Re: anyone have a good link for a headgasket chang
This is not overly difficult, but there are some gotchas. Wait for the FSM before starting. This is your best tool.
A couple of things to look out for, though.
Don't drop your timing chain into the bottom of the front cover. This is bad. Use a wedge to block the chain towards the top of the front cover. This will not only keep the chain in place, but will keep your chain tensioner from popping out of it's slide.
Use new studs and bolts for your manifolds. These things go through great heat and stress. They also fail. Used ones fail more often than new ones. Ask anyone who has fished out a broken stud from the side of their head how much fun that is! Don't forget new head bolts. Your old ones have streched, and are no longer reliable under torque.
Label your electrical connections. Many of these use the same configuration. It is very easy to plug them in incorrectly. Very easy. Talk about a troubleshooting nightmare! This isn't that hard to correct if you have the FSM, and actually follow the tests, but people often assume that they couldn't have that problem.
If taking your head off, you might as well send it to the shop to be cleaned and checked. Your problem might be a faulty head. A good shop can find and sometimes repair these problems. A valve job tacked on isn't going to cost that much more, so you might as well have that done as well. You'll appreciate the results.
Check your block to be sure it's ok, as well. Look for damaged areas near water jackets, or between cylinders. If not badly damaged, it can be resurfaced.
Clean everything. Then clean it again. Then clean it with thinner to remove any oil or cleaning solvent. This will help you get that perfect seal with your gasket.
There are a ton of little tips like this. Best bet is to follow the instructions in your FSM, and don't cut corners. Hopefully others will chime in with things I've missed.
Thanks Zuber, I feel confident that I can do it, but opinions from those that have gone before are incredibly helpful. I looked at haynes last night, not much help. By the way, where do I get new bolts (esp those for the head)? We have a machine and foundry place in town and I've used them before, or is there a catalog that might be helpful? (I recently ordered MSA, but has not arrived). Thanks, mikec
Courtesy Nissan can ship you whatever parts you need for your head job. You can reach them by looking in links section. Mention you are a Z club member, and get a nice discount.
If you talk with a person at Courtesy, they can tell you what items you will need for your head job. If doing more than just the gasket, you might consider new valve guides, valve stem seals, and possibly seats. Most of these are low cost items, but if you are going to take it all apart, it doesn't hurt to replace the wear items.
You have options on the head bolts. You can get the standard, or the turbo. Not sure of the cost difference, but the turbo bolts are supposed to be stronger. Standard seems to work fine for stock engines, though.
Oh yeah, a couple of tips I forgot.
When removing the head, don't forget the smaller bolts that hold the head to the front cover. If you forget these, you can break them or the cover trying to pry the head off. Also, get new bolts for your thermostat housing. Use the right bolts in the right place. In one place, it is possible to put the wrong bolt in and damage your head. Hmm. I guess that covers it. I wish others would have piped in. Hope it goes well.