Hello fello zcarheads
I purchased a 1981 280zx gl, it looks really good. I've had it for over 3 weeks now. The person who was scheduled to help me with the replacement of the head gasket cannot do it...so I"m stuck with the car in my garage..I have 4 days before I have to go back to work...So I'm going to dedicate the next four days to my z...I have to get it completed fast.
Has anyone done it before? Is it easy? Should I do it myself? Any tips if I do it myself? Please help..........................
Pull the head with the intake and exhaust manifold intact. Might need someone to help you pull it off the engine and put it back on but much easier in the long run than trying to disconnect everthing off the head in the car.
Hmmmnnn, I don't know. I would remove the intake and related parts first then the head. Having done this several times, sometimes by myself, it's easier to position the head when your trying to put it back on. It weighs a lot with all that other stuff on it.
As for the specifics, you'll need a book for sure. Or someone there with you that's done it before. You'll need to make a wedge shaped piece of wood with a rope on it to shove into the front of the engine down under the cam sprocket to keep the chain from falling into the engine when you remove the cam sprocket. It will also keep the chain tensioner from popping out. If either one of those things happen, then you will also be removing the front cover and reassembling the chain tensioner.
Search the archives, as I'm sure there are more detailed instructions.
If you are going to take it off with the intake and exhaust manifolds still installed (which is easier although it may not look it), you will need another person (strong) or a hoist. Either way I found that if you take two of your old headbolts (or one of similar thread) and cut the head off, you can thread them part-way (so it is long enough to remove once the head it on) in and use them as guides to lower the assy back onto the block. Also, make sure there are no sharp edges on the "guide" bolts as they could scratch your newly surfaced head!
It may be heavier but it is a much easier process that way. I pulled and the head and put it back on by myself....takes a bit of cussing but it can be done. Make sure to cover the fenders with a thick towl so you don't mess up the paint.
Make sure that number one piston is at top dead center in the firing position and make a mark on the chain that corresponds with the cam sprocket so that the cam will be in time when you go back together. Don't forget to remove the small bolts that are located at the front corners of the cylinder head.