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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
End of may I noticed that the carburettor rubbers were showing more then healthy cracks. As I had a oilleakge from the head I thought, well if I´m this far dismanteling, I´ll pull the head and throw in a new headgasket. In the 80´s I worked on a lot of alfa´s and I did a gasketswap in a saturday, so no deal. I thought.
No movement in the head what so ever, so I fabricated an Alfa headpuller, the works one using the sparkplughole, still no movement. Used a 40 tons jack on the inlet side - nope- Another puller, so on cyl 1 and 4 - no movement. Used a mixture of vinigar, penetration oil, nothing worked.
Then I hoisted the head onto a enginecrane and pulled up the whole car and worked the studs with an impacthammer. Yep - didn´t move.
This is an original italian sold car that was imported into the Netherlands in the 90ties. As well known, Italians don´t use cooling liquid , water, prefebly with lots of calcium, is used.
Finally after 4 weeks with the 2 headpullers, I had signs of movement, about 25mm. I needed quite some force on the removal tools to get some movement, some 80 Nm that is about what we need to tighten the head itself. But I ran into a problem, using the 2 factory tools, the head was moving unequally on the studs. I tried to whack it back a few times and raise it again, but it kept on going wrong, and there is no way to correct this.
I was now 6 weeks into trying to get the head off and then I found this post :

Heavy-duty head removal tool

By Ron C. It merely said heavy duty head removal tool. So initially I skipped the thread, while there was no explanation of how it worked and why you would want a puller like that. But like these things go, thinking about my problem when I was lying awake, I thought I need about 2 times 80 Nm to get the head of, and that is 80 Nm per sparkplughole. Now Ron C. needs the same 160 Nm, but he gets 10 studs to devide this, that is less then the torque of a sparkplug. He pulls on 12 studs of the camshaftbearingcaps, that is 160 divides by 12 is 13 Nm, also nothing. So load-wise this is a much better tool. On top of that you can steer which way the head pulls, by tightening those screws where you need it.

So next day I found out that my metal-guy was on holliday, so I started making a tool up from flatsteel and some finethread nuts and threaded bar. M12x1,25:

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Made the screws from threaded bar and welded a nut on them. The head is about 110mm plus some thread above it, where the headnut sits, say total of 125 mm. With a threadsize of M12x 1,25 that means 100 turns per stud to get it of. Quarter turn a time, that are 4000 movements of your right arm. Yeah, 4000.

The first 25 mm (head was back on block) went quite easy, I did 2 quarter turns per stud, had my torquewrench set on 30 Nm and just a few studs needed this.After this it went a little harder, more studs needed 30 Nm, but still, that is nothing like the 80 Nm of the factory tool. I made some calipers from scrapsteel and at 30mm I measured where I was, and again the head was going unequally. But now I could easely adjust it and at 40mm I was deadstraight. Counting the turns is in general keeping you straight, but still you need to keep measuring and correcting. Noticing the torque needed was going down, I did four quarter turns per stud, checking every 10mm of lift (8 rounds of 10 times 4 quarter turns) Last time my right arm had so much training I was in my late teens....
Anyway after 9 cm of lift the torque lowered so much that even when the wrench was on 20 Nm it didn´t click. So after 2,5 hours of ratching and checking, the head was loose on the studs.

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9 weeks after starting I finally have my head off. And this is why:

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Why am I telling you this? Well there are is a lot of advise here about stuck heads, but the best one (by far) is not mentioned as so much. Ron C. did come up with the best head removal tool for 3 reasons:

  • Lowest torque needed per stud, so even very stuck heads are removed with moderate force, and less change of damaging camshaftcaps studs.
  • No change of damaging your sparkplughole thread
  • You can make sure you are pulling your head straight, by checking and correcting.

Ok it is a bit of work to make the tool ,you need to make sure you´re holes are in the right place and that the threads are deadstraight. Mine weren´t quite, and I damaged the inside of the studholes in the head, but that is not a problem. You can make either the steelplate like Ron C. or he constructed one by me. Once the tool is in action, and your right arm (or left for you lefty´s) is in good shape, it´s a doodle to get it off. I wish I had this advise before I started this job.

Hope this will help you.

Willem.
 

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I wish I had this advise before I started this job.
That's an understatement!

After six months trying everything to pull this 1600 head we had only moved it about an inch. Just enough to get a blade in there and cut them off. Then the studs needed to EDM'd .
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Your head remover is definitely the best, safest way to go. Well done!
 

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From experience with plug type pullers, the trick is that once the head budges one has to persuade the head back down onto the block. This has to be done repeatedly while using a good penetrating oil and every time you tighten the puller nuts the head will rise further. Trying to do it with one pull simply packs the corrosion in the cylinder head stud holes solid making removal impossible without drastic measures like cutting the studs or further damage.
That said an engine in this state will almost definitely have a severely corroded block beneath the sleeves as well as badly corroded head making them economically unrepairable unless the rarity of the engine number dictates otherwise.
Regards to All
Ralph
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
From experience with plug type pullers, the trick is that once the head budges one has to persuade the head back down onto the block. This has to be done repeatedly

That said an engine in this state will almost definitely have a severely corroded block beneath the sleeves as well as badly corroded head making them economically unrepairable
Hi Ralph,

First, i did repeatedly got head back on the block and raised it, but gained les the 10mm in 20 times. Even for an amature that ain't working. At least not if you want that car back on it's wheels anytime soon.

