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Old 10-22-2011, 06:32 PM   #1 (permalink)
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How To-2003 impala head gaskets 3400sfi

These steps should work on all 3100, 3400 engines and most steps will work on the 3800-------2000-2005

This is the steps i took to put new head gaskets on my car. I spent about 200 bucks for all of the parts and did it in my garage. i hope it helps someone and if you need any help pm me or post a reply. I replaced every gasket and o ring from the heads up.
StephenP's heads - YouTube

Torque Specifications
Head Bolts – 44 ft lbs – then rotate an additional 95 degrees ------2000 and 2001- 3400 - 37 ft lbs then rotate an additonal 90 degrees
Exhaust manifold retaining nuts – 144 inch lbs
Crossover pipe nuts – 18 ft lbs
Heat shield bolts – 89 inch lbs
Upper intake manifold bolts and stud – 18 ft lbs
Lower intake manifold bolts - step1. 115 inch lbs for bolts 1-4 step2. 115 inch lbs for bolts 5-8
Rocker arm bolts – 168-inch lbs – then rotate an additional 30 degrees------2005- 3400 - 24 ft lbs
Valve cover to cylinder bolts – 89 inch lbs
Torque strut through bolts – 35 ft lbs
Left strut mount to cylinder bolts – 52 ft lbs
Right strut mount to block bolts – 37 ft lbs
Radiator strut mount to chassis bolts – 21 ft lbs
Water pump attaching bolts – 89 inch lbs
Water pump pulley bolts – 18 ft lbs
Exhaust pipe to manifold nuts – 89-inch lbs
Fuel rail mounting bolts/nuts – 89-inch lbs
Throttle body support bracket bolts – 89 inch lbs

Tools needed
Two torque wrenches – 1 that reads inch pounds and one that reads foot-pounds
Standard and metric ratchets and sockets – - -
Breaker bar or cheater bar – 2 foot long
Extensions and adapters
Wrenches – standard and metric
Screw drivers and pliers – channel locks and needle nose
Shop vacuum or air compressor
Buckets and towels
Brake parts cleaner – acetone – penetrating oil – anti seize – di-electric grease
Scotch bright – sandpaper – blue painters tape – electrical tape
Jack and jack stands
Oil and filter – Anti freeze
Haynes manual
Time and patience

Tips
Use penetrating oil on stuck or rusty bolts. Especially on the exhaust bolts and nuts. Let it sit for a while and spray it a few times every hour. Tap it lightly and then spray it again. Use the silver anti seize on the threads before you put them back in. Make sure all of the gasket mating surfaces is clean and free of the old gasket material. Especially the engine block and heads.

Steps Taken To Remove Cylinder Heads and Gaskets
1. Took off all 3 support brackets
2. Took out the battery
3. Removed the serpentine belt
4. Removed the passenger side radiator hose and drained the coolant
5. Removed the radiator reservoir tank
6. Took of the alternator
7. Removed the mass air flow sensor and the air intake temperature sensor
8. Loosened the clamps and removed the air intake duct to throttle body
9. Removed the air filter and the air cleaner housing box
10. Labeled and removed all sensors and hoses connected to the wiring harness
11. Placed the wiring harness out of the way and into the battery compartment
12. Removing plug wires: Coil Packs-256314 Plug Wires-Front-246 Rear-135 left to right
13. Removed the MAP sensor and the vacuum hose to the fuel pressure regulator
14. Removed the throttle and cruise control cable from throttle body
15. Removed the throttle and cruise control cable bracket
16. Removed the PCV valve and hose running to the EVAP canister
17. Removed the EGR valve
18. Removed the coil packs and the ignition module – bolts in front nuts in rear
19. Removed the EVAP purge valve hose
20. Disconnected the 2 coolant bypass hoses on drivers side below the throttle body
21. Removed the upper intake or plenum with throttle body connected
22. Removed the upper intake or plenum gaskets
23. Removed the coolant bypass hose from the water pump to plenum
24. Removed the serpentine belt diagram bracket
25. Removed the water pump pulley
26. Removed the green inserts from fuel injector connectors and unplugged fuel injectors
27. Removed the metal retaining clips from injectors to fuel rail and removed the fuel rail
28. Removed the alternator support bracket
29. Removed the coolant bypass pipe from the water pump to the upper heater hose
30. Removed the power steering pump pulley and reservoir from bracket and placed it to the side
31. Removed the front and rear valve covers along with the valve cover gaskets
32. Removed the passenger side engine support bracket to radiator mount
33. Removed the bolts in the air compressor and engine mount and removed the bracket from engine
34. Removed all 6 front rocker arms and pushrods
35. Removed all 6 rear rocker arms and pushrods All were taken off one at a time starting at drive belt end All were labeled and stored in order
36. Removed the heater pipe from the lower heater hose to the thermostat housing
37. Removed all 8 bolts from the lower intake manifold starting from the middle and working out All were labeled and stored in order they came out
38. Removed the lower intake manifold from the engine along with the intake gaskets
39. Removed all spark plug wires from spark plugs labeled in correspondence with coil pack placement
40. Removed the front exhaust manifold heat shield
41. Removed the crossover pipe exhaust heat shield
42. Removed the top of the rear exhaust manifold heat shield and unbolted the bottom
43. Removed the driver side engine support bracket to radiator mount
44. Removed the driver side engine support bracket from the engine
45. Removed the exhaust manifold crossover pipe from the front and rear exhaust manifolds
46. Removed the front exhaust manifold and gasket from the cylinder head
47. Removed the oil dipstick check tube bracket bolt
48. Removed the exhaust pipe to manifold nuts and bolts from the rear exhaust manifold
49. Removed the rear exhaust manifold and gasket from rear cylinder head
50. Removed and labeled all 6 spark plugs
51. Removed the front head bolts from the cylinder head in reverse tightening sequence
52. Removed the front cylinder head and head gasket from the engine
53. Removed the rear head bolts from the cylinder head in reverse tightening sequence
54. Removed the rear cylinder head and head gasket from the engine

