So, I was away for a few months and when i returned, my vehicle had a cracked cylinder head. Long story, but i got a replacement cylinder head. I know a little about cars, but far from a master mechanic. I need to know exactly what tools and/or equipment will be needed to get the job done. And if at all possible, if someone may know or has some type of step by step guide on the replacement process. I could definitely use it. Also, what all exactly needs to be replaced other than the head. I got a gasket set along with the cylinder head itself. Do i need to also get new bolts or use the old ones? Sealants that need to be used? Any fluids need to be drained beforehand? The timing chain information? Crankshaft info? I just need all of the NEED-TO-KNOW that anyone could possibly offer me. Thanks.

  • Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! Commented May 6, 2023 at 12:32

1 Answer 1


You need (at a minimum):

  • A metric socket set (ratchet, breaker bar, sockets) - 1/2" drive is probably best
  • Hand tools (pliers, metric wrenches [combination wrenches], gasket scraper)
  • Torque wrench which matches your socket drive size - 1/2" drive will detect the torque needed for reassembly (3/8" won't go high enough).
  • Straight edge and feeler gauge to check flatness of the block deck surface
  • Containers to catch liquids like coolant
  • A Haynes manual or the like, which will provide you all the specifics

If I didn't put that last line in there, I'd be here all day trying to decipher exactly what you need to do. A repair manual like Haynes or Chiltons may not be the absolute best, but it will provide you the step-by-step you need for tear down and reassembly, along with the specs needed for torque and the like. Consider it a tool in your arsenal which is crucial for what you're trying to do.

Along with the parts you already have, you most likely need new head bolts. The rest of the bolts should be reusable, unless they break. You'll also need a new exhaust manifold gasket for the side you're taking apart. Be careful when taking the bolts/studs out of the head ... they have a tendency to break due to heat cycles and rust.

Unless you are replacing the timing chain, which you shouldn't need to, you don't have to worry about it or the crankshaft. You won't go into that part of the engine while replacing the head.

  • In addition to Haynes and Chilton manuals, an online resource called Alldata is also available. It includes all the data that professional mechanics access including step by step instructions for repairs. You can get a short-term one month subscription for a single make-model-year for only $20. alldata.com/diy-us/en
    – MTA
    Commented May 6, 2023 at 14:22
  • Thank you so much for all your help
    – Stormie
    Commented May 8, 2023 at 4:37

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