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#2626177 - 05/14/12 08:03 AM How to clean cylinder head surfaces?
johnsmellsalot Offline


Registered: 07/02/11
Posts: 526
Loc: Texas
I fixed the head gasket on my 1999 Buick Century last year but now it's not sealing properly. Either I didn't clean it good enough or it was warped. The head bolts were also replaced.

I'm going to fix it again. Last time, I used Fel-Pro PermaDry but this time, I'm going to use the PermaTorque. They don't cost much more and they look better.

This time, I'm going to take the cylinder heads to a machine shop to make sure they're perfectly flat.

What should I use to clean the mating surfaces? The engine block is cast iron but the cylinder heads are aluminum.
_________________________
1999 Buick Century 180,000 miles (first car)
2008 Chrysler PT Cruiser 70,000 miles

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#2626187 - 05/14/12 08:13 AM Re: How to clean cylinder head surfaces? [Re: johnsmellsalot]
2009Edge Offline


Registered: 06/10/09
Posts: 105
Loc: Texas
A good putty knife or Scotch Bright should work.

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#2626193 - 05/14/12 08:19 AM Re: How to clean cylinder head surfaces? [Re: johnsmellsalot]
46Harry Offline


Registered: 01/08/12
Posts: 239
Loc: hawthorne, Ca.
Be sure the head surface is flat, as there is no gasket that can compensate for a warped head. I always send heads to the machine shop for a resurface every time I remove one. I don't like to do a messy job twice. Also be sure that the bolt holes in the block are clean because dirty or corroded threads will give an inaccurate torque when the head is replaced. I use a gasket scraper and sometimes Scotch Bright to clean the deck of the block.

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#2626221 - 05/14/12 09:10 AM Re: How to clean cylinder head surfaces? [Re: johnsmellsalot]
Jeff_in_VABch Offline


Registered: 05/31/11
Posts: 396
Loc: Virginia
The FelPro Perma-torque blue head gaskets are excellent sealing gaskets. They can overcome minor surcace irregularities better than most any other gasket.

When you take the head in, have it pressure tested also it you are having coolant leakage.

Also replace the head bolts again, as those are torque to yield bolts.

As far as cleaning and appearance, it must be perfectly spotless with no areas in question.

There may be useful info here:
http://www.fme-cat.com/Docs/1425.pdf
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Interests - motorsports/engine building/tuning
Background - Performed work at refineries and several oil blending plants.
Occupation - Mech Engr

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#2626237 - 05/14/12 09:23 AM Re: How to clean cylinder head surfaces? [Re: johnsmellsalot]
OVERKILL Offline


Registered: 04/28/08
Posts: 26724
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Use Scotch-Brite on both surfaces, in an elliptical pattern (not side to side or in and out).

And make sure they are contaminant free, I usually use rubbing alcohol on a cotton cloth for that one.
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#2626331 - 05/14/12 11:08 AM Re: How to clean cylinder head surfaces? [Re: 46Harry]
johnsmellsalot Offline


Registered: 07/02/11
Posts: 526
Loc: Texas
How would you clean the bolt holes? I guess engine degreaser, pipe brush, and compressed air?

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#2626341 - 05/14/12 11:17 AM Re: How to clean cylinder head surfaces? [Re: johnsmellsalot]
OVERKILL Offline


Registered: 04/28/08
Posts: 26724
Loc: Ontario, Canada
You are supposed to use a chase on the bolt holes. You can cheat and use a tap if you don't have one.

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#2627003 - 05/14/12 09:53 PM Re: How to clean cylinder head surfaces? [Re: johnsmellsalot]
mechtech2 Offline


Registered: 09/05/06
Posts: 19479
Loc: Chicago Area
Scotchbrite on an air or electric tool works great. Don't let debris get in the cylinders, oil, or coolant holes.
Heads can warp - have it checked. Blocks can too, but it is rare.

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#2627811 - 05/15/12 10:07 PM Re: How to clean cylinder head surfaces? [Re: johnsmellsalot]
johnsmellsalot Offline


Registered: 07/02/11
Posts: 526
Loc: Texas
I tried scotch brite and a razor blade and they both worked pretty well.

I got my engine apart in about 4 hours today. I think that's pretty good considering that it took me almost a month the first time. LOL

Hopefully I get it right the second time and don't have to do it again. This is my first car and I don't plan on selling it anytime soon.
_________________________
1999 Buick Century 180,000 miles (first car)
2008 Chrysler PT Cruiser 70,000 miles

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#2628311 - 05/16/12 02:14 PM Re: How to clean cylinder head surfaces? [Re: johnsmellsalot]
mechtech2 Offline


Registered: 09/05/06
Posts: 19479
Loc: Chicago Area
Clean and check EVERY part. Bolts, tapped holes, surfaces... everything.
These extra steps will take another 1/2 hour/hour. But it makes the difference to get years of trouble free life [without later work or thinking about it].

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#2628454 - 05/16/12 05:43 PM Re: How to clean cylinder head surfaces? [Re: mechtech2]
johnsmellsalot Offline


Registered: 07/02/11
Posts: 526
Loc: Texas
True...
Originally Posted By: mechtech2
Clean and check EVERY part. Bolts, tapped holes, surfaces... everything.
These extra steps will take another 1/2 hour/hour. But it makes the difference to get years of trouble free life [without later work or thinking about it].
_________________________
1999 Buick Century 180,000 miles (first car)
2008 Chrysler PT Cruiser 70,000 miles

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#2628490 - 05/16/12 06:33 PM Re: How to clean cylinder head surfaces? [Re: OVERKILL]
artificialist Offline


Registered: 09/23/07
Posts: 6953
Loc: Florida
Originally Posted By: OVERK1LL
You are supposed to use a chase on the bolt holes. You can cheat and use a tap if you don't have one.

I was told that using an old head bolt was enough.
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#2628491 - 05/16/12 06:35 PM Re: How to clean cylinder head surfaces? [Re: artificialist]
OVERKILL Offline


Registered: 04/28/08
Posts: 26724
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: artificialist
Originally Posted By: OVERK1LL
You are supposed to use a chase on the bolt holes. You can cheat and use a tap if you don't have one.

I was told that using an old head bolt was enough.


The problem with using an old bolt is that it doesn't have any "slots" in it to catch the dirt/contaminants and remove them from the threads, so it either grinds them into the threads (bad) or pushes them down into the hole further (bad).

A chase or tap, because it has slots, will remove the contaminants from the threads. You have to be careful with the tap though of course because it is designed to cut.
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#2628840 - 05/17/12 05:33 AM Re: How to clean cylinder head surfaces? [Re: johnsmellsalot]
johnsmellsalot Offline


Registered: 07/02/11
Posts: 526
Loc: Texas
These bolts have to be replaced because they are stretch head bolts. They stretch when you torque them down.
_________________________
1999 Buick Century 180,000 miles (first car)
2008 Chrysler PT Cruiser 70,000 miles

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#2628924 - 05/17/12 08:33 AM Re: How to clean cylinder head surfaces? [Re: johnsmellsalot]
OVERKILL Offline


Registered: 04/28/08
Posts: 26724
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: johnsmellsalot
These bolts have to be replaced because they are stretch head bolts. They stretch when you torque them down.


The term is "Torque To Yield" or TTY for short. And yes, they are a single use fastener as the name implies.
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Network Engineer
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