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Old 01-24-2017, 07:38 PM   #1
2000sl1blue
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Dazed Checking for cracked head

I'm wondering what I should look for visually to determine if my head is cracked. On the bottom which meets the engine block, I see no cracking. But the head gasket did have many enlarged holes.

I'm also curious if there are supposed to be two hallow stud like things on the head, which mine has.(One on head, other on block.)



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Old 01-24-2017, 08:29 PM   #2
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Default Re: Checking for cracked head

Yes, those 'hollow stud things' are definitely supposed to be there. They're for keeping head gasket in place during installation and proper alignment of head to block during installation. They might also serve to prevent misalignment between block and head during heating and cooling expansion and contraction.

You really need to take the head to a machine shop to get pressure checked. You can do a search on the forum, but I believe the place where the SOHC heads crack is 'internal' by one of the cam journals, and it's a pretty small crack that might be hard to visually confirm without pressurization. The last time I took a head to a machine shop to get it pressure checked it was $50. You may have to remove the valves and camshaft, call the machine shop ahead of time and ask. They can do it, but it might cost extra. Wouldn't be a bad idea to get them to check the head surface for warpage while it's there, or you can do it yourself with a machinists straightedge and feeler gauges.

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Old 01-24-2017, 08:47 PM   #3
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Default Re: Checking for cracked head

I just read your post about taking the camshaft sprocket off. You really need to get a Haynes manual. Yeah, they're not perfect, and a lot of guys on this forum piss on them, but the general guidance they give you is valuable. I rebuilt my first engine using one with no outside help or tech school training when I was 17.

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Old 01-24-2017, 10:56 PM   #4
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Default Re: Checking for cracked head

Thank you! And yes, I really should get the manual.. I always have questions and curiosities haha.

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Old 01-25-2017, 12:11 AM   #5
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Default Re: Checking for cracked head

So I found this... I'm not certain it's a crack however. It may just be that oil pulled around where it curves. When cleaned off, its not visible.

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Old 01-25-2017, 12:22 AM   #6
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Default Re: Checking for cracked head

This thread shows where the SOHC's typically crack: http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=157782

For non-S-Series I'd agree the Haynes & Chiltons is a useful book to buy...for the S-Series however there's better cheaper ways to get 250-400pgs of kindling. The 400pg (est) Chilton's manual you can't get anymore covers only '91-'98 while the 250pg (est... it's about half the size of the Chiltons) Haynes covers '91-'02. I saw 5 lug hubs and V6 engines in my S-Series Chilton's too...real confidence inspiring stuff...lol

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Old 01-25-2017, 08:52 AM   #7
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Default Re: Checking for cracked head

Machine shop for a flatness/pressure and Magnaflux check.

HOme bench testosition the head upside downand level-fill the combustion chambers with mineral spirits to see if leaks out.

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Old 01-25-2017, 11:28 AM   #8
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Default Re: Checking for cracked head

FWIW I have a 95 SOHC head I'd let go for almost nothing + shipping from 55101

I joke that it was dropped once, because it was. But it came off a great running engine that I was more interested in the lower end of.

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Old 01-25-2017, 12:03 PM   #9
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Default Re: Checking for cracked head

This is one of those times, where IMO, there is no substitute for a professional.

Take the head to a machine shop.

I think I have had every possible experience when dealing with head gaskets ... from changing them in the pits at the dirt track with absolutely no proper prep or procedure (and having them seal just fine) ... to spending DAYS hand blocking and checking with a machinist straight edge and feeler gauges (and having them leak worse after reassembly than they were before).

But what I haven't had (yet), was a head that was professionally checked and prepped by a machine shop ever fail prematurely. In short, it is money well spent if you want to be sure the head is good, and be sure you won't be tearing everything back apart again, when you actually thought you were "done" with your project.

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