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Old 11-29-2014, 05:25 PM   #1
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Question SPI cylinder head replacement

So I'm in the process of swapping the cylinder head on my SPI since I found out they tend to drop a valve and the car already has 127k miles. So before it drops I decided to swap the head, already took the head apart, but I have a few questions while I wait for the gaskets to arrive.

1. What's the best way to remove the sprocket from the head? I tried using a screwdriver to hold the sprocket while I tried to get the bolt loose to no effect. I noticed though that the sprocket has a big nut, but I'm unsure the size if it's 1 3/8? can somebody confirm?

2. How do I set the new head to TDC so that I can install the sprocket?

3. What's the best way to clean the surface on the block where the gasket was?


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Old 11-29-2014, 07:18 PM   #2
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Need a manual when you get that deep, even a cheap one is enough.

Head bolts need replacement for example, they're TTY with angle torque to install.

Easiest cleaning depends on tools on hand, like I use an angle die grinder with Scotch buffer pads for gasket removal/cleaning (air compressor avail.).

Be careful with any scraping methods, don't want nicks in the surface.
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Old 11-29-2014, 07:53 PM   #3
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Thanks for the warning, i do have a manual in hand, but already tried the method to remove the sprocket, but it's too tight. It does not mention on what position should the valves be on the new head so I was hoping somebody that has already replaced their head would shed some light
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Old 11-29-2014, 08:03 PM   #4
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The basics of that question are easy enough to answer.

When you install & time the timing belt, #1 (& 4) piston will be a TDC and you want the #1 cylinder valves closed to put that cylinder on the top of the compression stroke.

Look at the timing mark on the sprocket & compare it to the instructions for setting the timing, for the SPI it's simple since the sprocket is fixed to the cam & it has a timing mark.
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Old 11-29-2014, 08:09 PM   #5
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Thanks, that's what i was thinking, but wasn't sure. I checked the old head and indeed the valves for piston #1 and 4 are fully closed while the valves for piston #2 and #3 are slightly open (1 intake and 1 exhaust). Now the only thing left is to remove the sprocket.
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Old 11-29-2014, 09:04 PM   #6
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Remember, 1 & 4 won't both be fully closed at the same time.

One set WILL be fully closed, the other set will be in a "even" state with some pressure on the valves toward open. 180* off between the positions.
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Old 11-29-2014, 09:49 PM   #7
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Use an impact wrench to take the bolt for the cam sprocket off. That is the only way i was able to get the one on my 98 Escort wagon w/ SPI engine off when I had to change it because one of the arms of the sprocket was cracked.

For the size of the bolt will be a metric headed bolt, on my car I believe it was a 15mm as it was one of the 2 sizes of sockets (other being 18mm) that didn't come with the Harbor Freight 1/2" drive shorty impact socket set that I have, but I was barely get the impact wrench with a long 15mm socket onto the bolt, but it wasn't fun getting it off.
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Old 11-29-2014, 10:57 PM   #8
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Thanks for the advise, i tried my electric 1/2 impact with no luck. Will try fully charging it as it only had 1 bar left. However, i think i'll have more luck using a big wrench to hold the sprocket as the sprocket itself has a big nut where the bolt goes into. I don't have a wrench that big with me right now, but i might have one in a toolbox in another place. I'll update on the situation as i don't get the gaskets until monday.
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Old 11-29-2014, 11:22 PM   #9
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I would be kicking myself right now if that were anatomically possible. I don't know how many times over the past 6-8 years I have seen the hex fitting on the cam sprocket, I have never once thought to put a wrench on it to hold it (though to be honest, I have only had to take the cam sprocket off three times, once to replace it, and the 2nd time to move it to a replacement cylinder head when I replaced it last year, and once when I had to redo the camshaft oil seal).

Speaking of the camshaft oil seal, if the replacement head does not have one installed, be sure to oil it up the new seal really good before installing it, otherwise it will be prone to leakage (hence the 3rd time I had to remove the cam sprocket).
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Old 11-29-2014, 11:34 PM   #10
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Thanks, I'm glad I'm getting advise from somebody who has done the same procedure already. By the way did you cleaned the bracket where the injectors are? i see some sort of little circle valves and are covered in carbon or something like that. Also Chilton's book says to apply a thin film of oil on the head bolts, but i read somewhere that you should never oil TTY bolts because it decreases friction?
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