The cylinder head is an essential part of your vehicle, and it should be cleaned regularly. The cylinder head helps regulate the flow of air and gas, as well as expels harmful exhaust gasses. Carbon buildup and dirt in this part of the engine can decrease the speed of the oil and air through the valves. You should be able to clean the cylinder heads yourself by following these tips.
Prepare to Clean the Cylinder Head
To clean the cylinder head, gather:
- work gloves
- eye goggles
- shop rags
- two large basins or buckets
- plastic scraper
- steel wool pad or putty knife
- socket set
- compressed air
- parts cleaner
- new gasket (optional)
Park the vehicle on a flat area with no grass, and let the engine cool, if has been running. Since you will be working with chemicals, wear chemical-resistant gloves to protect hands. Raise the hood, prop it, and locate the cylinder head, which is commonly on top of the engine block, or refer to your manual.
Clean Head Gasket Material
Use a socket and wrench to remove the cylinder head from the engine, and lay it in a basin or tub with the piston at top dead center. Sometimes, other parts cover the cylinder head, such as muffler guards, so disconnect those, too. You may need to use a machine press to remove some parts or take the cylinder head to a machine shop.
Material from the old gasket that seals the space between the engine block and cylinder heads can stick to the cylinder head. Scrub the debris from the cylinder head using the scraper, being careful not to scratch the cylinder surface. If some material still remains, try a putty knife or steel wool, but don't press hard.
Clean the Cylinder
Move the cylinder head carefully to avoid damaging vacuum nozzles and studs. Allow the cylinder head to soak several minutes in a basin or bucket of warm water, mist a rag with the cleaner, and wipe the surface. Spray the cleaner into any holes where it is hard to see the dirt.
Clean the piston on top with the same manner, and use a wire brush to clean the valves and valve seat. Ensure debris doesn't get between the cylinder wall and piston. Check for damaged or cracked valves and valve seats.
Rinse the cylinder head using warm water in a clean basin or bucket, and let it soak. Spray compressed air in the passes to remove extra water. Let it dry, install a new head gasket if needed and reinstall the cylinder head.
For more information, contact a company like Wolfe's Foreign Auto.