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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm about 4 hrs into my head swap (preemptively installing a rebuilt to avoid valve seat issues). I think I discovered the source of a mysterious rattle I've heard for a while now - the heat shield over the exhaust manifold. It is rusted out at two of the lower bolts, and I kind of just 'ripped' it out of there. My question is.. is it really necessary to put it back? Is my radiator fan going to melt or something without it there? I don't even know if I could put it back on as it is, because of the rust around the bolts (unless I used some HUGE washers!).

Also, does Autozone or one of the part chains carry the bolts for the water outlet? They were frozen solid and I snapped two of them off in the head. I'm not sure what size they are.

Lastly.. what is ideal compression for the SPI engine? I know these are higher compression than the 1.9 engines. I did a compression test before I started pulling the old head and got 190/200/190/200 PSI from left-right (cyl 1-4). Is 200 ideal? The engine has 110,600 mi on it.

Thanks.
 

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It is fine without the heat shield, nothing will really get hurt, just make sure nothing comes into contact with the manifold. You can get bolts anywhere as long as you know the size of the bolt, and pitch of the threads.

Why would you do a preemptive head swap? Dropped valve seats arent that common, and they are just as likely, if not more likely, to occur in your rebuilt head.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It is a rebuilt from J&C Cylinder Head with improved seats. I installed one of their heads in my old 1.9 when it burned an exhaust valve.

I've had some clatter every now and then from the top end, maybe just lifters, but who knows. I plan to be doing some serious commuting with this car and decided the cost of a rebuilt head was cheap insurance if I wanted to keep the car for the long run.
 

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I think you're doing the right thing. It's better to have a known good head on there than risk having a seat drop and destroy a good engine. As for thermostat housing bolts, see if you can get some nice stainless ones so they don't rot out again like the regular steel ones. If you can't just get some good bolts that are the same length and thread and coat them in thread sealer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I got the new head in. I clocked how long the whole job took - a total of 23.5 hrs over 3 days. Man is my back sore! Found the water outlet bolts at Autozone - a box with a few more than I needed, so I have spares. I haven't run a compression test on the engine but it is running strong and smooth.

I took a ton of pictures and will have them uploaded soon for anyone who's interested. For 110k mi, the cylinders still have a visible crosshatch. The only thing I didn't like was some carbon in the intake and on the pistons. I used to run Seafoam regularly in my old 2nd gen and when I pulled the head it was spotless. I will be blasting it out with a can soon.
 
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