Head Removal In Car Write Up

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Head Removal In Car Write Up

Postby tw2 » Thu Mar 08, 2007 9:39 pm

Removal of the head with the engine in the car is relatively easy for anyone who is reasonably mechanically minded and can follow the BGB (big green book- Toyota repair manual which can be found at www.celicatech.com) This write up is for removing the head with the engine in the car and partially rebuilding/porting the head which I did myself.

Tools required:
1. A good socket set, preferably 1/2 inch. I also have a 1/4 set and some 3/8 drive bits with different length extensions to get at difficult bolts.
2. An offset 14mm ring spanner, preferably with a 15mm ring at the other end to pass a 1/2 inch breaker bar into.
3. A range of normal spanners.
4. Magnetic finger.
5. Inspection mirror helps.
6. Safety glasses for getting under the car.
7. Jack stands.
8. Range of screwdrivers.
9. Adaptor for head bolts preferably to 1/2 inch drive.
10. Torque wrench with 49Nm being the most important (head bolts). I have a small one from 5-25Nm and a larger one 40-200.
11. Heaps of degreaser, rags and brass (wont scratch) brushes for cleaning stuff.
12. Valve spring compressor if dismantling head.
13. Misc- knife, pen, paper, gasket scraper, micrometer, feeler tool

14. Upper gasket set from Toyota, new head bolts (stock ones are not reusable) or ARP studs can be used as an upgrade instead (these are reusable).
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This is the style of valve compression tool needed. The important part is the end on the left, the ring needs to be 25mm, some come in 30mm which will not fit. The other point to note is both ends need to have enough clearance to get around the head which this one did not until I modified it.

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This is the extension you will need to get the head bolts out. I am sure there is a good reason why toyota could not just use a standard bolt of some kind.

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Micrometer for measuring shims.

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Feeler tool for measuring shim to cam clearance (valve lash)
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Postby tw2 » Thu Mar 08, 2007 9:39 pm

It is helpful to have at least a single garage. I had a double garage which is great to lie everything down in the order removed from the car. I labeled every bolt or group of bolts as they were removed by simply putting them on some paper stating where they were from and how many bolts there were. I also wrote down anything unusual for instance when I lost a washed into the lower timing belt cover so I would not forget to retrieve it later. Most of the hoses spring back to their original locations when everything is put back together. I only bothered labeling the throttle body ones just in case.

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Everything was covered in crap, I am suprised the TVIS even worked.

So the BGB can be followed for the most part especially the first half or so. Jack the car up and put the front on jack stands as high as necessary to comfortably get underneath to work. Remove the front tyres for better access. Things which the BGB mentions that are not necessary to do are removing the oil filter, pressure switch and oil cooling assembly. Also the water bypass pipe(s) does not need to be removed, it can simply be unbolted from the head but left in place. The air tube on the rear of the intake manifold can also be left, as can the TVIS/TVSV stuff. Not mentioned in the BGB are all the items on the firewall. I unbolted a few extra things here and there to get more access to certain things- AC idle up and the cruise control.

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For those who haven't removed the turbo before, this is what all the oil lines etc look like. Since mine is clocked down I changed all the water lines.

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Here is a shot through the RHS tie rod hole. The purple thing is the TVIS vacuum canister. You can leave all that crap on the head just remove all the vacuum lines which go to the bypass pipes etc. I found that I could put everything back together through this hole but I needed to get under the car when pulling it all apart.

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You should end up with a mess like this.

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A stock unmodified head.

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More shit everywhere.

The more or less most painful and frustrating thing about this whole job is the intake manifold supports which go from the lower intake manifold to the block. They have very very limited access and are very hard to remove. They are only torqued to 25Nm so should not be too tight but mine were almost impossible to get undone. It is only possible to fit spanners in there which are not very practical for tight bolts. I ended up sawing the stay closest to the centre of the car in half with a hacksaw blade. After removing the head it took a large force with the 50cm breaker bar to actually get it off so there was no way it was going to happen with a 12cm spanner. If you give up also and need to saw them in half, the hacksaw blade can be passed in through the right hand side of the car tie rod hole and you can reach it with your arm extended all the way over. Wrap the blade in electrical tape where you are holding it to make it more comfortable.

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I hate this thing so much.

