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Cylinder Head Inspection/Repair

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Old 19 May 2012, 05:58 pm
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Default Cylinder Head Inspection/Repair

Making a second post as the Headgasket R&R got too full.

Applies to all N/A 2.4, and Euro 2.0 DOHC
(Note, most items apply to what I know about turbo heads, MAIN difference is exhaust valve quality,
and extra steam ports drilled in head deck [Although I've seen these drilled in N/A Heads, too])

Perform proper surface preparation to ensure engine gasket sealing, especially with the use of aluminum engine components and multi-layer
steel cylinder head gaskets.
NOTE: Multi-Layer Steel (MLS) head

The head must be cleaned before gauging straightness.
Scrape any scale off non-sealing surfaces, de-burr edges that may hold up
gauge, use sand paper (400 or so) on a LONG block to remove debris.
Under no circumstances use a scotchbrite pad/wheel, or anything that would remove metal in small areas or scratch.

Gauge (McMaster Carr 1144K41 ~$40) with .0015" feeler.

Factory specification is .004" warpage.

**After milling, ensure camshafts spin freely with head bolted down**
When head warps, then is milled, cam journals will still be warped, and BIG problems come later.
With this in mind, there's no limit to the amount you can mill, except the cutter hitting intake seats.

Chrysler gives a finish quality for the MLS gaskets; I don't follow it- You should.
(essentially calls for a finer finish than used to be standard.)
There's multiple types of mills- Grinders, Vulcan-Storm, sandpaper belts- You can even use your fathers old farm milling machine if it has enough table travel.
After milling, take a worn out sandpaper roll and smooth all edges. Take your time, don't slip and ruin your new finish.
If you bring it to shop, machinist will do this for you.

Cam Caps:
These will gall if oil starved. You can touch up gall spots with fine sandpaper, and radius mushroomed edges.
Note: These caps are a forever item- Even after hundreds of thousands of miles, they will be perfect as long as they get a good oil supply.

(Rockers and Valve adjusters (aka 'lifters')
These are about as foolproof as you get. Any adjuster/lifter will get a 'tick' in it if oil brings in dirt.

Valve springs never seem to give problems-
Don't mix keepers/retainers with old Neon parts, these too, changed.

Valves/ seats:
My preference is to NOT do valve jobs if it can be avoided.
Correctly refacing valves and seats takes a very long time, stems need to be 'cut' to return to factory installed height, valve springs shimmed to return to factory installed height and- cutting the seat 'recesses' valve, taking some performance. No one has time to do all this to your head, most likely they'll just grind all valves, touch seats with a stone, and slap it back together- Leaving it in worse shape than a good, used head.
So, If you find a bent a valve, simply replace it.
Some seat pitting will always be found on the 2.4. Use your own judgement.
There's been many reports of burnt exhaust valves on '01 & up 2.4, previous versions it was unknown- They used a different exhaust valve '00 and older.
(Note the turbo 'steam ports' drilled in this N/A head)

You can check for leakage by filling chamber with alcohol, then watching ports for leakage:

Don't confuse seepage (a but of carbon stuch under the valve) with leakage.

Both these items are troublefree. Only very few reports of leaking guide seals- I never bother to replace them. Guides, unlike older cars, seem to last forever.
Inspect stems through intake/exhaust ports- If there's gobs of buildup on one, disassemble and check guide clearance- Replace seal.
Bad Guide:

Camshafts will show 'fatigue' flaking on lobe tips, nearly every one I've pulled apart. Although this technically junks cam(s), I've never heard of a 2.0 / 2.4 lobe actually fail.
Aftermarket cams are of poor quality and will fail like old cams did.

Headbolt Inspection:
These are very trouble free. I don't bother inspecting anymore as they never stretch- I certainly don't replace them.

Head replacement:
I prefer used heads to 'remans' for aforementioned reasons.
There's three classes of head:
'94-'00 (has different intake bolt pattern, less exhaust bolts)
'01 (Bulge, small hole)
'02-'10 (Bulge, large hole)
'01 will fit any block, ports are same as '02 & up
You may drill an EGR passage or use a Chrysler block as needed for your vehicle's emission package.

Porting / 'gasket matchinng':
Please don't. These heads have excellent flow characteristics, only touch up severe casting flaws.
You can see this person totally destroyed 'velocity,' which factory had carefully built in:

Ports are already gasket matched:

People have used '00 and older heads on PT, I never have- So intake bolt drilling is where you need to focus.
These older heads are;
Sturdy- Many a Neon has a 2.4 swap with some crazy turbo trying to destroy some junkyard head.
Chromenut and fabreezai like this.

Last edited by UptownSport; 02 Jun 2012 at 07:31 pm.
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Old 19 May 2012, 07:50 pm
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Default Re: Cylinder Head Inspection/Repair

Awesome post. You have been a help to many including me. Thanks!

03 Dream stock___________________________ 04 Touring turbo lite stock_________ 02 Touring stock_____________________ The "Three Amigos"
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This is a great read from one of our own! Badglas
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Old 20 May 2012, 09:53 pm
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Default Re: Cylinder Head Inspection/Repair

Originally Posted by Busted_PT View Post
Awesome post. You have been a help to many including me. Thanks!
2X! awesome Uptown! great info!
Cheers! 2003 2.4, N/A, Touring, Supercharged, 5 speed. 126k..... Blew up that engine, building another to take the boost! Built a new engine, still working out some issuess.......
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Old 20 May 2012, 10:08 pm
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Default Re: Cylinder Head Inspection/Repair

Applause please everyone. Excellent thread!!!!!!!
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