Removing a Stubborn Cylinder Head

Several Methods from Spitfire Owners

When I removed my head, I found that it really did not want to come off. I ended up removing all the head studs. Then, using a 2x4 a couple feet long and a large hammer placed the 2x4 against the head and hit the other end with the hammer. A couple good hits and it loosened up enough to remove it with my hands. With the head studs out I didn't have to worry about damaging them and it allowed the head a bit of sideways motion instead of just upward.

David Gates

There is a special tool you can get to remove studs (my dad had one) fits on the end of a ratchet extension and as you twist it grips onto the stud. Probably costs $10 at a tool store.

Patrick Bowen

I used the good old double nut trick. However they do make a tool for this also. See;execmacro/dispProdsSCS.d2w/report?prrfnbr=9514&prmenbr=6970
I have never used one so I can't vouch for them. But the double nut works well if there are enough threads on the stud to get two nuts on it. When I did mine I had a couple studs that were too short to get two nuts on. Instead of breaking down and buying the tool, I did what I usually do, improvise. I took two old head nuts and grinded them both down on the bench grinder until they were a little thinner. Then I was able to get both of them on the stud. Off it came.

David Gates

Use the good old rope trick. Remove all the plugs and feed a length of rope down into cylinders 1 and 4. take a large wrench and turn the crank. The pistons and rope lift the head. This method has always worked for me. After the head is off use a stud extractor ( these are usually cheap ) on the studs after using a bit of penatrating oil ( WD40 or similar ) around the stud. They have slots cut into the thread so this helps the oil get in.

Peter Cebalo

My recommendation for what its worth is this. Try to avoid using vise-grips - especially if the stud shows signs of being stubborn and not wanting to come out. Doublenutting is a better idea, but multi-nutting with 4 or more nuts is even better. Particularly so if the stud appears to be locked in place with gunge and corrosion. With double nutting, you tend to put a massive strain on the stud threads within the nut immediately above. Multi-nutting spreads that load more evenly up the whole threaded part. Just a sound tip passed on to me by an old man. Using this technique over the years, I've never stripped a thread by multi nutting though I have with double. The added advantage is you have another nut in place where you can put another open ended spanner and apply double the amount of torque.

John Mac

Bob, I think it is a good practice to replace all the studs while doing the head work, as the old ones are now pretty well strecthed-out and most are already over torqued, it takes very little over torqueing on just one stud to then not be able to properly reseat the head. In todays modern cars, almost all manufacturers say replace all studs, most Ford products come with them in the head gasket package, cost a little more today, but, sures is cheaper down the road, and sometimes we all forget about down the road, proper maintenance gives more driving time, improper allows for more yelling at these cars.

Fred Thomas

Once ready to lift the head put the spark plugs back in, and turn the engine over with the starter. This blows the head and hopefully is a bit more even with the pressure than the rope trick.

James Carpenter

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