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Discussion Starter #1
I started on this install today after getting tired of staring at all the parts in my spare room since last September. Ran into some problems straight away with the drain plug not wanting to budge at all. The plug was very brittle and just crumbled with any tool I threw at it. I said "F" it and just disconnected the hoses from the pump and let it splash down into the drain pan...some of it anyway.

First question and I am sure I will have plenty more over the next few days as I do this...how do you get those darn retainers off of the raidiator to remove the radiator? They don't seem to want to budge and I don't want to break them by levering a tool against them. Is there a trick to them?

I assume once they are off, the radiator can be removed after you unbolt it from the condenser along with all of the lines. Did any of you remove the fans separately or keep them together as one unit?

Appreciate the help in advance. I've been wanting to start this build forever!
 

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CCG8 Member
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It's detailed in the Vararam instructions on Step 3a-b. You pop out that plastic piece and there is a little tap you want to carefully push back with a screwdriver as you pull up on the whole block.

http://www.vararam.com/G8-instuructions.pdf
 

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I removed the fans separately.
 

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I left the fans hooked up and pulled the whole thing as one assembly. I also did not disconnect to the air conditioning condenser just moved it around as needed to pull the cam.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Making progress on this install and I ran into a snag. I cannot seem to get the headers out of the way enough to reach the head bolts on either side of the block. I'm running Kooks headers. Anyone have any tips???
 

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Making progress on this install and I ran into a snag. I cannot seem to get the headers out of the way enough to reach the head bolts on either side of the block. I'm running Kooks headers. Anyone have any tips???
Your best bet is to remove the headers. I think I was able to get by with leaving the driver's side dropped down, but had to totally remove the passenger side. Even with the driver's side dropped down, it was still in the way and getting scratched and beaten up. If I was to do it over again, I would remove both to provide as much room to work as possible.

On edit: I also have Kooks.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Got it sorted out...just needed to be rougher with the headers than I was wanting to. It's a real tight fit to get a socket in there to the head bolts. That ground wire on the back of the head was on the head with a 10mm bolt and I thought it was going to be one of those twist tie things that you can just pop out with a flat-head screwdriver.

Next item is disassembling the heads to replace with new valves and springs. Seems like the easier part of the install, which will be a nice break. Doing this by yourself is time consuming!
 

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Having my son around was a great help.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Having my son around was a great help.
Yes, having a wingman would have been awesome to get these darn things off.

I'm now starting on getting the valve springs out. Had a scary moment when I had a set of springs fully compressed and the locks still weren't coming out and the tool's support bolts snapped sending crap flying everywhere (eye protection for the win!). Fortunately, there were enough threads exposed in the rocker arm holes that I could get the broken pieces of the bolts out. Just need some new bolts and I'm right back at it. Still a scary experience...maybe I used the tool incorrectly.
 

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Sub'd!

I'm anxious to see how this goes. I am thinking about doing this as well and curious how it goes for a single person to do the whole thing. Keep up the good work and updates!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Sub'd!

I'm anxious to see how this goes. I am thinking about doing this as well and curious how it goes for a single person to do the whole thing. Keep up the good work and updates!
I'm at the tedious part of taking the heads apart for new valves and springs, but once that is done I'll update some more. So far the biggest pain in the ass to doing this solo is getting all the head bolts out with the headers not fully removed, just unbolted.

The heads themselves have held up pretty good, but the stock gaskets are trashed. I'm surprised I didn't have a leak. The new ones are much better quality.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Another question as I disassemble everything. What do you guys use to clean the heads or any of the stuff that normally doesn't see the light of day? I have some carb cleaner and brake cleaner. Will those work effectively and not damage anything? What about cleaning the cylinders themselves? They've got quite the buildup on them from 90K miles of hard running. Maybe it's not even worth touching them, but I figure I would clean up what I can while everything is apart and I have the time.
 

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CRC Gasket cleaner, spray it on, let it soak then wipe it back off. I see people swear by it.
 

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I'm in the middle of the same process as you. I used brake cleaner until I ran out then used a can of carb cleaner. I workedon the block surface where the heads sit and the Pistons and they cleaned up pretty well. Then while the oil pan and oil pump was out I flushed the block and oil passages with diesel fuel to flush out any debrees. That was also with the cam out. I also used a little copper and steel brush to do the scrubbing. But steel wool should work good too.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Stuck on getting the new valve springs in. I bought the Comp cams tool that I have seen recommended here, but I am just not having any luck with it. I've snapped the bolts that came with the tool already and bent two other pairs now and I'm still on the same pair of springs. I can't seem to get the valve stem centered through the hat enough to squeeze the locks in. I did get a lock in on the first pair of springs, but backing out the tool resulted in one half of each lock falling out so now they're just partially locked and I can't get them compressed enough again without worrying about snapping more bolts. Any tips on using this stupid tool? I'm sure it's user error.
 

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Stuck on getting the new valve springs in. I bought the Comp cams tool that I have seen recommended here, but I am just not having any luck with it. I've snapped the bolts that came with the tool already and bent two other pairs now and I'm still on the same pair of springs. I can't seem to get the valve stem centered through the hat enough to squeeze the locks in. I did get a lock in on the first pair of springs, but backing out the tool resulted in one half of each lock falling out so now they're just partially locked and I can't get them compressed enough again without worrying about snapping more bolts. Any tips on using this stupid tool? I'm sure it's user error.
Sorry I didn't see this earlier, but a trick to removing the springs is to take a socket and put over the springs and hit it with a hammer. That breaks off any crud that makes the valve stick to the retainers/locks. Then you can use the spring compressor and they come apart with ease.

I'm not familiar with the Comp tool, but you usually have to compress the spring until just below the lip on the valve stem, then get kinda mean with it to center it up. Having a little cap full of thick oil or assembly lube helps to get the locks where they need to go. Dip them in that, and then while you're centering the spring set the lock where it needs to go. The oil will help it stick to the valve stem. Getting both of them in there is a trick, and it helps to have someone giving you a hand on this part. One person centering the spring while the other places the locks.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Throwing in the towel on the valve springs. I'm just going to take it to a shop to get it done. I cannot get the springs to center up enough when compressing them to get the retainers on so that they stay on when uncompressing. I've tried for three evenings now to get them going and just not getting anywhere.

I'll install the cam while that gets done.
 

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Importkiller
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Are you going to get the heads milled to raise compression.? Picking up my heads today. 358.00 total. Milling .030 installing btr springs and back cutting of my new ls3 intake valves.
So the price wasn't too bad.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Update:

I'm trying to take the timing cover off, but those two bolts on the bottom where the oil pan is are rounded off. What's the best way to work them out? My 10mm won't bite at all.

Not getting the heads miloed at this point. I may get everything RC ported at some time, but it wasn't in the budget this time around
 
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