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I've got a three books for my 86 Spider, the "twin cam companion", the "alfa romeo owners bible" and the Workshop Manual from International Auto Parts. Are there other essential books I should have before trying to pull my head to replace the gasket?

Also, I'm wondering if I can do a head gasket job by myself, or if it will require two people to do the job. Given that I'm working alone, about how long does it take to do this job? This is, of course, assuming that I don't make things worse!!!

Tim
 

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Hi Tim - It could be pretty easy or not, depending on "the breaks." Some variables:

1. Some heads are stuck pretty tight and may require a cylinder head puller, but that's only a small minority.
2. You can do it yourself, but I'd recommend that you at least have another able bodied man to help you lift the head on and off the engine. It's pretty heavy.
3. Once off, cleaning up the surface can vary in time from not long to really long.
4. I'd recommend that you have the surface of the head checked for straightness and overall thickness as well as valve sealing and stem/guide wear. If there's a problem, now's the time to do it while the head is off the car and only have to spend money for one head gasket kit instead of two.
It may also need to be surfaced by a machine shop. I'd recommend that you check out some machine shops ahead of time and make sure you trust one of them to do a good job, should it be needed.
 

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If you plan to tear into the head or the engine, as in remove valves or pistons, the factory engine repair manual from IAP is nice. The big manual doesn't cover much on the engine, but It should be more than enough for a head gasket job.
 

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Well, include the AlfaBB in your 'essentials' list and I'd say you'll cover all the bases. Have you noticed there is a link at the top of the page for donations? (hint, hint)

If all you plan to do is replace the head gasket, a long day or a weekend should suffice. But you know you're likely to run into the while-I'm-at-it syndome...

How are the motor mounts? Having the manifolds out of the way would make changing them out a lot easier.
 
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