Chicagoland MG Club: Tech Tips

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Stuck Cylinder Head

My first experience with removing a stubborn MGB cylinder head resulted in a simple discovery that may be of interest to others (you pros have probably seen it a dozen times). After removing all the head stud nuts, the cylinder head wouldn't budge.

I tried the technique of using cylinder compression to lift the head but it just pissed some water out the side and nothing moved. I was almost ready to try the (somewhat scary sounding) technique of stuffing a wad of rope though the spark plug hole and cranking the piston up against it to lift the head, BUT I'M GLAD I DIDN'T. I guessed that the studs and head were rusted or otherwise fused together. I put two nuts, jam tightened against each other on the exposed top of each stud and attempted to screw out the studs while the head was still in place. This worked fine until I got to the longer four studs that also retained the rocker assembly. Three of these four were extremely hard to unscrew and after unscrewing them enough that the threads were surely disengaged from the block the stud still wouldn't pull up and out of the head? Then I noticed that the manifold studs on the side are also in direct alignment with these head studs. Sure enough, the manifold studs were screwed in far enough that they bottomed out against the side of the head studs effectively locking the head against them. A quick quarter turn out on each manifold stud with a vise grip released everything, the studs were easily removed, and the head separated without further problem.

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