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Do It Yourself - Outdoor Power Equipment Repair & Maintenance

Replacing a Cylinder Head

Replacing a Cylinder Head Posted in Small Engines

Your Cylinder Head is cracked. Now what?

Replacing a damaged Cylinder Head is something you may need to do to your small engine at some point. These tips are a guideline to help you successfully and safely replace your cylinder head.

Before you get started, consult your owner's manual for specific guidelines and tools you may need for the power equipment you are working on.

Once you have consulted your owner's manual, find a clean, safe place to work and follow the guidelines below for some helpful tips on replacing your cylinder head.

1. Remove the grass screen shield and the grass screen.

Remove nuts from screen guard
remove bolts from grass screen

2. Remove the four bolts holding on the engine cover, then remove the cover.

remove engine cover bolts
remove engine cover bolts

3. Remove the engine shroud from the side of the engine you are servicing.

remove shroud from cylinder head you're replacing Removing the left cylinder head

4. Now remove the two bolts holding the fuel pump bracket to the cylinder head then remove the vacuum line coming from the fuel pump to the cylinder head. It is only held on to the head by a spring clamp. Once the bolts and clamp are removed you can move the pump out of the way. Remove breather hose and bolt from cylinder head.

remove fuel pump with bracket
remove breather hose and bolt

5. Remove the two intake bolts from the cylinder head and the four nuts holding the muffler to the left and right cylinder heads. Then you can remove the muffler.

remove intake bolts
remove exhaust pipe and nuts
remove exhuast pipe and nuts

6. Remove the two bolts holding the valve cover on, then carefully remove the cover trying not to damage the gasket. If the gasket tears coming off its no big deal, that just means it needs to be replaced.

remove valve cover and bolts
remove valve cover gasket if damaged

7. Now that the valve cover is removed you can remove the five bolts holding the cylinder head on. On some engines there are different length bolts so it is critical to remember where each bolt came from. After the bolts are removed you can now remove the head.

remove the 5 cylinder head bolts
5th cylinder head bolt
cylinder head removed

8. Depending on your make and model of engine you may have to transfer all the valve train components to the new cylinder head. If you have to transfer valve train components consult your manufacturers service manual for specific directions.

new head with valve train installed

9. After removing the old head gasket, thoroughly clean off any gasket material left with a gasket scraper. If using an air powered gasket removal tool be careful not to use too abrasive of a disc. After cleaning everything you are ready to install the new head and gasket.

remove old head gasket
remove old gasket material
clean off grease residue
cleaned mating surface

10. Install the new head and gasket. Run the bolts in hand tight so the head and gasket are held in place. For the proper torque and sequence consult your manufacturer service manual.

install cylinder head and gasket

11. After torquing the cylinder head to the proper torque, you are ready to install the push rods and adjust the valves. For the proper clearances consult your manufacturers service manual.

12.Once you are done adjusting the valves you can reassemble everything you took off in the opposite order.

When you're finished, test out your equipment to make sure it works. Remember, these are only guidelines. For specific requirements consult your owner's manual.

Jack's Safety Tips: Before servicing or repairing any power equipment, disconnect the spark plug and battery cables. Remember to wear appropriate safety glasses and gloves to protect against harmful chemicals and debris. View our Disclaimer.