|Step 1 - Getting down to the head gasket can be an involved process.
Always mark and index everything before removal. In this case, it was easier
to remove the exhaust manifold, head, and intake as a unit. A service manual
is the first and most important tool in the toolbox.
|Step 2 - Check the head and block for flatness. A machined straight
edge across the surface and feeler gauge will reveal all. The service manual
will provide specifications. Blocks or heads out of specification must be sent
out to the machine shop and be repaired. The machine shop will also be able to
check for cracks.
|Step 3 - Prepare the surface. Never use anything that will remove
metal. Be careful not to scratch the deck of the block or mounting surface of
the head. While it may seem like a good idea to use a scrubber pad connected
to a power tool, the surface irregularities created can cause sealing problems
down the road.
|Step 4 - Chase the head bolt or stud holes with a tap or thread chaser
to remove any crud and prepare the threads. Use compressed air to blow out any
stragglers. Correct head bolt torque is of utmost importance. Any interference
can throw off the torque readings.
|Step 5 - Pre-fit the head gasket in the correct orientation. Never use
sealant unless specifically required by the manufacturer. Head gaskets that
require sealant will usually come so equipped. The service manual will outline
sealant locations and requirements.
|Step 6 - Correct bolt tightening sequence and torque is key to proper
head gasket sealing. Use new bolts if required. Coat head bolt threads with
some engine oil before installing. Always follow tightening sequence and
torque instructions to the last detail.