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Technical Removing aluminum head from cast Iron block

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by kabinenroller, Nov 4, 2020.

  1. kabinenroller
    Joined: Jan 26, 2012
    Posts: 788

    kabinenroller
    Member

    I am working on a 1937 Fiat Topolino A, I have all the nuts holding the head on the block removed, I had to soak them for a long time until they broke loose. Now I have to remove the head, I briefly tried to use a sharp putty knife between the head and block but I do not want to harm anything.
    Does anyone have any suggestions for safe removal of the aluminum head? There are 10 - 5/16”-24 studs and two 3/8” studs protruding through the aluminum head. (I know there is standard thread on an engine that should be metric, I am not sure why)
    This car is extremely unmolested, no modifications like most Topolino’s have.
    Thanks!
     
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  2. vtx1800
    Joined: Oct 4, 2009
    Posts: 1,416

    vtx1800
    Member

    If the engine will turn over possibly putting the plugs in and hitting the starter which would apply pressure in different areas as the engine turns over. Just a thought:)
     
  3. Deuces
    Joined: Nov 3, 2009
    Posts: 21,955

    Deuces
    Member
    from Michigan

    Squirt some wd-40 in the stud holes and let it sit for a couple of hours...
     
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  4. kabinenroller
    Joined: Jan 26, 2012
    Posts: 788

    kabinenroller
    Member

    Good thought. I will have to not wire the starter because I don’t trust the wiring in the car. I will be installing a new harness in the future.
     
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  5. kabinenroller
    Joined: Jan 26, 2012
    Posts: 788

    kabinenroller
    Member

    I have been soaking the studs with “Blaster” and some vintage Walker Manufacturing solvent. ( made when the good stuff was not outlawed) I shoot the studs every time I walk past the car.
     
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  6. X-cpe
    Joined: Mar 9, 2018
    Posts: 1,406

    X-cpe

    Or maybe days. Light tapping with a plastic hammer after each application of joy juice may help. Patience squared is your best friend.
     
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  7. inthweedz
    Joined: Mar 29, 2011
    Posts: 459

    inthweedz
    Member

    Is there any where to connect a chain to the head, and use an engine hoist / endless chain to apply lifting pressure??
     
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  8. If you can turn the engine over to top dead center on each cylinder, you fill the cylinders with air one at a time and see if it comes loose. If you don't have a leak down meter, remover the core of a spark plug and weld a air fitting to it. Thread it in the hole and fill with air. Unless it's really rusted to the studs, that should start the removal process.
     
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  9. indyjps
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 4,839

    indyjps
    Member

    Put a few of the head bolts back in before spinning it over. :D
     
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  10. nunattax
    Joined: Jan 10, 2011
    Posts: 2,789

    nunattax
    Member
    from IRELAND

    gentle heat ,heat heat heat
     
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  11. pirate
    Joined: Jun 29, 2006
    Posts: 712

    pirate
    Member
    from Alabama

    A sharp rap with a good sized rawhide mallet or good sized dead blow hammer will often loosen things up. I would be very careful about using any sharp objects trying to wedge it loose
     
  12. wulf powis
    Joined: Jun 19, 2017
    Posts: 64

    wulf powis
    Member

    dead blow hammer , squirt some oil in the cylinders, plugs back in and spin the engine via starter, should work. Pirates right on.
     
  13. 427 sleeper
    Joined: Mar 8, 2017
    Posts: 1,708

    427 sleeper
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    This may sound a little unorthodox but, could you fill a couple of cylinders with oil, with the spark plugs in and the valves closed, GENTLY bar it over by hand while heating around the studs? Kind of a hydraulic bump. EDIT- Wulf beat me to it. :rolleyes:
     
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  14. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 10,998

    jimmy six
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    1/2 acetone and 1/2 ATF always worked for me. Hit the head all around to held what ever you use to wick down.
     
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  15. This is a bit drastic, but has worked for me... Put nuts on the ends of the studs and weld them together, then turn the studs out. Give each stud a sharp wack with a dead-blow hammer before turning. You'll have to replace the studs, but it won't damage the head. It's not the head gasket holding it on but the corrosion in the stud holes.

    I did this because I didn't have the required 'puller' the factory specified to pull the head.
     
  16. larry k
    Joined: Feb 23, 2009
    Posts: 424

    larry k
    Member

    If it's a flat head ? just loosen all the head bolts 3 rounds and start it up . Worked on a 239 ford years back !
     
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  17. TCTND
    Joined: Dec 27, 2019
    Posts: 301

    TCTND
    Member

    No surprise it's not metric. In 1937 it could have been any one of several thread standards. Be careful and don't throw anything away.
     
