Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Still working on the head gaskets...

This past weekend, I finally got the exhaust off the van... without breaking anything. I had to cut some bolts. There were copious amounts of flame and penetrating oil involved. And my angle grinder.

But, I got the exhaust off. All the pipes survived and looked in good shape. I have new gaskets and a new bolt kit for when it's time to reinstall it. Once the exhaust was off and the cooling system was disconnected, I got to removing the driver's side cylinder head. I had everything disconnected and the head itself unbolted, including bagging and tagging all the small parts, in under a half hour.

Unfortunately, the head was stuck to the cylinders. On a Vanagon, the cylinders are 4 separate individual pieces from the actual engine block. I worked on it again Monday and Tuesday evening, which is when I eventually got the driver's side head to separate from the cylinders with some gently prying.

Once it was off, I got a good look at the cruddy, corroded surface. I cleaned it up last night (which helped a lot). Tonight, I filled the pitting with JB Weld (a common fix for this). Once it's cured, I'll sand it flat, and I'll be ready to start reinstalling the head on that side. When that's done, I'll start on the passenger side. Hopefully, that side will go more quickly.

Head separated from block

Head off block. Cylinders pushed back into water jacket.

Driver's side head off. Dirty and corroded. Need to clean it off.

Head cleaned up. Lots of pitting, but starting to look better.

Pitting filled with JB Weld. Still needs to cure so I can sand it flat.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Continuing with the Vanagon

As usual, I'm being kept away from working on the diesel. I'm currently replacing the head gaskets in the Vanagon. More accurately, I'm still working on disassembly. Long story short, the intake has to come off (it is currently off), the exhaust has to come off (working on that...), the coolant needs to be drained (not quite there yet), and the oil has to be drained (done) before I can remove the heads.

I had to go in to the office this past Saturday, which only gave me part of Sunday to work on the Vanagon. Hopefully, I'll get a lot more done next weekend. I'd like to have at least one of the heads off, and pending the condition of the head itself, I'd like to replace the gaskets on that side. Ideally, I'd like the van drivable before Memorial Day, so I can get back to work on the Mercedes.

still working on disassembly

passenger side pushrod tube tin off

Exhaust bracket loosened

Exhaust bolts soaking in penetrating oil