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.