Head removal, HELP!!!!

Wed Feb 04, 2004 10:15 am

I have a '57 cub that I am trying to restore. I am having much difficulty in removing the cylinder head. I am wanting to take it off to inspect the internals. As far as I know, this head has never been removed. The head bolts were truly gaulded & I ended up snapping the head off of three of them. The only thing that I can imagine holding the head in place is the steel gasket, but it won't budge. I have been working around it for quite a while with small chisels & thin wedges, but with no success. I have worked the wedges about 3/8" in, all around the head. How hard would it be for me to crack the head? Could I run a reciprocating saw, or a hack saw between the flanges? I am not sure which way to go right now. Any help that you might be able to give would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Steve

Wed Feb 04, 2004 11:00 am

Put a few of the head bolts back in loosely (with the plugs in the head) and crank the engine over. The compression should pop the head loose. If what you've done so far hasn't damaged the head, this shouldn't either.

Wed Feb 04, 2004 11:08 am

There are 15 head bolts, make sure they are all out. If the broken ones are stcking up into the head, soak them with penetrating oil to loosen any rust. Yes the head is easy to crack, and I would not try the sawzall. From past experience (not on a cub head) it would be easy to do a lot of damage.

Wed Feb 04, 2004 11:24 am


If you have only snapped the heads off, it's the shanks corroded and expanded in the holes that is your problem. Otherwise, they would have snapped at the thread. A really nasty situation! I had that happen only once, and it was only one bolt. I was lucky it was the one closest to the water neck and I was able to eventually get it to loosen by heating the casting inside the water opening.

At this point I think I would consider risking the head and drill the bolts out. It would be safest and easiest to do it on a good machine tool, but that would require removing the crank. Maybe only drilling part way would be enough.

This is why we recommend sealing the threads well since the end of the head bolts enter the water jacket.

Thread Sealant?

Wed Feb 04, 2004 11:41 am

This is why we recommend sealing the threads well since the end of the head bolts enter the water jacket.


What kind of sealant should be used?

Re: Thread Sealant?

Wed Feb 04, 2004 11:58 am

Daniel H. wrote:

What kind of sealant should be used?

Only time can tell for sure. I hope the teflon paste I use passes the test. I've used it on quite a few. Steve's problem suggests that coating the entire bolt is a good idea.

There are other sealants that might work, but I'm afraid they might screw up the torque readings.

Wed Feb 04, 2004 8:08 pm

That sure sounds like a challenge, sorry I can't offer any advice except to remain patient. The other nite I removed the head off my '67 and 2 of the longer bolts in the center portion of the head would not budge. I took a risk and put a long pipe on my ratchet, soaked them for awhile with Liquid Wrench and very gently nudged them loose. The Problem: Carbon built up on them so bad they just got stuck in there. Some major blowby happening on that head gasket.

Wed Feb 04, 2004 10:56 pm

These guys know what they are talking about and have pointed inthe right direction. Do what BD said first. Then try the penetrating oil ( use a good one like PB Blaster or Castle Thrust or Free all) This may take a while or may not work. If not u will have no other option but to drill out the bolts.

If you have to drill out the bolts. Center punch then carefully going from small to larger drill bits drill out as much of the bolt as you can. measure the distance from the top of the head to the block and mark that on your drill bits. After you have drilled out the bolts completly the head should come off.
The drill may walk a bit but should not scar up the head too much if you are careful. let us know when you have the head off. I haver a neat way to get broken bolts/studs out.

Thu Feb 05, 2004 9:36 am


If you have to drill it out - and I hope you don't have too :!: :roll: :( , then I would suggest you read the wonderful article that George Willer wrote and sent for posting to the manual server.

Removing Broken and Stuck Head Bolts

Follow his advice and you should have no problems whatsoever!

Happy bolt removal :D

Thu Feb 05, 2004 9:15 pm

If I was going to drill them out, I would try drilling maybe 2/3 of the way through the head then try soaking it again. Fill the part that was drilled with penetrating oil and leave it for a week. With most of the bolt drilled out, you have a lot better chance of pulling the head than with the whole bolt there. (I am assuming the heads tristed off and most of the bolt is still there.) If you get the head off this way, you still have some bolt sticking out of the block, giving you something to put the vice grips on when you get to trying to remove the rest of it.

Head removal

Fri Feb 06, 2004 1:16 am

Thanks for everyone's input. I'll let you know what happens next. ( I hope it's something good [ Got my fingers crossed!] )

Steve :roll:

Fri Feb 06, 2004 8:35 pm

Hi Steve,

I am sorry to hear of your dilemma and I can't offer any help toward solving this one. However, for the future I would recomment that you
get yourself a good manual/hand impact tool. I sure has saved me
lots of trouble. I have found that by soaring with Kroil [penetrating
oil] for a few days and then using the hand impact tool most rusted
bolts/nuts will pop loose.

GOT IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mon Feb 09, 2004 8:19 pm

After quite a bit of tedious drilling ( hoping I didn't go through the side! ) & a lot of penetrating oil, the head is finally off, without any damage. I sure hope that I don't have to ever go through that again! It looks as if there is going to be a total overhaul of the engine. I,ve never seen so much carbon buildup before. I guess that can happen to a 47 year old tractor, huh? Once again guys, thanks tremendously for your help. I,m sure that it won't be the last time that I have to holler. Steve

:D :D :D