As far as the timing belt goes, follow the BGB but beforehand remove the power steering belt and engine mount. It will make getting tools down the side of the engine for the tensioner etc much easier. The PS pump can be removed by simply taking out the lower of the 2 bolts which hold it in. It can then be swung toward the front of the car to release the tension on its belt. If you remove both parts of the engine mount on the RH side of the car ensure you return the part attached to the block before putting back the metal guard which sits behind the cam gears. It does not need to be bolted back in yet so it can still be moved around but otherwise I have never been able to get it back in or out without it.
Last edited by tw2 on Thu Mar 08, 2007 9:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby tw2 » Thu Mar 08, 2007 9:40 pm

I chose to do as much of the head rebuild as possible to save money. I had my local shop do the valve seats, grind the valves, wash the head and mill the head gasket surface flat. I removed the cams, shims/buckets, valves, oil seals, seats etc and put it all back together myself to save some money. It is time consuming but not very difficult. The important thing is to have the correct valve spring compressor. You can also make one with a large clamp and some creativity. I bought a cheap one which was not the correct one for this head and had it modified to work as the “proper” one was twice the price.

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It will take quite a long time to get everything out but once you work out the best settings for the valve spring compressor its fine.

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Keep everything in order. All my valves were ground the exact same amount so it was not so important to get them back in the right place but otherwise a good idea. I did anyway.

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This is all the stuff you will take out. The small spring goes on the oil seal next to it which I ripped the top off.

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This is how the retainer is held onto the valve stem with the keepers.

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You only need to compress the springs 6mm or so to get the keepers out with a magnetic finger.


As the reseating/valve grinding process moves the valve stem effectively higher up the valve springs will not be under as much pressure as they originally were beforehand. My engine rebuilder had some washers the same height as the amount of material removed made to place under the valve seats to return the same amount of spring compression. This is fairly important in high revving engine so I am told. When installing the valve springs take care to get them around the correct way. The BGB shows a white mark on the springs which indicated the end to keep up however I could not see any. One end of the spring is more compressed than the other end and this is the end to place downwards onto the spring seats. When putting new oil seals in just use a 12point 12mm socket with a small extension instead of getting an sst (special service tool). They do not take much force just a firm push and ensure they are sitting on straight. It is a good idea to coat everything in new oil when assembling it again. The oil seals can be soaked in oil first. This will reduce the chance of damage when passing the valve stems through them after they are installed.

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Take the head bolt washers out so they are not lost. Mine were covered in crap and got cleaned like everything else.

I had some porting done since the opportunity presented itself. I had the top curves taken out of the TVIS contact surface to square the ports off more. I would have also done the bottom but did not get around to it. Also the wall which separates the 2 valves was sharpened from the gentle curve originally there to try and cut down turbulence.

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Porting- you can see the top row of curved bits have been removed and the dividing wall is much much sharper than originally.

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Make sure you get the bottom of the head milled flat before chucking it back. I did not bother with the block but since its made of iron it is unlikely to be warped unless it was overheated or something. Since I used a stock paper head gasket it did not worry me much.
Last edited by tw2 on Thu Mar 08, 2007 9:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby tw2 » Thu Mar 08, 2007 9:41 pm

Loosely bolt the intake manifold stays to the block to save trying to get the bolts in later. In my case only one of the stays. It is easiest to bolt everything onto the head before putting it back on. The intake manifold, metal air tube on the back of the manifold, the fuel rail and TVIS/TVSV systems can all be bolted back with some of the vacuum hoses hooked up again. I chose to not put the TVSV back and capped the metal tube off which went to it and the wastegate actuator was already capped off.

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Wow amazing you can actually see metal

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This is our good friend the TVSV.... it did not quite make it back into the car again.

I threw in a couple of 3sge cams while I was at it. I already had a 3sge intake cam but decided to put an exhaust cam in also. Unfortunately I happily found that 13 out of 16 shims were out of spec by quite a long way. To set the valve lash back into spec use a feeler tool (whole lot of metal tabs of precision thickness).
1. Slide the metal tabs between the cam lobe and the shim one at a time and find the max thickness which will still fit in and then the next size up which will be the min thickness that will not fit in. Find the average of these two values in mm.
2. Minus 0.20mm for an intake shim and 0.25mm for an exhaust shim. Then remove the shim by either removing the cam which is what I did since I had so many out or follow the procedure at the front of the engine mechanical section of the BGB.
3. Add the number calculated in (2.) to the thickness of the removed shim measured by a micrometer. This is the new shim thickness.
All my old shims were in the 2.80-2.90 range and all the new ones needed to be minimum 3.00mm. Luckily I have 3 sets of shims in total and one set were about right. There were still 5 remaining shims which I did not have a spare for so I had to order them from Toyota.

During this process I replaced the fuel filter and rebuilt the distributor- rotor and cap. They were thoroughly stuffed- much corrosion. I think the cap may have been the denso original. I picked up a fuel filter and bosch rotor for almost nothing but the cheapest cap by far was another denso from Toyota. After putting back the distributor it is necessary to check the timing of the engine. This is done using a timing gun. It is hooked up in series with one of the spark plugs. Better guns have 4 wires- 2 go to the spark plug and a +12 and ground to actually generate enough light to see. I got a cheap 2 wire one which has to be used almost in the dark. By shining the light on the crank pulley you can see where the timing is. The adjusting etc is described in the BGB. I had to get some twink (whiteout) to make the crank marking actually visible.

