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How to replace a head gasket on a 2000 Jeep TJ

Updated on August 21, 2010

How to replace a head gasket on a 2000 TJ, 6 cyl 4 Ltr

Man, what a job. Thank god i was able to use a full shop.
Took the valve cover off and the sludge that was in my engine! Man it was as thick as butter in the fridge. The spark plugs were toast. Two out of the four cylinders were dead. The biggest surprize was that fact the jeep was able to run at all.

So here's a small write up....

Things you need

  • Head gasket kit (the kit comes with all the gaskets needed, cheapest place I found it was at Centennial Chrysler in Barrie for $209)
  • All new head bolts (chances of breaking the old ones are high and its much easier to but new ones in then the old rusted one)
  • New spark plugs (why put old ones back in)
  • Oil filter (again, why not you have to drain the oil anyway)
  • Oil, coolant and power steering fluid
  • Drip tray to catch the oil and coolant
  • Baggies for bolts
  • Sharpie to mark what bolts go where on the baggies
  • Metric socket set (regular and deep)
  • Metric wrenches
  • 13 mm deep socket (12 point) for the head bolts
  • Torque wrench
  • Grinder and sanding disc to remove the old gasket from the head
  • Pry bar to remove and install the fan belt
  • Flat head screwdriver
  • A handful of quick ties
  • A buddy to help

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Align all the push rods in order on a piece of cardboard.  This will keep them in the proper order.All of the push rods cleaned and in orderThe Bad head gasket
Align all the push rods in order on a piece of cardboard.  This will keep them in the proper order.
Align all the push rods in order on a piece of cardboard. This will keep them in the proper order.
All of the push rods cleaned and in order
All of the push rods cleaned and in order
The Bad head gasket
The Bad head gasket

Step one...The tare down

All bolts were each placed in a baggies and mark what they were from to aid in reassembly.

  • Disconnect the battery
  • Drain all the fluids (oil, coolant).
  • Remove stuff from passenger side
  • ----- remove the air intake
  • ----- remove spark plug wire assembly (leave the old plugs in place at this time)
  • ----- remove coolant hoses (upper rad hose, two heater core hoses)
  • ----- remove the fan belt by pressing down on the tension pulley (you'll need a friend for this - and watch you fingers)
  • ----- remove alternator (remove the upper mounting plate bolts, leave the lower bolts in place) - 14 mm
  • Remove the stuff from the driver side
  • ----- remove power steering pump (three bolts and the lines)
  • ----- remove the wiring harness (just gently pry off the studs with a screw driver) **NOTE** MAKE SURE YOU KNOW WERE EACH WIRE GOES we marked each plug with a number and then marked each socket with the same number. If the plug did not go to a plug it was not marked.
  • ----- disconnect the throttle cable and spring on the intake
  • ----- remove the throttle cable mount
  • ----- remove the intake and exhaust manifold bolts (14mm). The lower bolts are a bitch to get to. Quick tie the intake up an out of the way. No need to remove the fuel injectors.
  • Remove the valve cover
  • Remove the rockers and push rods - **NOTE** Each set of rocker arms and push rods were placed in order on a box as they must be replaced in the same order
  • Remove the head bolds
  • Remove the head assembly (you'll need your friend to help you lift it out of the engine compartment)

Part Two... The clean up

  • Clean off the guk from the head assembly and the rockers
  • Remove the old spark plugs
  • Use the grinder an sanding pad to remove any of the old head gasket that is stuck on the head assembly. Careful not to pit the face of the head.
  • Clean out all the bolt holes on the head assembly with some compressed air (watch your eyes)
  • Clean up the engine block (making sure the old head gasket is cleaned off)

Part Three... The reassembly

  • Put the new head gasket on the engine block (make sure its aligned with the alignment pins)
  • Carefully place the head assembly back on the block, ensuring the gasket is not moved or pinched (use a friend to help lift it)
  • Torque the head down (100 lbs) with the new bolts (13mm deep socket - 12 point is required)
  • Replace the rocker arms and push rods (torque down cap screws to 21 lbs)
  • Replace the valve cover
  • Replace the stuff on the driver side
  • ----- Replace the exhaust manifold
  • ----- Replace the intake manifold (there are two alignment pins it sits on - front/back), the lower mounting bolts are a bitch to get to
  • ----- Replace the power steering pump (if you are having issues aligning the bolt holes, the intake manifold is not aligned correctly - remove and readjust)
  • ----- Connect the power steering pump lines
  • ----- Replace the wiring harness and connect the wires (make sure they are in the correct spot)
  • ----- Replace the throttle cable mounting plate
  • ----- Reconnect the throttle cable and spring
  • Replace the stuff on the passenger side
  • ----- Change the oil filter
  • ----- Replace the alternator an mounting bolts (14mm)
  • ----- Gap and install new spark plugs (0.035 inch)
  • ----- Replace the spark plug wire assembly
  • ----- Replace the coolant hoses (upper rad hose, two heater core hoses)
  • ----- Replace the fan belt by pressing down on the tension pulley (you'll need a friend for this - and watch you fingers)
  • Replace the air intake
  • Top up the fluids (oil, coolant and power steering fluid)

Part Four...the test

Give it a start... If the engine starts and automatically revs up to max then the intake manifold is not aligned correctly. Shut down, remove the intake and realign and try again (make sure the power steering pump is remove before realigning).

She will burn some oil for a bit but it's just clearing it throat and crap on the engine. She'll clear up with a bit of driving.

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