How to change a blown head gasket
Changing a head gasket is a major engine repair. Unless you have a good set of tools including a torque wrench and a good general knowledge of how things work, it can be a tough job. If you still want to try, I would highly recommend a repair manual for your vehicle such as a Haynes manual that covers 1997 Toyota trucks. It will have pictures of most of the parts as well as the specifications for tightening all the bolts when you are ready to put it all back together. Basically replacing a head gasket requires that you do the following: Drain the coolant, drain the oil. Remove fuel lines to and from the engine, remove the electrical and vacuum lines that lead to and from the intake manifold,remove the alternator, air pump, ac compressor, tie it back, don't disconnect the refrigerent lines, remove the valve cover remove the intake manifold, remove the front engine cover which will expose the timing belt. Remove the timing belt, remove the cam shaft. You should now see the head bolts. Remove the head bolts. Carefully tap on the head until you can loosen it from the engine block. You may have to drive a wedge between the head and the engine block to force it to loosen up. This is a delicate operation, because if you damage the head during removal, it won't seal with the new gasket. You will need a top rebuild gasket set for your engine. Somewhere around $150.00. Every gasket surface needs to be cleaned to the bare metal without scratching the surface. Any old gasket material left on the parts will cause leaks. Once you get the head off, spend another 150.00 or so to get it boiled out by a head shop in your area. They will also test it for leaks and cracks. If the head is cracked, it will have to be replaced. If you don't get it checked for cracks, this whole exercise will be wasted if it turns out to be a cracked head instead of a blown head gasket. Anyway, reverse everything, tighten it by the book to specified torque put in new oil and antifreeze and you are set to go. I replaced my first head gasket when I was about 15 years old. It took me a couple of weeks and I broke about 6 or 7 bolts off on things like the intake manifold, front cover etc. I learned a lot from that old '58 ford. Good luck, and get that Haynes manual.
Oct 17, 2010 |
1997 Toyota Tacoma