View Full Version : Questions about my Headgasket Job

12-06-08, 04:44 PM
The engine is finally out of the car.
Today we are taking the Heads off.

Now we have some questions:

- How to align the timing marks correctly? (Which are the marks?)

- Do we have to use oil or another substance for all the rubber gaskets?

- We are planing to bring the Heads to a machine shop. Is it necessary to remove the camshaft?

- Tomorrow we will use the timesert Kit and inserts. Any advices about this procedure?

Thanks in advance.

12-06-08, 05:40 PM
You really don't need to worry about aligning anything until it is time to put it back together. You will need to take the front cover off to be able to put the timing chains back on in the proper orientation. When you do that you will see marks on the gears, you will align the cam gears prior to placing the heads back on the block.

When I put mine back together I put it together dry and have had no issues with oil leaks. Oil usually inhibits the sealing properties, I would not oil the surfaces.

When I pulled my head I spoke to the machinist at the shop, he said if I wanted any head work done I would have to remove the cams. You local shop will probably want the same. Are you planning on having a valve job done? If not you shouldn't need to remove the cams, the shop can check the mating surface for trueness with the cams installed, and they should charge little if nothing for checking them, my local machine shop checked mine for free.

On the insert question, make sure you use plenty of lubrication while drilling and tapping, and make sure you keep the chips out of the engine. I stuffed the cylinders with paper towels and then completely covered that areas that I wanted to keep the aluminum chips out of. Careful use of air to blow the chips out of the holes while drilling and tapping is a must. Take your time and make sure you drill square to the deck surface, it's not a hard job just takes a lot of time.

Most of all,
Good luck and welcome to the club!

12-06-08, 07:17 PM

Thank you so much. This is exactly the kind of inputs I hoped to find here.
So I'll first check with my local machine shop before removing the cams.

For the timing-marks-issu, we already have the front cover off but it is just a lil confusing becauser there are round marks instead of sharp/clear lines.
So I'll guess I have to reach the 90 in the middle of the round points.

Thanks again!

12-06-08, 08:02 PM
I use a running shop vac when drilling and tapping assembled machinery. Have the hose right alongside the hole in question. I don't blow chips around with compressed air unless I'm forced to. Don't use any kind of abrasive pads anywhere near your motor. They fill the motor with silicon carbide abrasive.

12-06-08, 08:41 PM

Would you suggest to get the heads done by a machine shop anyway or just in case the surface is uneven?

12-06-08, 09:53 PM
there are round marks instead of sharp/clear lines.
So I'll guess I have to reach the 90 in the middle of the round points.

Yep, do you have a FSM? It has pretty good instructions on lining up the timing marks.

12-06-08, 11:02 PM
I tend to use a good silicone gasket maker (RTV) on either sides of the new gaskets, or even if you decide to reuse the old ones if they're good. Use a good brand, Permatex Ultra Black works good. It's pricy but its good stuff. Degrease both sides of where the gasket is going and degrease the gasket with brake cleaner or similar. The RTV helps ensure sealing and also as the new seals go through the heat cycles and shrink with age, the RTV helps keep everything sealed up. Make sure you don't use too much because you don't want it squeezing out into the engine. It's just for extra re-assurance, because some of the seals require engine removal or dropping the subframe to get at. Leaks are not easily fixed on these cars, unless it's from the cam covers, and sometimes not even then. Degreasing the surfaces is key when using RTV. Even carburetor/throttle body cleaner works good for degreasing surfaces.

12-07-08, 10:55 AM

Have a look at this link, it has a pretty good write-up on how to re-install the timing chains


12-10-08, 07:55 AM
Thats a perfect explanation of the timing chains procedure.

I posted this on another thread. Some of it may help you:

How's your project going??

Here's some advice. Take it or leave it. I have done 2 of these in the last 2 months.

Don't let the struts dangle. Secure them with a strap so they stay straight up and down. The CV Joint will fall out of place and it is a pain to reset.

Get a stud kit from 97EldoCoupe. The inserts suck. I have a long story with these. If you want, ask and I'll fill you in.

Don't remove the power steering pump until you get the cradle on the floor. You will have to remove the bolts that hold the cooler on to the core support.

Do yourself a favor and pull the cradle with the AC compressor on the engine. You're going to run into a situation where the lines are in the way and you have to take them off anyway.

Watch out for the right front brake line from the ABS pump to the wheelwell.

take a lot of pictures once you get the cradle on the floor.

Buy a Fel-pro headset.

Don't even bother with the water pump unless you think it's bad. you don't have to take the housing off.

Make sure to take out the wires and vacuum line out of the firewall on the pass. side.

Don't buy a water pump pulley installer. You can use a bolt and a nut.

Leave the ABS pump in the body and strap it to the core support.

Replace the radiator.

Take the whole header panel (with the lights) out. It's easy.

Replace the 2 oxygen sensors on the manifolds.

If you have any steering issues, replace the rack. It's not that expensive.

Replace the main seal, the oil pan gasket, and the block gasket. ( block is 2 piece )

Mark the timing chains and gears.

Get a Kent-moore j39411 flywheel holder. ($150) or make one.

TAKE YOUR HEADS TO A MACHINE SHOP. I don't care what these guys say. Have the valve seats vacuum tested, install valve seals that come with your headset, and inspect for warp and cracks. If you need a set of good heads, I have some.

12-12-08, 06:08 PM
jeffrsmith, 97EldoCoupe, dkozloski and davz - Thank you for your inputs.
Realy helpful advices! Brought the heads to a machine shop. I'll finish the timesert procedure tomorrow and begin to reassemble the engine.

I'll keep posting.

Thanks again!