View Full Version : DIY: Head Gasket 1.8T w/ pics

03-03-2011, 10:56 AM
Have you just found out that your headgasket is leaking/blown? well damn. that sucks man, trust me. I know.

Well, theres a few options.

-1. Assume the position and take your car to the dealer and have them put the royal shaft in your bum for labor/parts.

-2. Take it to a indy shop and still pay $$$ and hope they don't mess anything up, seeing how it is one of them fancy Geerrr-man tuurbo'ed charged cars.

-3. Get some of that head gasket fixer stuff that you put in your coolant from AutoZone and see how that works out.

-4. Nut up and do it yourself. Show all your friends and everyone at the office how amazing your wrenchin' skills are, and brag about how much moolah you saved by doing it yourself.

First off, you're going to need all the basic tools in a "Mechanic's Tool Set", kinda like this:


- a pair of pliers:


- set of torque bits:


- some allen bits:


- torque wrench:


- and headbolt tool. If you have OEM headbolts. you'll need this tool:


- If you have ARP headbolts, you'll need this tool


You can get both of those tools from here: CLICKY (http://www.metalnerd.com/cat05.htm)

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I am assuming you know how to do most of this stuff, since you are attempting to replace your HG. So I'll keep it short as possible.
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****I am not responsible for any damage that you cause to your car or yourself, by following this DIY****

Well here it is. Ready for you to rip her apart, savagely.


Take out the headlights.


Remove the bumper cover and rebar


Remove FMIC and piping, Drain coolant. (I don't wanna hear it about the green coolant.)


Put the lock carrier into the service position, remove the serpentine belt tensioner and timing belt covers.



Remove timing belt hydraulic tensioner and timing belt.


Remove fuel injectors, and unplug the cam position sensor, and VVT solenoid. remove coil packs and take out the spark plugs. remove coolant line to the hardpipe, move coolant tank. remove PCV stuff. Also remove the coolant flange.


Remove lines to the turbo, pull the intake manifold back out of the way. Might as well disconnect the cat/downpipe/testpipe/whatever from the turbo.


Take off the valve cover and remove the plastic caps covering the intake cam.


This is the tool I am using since I am running ARP headbolts as of now.


Now, time to take out the headbolts. I always take them out in the order that you're supposed to tighten them. Not sure if its actually necessary, but I do it.


Now, after you take all the headbolts out, put the VC back on and put a nut on the middle stud, just keep it in place. get a good hold on the head and lift up, make sure you have something to put the head down on.




Now since you took it all apart, you should be able to put it back together. Obviously its just reverse order. Make sure that you clean both the block and head surfaces very well before you reassemble it.

Anymore, it only takes me around 2.5 hours to change a headgasket in a 1.8t. This took me around 2 hours just to tear down, since I decided that I would do a write up. and it was really nice out today, so I took my time. Make sure you give yourself a couple days to complete this, just to take your time and not make any costly mistakes, like not having the engine back in time, stuff like that.

HAVE FUN!!! and feel good about all the cheddah that you saved yourself. [wrench]

05-08-2011, 05:41 PM
So what sort of headgasket issue were you having? From the pic it looks like piston two is much cleaner than the others, was coolant leaking into that combustion chamber?

05-08-2011, 05:50 PM
it actually wasn't the headgasket. my head had cracked in the number two runner before the valves, leaking coolant into the chamber. so that was giving me the symptoms of a blown headgasket.

10-04-2011, 05:26 PM
Looks like you have an AMB head. Mine too is cracked on cylinder #2, inbetween valves. I have read a few more threads with people complaining of cracked heads, and it seems to be limited to the AMB. Whoever reads this DIY, be aware of this and get your head pressure tested to make sure it is good before putting it back on.

02-07-2012, 07:10 PM
I don't have my Bentley manual installed right now, just moved can't find my cd now :(, what's the torque spec for the stock bolts? I read something 45 + 1/2 turn, is that right?

02-07-2012, 07:27 PM
that sounds right, but I can't remember off the top of my head. I have the sheet in my garage, I can double check.

