Preparing to do Head Gaskets on 96 SSE - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


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Old 02-19-2006, 04:24 AM   #1
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Default Preparing to do Head Gaskets on 96 SSE

This is my first time doing a head gasket swap on one of these motors. Does anyone have any tips for doing the job or things that I should replace or upgrade at the same time while the heads are off. Also, what are the torque specs for the heads, LIM, UIM, and Rockers? Thanks guys.
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Old 02-19-2006, 11:59 AM   #2
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Torque specs are in Techinfo.

But you should have a service manual. At LEAST Chilton'* #28200 for the torque sequences and procedures. Head bolts are torque to yield, so I hope you have new ones.
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Old 02-19-2006, 01:33 PM   #3
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I plan on getting all new head bolts. Anything else I should replace or upgrade while im in there? BTW... Where is Tech info? I really need those torque specs, trying to avoid buying a chiltons. Thanks Again
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Old 02-19-2006, 02:02 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by STWater
BTW... Where is Tech info?
It'* at the very top of this page. FORUM TECHINFO REGISTRY.............
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Old 02-19-2006, 02:41 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by STWater
I plan on getting all new head bolts. Anything else I should replace or upgrade while im in there? BTW... Where is Tech info? I really need those torque specs, trying to avoid buying a chiltons. Thanks Again
I left out the torque specs for the head on purpose. Because you NEED the Chilton'* $15 investment for the PROCEDURE. It'* not a simple case of torquing in the right pattern to the right value. It'* much more involved than that.
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Old 02-19-2006, 04:12 PM   #6
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Copied from an earlier post:

This is how I do 'em:

Drain the coolant from the block by removing the knock sensor/* and/or drain plugs. If you don't do this, debris will fall into the coolant and end up in your radiator or heater core or coolant will end up all over everything when you try to blow everything clean with compressed air.

Buy a Super Scraper. ($20 gets you a fat wooden handle and a thick, sharp carbide edge that is guaranteed for life.) http://www.johnsonmfg.com/temp/j248-01.htm Keeping the blade edge flat on the sealing surface, scrape any gasket residue, rust, grease, RTV or other buildup away from the holes so as not to introduce debris into the cooling passages, oil passages, or bolt holes. Don't worry so much about debris falling into the cylinders, as it is pretty easy to wipe and blow them clean.

Buy a bottoming tap and run the bolt holes with it to remove any rust, debris, or rough places in the threads.

Blow any debris out of the bolt holes, cooling passages and cylinders with compressed air at 90 psi. (Use eye protection!) A portable tank with a blow-off nozzle can be used for this if you don't have a compressor.

Degrease the sealing surfaces with a solvent that leaves little residue such as carburetor cleaner (laquer thinner) or brake cleaner (perchloroethylene).

Check the flatness of the deck and the head with a straight edge placed diagonally in an X-pattern across each. Try to slide a feeler gauge (check the spec) under the straight edge at several points along the edge. If you find a gap greater than spec, the part must be surfaced to ensure that it will not leak.

Make sure the dowel pins and holes are clean. (Dorman sells new ones if you have lost one or have one that is distorted.)

Use new head bolts. (Most new head bolts come with a dry wax or lube on the threads which reduces the torque required to stretch the bolt; these do not require any additional lube. If the bolts appear to be without any factory lube, lightly oil the threads. It won't hurt to add a bit of oil on the ends of pre-lubed bolts, but be careful not to use too much. You don't want excess oil squeezing out under the gasket surface.)

Make sure you have the right extensions on hand to turn each bolt smoothly through the required tightening angles without stopping. Six-point sockets are less likely to slip at high torques. If you are working on an engine stand, make sure the base is secure and sufficiently fixed or blocked to hold against the required tightening torques.

I have a Snap-On torque angle meter, but most of the time, I use it as a guide to give me a point of reference for where the torque wrench handle will end up after tightening the required 135 degrees (or whatever).

Remove the pushrods and rocker arms so that the compression of the valve springs does not affect the even-ness of the clamping force you are trying to achieve as you tighten the bolts. Keep track of each valvetrain component (rockers in an egg carton, rods through a folded piece of clean cardboard) so you can put them back where they were to minimize wear.

Be careful to observe any markings telling you "this side up" or 'this end to the front" on the gasket or in the instructions that come with the new gasket.

Make sure you understand the tightening sequence and tightening procedure before you start. Use a magic marker (silver or black) to number the bolt holes on the head. Put a drop of oil under each bolt head flange to keep the bolt from binding on the head as it is tightened.

If there are different bolt lengths, place all the bolts in the holes before tightening any to make sure you have the proper length bolts in the appropriate holes.

Keep the torque wrench at right angles to the bolt and apply the force on the center of the handle. If you are using a beam-type wrench, make sure the pointer does not drag top or bottom.

I count aloud each number and avoid distractions while doing a tightening sequence so as not to lose my place in the sequence. Don't answer the phone in the middle of tightening.
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Old 02-19-2006, 07:57 PM   #7
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Buy the manual. Bill'* method is good, as is his description. But is it worth missing or misenterpreting a step? Any time you go lower than the valve covers, you should have a manual. PERIOD.

It'* your car. Treat it right. Do it right.
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Old 02-20-2006, 01:37 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willwren
Buy the manual. Bill'* method is good, as is his description. But is it worth missing or misenterpreting a step? Any time you go lower than the valve covers, you should have a manual. PERIOD.

It'* your car. Treat it right. Do it right.
Listen to Willwren. I've been wrenchin' on cars for more than 40 years and I rarely do a job for the first time, or on an unfamiliar model without reading through the procedure in the best manual I can get my hands on. You never know if there won't be a better, faster, safer way to do the job, or some new part that requires special procedures to avoid costly damage.

Consider the cost of the manual in terms of how much you would have to pay to have the work done. If you are really poor (like me) you might check your public library to see if they carry repair manuals you can borrow for free (like ours.)
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Old 02-20-2006, 01:41 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bill buttermore
Consider the cost of the manual in terms of how much you would have to pay to have the work done. If you are really poor (like me) you might check your public library to see if they carry repair manuals you can borrow for free (like ours.)
Great suggestion on the library. The last time I was in one, they did have a section dedicated to car manuals. And copies are 10 cents ??

Manuals or someone there with experience are priceless tools that should not be passed up.

I think everyone here has made their point, but in the end, it is your decision.
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Old 02-20-2006, 11:14 AM   #10
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Thanks for all the help, but I just saved myself pulling my heads off. My UIM is shot and started to melt causing the coolant to leak into the cylinders. I caught it pretty early so no damage was done. Just ordered a Dorman Upper. This is my last question, im getting ready to put my lower intake back on. Should I use the rubber intake gasket ends or throw them out and use a nice bead of Ultra Black instead? Thanks!
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