Secondly the car was running perfectly before I started working on it. In my possesion I drove 30K km. with it and it proofed to be very temperature stable. Even at 37°C, it didn't overheat. So in spite of the corrosion you see on the studs, I believe the other waterways to be clean. When I accuired the car I did flush the cooling system before replacing the radiator. I did this by filled it up with special bio degradeble cleaning fluids, drove it warm and flush it. I repeated this until I had had a clean solution. IIRC that took me 5 flushes. When starting working on the head I let the coolant out and it is, allthough 3 years old, clean as new. So I would say this is not anywhere near irrepaireble.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
After six months trying everything to pull this 1600 head we had only moved it about an inch. Just enough to get a blade in there and cut them off. Then the studs needed to EDM'd .
GProcket, do I understand correctly you cut the studs?? And what is EDM'd? I thought changing a stud is nearly impossible, let alone when they're cut flush with the deck. I would really know how you managed that one.

Regards
Willem
 

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Willem,
Whatever you do, don't do anything that will compel you to remove the sleeves.
Do you have pics of the removed head's face?
Regards
Ralph
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Willem,
Whatever you do, don't do anything that will compel you to remove the sleeves.
Do you have pics of the removed head's face?
Regards
Ralph
Yep, Ralph,

I will make VERY sure not to remove the sleeves as I still have good compression. Thanks for the advice.

No, no pictures of the head, but remaines of the gasket are stuck on it. Will bring it out for a light as possible skim. Will check the valves and the guides first. If it is at the engineshop anyway it won't be that a big deal to have them done when needed.
 

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What a wonderful tool and discussion! You, like many of us, are RESOLUTE! Having seen this issue many times over many years and tried many techniques, your tool fabrication, discussion and application is noteworthy! No broken studs, no damaged block or head. Wonderful! Thanks so much for sharing!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
This is the tool my son made for both the V6and 4-cyl engines:
Hi Steve,

I saw that one too, but it has two disadavatages over the Ron C. tool.
First the torque needed is, even with the use of 4 sparkplugholes, more then twice as high. Other way round: you can pull twice the force with the same torque.
Secondly you can't correct a non-level pull.

On top of that, it takes allmost the same effort to build the tool.

I think you son did very well building and using the tool, but in terms of efficiency, pulling force and safety of the sparkplugthreads the Ron C. tool is the better engineering solution.
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
What a wonderful tool and discussion! You, like many of us, are RESOLUTE! Having seen this issue many times over many years and tried many techniques, your tool fabrication, discussion and application is noteworthy! No broken studs, no damaged block or head. Wonderful! Thanks so much for sharing!
Thanks Gordon!

I see this as one of the great things of this internet-based community that we can help make things better. How often did I look for advice on AlfaBB and surely somebody encountered the same problem and did I learn. By sharing the succesfull (and the failures too!) workarounds we all learn and help each other enjoying these Italian diva's!
 

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GProcket, do I understand correctly you cut the studs?? And what is EDM'd? I thought changing a stud is nearly impossible, let alone when they're cut flush with the deck. I would really know how you managed that one.

Regards
Willem

Trust me, cutting the studs was absolutely the last resort. We literally worked for six months trying to free the head to no avail.

EDM= Electrical discharge machining. The service cuts the studs close to the bottom of the block. Then, using a carbon electrode they plunge into the remaining stud, "burning" the material. The little bit that's left is easily removed and then a tap is run thru for the final clean up.

Not many shops have the ability or the willingness to do this work. I'm very fortunate to have one 10 minutes from ours...
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Trust me, cutting the studs was absolutely the last resort. We literally worked for six months trying to free the head to no avail.

EDM= Electrical discharge machining. The service cuts the studs close to the bottom of the block. Then, using a carbon electrode they plunge into the remaining stud, "burning" the material. The little bit that's left is easily removed and then a tap is run thru for the final clean up.

Not many shops have the ability or the willingness to do this work. I'm very fortunate to have one 10 minutes from ours...
Wow, thanks for the info. Of course, if your blocknumber is important, this might be a way to go, but I think for an avarage engine repair just replacing the engine is much cheaper.
 

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Wow, thanks for the info. Of course, if your blocknumber is important, this might be a way to go, but I think for an avarage engine repair just replacing the engine is much cheaper.
Exactly! The client in this case was insistent that the block be saved otherwise it would have been a boat anchor months ago!
 

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Good 1600/1750 blocks are getting hard to find. When I went looking for one. All the ones I found either had a bad stud or pitted cylinder liner seats.

But good 2 liter blocks are still easy to find.
 
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Yes, that and tap water with dissolved minerals to make it an excellent electrolyte inside a multi-alloy engine.
 

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Several years ago, and my first Alfa project I was running water simply to test for leaks, there were none, BUT, living in sunny Buffalo, NY I failed to switch to anti freeze for the winter. One very nice block did not withstand the forces of mother nature and now I have cracked block.

Lesson learned, there are a couple reasons NOT to run water in our cooling systems
 

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Good 1600/1750 blocks are getting hard to find. When I went looking for one. All the ones I found either had a bad stud or pitted cylinder liner seats.
Depending on the amount of corrosion, the liner seats can be remachined and a corresponding amount removed from the top of the block ... there is plenty of piston-to-head clearance to accommodate 0.010 inch / 0.25 mm. The liners can then be installed using RTV instead of o-rings.
 
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