How to Breathe New Life into Your Tired Engine


If you've noticed a lack of performance in your car or truck recently, you may be wondering what's going on. You know that the engine in the vehicle has racked up many tens of thousands of kilometres, but the vehicle is in otherwise good shape, and you want to hang on to it. Maybe it's time for you to "spring clean" parts of the engine to renew levels of performance and to ensure that you get many more years of use from your trusty wheels. What is the first process you should be looking at?

Focusing on the Cylinder Head

While the driving force of any engine is contained within the block, where the pistons move up and down and turn the crankshaft, the actual force originates within the cylinder head, where a camshaft opens and closes a number of valves and the explosive compression takes place. As such, the cylinder head is the first place to look in order to renew performance.


The process of cylinder head reconditioning begins by dismantling the engine and separating the cylinder head from the block. Engineers will then have a look at each part very carefully and start by cleaning everything using a special approach. The head may be sandblasted to remove carbon deposits and other residue, and it may also be placed within an acid bath, before being buffed to finish.

Next, they will want to have a look at the overall integrity of the cylinder head by pressure testing it to see if there are any cracks, especially in crucial areas. Often, they will use a computerised tester that magnetises the metal, and when special fluid is injected, the presence of cracks will be revealed.

Where necessary, parts of the cylinder head will be machined so that they are within original tolerances. In particular, the "face" of the head will need extra attention, as will the valve seats which control the intake of fuel and air. It may be necessary to recreate the threads by retapping them.

When all is done, the head will be cleaned once more to get rid of any debris caused by the machining process and carefully inspected to make sure that the job has been perfectly completed.

Specialists Only

This is, of course, a very specialised job which requires not only the right type of equipment, but also the skilled eye of the operative. When it is done carefully and properly, your engine should have been restored to optimal health, so have a word with your machining shop to start the process rolling.


22 March 2018

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