My Suzuki Swift 01 is leaking coolant. I'm trying to change the head gasket.

I've gotten as far as taking the camshaft cover off. See this picture:

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I'm not sure what Step 11, "Back off all valve lash adjusters until valves are closed if applicable" means on the head removal procedure by Chilton.

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I'm not sure why the Chilton book is asking to close off the valves to begin. What happens if the head is taken off without closing the valves? Also, the Chilton book is implying the cylinder head bolts will come right off, but the camshaft is in the way.

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Besides changing the head gasket, is there anything else that should be done? I appreciate helpful feedback.


You want to back off the valves so you don't damage the head when you pull the head bolts. If you have tension on the valves, you run the risk of warping the head. Likewise, when you put the head on, you want to ensure there aren't any valves which will be causing interference.

If there is interference from the valves, this will affect the torque values for the head bolts, giving you a false reading. When you torque them down, then the pressure from the valves is relieved, some head bolts will not have as much as others, then when first start up occurs and heat is applied, warpage of the head will occur, then you will incur a large machining bill to get it right.

Do as the instructions state and ensure all of the tension is off of the valves prior to removing the head bolts.


They want you to back of the lash so you don't ruin your rocker arms

The system in which this head depresses the valves is the reverse of many heads.

The cams (the shaft at the top of the photo) is spinning with the lobe coming up beneath the rocker arm foot to act as a lever against the rocker shafts (short shafts between the cam and the valves) to depress the valves. Because of this reverse method and how you will need to pull the cam out the manufacturers order of disassembly, they want you to loosen the lock nuts and back out the center pin of the valve lash adjustment all the way.

This is a standard procedure for this type of overhead cam and will allow you to you to remove the cam and replace it without binding the rocker arm and bending it or snapping it on reassembly.

Plenty of Play

The best practice is to simply have plenty of play in the lash. I back them almost all the way out when I do it so that even if the lobe is on the rocker and depressing the valve I still have play in the lash. That means the ones that aren't on the lob can be backet out with even more play or lash.

The looser everything is upon reassembly the easier and simpler everything will go.

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