it. There were only two of the holes that it came out dirty. I just kept threading it back in with Cleaner until it came out clean. It tells you in Bentley's to "Lightly" oil the threads of the head bolts as you install them. I took some clean motor oil and dipped the first ten or so threads of each bolt in it. I then wiped off most of the excess and started each bolt by hand. This took me about 20 minutes. Once I finished that up, I went on to torquing the bolts down.

Bentley's describes the process of tightening the bolts down in three stages. First stage you torque each bolt in the
pattern shown at 22 ft/lbs. The second stage you then tighten the bolt 90 degrees more and the third stage 90 degrees more. The first stage was a breeze. The second stage sounded simple enough, you are supposed to use a Torque Angle Meter. I bought one, it's not as simple to use as I thought it would be.

Here is what mine looks like:

The line rotates as you turn the wrench. Once you get to 90, you stop. My problem was setting it up for each bolt. You are supposed to use the attached rod/stop to keep the whole meter from turning, I had a hard time doing that. I thought I'd get it set right to find that it wouldn't hold and I had no idea how many degrees I had turned the bolt. I just kept plugging on without thinking, just guesstimating. Some bolts it worked great, some not so good. I went ahead and finished the three rounds of tightening and had to stop to take care of some other stuff.

As I was away from the job, I thought that it wouldn't be a good idea to use the motor like that. I wasn't sure what I had actually torqued some of those bolts to. If I used it in the condition it was, I felt there was a good chance that the head could crack or warp or whatever.

I decided to re-do the whole thing, which meant getting a new set of head bolts since they are a one time use only. That's where I am right now, waiting for the new set of bolts to arrive. They are probably going to arrive today.

I originally threw the Torque Angel Meter away, but started thinking about how I could still use it. I removed the rod/stop and tried just holding the meter with my left had while I used my right to turn the bolt. It seemed to work well doing it this way in my tests. I know I can get it closer doing it this way than by using the rod. I think I could just eyeball it and get it closer than my first attempt.

I also ordered a new radiator for the car. I hadn't planned on doing so. As the car has been sitting torn apart for over three weeks now, the radiator is still leaking fluid on the floor. It shouldn't be. I think that it is partially plugged. When I used the "Head Gasket Fix" in a can stuff, I was talking with the Tech Support guy for the last product I used. It didn't appear that it had worked, so he recommended I put a product called "Liquid Aluminum" in the system along with his product. I did so and almost immediately the car started to over heat. I was able to limp the car home without it getting too hot and drained the system and flushed it a bunch of times. It seemed to work OK except for it running just a little bit hotter than normal. With it taking so long to completely drain (still dripping) I don't want to chance it being plugged once I put the car back together from this job, so a new radiator is called for. Just more money into the money pit.

I'll post more once the new bolt set arrives and I put them in.

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