Easy cylinder head cleaning?

Discussion in 'Mazdaspeed 3/6 Engine' started by jsilva, Nov 28, 2020.

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  1. jsilva

    jsilva Silver Member

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    What is the easiest way to clean a cylinder head? I’m not wanting it to be pristine, just good enough. The head isn’t terrible and the shop machined the surface and said it’s in fine condition, just some carbon build up.

    I was thinking I’d have the shop do it but I’m near the end of my budget and need to save the remaining for unexpected purchases.

    I’m guessing the valves need to come out, but at this stage in my mediocre rebuilding carrier I don’t want to get into valve adjustments. Can valves be removed/installed without having to adjust them?

    Or better yet, can the head be adequately cleaned without removing the valves?

    Thanks!
     
    jsilva, via an iPhone, Nov 28, 2020
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  2. jsilva

    jsilva Silver Member

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    Here are some photos for reference.

    Two of the dirtiest intake valves:
    50A49876-8F6E-4562-884B-F5FA203C7F23.jpeg
    64711682-6B64-451F-A567-A01744256875.jpeg

    Exhaust:
    6BD2A021-4D67-4078-B5A8-9BDAA43EB6BC.jpeg

    Underside:
    13B70B22-6011-4631-B6EB-5A754707D2F3.jpeg
     
    jsilva, via an iPhone, Nov 28, 2020
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  3. L337TurboZ

    L337TurboZ Silver Member

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    Get ACDelco Top End cleaner. Take the camshafts off so all the valves are closed. Then fill one side at a time. Soak for a few hours then scrub the insides with a small plastic wire brush or toothbrush. Repeat until they are all clean. As for the combustion chamber flip the head upside down with all the valves closed and fill the chamber bowl with the same thing and repeat.

    Member gotovato used Easy Off Oven Cleaner to clean his valves and they look awesome. Just use that in a ventilated area cause it produces a bunch of fumes. Wear gloves and follow that process as well.
     
    L337TurboZ, via a mobile device, Nov 28, 2020
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  4. jsilva

    jsilva Silver Member

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    Awesome, thanks! I’m assuming I don’t need to worry about the valve seals doing any of that?
     
    jsilva, via an iPhone, Nov 28, 2020
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  5. The_big_dill

    The_big_dill Greenie Member

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    IF the cylinder head is off the car, I would remove the valves and properly clean them with a SOFT wire wheel. This is a far more efficient and complete job than using chemicals. You will need a valve spring compressor to get this done though.

    Valve adjustment only needs to be done if the valves were machined. And typically, If I have the cylinder head machined, I also machine the valves, but it sounds like that is outside of your budget. Machining the valve seating surface is important because these engine failures are often caused by burnt exhaust valves. Machining the valves will reveal the severity of the pitting on the valves, which will either tell you how much more you should machine them vs. replacing the valves. I had to replace 2 valves because the pitting on them was so bad.

    Mark the location of each valve bucket, remove and clean the valve and put it back in the original location, then you don't have to worry about adjustment. Even safer option is to pull 1 valve at a time.

    Hope that helps.
     
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  6. jsilva

    jsilva Silver Member

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    That is very helpful, thanks!

    Part of my hesitation is that this is my first rebuild and while I know I can do it I’m also feeling like I don’t want to take on too much—I need to get the car running by Jan and I’m quite busy. And since this will be a fun daily driver for me I don’t need to be too particular about things. But I also want to do what I can while it’s apart. It’s been hard for me to find a balance.
     
    jsilva, via an iPhone, Nov 28, 2020
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  7. The_big_dill

    The_big_dill Greenie Member

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    All we can do is give you advice and share experience with you. It is up to you to figure out how invested you want to be.

    If you don't want to get them machined, then at least pull and clean them.
     
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  8. L337TurboZ

    L337TurboZ Silver Member

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    Those valves don't look horrible but they do need cleaning. I have seen DI LS engines with far more carbon build up than those have. If time is a factor (since you wanted it running by January) then try the method of pouring the fluid in the ports and cleaning them that way. But having the head off it is a better idea to pull the valves and clean them. This would also be a great time to replace all the valve stem seals seeing as the head is off the car if the engine is higher mileage.

    Lapping the valves and getting them refreshed will give you peace of mind that you aren't going to end up with cylinder leak down. If you do go this route and you remove all the valves, flip the head upside down after it has been reassembled and fill the combustion bowl with some ATF. Let it sit for a while and check all ports to make sure it isn't draining past the valve seats. If it holds the fluid then you chance of any leak down is low.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2020
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  9. jsilva

    jsilva Silver Member

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    Can you give a recommendation for a valve removal tool? Something cheap that doesn’t take a lot of effort to use? If I do decide to remove the values and replaces the seals I have to do this on a limited budget, and it looks like the seals will cost around $92 shipped, and that’s really pushing it for my remaining emergency budget.
     
    jsilva, via an iPhone, Dec 2, 2020
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  10. The_big_dill

    The_big_dill Greenie Member

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    The screw type valve removal tools that you can buy in harbour freight work well. The spring/latching style do not work with these cylinder heads.

    If $92 is pushing your budget, you may need to reconsider this project as there will be unexpected expenses along the way that may cost more.

    You can chance it with the used seals, but If you assemble the engine with the used valve seals and in 500 miles your engine starts burning oil, you will have to spend far more money and all your time to replace those seals, since they were not intended to be removed with the cylinder head on the engine.
     
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  11. jsilva

    jsilva Silver Member

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    Thanks, I’ll check that out!

    I wasn’t especially clear in what I said, but it’s not that $92 is pushing the emergency budget itself, it’s just that spending that takes away from the budget leaving less for other things that may come up. I’m keeping about $300 for unexpected things.

    Edit: this one? https://www.harborfreight.com/universal-overhead-valve-spring-compressor-60335.html
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2020
    jsilva, via an iPhone, Dec 7, 2020
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  12. Easter Bunny

    Easter Bunny Professional Engineer Platinum Member

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    Think of this more like a home renovation than car maintenance. Anytime you find yourself asking "should I do x while I'm in there" the answer is yes
     
    Easter Bunny, via a mobile device, Dec 7, 2020
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  13. jsilva

    jsilva Silver Member

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    I just saw that EdgeAutoSport has valve seals from Supertech. They’d be $22 vs $88 for OEM. Are the Supertech valve seals any good?
     
    jsilva, via an iPhone, Dec 7, 2020
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  14. drew10101010

    drew10101010 Silver Member

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    Supertech makes good products. Idk specifically for Mazda's since this my first one but I had Honda's before and everyone uses Supertech everything. I used Supertech stem seals in my b16 head. Make sure you oil them when installing.
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2020
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