How to Give Your Old Motor a New Lease of Life

Posted on: 22 May 2018

Modern-day vehicles are designed to last for up to 100,000 km without any major failure. This is a testament to advanced technology, as well as to some of the latest materials available. However, vehicles from a generation or so ago were not as well built and may not be expected to last for such a long time. If you have one of these older motors in your driveway you may have noticed that it hasn't been performing as well in recent times and may be wondering whether the engine is 'okay.' It may indeed be time to breathe some life into the power plant and the first place to look is the cylinder head itself. What do you need to look at here?

Where Wear Is Most Evident

As you may know, the power in an internal combustion engine originates within its block, where the pistons turn the crankshaft that transmits power to the driving wheels. However, the "explosion" that forces those pistons up and down begins within the cylinder head, where a complex array of valves and shafts work in tandem. As this part of the engine endures so much wear and tear over its lifetime, it's the first place to start when it comes to renewed performance.

How a Cylinder Head Is Reconditioned

You need to have a good look at the cylinder head by dismantling the engine and separating the major parts. Each individual component within the head will then need to be disassembled by itself and scrupulously cleaned before being examined very closely. Carbon deposits will have built up within the head over time and these may need to be sandblasted to get rid of them before being introduced to an acid bath. This will ensure that all surfaces are meticulously clean, although they may be buffed as well to perfect the finish.

It may not always be possible to detect any issues with the naked eye and this is where some special machines are introduced. To begin with, the cylinder head is pressure-tested to reveal the presence of any cracks. A special type of fluid is injected into the cylinder head that can be detected using this equipment to reveal the presence of cracks.

If it is structurally sound then the engineer may need to machine certain parts of the head to regain the original tolerances specified by the manufacturer. In particular, they will look at where the valve seats open and close as they control how much fuel and air enters the chamber.

Once all of the detailed work has been performed, the head will be re-cleaned one final time to get rid of all the debris caused by machining. As everything is being reconstructed, the engineer will carefully inspect the job before it is returned to the vehicle.

Engaging the Right Team

Although this is certainly a specialised job that needs the right amount of experience and proper equipment, it can definitely be cost-effective and may return your car to the rudest of health. Make sure that you get a skilled team involved in helping you cylinder head reconditioning.