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Thread: What tools are needed for head gasket swap?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Posts
    76

    What tools are needed for head gasket swap?

    Hey guys.

    Before I tear my new motor down I'm wondering what tools are needed for a head gasket swap?

    I know the torque wrench, but am wondering whether I would need a valve spring compressor for re fitting the pushrods. I have never done this before obviously, my understanding is the rockers sit over the pushrods and are held in somehow, so my first thought is I will need to either remove the rockers or compress the valve springs.

    I would rather know what tools I need and have them in my arsenal rather than have to run out to the shop when I hit a roadblock. I'm almost an hours drive from anywhere that sells the more specialist tools.

    Neill

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Roanoke, Virginia
    Posts
    3,178
    Only specialized tools you'll need are a torque wrench as you mentioned and a power steering pump pulley puller. Otherwise a good set of metric sockets, wrenches and assorted extensions/swivels should be more than enough. Thinking on it you'll also need a T-bit (star shaped driver) for the bolts that hold the fuel rails down. I want to say its a T5...been a while since I've done head gaskets.

    As for the question on the rockers...they are held onto the heads with 10mm bolts and will compress when you torque them to spec. There is nothing specialized you will be doing to change the valve train.

    -Tim
    Current Collection
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Eastern (nee Western) PA
    Posts
    4,988
    Things may get a little dicey when it comes to the exhaust manifolds, depending on how rusty your climate is. Worst case, you may need to Dremel through the lower manifold studs. Little maroon carbide cutting wheels are the perfect thing for that. But if yours aren't too rusty, they may come off okay.

    You may also want an O2 sensor socket if you are replacing them (the coolant seems to kill them), though you can get by with a big adjustable wrench in some cases.
    God bless!!!

    1990 SC auto ... red outside, gray cloth inside ... ~205,000 miles (and climbing) ... driven daily!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Posts
    76
    Quote Originally Posted by S_Mazza View Post
    Things may get a little dicey when it comes to the exhaust manifolds, depending on how rusty your climate is. Worst case, you may need to Dremel through the lower manifold studs. Little maroon carbide cutting wheels are the perfect thing for that. But if yours aren't too rusty, they may come off okay.

    You may also want an O2 sensor socket if you are replacing them (the coolant seems to kill them), though you can get by with a big adjustable wrench in some cases.
    Thanks for the replies guys!

    I am working on an engine that is out of the car, the old motor span a bearing so we are swapping the whole thing out. The motor runs good, however while its out of the car I would rather swap the head gaskets now, it has 125k miles on.

    I'll buy a power steering pump puller, I seem to have killed off my power steering so I may need a new pump anyway.

    Thanks again.

    Neill

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    759
    Autozone "rents" out power steering pulley removers and will give you the deposit back once you return it. I bet other stores do something similar.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Posts
    76
    Quote Originally Posted by potshotscott View Post
    Autozone "rents" out power steering pulley removers and will give you the deposit back once you return it. I bet other stores do something similar.
    We don't have a service like that, I'm in england. Unfortunately I have to buy everything I use. No biggie! I'll use it again I'm sure.

    Neill

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