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Old 03-15-2003, 21:02   #1 (permalink)
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Help! Another EL Head gasket story (long)

Well, add me to the list who have done a head gasket. I decided to do the job myself but have come across some problems.

1. I unscrewed the timing chain tensioner to reduce the tension but went too far and it came out. I can't seem to get it to go back in. Is there a any thing special about the way it is in there or do I just need to use lots of force and push it back in until the threads meet?
2. The timing chain guide pin (the bolt on the top right front of the head that holds the top of the timing chain guide) rounded off the head of it as soon as I put a socket on it. I was using 12 point sockets and this seems to be a problem with all of the bolts that I have undone being marked by the sockets. (Before I start back at it I will get some 6 point sockets. Hopefully this will reduce the number of damaged heads!) My question is, can I remove the head with this bolt and the chain guide still attached? Or do I have to remove them to take the head off?
4. Trying to remove the front head bolt on the inlet side I managed to split one 14mm socket, bend one Minimax 14mm ring spanner and finally, partially round off the head of the bolt with a second 14mm socket (another 12 point socket) We tried a 30cm extension bar as well as an impact driver and a rattle gun and couldn't get the damn thing to move. Has anyone else had this problem? And if so, how did you cope?
Now that the head bolt is partially rounded, does anyone have any suggestions on how to remove it. I have though about removing the valve gear and grinding the head of it off. Is this the best method?
Greg.
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Old 03-15-2003, 21:37   #2 (permalink)
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EEEk Veeefore! Stay away from my car with those spanners!

Just joking. The guide pin needs to removed and you are not alone in rounding it off. The sealant they use works real good but new pins are cheap. It's a matter of getting a socket that fits exactly. Try both imperial and metric ones. I think I got mine off eventually by gently hammering a slightly smaller imperial (inch) socket onto it.

To remove the head bolt put it all back together and run the engine until it's hot (not just warm) ; it should then be easier to remove. It's often best to loosen the head bolts when the engine is hot. Don't grind the top of the bolt off unless you are desperate; if it binding in the head (corrosion from water leaks) you may not be able to lift the head off. Better to file the flats so a smaller socket fits or if you are really desperate grind a slot in it so you can use a large scredriver. But getting the engine hot with all the metals expanding at different rates should ease removal.

You need to put the tensioner in with the spring locked in place (no tension) then release it later. Push the bit in the middle in with your allen key to lock (you should have done this before removing it) turn the other way to unlock the spring once it's screwed in.

Watch out you don't break the upper timing chain damper when you lift the head; make sure you lift the head vertically until it is clear of everything before moving it laterally.


Good Luck and may nothing else break.
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Old 03-15-2003, 23:06   #3 (permalink)
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Just a quick story....

When i rounded a head bolt, and broke many sockets, i simply went down to my hardware store, bought a cheap ass socket and welded the batard onto the bolt.

Then, with my mates trusty breaker bar (it was a HUGE snap on one.....cant remember the length though) we managed to get the bastard off.

Head Gaskets suck :)
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Old 03-16-2003, 04:01   #4 (permalink)
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The thing that I have found most annoying with this job has been that nothing fits very well. I have two sets of Sidchrome sockets, and two sets of Sidchrome as well as a set of Minimax open-end and ring spanners and none of them are a tight fit on any of the engine bolts!
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Old 03-16-2003, 04:05   #5 (permalink)
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Metric or imperial Sidchromes? You'll need both.
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Old 03-16-2003, 04:07   #6 (permalink)
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Both!
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Old 03-16-2003, 04:13   #7 (permalink)
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Strange; apart from that timing chain damper retainer I completely stripped down and rebuilt the 3.9 MPEFI engine in my NB without similar problems and I was using the same brand of tools that you have for most of the work (Sidchrome - I can't afford Minimax). Has someone been there before you and butchered some of the fasteners?
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Old 03-16-2003, 04:20   #8 (permalink)
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No. I managed to do it all on my own.
I'm not really the most competant mechanic (I like working on motorbikes but hate working on cars) I'm just too cheap to pay someone else to do the job. I haven't worked on a car since my Formula Vee days last century! (sounds a long time ago doesn't it?)
As I mentioned in the first post. The were all "12 point" tools that only grab the corners of the bolt head. And with all the bolts being so tight, they just seemed to mark or take the sharp corners off. Extreme cases like the head bolt and the timing chain guide were rounded off. I think I may just need to take a bit more care.
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Old 03-16-2003, 06:15   #9 (permalink)
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Well obviously thats your problem here, you need some 6 point sockets.

I've done the head gasket change on my EA motor(basically same as EF one) and yeah I managed to strip that front timing chain tensioner bolt as well.

What you need to do is get out the old blowtorch and put it on red flame(cold flame) and gently heat the tensioner bolt up till it's pretty damn hot. Then get a 10mm 6 point socket, and while the bolts still hot whack it on with a hammer(hope you haven't rounded it off to much) and it should now screw out pretty easily. Thats how I managed to get mine out.

Regarding the headbolt.. all I can say is good luck to you... I remember having to use a breaker bar + extension to get enough torque to undo the head bolts on mine. I hope you haven't damaged the heads of the bolts so much that a 6 point one can't grab it. If you have, File it down so it's the next size down, and use a 6 POINT from now on. Good luck
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Old 03-16-2003, 14:31   #10 (permalink)
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Thanks donuts!
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