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jaymiller 10-10-2010 03:05 AM

Head Gasket Replacement 4.7L
2 Attachment(s)
I had some white smoke that smelled like antifreeze coming out the tailpipe so I knew I'd have to get into the engine. There's was some stuff out there already when I Googled this job, but some stuff was hard to figure out so I thought I'd post some of my progress on here for the next unsuspecting backyard mechanic. I'm almost done. Just replacing the gaskets is a day or two's work on the weekend. I ordered parts I didn't know I'd need and reworked the heads so I have been working on my truck on and off for two weeks.
I ordered most of my stuff from Everything arrived in a couple of days. I also hit the local Autozone, Advance Auto and Pep Boys for gosh darn-it parts.
I took wood shop in school so I'm no mechanic. But when I was a kid we fixed our own cars so I guess I know righty tighty, lefty loosy. First thing, get the Chilton's or a service manual if you need torque specifications, bolt patterns or plan to change the timing chains and tensioners.

FIRST-unplug your fuel pump fuse and run your truck until it dies to depressurize the fule line. I forgot and sprayed fuel everywhere when I pulled the fuel rail off the injectors. You could put a rag over the schrader valve on the fuel rail and press it till its empty too, just messy.

I basically video'd most of my progress and all the wire connections so I could have a back-up when I forgot how to connect everything.

I used a labelmaker to mark all my connectors like the Cam Sensor, Alternator Plug, Throttle Body top, bottom plug etc.

I also left the A/C Compressor and Power Steering Pump lines connected and just tied everything up and out of the way, like so...

jaymiller 10-10-2010 03:18 AM

More on the Head Gasket
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Some things you're gonna need or have to rent at the parts store: Torque Wrench, Harmonic Balancer/Gear Puller, Harmonic Balancer Installer, Breaker Bar, Fan Blade Spanner Tool. Get radiator fluid and oil if you plan to open the timing cover to change the timing chains and tensioners. If you R&R the timing set, invest in the Spanner Wrench for removing the Cam Sprockets. I improvised but wish I had the tool. It's about $80-$90 I think.

Since I don't like backaches, I decided to remove as much as the front as I could, it took and hour or two to get the Radiator, A/C Compressor, Alternator, Powers Steering Pump off. I labeled everything as I went. I used zip lock bags for all the bolts. I also used cardboard with holes punched in it to keep my bolts in order.

I improvised for the fan blade since I couldn't get a spanner tool for that. I shoved a punch in the pulley hole and wedged it against the water pump to keep it still so I could loosen the fan bolt.

jaymiller 10-10-2010 03:23 AM

More on the Head
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When I finally got the accessories out of the way, I had this:

jaymiller 10-10-2010 03:44 AM

More on the Head
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I pulled the intake, fuel rail, and valve covers off. I tied the fuel tail to the hood along with all the wires and hoses. I used saran wrap to bundle stuff and keep crud from falling into the engine.

The engine actually looked good. 174,000 miles and little wear. Nice cross-hatched hone and no ridge on the cylinders. Cams have nice wear patterns. Only sludge was near the oil filler area.

The big PITA part of this job is removing the camshaft sprockets to get the timing chains off so you can remove the head. Set the Crank at TDC. The Chilton's explains it. Line up the TDC with the mark on the Crank/Balancer. Check that the Left (driver) cam "V8" mark is at 12 o'clock. Pretty straightforward.

This is where you need the spanner wrench. I didn't have one so I tried to weld a bracket like this guys:

jaymiller 10-10-2010 03:53 AM

More on the Head
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Since my bracket sucked and I'm too cheap to get a spanner tool, I bought a Vice Grip and tried to hold the cam still and use a breaker bar to get the Cam Bolt loose. Nope.

So I bought another Vice Grip (Lowes $10) and gripped the camshaft (not on the lobe of course) and had my pregnant wifey pull the breaker bar-worked great. Hold the cam so it doesn't roll too fast and bend any valves as it moves a little because of the valve springs etc.

Here's a pic of the cam and Vice Grips right after I removed the sprocket and put the cam bolt back on.

jaymiller 10-10-2010 04:11 AM

More on the Head
3 Attachment(s)
If you are just changing the Head Gasket and not opening the timing cover, you'll need to buy or make a wedge to put down in between the timing chain to keep it in place so it doesn't come of the engine Idler Sprocket and fall in the timing case. Google it and you'll find some dimensions-grab a block of wood, make a triangle that fits in there and wedges the chain in place before you remove the Camshaft Bolt. Use a string tied to your wooden triangle to pull it our when you reassemble your timing chain. Since I removed the Timing Cover, I didn't use the Wedge Tool. I zip-tied the Timing Chain to the Cam Sprocket and let it lay in the head/timing case area as I removed the head.

Here's a pic of the Left (drivers) cam sprocket and how I used a zip-tie to keep the sprocket and chain in sync so I didn't mess up the timing later. I used a marker to mark the chain link and cam sprockets as a back-up too. There's a pic of the wedge tool from another site too.

Right side sprocket zip-tie thingy pic added too.

jaymiller 10-10-2010 04:26 AM

More on the Head
3 Attachment(s)
Leave the Exhaust Manifolds bolted to the heads. It's way easier and you can just unbolt them on the bench. If you have as many miles as I have and live in the north east...get 4 bolts and nuts to re-attach the manifolds to the exhaust since you had to cut them off!

