Heads are Done! - New Tool Trick
Thanks for everyone's help with my recent project. I had cracked heads that I replaced over the last week or so. I was able to do the job in my driveway with mostly basic tools. For those of you who haven't done the job yet, here are some tips and lessons learned:
1. The job of removing the heads, installing ARP studs, and new gaskets is not hard, but it is time consuming. I now see why the dealerships estimate this job at 20 hours!
2. Label EVERYTHING in zip-loc bags as you remove them.
3. This job can be completed with the cab on. But to make it INFINITELY easier, go get the AC evacuated first, then remove the evap core / motor housing from under the hood. Once you remove the AC Connections under the hood, there are only five nuts inside and the whole unit pops off. Then remove the radiator and fan. Now you can actually stand inside your engine bay when you are working on the vehicle.
4. For the ARP studs, you're going to need to torque them to 210 lbs.ft., so you may have to buy or borrow a bigger than normal torque wrench.
5. Also remove the passenger side wheel well, this will also help make access easier.
6. And yes, the driver's side rear bolt is a PAIN to install, but rather than buying the $60 Snap-on tool (SRD35) you can cut apart a socket universal, and weld a similar tool together yourself. (See my other posts for pictures of mine.)
And now for my tool tip....
After I started the truck back up with the new heads I heard an exhaust whistle. I was going to be pretty upset with myself if it was behind the turbo, but I got lucky, and it was just the passenger side up-pipe. It wasn't seated to the manifold well. But holding the top of the flange bolts when trying to unscrew the nuts was a pain. I couldn't get a standard Craftsman box-end wrench on top of the bolt. So I told an old wrench, and heated it near the box end, thinking that I would bend it kind of like a spoon. Well, I ended up snapping the wrench handle off about 3/4 of an inch up. So I was left with the box end, and a nub of the handle. At first I was upset, then thought about it, and realized that this would be better than what I was going for. I tried it, and sure enough, it worked great.
When you put the box-end over the bolt head, and turn the nut, the nub of the handle rotates against the up-pipe and holds the bolt head in place. And since you don't have all of the extra weight of the rest of the wrench handle, it doesn't fall off! So the next time you have to work on those up-pipe bolts, forget the "half-moon" wrenches you still have to hold with one hand, just take a junk 13mm wrench, cut most of the handle off, and bingo! Perfect tool!
Good luck all! And feel free to ask questions if you are getting ready to do this job yourself.
Last edited by Gus_hauler; 07-07-2013 at 09:09 PM.