cleaning sludge out of cylinder head manually

hal

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Mar 20, 2009
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with the head off, what chemical is compatible with oil that i could use to clean all the [censored] off the parts? preferably something i could spray it down with that won't hurt seals, etc.? want to clean off the valves and combustion chamber/intake/exhaust port areas, as well as what's under the rocker cover like the lifters, valvesprings, and the internal head casting itself. mainly just concerned about the crystalized oil bits but if it takes off the varnish too that would be nice. thanks for the information!
 
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If the head is off change the seals, pull the valves and do it right. Anything less is wasted effort. MHO.
 
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I know of nothing that will do as you want. If you don't want to do a good job like Smoky14 said then use an electric hand drill+ wire brush for the combustion chambers. Gasoline to wash off the upper side, remembering to re-oil the stuff with a spray can.
 

hal

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removed it for blown head gasket. there is nothing wrong with the head itself besides needing to be cleaned out.
 
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If you've blown a HG I would bet you have more than a bad gasket problem. Warped head, deck surface something went wrong. If you're going to throw it together better have it go away. Almost 3cents worth
 
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do it right since its off and take it to a machine shop to be inspected. they can clean it up and so anything necessary to get it ready to be put back into service. i have seen heads that upon initial inspection looked alright, but were unusable after i had them checked at a machine shop.
 
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 Originally Posted By: bdcardinal
do it right since its off and take it to a machine shop to be inspected. they can clean it up and so anything necessary to get it ready to be put back into service. i have seen heads that upon initial inspection looked alright, but were unusable after i had them checked at a machine shop.
+1 let them tank the head and inspect it. AD
 
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A machine shop can hot tank it, which means they immerse the head in a tank of hot degreaser and move it back and forth for maybe 24 hours. It will come back so clean you can eat off it.
 
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 Originally Posted By: bdcardinal
do it right since its off and take it to a machine shop to be inspected. they can clean it up and so anything necessary to get it ready to be put back into service. i have seen heads that upon initial inspection looked alright, but were unusable after i had them checked at a machine shop.
+1. My HG problem turns out to be caused by a head warp. The machine shop took it out, clean it, machine the mating surface flat, and reinstall it for $1000 parts and labor.
 
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Brake cleaner. Wire brush. You can borrow a valve spring compressor at your local parts store. That's all you need to take it apart, I would take it to a shop for a hot tank (and some measurements), but even a power wash at the car wash might work OK.
 

hal

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well i got lucky. the head gasket is not blown as it turns out. compression is good and i was using a LED light to shine down into the head thru the oil filler cap and the white light made the fresh oil look green. coulda fooled me but the oil looked the same in an unopened bottle (havoline 5w30). so i ended up finding this out right before i took the head off. thankfully i didn't remove it. now to clean the gunk out. i used a turkey baster to get out all the oil from under the valve cover and cleaned out all the loose sludge that i could. it was kinda bad how much was in there. i'd like to put something into the engine to help dissolve sludge because i'm sure there is some i can't see.
 
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It it was hard ..tar like stuff ..then you're okay. If you scored pudding ..it will leach like crazy and undermine the structure of the mass. It can cause problems. Use Auto-Rx if you have a mind to. It may take a while with the harder stuff. If you use a solvent, you probably won't have enough dwell time to dissolve hard stuff ..so you'll probably need to mega dose it just before you change the oil ...for a few oil changes
 

hal

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it's hard/tarlike. definitely crystalized oil or carbon. the car does have good oil pressure though, so at least i'm catching this before it becomes a problem. it's obvious the oil was not changed enough, or maybe this is one of those sludge-prone engines. i am changing the oil and filter, and pouring in a bottle of CD-2 oil detergent (used it before with good results, I believe it's very similar to ARX). i will run the oci maybe 1000 miles then change it again. gonna check under the valve cover at that time and if it needs another round of cd-2 and a short oci again, then i'll do that. if anyone has any other suggestions thank you in advance...
 
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