How to change a head gasket in a Toyota Corolla

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The Toyota Corolla comes equipped with a 1.8 litre (3 pints) four-cylinder engine. It is known for getting 12 km to the litre (28 miles per gallon) in town and 15 km to the litre (35 mpg) on the motorway. However, you can not reach the Corolla's peak performance with a busted head gasket.

Whether your Corolla's engine overheated or the head gasket was poorly designed, you need to remove the upper engine components of the vehicle.

Drain the coolant from your Corolla. Place the used coolant in a container that can close. Disengage the negative battery cable. Label all the car parts in the top section of the engine.

Remove and separate the pipes, assemblies, cables, belts, bolts and mounting brackets. Parts of the vehicle that you will disconnect or remove include the water filler, alternator, air cleaner, centre exhaust pipe, exhaust manifold, spark plus, throttle body, intake manifold, cylinder head cover, camshafts, timing chain cover, fuel injectors, sprockets and oil control valve.

Unscrew and take off the cylinder head bolts in a circular pattern and start with the end bolts going toward the middle of the cylinder head. Throw away the old bolts. You must use new bolts when installing a new cylinder head and new gasket. Take the cylinder head out of the vehicle. Review the cylinder head for dents, leaks or other damage.

Install a new gasket in the Toyota Corolla. Read the instructions for the head gasket to ensure it is upright when you install. Position the bolts back in place in a three-step sequence: tighten the bolts to 30 newton metres (22 foot-pounds) for the first step. Pivot the bolts to 90 degrees for the second pass and an additional 90 degrees for the third step.

Replace the other upper engine wires, hose, assemblies, anchors, brackets, caps and covers. Refer to your labels to help identity the parts. Look at a Toyota Corolla car guide to determine the torque specifications for the other bolts. Place coolant and oil back in its reservoirs. Reconnect the negative battery cable to the battery terminal.