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Car and Truck Cylinder Heads and Parts

The cylinder is a fundamental part of an automotive engine. Without cylinders, the car won't run, and all the cylinders need to be working for the vehicle to perform efficiently. Cylinder heads are a vital part of a working cylinder.

What is a cylinder head?

Every car or truck has an internal combustion engine. In this engine are cylinders, and the cylinder head lies above those cylinders atop the cylinder block. The head closes in the cylinder, completing a combustion chamber. Cylinder heads can also have three other purposes:

  • You can mount fuel injectors, valves, and spark plugs on the head.
  • It provides the room passages need to feed the cylinder air and fuel. Those same passages are what allows exhaust to escape to the exhaust manifold.
When should you replace cylinder heads?

When there are major cracks in the cylinder heads, that is when you should replace them with new ones. Minor cracks in the heads cause cylinders to lose compression. That means it loses most of air and fuel mixture before ignition. That causes the engine to misfire. Minor cracks can be fixed. Bigger cracks, however, can severely affect the cylinders. In that case, you should replace the cylinder heads. Here are the possible causes of a cylinder head cracking:

  • The car overheats, causing stress to the cylinder heads as well as all other metal components in the vehicle. This is the most common cause.
  • Cylinder parts were installed incorrectly by the manufacturer.
How do you install new cylinder heads?

Here are the steps to installing new cylinder heads:

  • Drain the engine oil and coolant.
  • Remove accessories that may be in the way of the cylinder head.
  • Remove the intake manifold, exhaust manifold, valve covers, and timing chain or belt.
  • Remove the rocker arm shaft and bolts. Use a ratchet extension, socket, and breaker bar to loosen the bolts, which will be tight.
  • Lift the cylinder head off of the block to remove it.
  • Use a flathead screwdriver to remove the head gasket.
  • Install the new head gasket, making sure that the front mark is facing towards the front of the engine block
  • Set the new cylinder head and seal it so it is secure. Make sure that the dowel tips align evenly.
  • Reinstall the mounting bolts, rocker arm shaft, intake manifold, exhaust manifold, valve covers, and timing chain or belt.
  • Reinstall any other car parts and accessories that you had to remove earlier.