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  18. sdluck
    Joined: Sep 19, 2006
    Posts: 2,883

    sdluck
    Member

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  19. sdluck
    Joined: Sep 19, 2006
    Posts: 2,883

    sdluck
    Member

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  20. kabinenroller
    Joined: Jan 26, 2012
    Posts: 788

    kabinenroller
    Member

    Thanks guys. These are all great ideas. As for using the engine to force the head loose, I have some concerns because the engine is very small and I believe I could bend a rod very easily. This engine is a four cylinder flathead the size of a loaf of bread and puts out all of 13 hp.
    I have been tapping on the studs with a small nylon mallet to try and shock the solvent into the stud holes.
    The studs only protruded the thickness of a normal hex nut so locking two nuts together won’t work. I could thread one nut onto a stud then weld the nut on, but if the stud refuses to release from the block I’m screwed for sure.
    This car has not run in many years, the engine was stuck when it arrived here. I soaked the cylinders for months, then turned the crankshaft back and forth until it moved. A couple valves were stuck open but with further soaking and tapping on them with a small brass drift through the spark plug hole I was able to free them. The inside of the combustion chambers look like carbon build up (looking through the plug holes) so I want to pull the head and clean everything and inspect the cylinder walls. ( hopefully the engine will not need to be removed from the car for a rebuild)
    I appreciate all the suggestions and will try some of them. Please feel free to keep the ideas coming, I will report back with any progress.
     
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  21. Marty Strode
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 6,732

    Marty Strode
    Member

    If you damage it getting it off, I have an extra to give you. I also have an engine/trans combo, and some spare pieces. IMG_5704.JPG IMG_5705.JPG
     
  22. kabinenroller
    Joined: Jan 26, 2012
    Posts: 788

    kabinenroller
    Member

    Wow! I will definitely keep that in mind. Hopefully I will not damage anything. Thank You!
    Jim
     
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  23. Garpo
    Joined: Jul 16, 2016
    Posts: 248

    Garpo

    I had this problem with a Ford Flattie. had been sitting for years, and aluminium heads were seriously corroded onto the studs.
    I made a puller out of a piece of 1/2" plate. Drill to math the studs and the spark plug holes.
    Weld about 4" of all thread rod to some old spark plug bodies, and screw into plug holes. Put plate over the studs and use a handfull of about 3/8" bolts with nuts on underside. (see pictures) to line up with the head studs.
    Snug it up gently , Spray liberally with your favorite penetrant. and walk away. Next day gently tighten the nuts a bit more, more lube, and walk away. Slowly is the answer. The idea is to not damage the plug treads. Effectively pulling on spark plug threads, while SDC14356.JPG SDC14358.JPG SDC14361.JPG pushing on studs.
    My Ford head took 3 or 4 days to show any sign of moving. and about 14 days to remove. Undamaged. Second head took 10 days.
     
  24. oldolds
    Joined: Oct 18, 2010
    Posts: 3,299

    oldolds
    Member

    Heat can be your friend. Do you have access to a large volume of hot water? Run hot water thru it a while. a couple cycles of hot and cold may work. A friend worked at a place that had steam. He would take stuck water cooled engines and plumb them up. And cycle heat thru them. Stuck air cooled engines went in a box surrounded by steam. A lot of things would free up after a bit of that.
     
  25. pirate
    Joined: Jun 29, 2006
    Posts: 712

    pirate
    Member
    from Alabama

    I have no idea if this would work or not. But what about dripping some Ospho over the ends of the studs. Ospho main ingredient is diluted phosphoric acid which converts iron oxide (rust) to iron phosphate. It might loosen the rust around the studs which is probably the reason the head won’t come off. Phosphoric acid is used in the anodizing of aluminum process so shouldn’t hurt the cylinder head. Again have no idea if it would work but don’t think it would hurt anything. Just another idea.
     
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  26. Deuces
    Joined: Nov 3, 2009
    Posts: 21,955

    Deuces
    Member
    from Michigan

    Yep! It's about the size of a loaf of Wonder Bread! Damn, I miss that bread.....:(:rolleyes:
     
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  27. Thats nice. Wonder where all the other Topolino engines went to when the Topo,s were built into race cars ?
     
  28. Marty Strode
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 6,732

    Marty Strode
    Member

    I suppose they were scrapped. For those not familiar with the running gear in these little cars, it's a different arrangement. The engine is mounted as far ahead and low as possible. With the slope of the hood, the radiator is placed behind the engine, and the fan is driven off the back side of the generator. IMG_5706.JPG IMG_5709.JPG IMG_3055.JPG
     
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  29. Marty
    That doesn't look like the same engine sitting in front of the car, as in the first 2 pictures. Optical illusion?
     
  30. Marty Strode
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 6,732

    Marty Strode
    Member

    Good eye, I thought it would fit, since Fiat and Chrysler are together as a company, but I am going to have to settle for a 215 Buick V-8.
     

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