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This page is not a step-by-step outline of how to install a cylinder head but rather a list of helpful tips that are most commonly overlooked or skipped that can cost you time and money.


Tips for Success:


1. Always refer to the Manufacturers Manual for Proper Installation Procedures and Specifications.


2. Match all the new parts you are replacing to the old parts to assure they are correct. To check the cylinder head for correctness you check the casting numbers from both the old and new head. ***Notes about casting numbers***GM/Chevy cylinder heads have casting numbers that are generally 6-8 digits. On a V8 GM cylinder head the casting numbers are under the valve cover. The V6 and 4 cylinder GM cylinder head casting numbers are on the back or side of the cylinder head. A Saturn cylinder head has 6-8 digit casting number that is on the front of the cylinder head. Ford cylinder head casting numbers are generally a combination of letters and numbers usually 4 -6 digits long. On most Ford cylinder heads, the casting number is underneath the valve cover. A Chrysler and Jeep cylinder head has a casting number that is 4-8 digits long and is underneath the valve cover. An Isuzu and Mazda cylinder head has a casting number that is usually 4-6 digits long and consist of both numbers and letters. Isuzu and Mazda casting numbers are on the side of the cylinder head. A Volkswagen cylinder head has casting numbers that are about 8 numbers long. The Volkswagen casting numbers are on the front of the cylinder head. Most Toyota cylinder heads do not have casting numbers. Click here for Casting Number List >


3. You should also check every port, water jacket, combustion chamber shape, water outlet, smog holes and various bracket and bolt holes to be sure they all match. If they do not match, you should immediately call King Cylinder Heads BEFORE installing the cylinder head.


4. Check and clean the cylinder head surfaces, intake manifold, valves cover surface and engine block surface for debris.


5. Place the cylinder head gasket on the block making sure the gasket is in the correct position. Many gaskets if installed backwards will bolt up but will block oil and water passages potentially damaging the cylinder head or engine. Note the gasket markings “top” and “front” to position correctly.


6. Always use new head bolts when recommended by the manufacturer. If you have a cast iron, American cylinder head with head bolts that are in good condition you can reuse them. Later model aluminum Japanese cylinder heads like Toyota, Mazda, Isuzu and even the 4 cylinder and V6 aluminum American cylinder heads from Ford, Chrysler and GM use torque to yield head bolts that must be replaced. Follow the torque sequences and specifications in the Manufacturers Manual. Failure to do so may cause head gasket failure, leaking head gasket or even crack the cylinder head.


7. Fill the cooling system and bleed the cooling system per the Manufacturers Instructions. Failure to do so will create air pockets that will cause the cylinder head to crack. Very Important.


8. When it is time to start the engine for the first time allow the engine to run at an idle between 1200-1500 rpm for about 15 minutes to allow the system to build appropriate pressure.


9. Check head bolts and valve tolerances and re-torque as necessary.





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