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Cylinder Head Gasket Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Cylinder Head Gasket Replacement

Jared Fenton

Time:

6 hours6 hrs

Tab:

$130 to $1,200

Talent:

*****

Tools:

Stout 14mm deep socket and extension, breaker bar, torque wrench, torque angle indicator, straight edge, floor jack, two jack stands, two wheel chocks, safety glasses

Applicable Models:

Volvo C30 T5 (2008-13)
Volvo C30 T5 R-Design (2008-13)

Parts Required:

Head gasket, VVT solenoid seals

Hot Tip:

Follow the directions closely and inspect everything

Performance Gain:

No more overheating

Complementary Modification:

Perform valve job

A blown head gasket is never a fun job to carry out. It is not uncommon to have a water pump fail or a thermostat get stuck, which can result in engine overheating. The car typically runs fine for a few hundred miles after overheating, but it eventually begins to leak coolant and ultimately requires a complex head gasket replacement.

In this article, I'll go over the steps involved with actually removing the cylinder head from the engine on the Volvo T5. Removing the cylinder head requires you to do quite a bit of disassembly beforehand. Begin by jacking up the front of the car and securing it on jackstands. You'll also need to remove the front left (looking at the engine compartment) wheel liner. See our articles on Jacking up Your C30 and Front Wheel Liner Removal for more information.

You'll also need to do the following items. See our C30 technical article library for more information on each step. It is a big job, but possible if you take the time and read through each step.

• Remove the engine belts, harmonic balancer and timing belt

• Remove the VVT control solenoids and VVT units

• Remove the ignition coils and spark plugs along with the wiring harness

• Unplug the electrical connector to the turbo control valve

• Remove the air filter housing, air intake pipe and MAF sensor

• Drain the cooling system

• Remove the upper and lower intake plenums along with the fuel rail

• Remove the starter motor

• Remove the camshaft cover and camshafts

You'll need to use a stout deep 14mm socket to loosen each cylinder head bolt (green arrows).
Figure 1

You'll need to use a stout deep 14mm socket to loosen each cylinder head bolt (green arrows). I managed to break two different sockets attempting to get them loose. I'd also recommend leaving the engine mount (yellow arrow) attached. This will help you when getting them loose. Once the bolts are loose, support the engine below with a floor jack and remove the mount. Remove all the bolts and carefully lift the cylinder head off the engine block.

Shown here is the engine block with the cylinder head removed.
Figure 2

Shown here is the engine block with the cylinder head removed. The head gasket (green arrow) is located in between the head and the block. Inspect the cylinder head for damage between each cylinder. A blown head gasket will typically be damaged at the point where the gasket is the thinnest. Pull the old gasket up and off the block.

Note the dowel pins (green arrows) that locate the head gasket and the cylinder head on the block.
Figure 3

Note the dowel pins (green arrows) that locate the head gasket and the cylinder head on the block. You'll want to make sure these are sitting in the block. Often times they can pull out. Press them back in.

Be sure to clean out any dirt or debris that has fallen in each open cylinder before re-fitting the cylinder head.
Figure 4

Be sure to clean out any dirt or debris that has fallen in each open cylinder before re-fitting the cylinder head. You'll also want to vacuum out any coolant that may be left in the cylinders.

Set the cylinder head on a workbench.
Figure 5

Set the cylinder head on a workbench. Remove each of the five spark plug seals (green arrow) using a pick as shown here.

Note the discoloration on the cylinder head face (green arrow).
Figure 6

Note the discoloration on the cylinder head face (green arrow). This is a result of the sealant used to hold the cam cover in place as well as oil. You'll want to clean this off so there is a clean surface for the new sealant. A bit of brake cleaner with a mild Scotch Brite pad works well here. If you are having the head rebuilt, you won't have to do this. The rebuilder will clean the head.

If you decide to clean the head yourself, carefully lift each lifter out of its bore on the cylinder head and note its location.
Figure 7

If you decide to clean the head yourself, carefully lift each lifter out of its bore on the cylinder head and note its location. If you are re-using them, they must go back in the same bore.

One other thing to check is the mating surface along the bottom edge of the cylinder head.
Figure 8

One other thing to check is the mating surface along the bottom edge of the cylinder head. Often times, an overheating engine can warp the aluminum, resulting in a leak. Remove the lifters, turn the head over and check the clearance diagonally both ways using a level or a precision straight edge. There should be no gaps in between the straight edge and the head. If there is a gap, the mating surface will need to be machined straight. This is a job for the machine shop. On cars with higher mileage, I'd also recommend having the valves inspected and re-machined if needed.

You'll want to replace the lower O-rings for the VVT solenoids once the head is cleaned and ready to be re-installed.
Figure 9

You'll want to replace the lower O-rings for the VVT solenoids once the head is cleaned and ready to be re-installed. Use a small dab of RTV sealant to glue them in place on the head.

Place the new head gasket over the dowel pins on the engine block.
Figure 10

Place the new head gasket over the dowel pins on the engine block. This will correctly locate the gasket.

Shown here is one of the new bolts used to hold the cylinder head to the block.
Figure 11

Shown here is one of the new bolts used to hold the cylinder head to the block. Do not re-use the old bolts. These bolts are designed to stretch a certain amount when torqued. Before installing the bolts, wet one side of the threads (green arrow) with clean motor oil. This will lubricate and help seat the bolts when installed.

Now place the cylinder head over the gasket and install each bolt until it bottoms out.
Figure 12

Now place the cylinder head over the gasket and install each bolt until it bottoms out. You'll need to tighten each bolt in a particular sequence to insure proper sealing. This is done in three steps. Step one is to torque each bolt to 20Nm (14ft/lbs.) following the sequence shown in the picture. Start with number one and continue until you reach number twelve. Step two is to torque each bolt to 60Nm (44ft/lbs.), again, following the same sequence. Step three is to turn each bolt 130 degrees following the numerical sequence. You can do this using a torque angle indicator. Once step three is finished, you are all done. At this point, you're ready to re-fit the camshaft cover and re-assemble the rest of the engine. Assembly is the reverse of all the disassembly steps. Remember to put new coolant in and bleed the coolant system, when the engine's all buttoned up and ready to rock and roll, 'er run.

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