This was the only help I had with this whole process so it is not very difficult just takes a while.
http://www.alltrac.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=19371
Last edited by tw2 on Thu Mar 08, 2007 10:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby bloodMoney » Thu Mar 08, 2007 10:02 pm

Thanks for posting this up... To be honest, I'm kinda freaked about doing something this major on this car. She's my baby and I really don't have the money to be replacing things that might never have broken if I go in blindly, so following a write-up like this gives me a confidence boost about prepping this undertaking. I've just got this utopian idea of replace it once right and don't worry about it anymore... I think that I've been out of the industry for too long.

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Postby Mafix » Thu Mar 08, 2007 10:03 pm

looking good. mind if i borrow this thread ?
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Postby tw2 » Thu Mar 08, 2007 10:19 pm

Mafix wrote:looking good. mind if i borrow this thread ?


I am not sure what you mean but you are welcome to link to it, copy anything. If you copy the whole thing into a different forum it would be nice to say where it came from otherwise go for it.

Thanks for posting this up... To be honest, I'm kinda freaked about doing something this major on this car. She's my baby and I really don't have the money to be replacing things that might never have broken if I go in blindly, so following a write-up like this gives me a confidence boost about prepping this undertaking. I've just got this utopian idea of replace it once right and don't worry about it anymore... I think that I've been out of the industry for too long.


As long as you do not need your car for anything up to worse case a few weeks you should be fine. The only things I had a problem with was a broken exhaust stud- soak the nuts in stuff before removing, and shimming which I am still in the process of doing. Shims are NZ$12.10 each which sucks for a small piece of metal.
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Postby C-dubb » Thu Mar 08, 2007 11:02 pm

Did you ever consider going shimless?
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Postby tw2 » Fri Mar 09, 2007 12:25 am

C-dubb wrote:Did you ever consider going shimless?


Yes I certainly did. However shims are NZ$12 and 1zz buckets are NZ$35 and I am a poor (now) student. It is definitely on the to do list but I think I will just wait until the better springs, HKS cams and oversize valves round of upgrades in the far far future.
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Postby 1BADGT4 » Sat Mar 10, 2007 3:51 pm

tw2 wrote:Image
I hate this thing so much.


What the heck happened here? :shrug:

tw2 wrote:Image


And wheres the threads for the plugs?
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Postby tw2 » Sat Mar 10, 2007 8:07 pm

The explanation for that first picture is in the text above it. The threads for the spark plugs certainly exist, I have put the plugs back.
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Postby Razzo » Sun Mar 11, 2007 7:29 am

its just really hard to see the threads from angle. Very nice write up, i'm in the the process of getting all the parst together for a rebuild just like this. I just need to find someone that can machine everything.
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Postby tw2 » Sun Mar 11, 2007 8:02 am

Thanks. One more thing I can add to the whole process is it is very easy to lose the washer which sits behind the no.1 idler pulley into the lower timing belt cover. I was going to ignore it and assume it fell somewhere else when I could not see it or get it with a magnetic finger. I decided to take the pulley off anyway to get the lower timing cover off and sure enough it fell out. Could of ended a lot worse.

If you do this you might need a gear puller, I found a 100mm one worked well. It can also be done with 2 screw drivers equally prying on either side, I just went straight to the puller. To get the crank bolt undone there are a few methods,

1) A fairly powerful impact gun should do it
2) Have someone stamp really hard on the brake with the car in 5th gear and undo with a breaker bar
3) The starter trick which is what I did, worked very nicely. Put the car back on the ground, ie off jackstands, put tyres back on. Place a breaker bar preferably on a concrete block or similar so it is near horizontal hanging off the bolt and out towards the front of the car. Some people use the axle behind but I did not want to find out what could go wrong and some use the ground. Take out the EFI fuse to prevent fuel and ignition and crank for a second or 2. The car may as mine did jump up 5cm or so which is why it must be stable.

I could not slide the crank on afterwards and the bolt is not long enough to reach the threads to tighten it on. Just simply get some threaded rod and a nut + large washer to tighten it down like a stud until the crank bolt can be used.
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Postby bluemonkey » Fri Nov 07, 2008 1:57 am

Where'd you get the adapter for the head bolts? Is it something I can pick up at a hardware store or does it have to come from the dealer?
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Postby tw2 » Fri Nov 07, 2008 2:42 am

I bought it from a tool store, they had to order it in. It is not toyota specific but it is very unusual. It is basically 3 squares inside each other. I can't remember what it is called but I am pretty sure it is 12mm. Toyota should of course be able to get one for you if you cannot find one anywhere else. I think it was NZ$20 ~US$14 or something.
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