How do I change the Head Gaskets?

  • 1 POST
  • 5.7L
  • V8
  • 2WD
  • 195,000 MILES

I need to change the head gaskets on my truck, but am unsure of in what order to disassemble the engine. Will I have to remove the Distributor Cap? If I do, will that mess up my timing? Any help is much appreciated.

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Sunday, January 12th, 2014 AT 9:17 AM

1 Reply

  • 29,781 POSTS

Cylinder head gaskets are not a common problem on this engine. Are you sure they need to be replaced?

What you need is a copy of the manufacturer's service manual. There will be many pages of detailed instructions with line drawings, and a section that lists all the torque specs for all the bolts and nuts. EBay is the best place to find a service manual. You can subscribe to one of the online services too, but with a paper book, you always own it instead of renting it, and you can put notes in it.

Removing the distributor cap is not a problem, but if you have to remove the entire distributor, look at where the rotor is pointing first. It is going to turn as you pull the distributor out, and it will turn the other way as you stick it back in. It has to be pointing the same way when you get done as when you started. Be sure to not turn the engine while the distributor is out. That's where resetting the timing becomes additional work you don't need.

The service manual will also show how your local engine machine shop people can check the heads for flatness, and it will describe the proper surface finish for the new gaskets to bite into.

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Sunday, January 12th, 2014 AT 6:17 PM

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