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  1. #1
    Platinum Member KYErik's Avatar
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    Default Best way to clean engine block top for head gasket?

    This is a car question but I am sure it will also apply to tractors

    I am replacing a head gasket and I just got my car's cylinder head back from the machine shop- the head's mating surface has a nice mirror finish. I have been cleaning the top of the engine block for about 2 hours with a gasket scraper, razor blade and carb cleaner/rag, but it still looks like there is a dark film on the block with the old gasket's pattern. I can barely feel bumps with my fingernail in a few places- otherwise it feels smooth.

    I think steel wool would clean it up, but I don't want all of those tiny pieces of steel going into the cylinders or oil return passageways.

    Any suggestions on how to get the cylinder block top completely clean and smooth?
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Best way to clean engine block top for head gasket?

    I wouldn't sweat it past what you've done. Drain the radiator juice out of the block, use a rag with laquer thinner then acetone on the block and in the cylinders. Rotate the engine to raise up any grunge and clean it out. Dribble some ATF into the cylinders to ensure that the rings are well lubed. The solvents can dry them out.

    Reassemble and change the oil - good to go.

    jb

  3. #3
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  4. #4
    Epic Contributor Soundguy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best way to clean engine block top for head gasket?

    I use brake or carb cleaner.. then the razor blade.. then wipe clean and go..

    Soundguy

  5. #5
    Super Member Farmwithjunk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best way to clean engine block top for head gasket?

    Quote Originally Posted by Soundguy
    I use brake or carb cleaner.. then the razor blade.. then wipe clean and go..

    Soundguy
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  6. #6
    Super Star Member RoyJackson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best way to clean engine block top for head gasket?

    As an addition to what the other guys said...
    Don't go too aggressive on that surface. You don't wan't to make it wavy. Once all the remnants of the old gasket are gone (to touch), you're done.
    Also, don't forget to retorque that head after some hours (If you have a manual, go by what the manual says. If not manual, you could ask one of you local dealer's technicians or do it after about 500 miles.)
    Roy Jackson

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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Best way to clean engine block top for head gasket?


    I second that!!!! Just got through with cleaning up a block for my car.

  8. #8
    Super Member
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    Default Re: Best way to clean engine block top for head gasket?

    unfortunately, this is an abrasive. Some will get in cylinders and water jacket and be very difficult to remove thoroughly in a partially assembled engine. Not necessary to clean down to the bare metal - surface oxides are ok - scraping works very well on cast iron, --- care to prevent gouging on aluminum.
    larry

  9. #9
    Platinum Member
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    Default Re: Best way to clean engine block top for head gasket?

    I've always used a small straight-bristle wire brush chucked in an electric drill for the final clean on cylinder heads/blocks. Take it real easy and/or use a very soft brush if either one's aluminum!

    -Jay

  10. #10
    Super Member RickB's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best way to clean engine block top for head gasket?

    More cast iron block decks are prepped with scoth-brite pads by professionals that I know than all other methods combined. There are ways to keep oil and coolant passages as well as cylinder bores sufficiently clean. Never saw a head or block deck too clean to assemble or seal.

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