Steps Taken To Install Cylinder Heads and Gaskets
1. Clean all gasket-mating surfaces. Heads, lower intake, plenum.
2. Put new rear head gasket onto the engine block.
3. Placed the rear head onto the engine block.
4. Applied thread sealant to all of the head bolts for rear head.
5. Tightened the head bolts to 44 ft lbs in proper sequence then torqued addition 95 degrees.
6. Installed new exhaust manifold gasket onto the rear head.
7. Installed the rear exhaust manifold to the rear head and tightened to spec.
8. Attached the exhaust pipe to rear exhaust manifold and tightened to specs.
9. Put new donut O-rings on exhaust pipe by catalytic converter.
10. Installed the top and bottom rear exhaust manifold heat shields.
11. Put new front head gasket on the engine block.
12. Placed front head gasket onto the engine block.
13. Applied thread sealant to all of the head bolts for the front head.
14. Tightened the head bolts to 44 ft lbs in proper sequence then torqued addition 95 degrees.
15. Installed all spark plugs into their original place and tightened to 132-inch lbs.
16. Positioned the oil dipstick bracket back to its original location.
17. Installed new front exhaust manifold gasket onto the front head.
18. Installed the front exhaust manifold to head and tightened to spec.
19. Installed the exhaust crossover pipe to the front and rear manifolds and tightened to spec.
20. Installed the front exhaust manifold heat shield.
21. Installed the crossover pipe heat shield.
22. Installed all of the plug wires to the spark plugs labeled in connection to coil packs.
23. Installed engine support bracket on driver’s side to cylinder head.
24. Installed the driver's side engine support bracket to the radiator mount and connected the two.
25. Installed the lower intake manifold gaskets onto the heads.
26. Cleaned and coated all of the pushrods with new oil and installed them in their original location.
27. Cleaned and coated all of the rocker arms with new oil and installed them in their original location.
28. Torqued all the rocker arms bolts from left to right to specs.
29. Installed new upper O-rings onto the fuel injectors.
30. Applied RTV to valleys between front and rear heads and installed the lower intake manifold.
31. Torqued the lower intake manifold bolts to spec after applying thread sealant to the threads.
32. Installed new valve cover gaskets to both valve covers.
33. Installed both front and rear valve covers and torqued to spec.
34. Installed the heater pipe to lower heater hose from thermostat housing.
35. Installed the coolant by-pass pipe from water pump to upper heater hose.
36. Positioned the fuel rail onto the fuel injectors.
37. Connected the fuel injector sensor plugs with green inserts along with the thermostat temp sensor.
38. Positioned the metal retaining clips on fuel injectors to the fuel rail.
39. Torqued the fuel rail bolts down to spec.
40. Installed the water pump bolts and pulley and tightened to spec.
41. Positioned the power steering pump and reservoir back in place and tightened to spec.
42. Installed the serpentine belt diagram bracket.
43. Installed the coolant by-pass hose from the water pump to the plenum.
44. Placed new plenum gaskets onto the top of the lower intake manifold.
45. Installed the plenum with the throttle body connected onto the lower intake manifold.
46. Reconnected the two coolant by-pass hoses under the throttle body to the heater pipe.
47. Connected the EVAP purge valve hose.
48. Installed the coil packs and the ignition module with the bolts in the front and nuts in the rear.
49. Installed the EGR valve.
50. Installed the PCV valve and the hose running to the EVAP canister.
51. Installed the throttle and cruise control cable bracket.
52. Installed the MAP sensor and connected to vacuum hose to the fuel pressure regulator.
53. Connected the plug wires to the coil packs in their proper place.
54. Connected and installed all sensors and hoses from the wiring harness to their original location.
(make sure to position wiring harness into proper locations before installing the motor mounts to the radiator support)
55.Installed the passenger side engine support to the engine and to the radiator support and connected the two.
56. Installed the air filter and the air cleaner housing box.
57. Connected the air intake duct to the throttle body and tightened all of the clamps.
58. Connected the mass airflow and the air intake temperature sensors.
59. Installed the alternator.
60. Installed the radiator overflow tank and connected the hose to the radiator.
61. Attached the lower radiator hose and the upper radiator hose.
62. Installed the serpentine belt.
63. Installed the battery.
64. Installed the three support brackets.
65. Did an oil change.
66. Filled it with new Dex-Cool.
67. Started car and bled the air from the coolant.

