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Engine: To pull or Not to pull (head gasket work)


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8 replies to this topic

#1 211

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Posted 12 November 2005 - 02:56 PM

So I've decided to do the head gaskets myself as opposed to buying a rebuild CCR engine.

I've never done heads on a Soob before let alone pull the engine.

I need some advice though, pull the engine or not? The head work would clearly be easier with the engine out but how much easier versus the extra time and energy required for a newb to do an engine pull.

...can I even do the work with the engine in???

#2 grossgary

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Posted 12 November 2005 - 04:03 PM

i never pull the engine for head gaskets, i just finished a head gasket job today on a 6 cylinder soob with the motor in the car. much more difficult than the 4 cylinders, but still better than pulling the motor.

unbolt the intake and flip it back/up out of the way. leave just about everything connected to it, just move it all up and out of the way and the heads are easy. there is plenty of room to do them in the car. even enough room to hit all the head bolts with an air wrench to zip them out quickly. the valve covers are annoying, tight getting a couple bottom bolts out.

spray everything down really good a couple times with PB blaster or liquid wrench (don't use WD40) a day or so before you start. rust will be annoying, spray down radiator fan bolts, water pump pulley bolts, timing cover bolts/screws to keep them from shearing off.

if you've been driving awhile with a bad headgasket that's using coolant, your heads may be badly damaged. i had an internal coolant leak on mine and kept driving it for a few months just adding coolant and it destroyed the head.

gotta split. i can just about have one head off by the time you pull the engine out....leave it in there i say. it is super nice having the motor on the ground, but no problems doing it in the car either.

have fun,

#3 rallyruss

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Posted 12 November 2005 - 04:16 PM

I on the other hand find it simpler to work on the motor with it out of the car. I can get a sube motor out and back in the car in a reasonable time and find the convienience well worth it. you often find other things that need to be fixed when the motor is out and easily inspected.

#4 211

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Posted 12 November 2005 - 04:36 PM

I on the other hand find it simpler to work on the motor with it out of the car. I can get a sube motor out and back in the car in a reasonable time and find the convienience well worth it. you often find other things that need to be fixed when the motor is out and easily inspected.


When doing the heads, what else could I expect? Supposedly the timing belt has been replaced shorly before I bought the car.

Valve guide seals? Is there much of a chance I'd need to replace them? I'm getting a Head gasket "kit" from NAPA, not sure what all is included. I don't think valve seals are. I'm pretty sure it's just the head gaskets and any other gaskets that are involved with the teardown, IE, Intake and exhaust etc.

#5 rallyruss

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Posted 12 November 2005 - 06:23 PM

When doing the heads, what else could I expect? Supposedly the timing belt has been replaced shorly before I bought the car.

Valve guide seals? Is there much of a chance I'd need to replace them? I'm getting a Head gasket "kit" from NAPA, not sure what all is included. I don't think valve seals are. I'm pretty sure it's just the head gaskets and any other gaskets that are involved with the teardown, IE, Intake and exhaust etc.


it will have valve stem seals in the kit.

when you pull the motor you may notice other leaks that cam be fixed out of the car real easy like a rear main or oil pan ect.
if you are pulling the heads you may want to get them checked by a machine shop or have a valve job done at the same time.

I just dont like trying to work in a cramped spot in an uncomfotrable position if I can help it.

#6 Mark Humble

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Posted 12 November 2005 - 10:00 PM

If you have access to a hoist or cherry picker, then pull the motor. By the time you get to a point where you can pull the heads then you're not to far from being able to pull the engine. As a mechanic for 30 years or so, I have found pulling the engine to work on it is so much easier. However I'm older and more broke down than my vehicles. Leaning over a fender to work on the engine hurts too much. The other advantage is you can clean the engine and engine bay. Makes working on the car later on a lot nicer. Not that you will ever have to after you get done with the heads, right?

#7 calebz

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Posted 12 November 2005 - 10:35 PM

+1 for pulling the motor.

I've done it both ways. Bottom line is, though in reasonably good shape, I'm not 19 anymore. Its a ton easier to just pull it and work on it.

I can have a stock EA82T out in 45 minutes. Mine takes a little longer now, but not a whole lot.

Slightly OT question for Russ.. We did our TD04s around the same time.. WHat exhaust did you end up using?

#8 211

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Posted 13 November 2005 - 12:58 PM

Kay, Pull the motor it is!

Wish me luck.

I'm dreading all those vaccuum hoses, :slobber: I don't have to pull ALL of them do I?

#9 rallyruss

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Posted 13 November 2005 - 02:35 PM

well I dont see what sube you are working on but for most of them I disconect the hoses that go from the motor to the body and mark them for reassemby if there is confusion as to where they might go. then when you pull the intake and carb off all the vac stuff comes off with it. I do that after removing the motor.




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