When I pulled the heads, I saw the #1 piston was "steam cleaned" while the rest were carbon black (normal looking). So I knew water was getting into that cylinder. I saw a little corrosion near the cylinder so I hope that's the only issue and cleaning and a new gasket will solve it.

The head bolts are reusable if you check them for stretch and straightness etc. Since I thought I'd mess that up, I bought new ones on ebay for $28 a head (4 ish for shipping). Not cheap, but better than blowing another one. The heads looked tired, but all the seats were fine and the valves were actually pretty clean for 174K miles.

I started to use this small Valve Spring Compressor I bought at Harbor Freight for $9 but found it can only get to the intake valves. Another trip to AutoZone for a big spring compressor.

jaymiller 10-10-2010 04:44 AM

More on the Head
6 Attachment(s)
Since my Ram was making that dreaded ticking noise on start-up I knew I needed hydraulic lash adjusters. So, I had already bought 8 of those and 16 valve seals too. I removed the cam caps a little at a time and kept them in order. I compressed the springs, cleaned the valves a little with a dremel and mini wire wheel. That was painfully slow so I used my air tool with a scotch-pad and cleaned them a bit.

I removed the injectors and used Throttle Body cleaner on them, cleaned them good, installed new O-rings on each end and reused them. There's some good youtube videos on how to clean them with a small battery switch etc. I just didn't have the patience and they seemed to bee in good shape.

I reassembled the valves, seals springs and cam with generous amounts of assembly lube.

$ Saver. Don't go buy or rent a in*lb torque wrench. Divide your in*lbs by 12 to get ft*lbs and use that.

If you look at the last pic you can see the new Lash Adjusters, Valve Seals, and the bearing that's cast into the head. I was surprised there's no replacable bearings. Bad bearing=bad head. Bummer. If you look close you can see some fine metal hanging off the right side of the bearing. I used a razor blade to remove it to prevent it from coming lose and into the oil galleys. I didn't use plastiguage or a dial guage to check any clearances of this cam. It's a wing-and-a-prayer on this job.

jaymiller 10-10-2010 05:28 AM

More on the Head
6 Attachment(s)
I got the Heads rebuilt, bolted the Exhault Manifold back on with some locktite and set them aside while I tackled the timing chains and tensioners. At first I didn't know the condition of the chains so I kept the sprockets zip-tied to the Secondary Chains just in case...I didn't want to make the timing set-up too hard. When I saw that the tensioners were worn throught the plastic and almost to the metal I bought:

2 Secondary Timing Chains
1 Primary Timing Chain
4 Secondary Chain Tensioners

I cleaned and re-set the Primary Tensioners (both) as shown in the Chilton's manual. I used vice grips and compressed the pistons, relieved the ratcheting piston and stuck a paperclip in the hole in front to keep it loaded while I installed it. I'll throw a post on here later when I find those pics. I reused all my sprockets because I'm cheap.

I installed the new Secondary Tensioners easily.

For the timing...

At first I zip-tied the Idler Sprocket to the Crank Sprocket and used a paint pen to mark the chains to the sprockets to keep things straight. Then when I got my new chains and saw the plated links and pink paint dots, I knew it was easier to just put the new chains on and zip-tie them in place as I built up the chains on the idler sprocket while it was on the bench.

The second picture shows the new primary chain around the crank and idler (big) sprocket. Notice the pink dots on the new Primary Chain at 12 o'clock on the idler and 6 o'clock on the crank sprocket. I zip tied the chain in the middle to hold them together while I worked on the other two secondary chains.

$ Saver...No chain holding tool needed

In the second picture behind the idler (big) sprocket you should see the two pink dots (also plated shiney links) in view at the 4 o'clock position in the slot (as if you're looking a tthe front of the engine). That's the first camshaft timing chain to put on (left /driver side). I zip-tied that chain together near the sprocket too to hold it in place.

In the third picture you'll see I added the right/pass side camshaft chain. The two pink dots on that chain are visible in the slot on the Idler Sprocket at the 8 o'clock position. I zip tied that as shown in the fourth picture.

In the fourth picture you see the Idler and Crank Sprockets from the back with all 3 chains around it.

As I installed the sprockets back on the engine, I pulled and fished the chain up between the tensioners and reached my hand in from the top head opening to grab I did that I used sissors and snipped the zip-tie holding the chain together near the Idler Sprocket. This kept the chains in the right place while I installed the sprockets and pulled them up through the tensioners to the Cam Sprockets where I again-zip-tied them up to keep them out of the way as shown in the last two pictures.

jaymiller 10-10-2010 05:32 AM

More on the Head
1 Attachment(s)
As I was bolting the Secondary Tensioner to the Left Head, I accidentally used the torque specification for a 3.7L instead of a 4.7 and cracked the head. Now I'm going to get it welded tomorrow and re-tapped. Hopefully it works out and I dont have to buy a new head. I'll let you guys know how it goes in a couple of days. Hope you guys got something out of these pics so far. There wasn't much out there for this timing set-up without using a service maual and special tools.

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