thanks for taking the time to read this and i hope it helps someone get their hands dirty and save some money.
If you have any questions about certain steps feel free to send me a pm.
























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Last edited by Stephen; 02-07-2012 at 05:56 PM.. Reason: add more torque specs.
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Old 10-22-2011, 07:05 PM   #2 (permalink)
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My video of the steps i took.



Here is a picture where I point out a few of the sensors and stuff.

1. EGR valve 2. EVAP purge valve 3. IAC valve 4. IAT sensor 5. MAF sensor 6. Bleeder valve
7. PCV valve 8. Coolant by-pass heater pipe with bleeder valve on top 9. Power Steering 10. MAP sensor
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Last edited by Stephen; 02-07-2012 at 02:30 PM.. Reason: add picture
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Old 10-23-2011, 08:57 PM   #3 (permalink)
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This is a very important step! The pushrods need to go back into their original location since they are different lengths. This pic is the way i stored mine!
this is a shoebox and they run from left to right when you are looking at the engine

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Last edited by Stephen; 02-07-2012 at 02:32 PM.. Reason: spelling
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Old 10-25-2011, 03:04 PM   #4 (permalink)
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This is the tightening sequence for the heads and the lower intake.
Removal of the bolts is the reverse of the tightening sequence.

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Last edited by Stephen; 12-29-2011 at 08:26 PM..
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BigCee (01-08-2013), Embersonic (07-13-2013), kingnutin (01-01-2013)
Old 12-19-2012, 01:47 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Still running strong? Noticeable improvements? Did you have the heads checked for warping? What did you use to clean the gasket mating surfaces?
Did you paint your valve covers and upper intake plenum during this process?

Great job!

I am contemplating doing this job myself as opposed to having a mech do it and I'm trying to build up my confidence and comfort level by reading up on it. :)
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Old 12-31-2012, 06:03 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Yes still running strong, there was a slight improvement, I took the heads to a local machine shop and had them checked and cleaned for 50 bucks a head(plus i snapped off a exhaust manifold stud in one that had to get drilled out and replaced), I used a number of things to clean all the gasket mating surfaces, mainly plenty of new razors, Oops and goo gone and finger nail polish remover for the final wipe down before installing the new gaskets, and yes I painted numerous things including the valve covers and plenum when i had it all apart. Pretty easy to do,just a little time consuming unless your experienced. Just take your time and if in doubt about something just ask.

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Old 07-13-2013, 08:38 PM   #7 (permalink)
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@Stephen:

Thanks for this great how-to!

I'm stuck (really stuck) on this step:
33. Removed the bolts in the air compressor and engine mount and removed the bracket from engine

I can't get the mount off the head bolt with the post - it's like it's welded on there? Any advice?

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Old 04-10-2014, 09:54 AM   #8 (permalink)
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One Important addition

Intake and Exhaust push rods are different lengths! If you make a mistake like me you bend one but the story I read on line was of he who started the engine. This is a great post, I wish I found that before I started this mess it would have saved a few trips to the key board. I hope my little tag on will save some a little frustration.

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Old 05-23-2014, 05:05 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Stephen, awesome vid on u-tube....thanks! Are you still active here so I can bend your ear??......lol.......thanks
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Old 08-22-2014, 09:45 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Doing it for the first time.

I am not a mechanic; I'm an Impala owner with a 3.4 L (I think the L is for leaky) anyway it started as a leak behind the thermostat. i thought it was the thermostat so i replaced it. The rubber ring gasket was gone!!!--rotted away. I put in the new thermostat but it still leaked and overheated. i put on a new water pump and bars-leak stopped the leak until my next road trip and then i had to get it towed home--overheated and milky oil! All the gaskets were bad.
The internet said it had something to do with Dexcool. I don't know.
Now I have the engine all apart. the intake gasket had a tear at the corner just behind the thermostat. i almost stopped there but discovered Stephen's instructions and today I have the heads loose and ready to remove--all except for the crossover exhaust manifolds still attached. the one in back by the firewall is too hard to get to. Can I just unbolt it from the exhaust pipe--removing the two nuts only, or do i have to take it off at the heads which means removing all those dry exhaust header bolts. I need to know the answer to this before i go any further. I think I have found the right place here to get the answer. i didn't even know this forum existed. i am so glad to find it. Thank you so much. --Yonder

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