There should be a torque sheet that came with your headgasket

02-07-2012, 10:08 PM
Oh with the gasket, don't have that yet :) If you don't know it off the top of your head don't worry about, I was just gathering info on the project and figured I'd ask. I'll have my Bentley when it comes time to do the job.

Is there anything you can suggest that should be replaced at the same time? I'm getting all the gaskets, header, turbo to cat etc, new coolant and oil line washers, maybe just a new turbo mounting kit form ECS which has the turbo bolts plus all gaskets and washers etc. But if there's anything else you know from experience I'd appreciate it. I'm also doing my second timing belt job at the same time and since my 2 year old southbend clutch is slipping, no launches or hard driving just dd, I need to probably take the opportunity to rip it apart and see WTF is going on. I'm hoping it's just coolant leaking onto it as I suspect but I'll know only when I open it up.

02-26-2012, 05:51 PM
worrrrd..i felt so good after rebuilding my engine on my own..very rewarding and saves you like $28551945357.50 (:

11-23-2012, 10:09 PM
That's what I was going to ask as well.

What parts do you need to replace (obviously the head gasket itself)

What parts do you recommend replacing?

11-24-2012, 01:29 AM
nice writeup!

11-25-2012, 03:31 PM
How do you make sure everything is back correct regarding the timing and the cams and all the rotating parts?
This looks doable for a guy like me if I ever need to do it, but obviously everything has to be properly placed back in its correct position.
Do you mark with paint pens?
Whats the procedure here?

11-26-2012, 07:50 AM
Sorry, I never thought of bothering with explaining that.

The easiest thing to do would be to put the engine at TDC before you take everything apart. Then it'll be easy to line everything up when you're re-installing everything.

11-26-2012, 08:00 PM
How do you make sure everything is back correct regarding the timing and the cams and all the rotating parts?
This looks doable for a guy like me if I ever need to do it, but obviously everything has to be properly placed back in its correct position.
Do you mark with paint pens?
Whats the procedure here?

There are timing marks on the cams to match up to the head. Also make sure each timing mark on the the cams are exactly 16 links apart on the chain.

Then you will want to set your cams at TDC by matching the mark on the gear, to the mark on the head. Then go ahead and line up the timing mark on your crank pulley to the mark on your lower timing cover, setting it to TDC as well.

You are now ready to bolt the head back up to the block, and set your timing.

12-02-2012, 05:08 PM
Great write up,what fmic are you running

03-25-2013, 06:47 PM
Don't you just love inline 4's? There's nothing easier to work on.

04-23-2013, 12:15 AM
Roughly how much in parts to do a headgasket job? Assume a $60 head gasket + "X" in parts. How much is machining on the head--assuming just a slight warp?

If I tackle this--I'll do the timing belt, but just interested in the HG job number$?

04-23-2013, 07:17 PM
^I paid about $150 to have my head machined and jet washed. (....that's what he said?)
but other have found cheaper prices, this was just a local place 2 minutes from my house and he started it right when i handed it to him.
I also just bought one of the gasket sets which included just about everything for around $80 ish I think, and new head bolts was another $25 or something like that.

then there's everything else I replaced while it was off that added up

04-24-2013, 07:14 PM
Great write up,what fmic are you running

Thanks. Its a treadstone TR10E with custom piping.

06-16-2014, 07:58 PM
I don't have my Bentley manual installed right now, just moved can't find my cd now :(, what's the torque spec for the stock bolts? I read something 45 + 1/2 turn, is that right?

Just wanted to add to this write up.

As Dan mentioned, he removes the head bolts in the opposite order in which they are supposed to be installed and that is the correct way to do it.

This picture shows the head bolt removal sequence.


The head bolts should be torqued in three stages.

I – Tighten with torque wrench to 40 Nm.

II – Turn 90 (1/4 turn) further using a rigid wrench.

III – Turn 90 (1/4 turn) further using a rigid wrench.

This picture shows the head bolt install sequence.