Replacing the LuvBus Head Gasket – Part 1

Or “What I did on Sunday”

Last summer the LuvBus (my friend Bil’s VW Camper Van) blew a head gasket in Blue Earth, MN on our way home from MT.

The LuvBus had to be trailered home.
The LuvBus had to be trailered home.

Yesterday we started tearing the motor down. Lots of photos below the fold.

Getting started.
Getting started.
The cramped engine bay.
The cramped engine bay with a 24 valve VR6 motor in it.

You pretty much have to take the whole front end apart to get into the motor. So here we go.

First we took off the grill and the bumper cover. The radiator pivots forward at this point, but the head is very deep in the engine bay and it’s obvious that we need to pull more stuff off the front.

We also have some more coolant in the system that needs to come out. This will be a recurring issue because we didn’t find the actual drain plug until much too late. It’s very buried.

Draining some more precious bodily fluids.
Draining some more precious bodily fluids.
Precious bodily fluids!
Precious bodily fluids!

We removed the bumper structure and the right side radiator hoses so that we could swing the radiator out of the way. We ended up suspending it from theĀ ceiling, but I have since seen photos where people have stood it on end on the floor. The head light assemblies came out too because they are attached to the bumper structure.

Finally - Access!
Finally – Access!

 

Another shot of the suspended radiator.
Another shot of the suspended radiator.

We removed the top half of the intake manifold, but we might not have needed to. There are no bolts inside to attach it to the engine. But it probably made it easier to remove the bottom half without the top attached.

The butterfly valves that open for more power (I assume) are controlled by a vacuum motor and frozen in the open position. We’ll be fixing that.

Intake manifold.
Intake manifold.

After three hours we can actually see the top of the head. Say hello to the valve cover.

Finally, the valve cover.
Finally, the valve cover.

After a short break for a tuna salad sandwich, we removed the valve cover.

Look, cams and valves!
Look, cams and valves!

The inside of the valve cover.

Bill says "Yuck, it's dirty!"
Bill says “Yuck, it’s dirty!”

We took cam chain cover off (which was another pain in the ass) and then had to stop for two reasons:

  1. It was dinner time.
  2. We need a special tool for the head bolts. I think I have one, but I’m not sure if it’s the right size.

So this is how we left it.

Here we stopped.
Here we stopped.

The next step will be removing the head. That takes some messing about with the cams and the cam chain so we can time it back up again when we are putting it back together.

Bil is probably going to send the head out and get it decked. We’ll take a look at the valves and see if they need grinding, but since there are 24 of them that might get expensive…

%d bloggers like this: