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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all,
I have a '94 Tracker 8v. I pulled the head recently due to it running like crap. Looks like the head gasket is busted. I just got the vehicle and will be replacing lots of stuff while I'm at it with everything torn up under the hood.

I'll be replacing:
-new radiator hoses, clamps
-water pump
-vapor can filter
-timing belt, tensioner hardware and pulley
-air filter
-spark plugs & wires
-starter
-alternator
-serp belt
-fuel filter
-all new gasket set for exahust, intake, head, valve cover, etc.
-new cylinder head bolts

I intend to take the head to the machine shop, have them clean and pressure test it, and make sure its not warped. I also was going to ask them to make me a Perfect straight edge I would use with a feeler gauge to make sure the block is not warped either.

I have two dumb questions -- One, looks like my valves might be bent? Should I buy new ones and have the machine shop put them in? Or do I let them buy the valves? I assume I should just get all new valves?
Two , there is coolant and oil sitting on top of my pistons. How do I clean this out. Is there a way to flush through?
Does anyone have any pointers? Things I should do while I'm at it, things to watch out for, zuki engine specific stuff? Anything is appreciated. This is my first time doing a head gasket.
 

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new valves, let machine shop buy and fit, its easier, may be dearer but they should be experienced and know what they are doing.

Go buy a straight edge from a machine tool specialist. The shop will check the head for dimensional accuracy when they do a basic check before stripping.

as for the rubbish on the pistons, clean it off with a lint free rag as best you can. The rest will burn off when its back together. Turn engine over to top dead centre on that piston and wipe off, then turn to a bit down the bore and wipe the cylinder, thats all you need to do. get any lumps of grit and carbon out obviously.

Cleaning the mating surfaces, pistons to mid stroke, lint free rags down the bores and scrape surface with a razor blade, remove all old gasket, don't scratch the surface, clean with brake cleaner or other solvent and a rag. remove rags and debris from the bores ready to fit new gasket and the reconditioned head.
 

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1989 Sidekick - 8v/1.6L - 4WD/5SP
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Hey all,
I have a '94 Tracker 8v. I pulled the head recently due to it running like crap. Looks like the head gasket is busted. I just got the vehicle and will be replacing lots of stuff while I'm at it with everything torn up under the hood.

I'll be replacing:
-new radiator hoses, clamps
-water pump
-vapor can filter
-timing belt, tensioner hardware and pulley
-air filter
-spark plugs & wires
-starter
-alternator
-serp belt
-fuel filter
-all new gasket set for exahust, intake, head, valve cover, etc.
-new cylinder head bolts

I intend to take the head to the machine shop, have them clean and pressure test it, and make sure its not warped. I also was going to ask them to make me a Perfect straight edge I would use with a feeler gauge to make sure the block is not warped either.

I have two dumb questions -- One, looks like my valves might be bent? Should I buy new ones and have the machine shop put them in? Or do I let them buy the valves? I assume I should just get all new valves?
Two , there is coolant and oil sitting on top of my pistons. How do I clean this out. Is there a way to flush through?
Does anyone have any pointers? Things I should do while I'm at it, things to watch out for, zuki engine specific stuff? Anything is appreciated. This is my first time doing a head gasket.
Nice project - thanks for the pictures! Please keep posting them up as you progress. When you say it was running like crap, what kind of symptoms were you experiencing? Did you have white smoke in your exhaust?

I’d check the condition of your distributor cap and rotor, and check the ignition coil out to make sure it’s not falling apart. Oxygen sensor might be a good idea to replace, too. Also, I’d do the heater hoses while you’ve got the system emptied out. Take a look at your timing cover to make sure the belt hasn’t been eating into it. Another thing to check might be the keyway for your lower crank pulley. It would suck to find more damage, but you might as well check while you’re in the fixing mood. I’ll think of some more stuff. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Nice project - thanks for the pictures! Please keep posting them up as you progress. When you say it was running like crap, what kind of symptoms were you experiencing? Did you have white smoke in your exhaust?

I’d check the condition of your distributor cap and rotor, and check the ignition coil out to make sure it’s not falling apart. Oxygen sensor might be a good idea to replace, too. Also, I’d do the heater hoses while you’ve got the system emptied out. Take a look at your timing cover to make sure the belt hasn’t been eating into it. Another thing to check might be the keyway for your lower crank pulley. It would suck to find more damage, but you might as well check while you’re in the fixing mood. I’ll think of some more stuff. Good luck!

Thanks, will do. I’ll look into that stuff you’re talkin about!

As far as how it was running, it had a really bad misfire at idle and poor gas mileage. I did compression tests and was actually expecting bad valves. Little smoke but not much.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hey all! Well the day is almost here, I got a call from the machine shop they are just waiting on a seal and my head will be ready!

As I’ve been waiting I’ve finished up a couple small tasks, though most of the parts I’m replacing will go on after the head.
I got the starter rebuilt (check out those before and after pictures!), replaced wipers and head lights, put on a new water pump (had to make new studs for the part that attaches to the fan, see photos) , installed new washer fluid lines, and installed a new wiper motor. I also spent some time cleaning the head (see before and after shots) I’ll also include a shot of my oil pan, which is scary rusty...just bought a new one but don’t have a gasket for it yet.
I’m not happy with how clean the head is, I think it needs more, I’m gonna pick up some paint thinner or something to use.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Big question, once I get the head back on, what are good procedures to make sure everything is perfect before starting it for the first time? Flushing, setting ignition time, etc?
 

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My first suggestion would be to make sure that the head gasket is on properly.
 

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My first suggestion would be to make sure that the head gasket is on properly.
this also means on the right way so you don't block the oil feed I am guessing
 

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Yep, you guessed correctly!! :)
 
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