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Old 08-10-2010, 10:37 AM   #1
Jason in TX
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Default TECH: Homemade Head Puller that works!

So you've just got back from the swap meet where you've scored an ultra rare 4 banger speed head that you can't go another minute without giving it a home on your A. You strut around the house with this new prize held high over your head and your family thinking you're insane for buying another piece of car junk.

Just the piece you needed, but the motor you're putting it on hasn't been opened up in quite some time. You know it's going to be a struggle getting that old cast iron head off.




Here is a great home made way to pop the top on that L-Head motor and give it a new look and a faster life!

Step 1: Find some old spark plugs for that head that you don't plan on using anymore. DESTROY THEM! They are evil and stare at your woman too much anyways. Remove the centers and run some 6 inch long bolts up through them, threads on top. Make sure the bolt head doesn't slide through the spark plug, but is also small enough to go into the spark plug hole when you screw the spark plugs in. You might wanna go with some nice quality bolts here if this is a tool you are going to use a few times.

Now screw these into the head.



Step 2: Using the head gasket you are going to put on the motor with your cool new heads (or the one you're replacing that's been blown for a while but knew it would suck to change..) Mark the location of the stud holes on a heavy plate of steel. I would go with at least 1/2 inch thick plate. Also, mark the holes for the SECOND and THIRD Spark plug. If you've got extra time, pinstripe the plate while you're at it for that extra touch of cool. Now, Drill the holes in the plate that line up with the studs and spark plugs.


Step 3: Slip the plate over the bolts sticking out of the hollowed out spark plug bodies. These bolts will have fallen down a little ways into the block, so lift these bolts up, snug to the spark plug and load them up with 8 or nine large flat fender washers. Now put the nut on top and tighten down until the bolt is above the nut a little bit.

Using more 6 inch long bolts that are no larger in diameter than the head studs, (they should be able to go through the head) Place them in the holes in the plate that line up with the studs in the block. Put the nuts under the plate, making "table legs" for the plate above the head.






Step 4: Now, using a box wrench to hold the "table leg" nuts on the bottom of the plate, Use a socket to tighten the bolts on the plate. Make sure that your bolts are staying over the head studs and not slipping off, ruining the threads on the studs in the block. Also be careful not to damage the end threads on your "table leg" bolts, or they will be stuck to your plate, making storage of this new tool a little more awkward. Work around the plate keeping the plate generally level, or parallel with the deck of the block. The head should start moving up and away from the block! Soon this low compression cast iron heap will be out of the way! No longer will your flatty motor be like all the other kids on the block.






Try to get the head as high as possible away from the block. This makes your life easier. I still had to stand over the engine compartment and lift straight up once I removed the plate. But once the head is off, you can inspect the engine, put down a new head gasket, and install that new speed head or blown head gasket and then you will be the envy of all your friends!!







(Credits go out to Joe G. for making this head puller and all the Dallas Model A guys who taught me creative ways to work on this junk!)
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Last edited by Jason in TX; 08-10-2010 at 03:03 PM.
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Old 08-10-2010, 11:30 AM   #2
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Default Re: TECH: Homemade Head Puller that works!

Cool tool and a good idea. How about using a head nut, half on the stud, half on the "table leg" bolt so they dont slip, and use an wrench on the table leg nut to raise the plate? Looks like a Thomas manifold, what kind of head?
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Old 08-10-2010, 01:02 PM   #3
Dave in MN
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Default Re: TECH: Homemade Head Puller that works!

To PC/SR,
That is a Thomas head.
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Old 08-10-2010, 01:11 PM   #4
JBR
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Default Re: TECH: Homemade Head Puller that works!

Looks an awful lot like Rainmaker's head puller.
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Old 08-10-2010, 01:47 PM   #5
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Default Re: TECH: Homemade Head Puller that works!

Quote:
Looks an awful lot like Rainmaker's head puller.
If Ron's is the one that Bill Stipe is manufacturing and many of the vendors sell, it looks nothing like it. Our club has that version but is not made out of plate and pulls at an angle due to the spark plugs being off center and not resting on any of the driver-side studs. I like this one as it catches studs on both sides of the block for an even pull. I like Ron's for using to pull an engine out.
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Old 08-10-2010, 02:08 PM   #6
Brentwood Bob
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Default Re: TECH: Homemade Head Puller that works!

Elrod, Thanks, just at the right time. Will take some effort to drill all those holes. Would 3/8, or 1/2 inch plate do the job. I don't have access to a drill press without spending some more money I don't have. Bob
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Old 08-10-2010, 02:14 PM   #7
Jason in TX
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Default Re: TECH: Homemade Head Puller that works!

I would think 1/2 inch plate should do the trick since the pressure is distributed over the large surface area.

Also, if you need to find a cheap drill press, may I suggest craigslist. I have bought some great antique and used tools including my 40s drill press for cheap. Then you always have the option to turn around and re-sell it again on craigslist once you are done. No, or little money out of pocket!
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Old 08-10-2010, 02:18 PM   #8
Frank Nemo
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Default Re: TECH: Homemade Head Puller that works!

The design of this head puller looks a whole lot like the one Gord. B by the Bay makes and sells. I think I bought mine from Gord 7 or 8 years ago.
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Old 08-10-2010, 02:47 PM   #9
Larry Brumfield
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Default Re: TECH: Homemade Head Puller that works!

There's more than one way to skin a cat .....

But assuming that a person with a drill press has to go out and buy the steel plate and hardware plus pay for the gas to get there and back, how much would the total cost be to make this tool?
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Old 08-10-2010, 03:47 PM   #10
Jason in TX
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Default Re: TECH: Homemade Head Puller that works!

I don't know the cost of gas in your part of the US, or how many miles to the gallon your vehicle gets, or the distance from a hardware store to your driveway, or the price of steel at your favorite metal supplier, or if you own the drill bits yet, or if you are running the drill press on Co-Op power, wind, solar or diesel generator, so you neglected to give me enough information to give you the total cost to make this tool, so I just did my best.
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Old 08-10-2010, 03:55 PM   #11
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Default Re: TECH: Homemade Head Puller that works!

Dumb Question:

While the head puller is efficient and works. Wouldn't loosening the nuts on the head bolts, and starting the engine, loosen the head enough to remove it? Or am I just showing my ignorance?
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Old 08-10-2010, 04:13 PM   #12
Jason in TX
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Default Re: TECH: Homemade Head Puller that works!

Not a dumb question at all. I would think the same thing.

Just thinking out loud, there are the engines that haven't been run in 50 years. You may not be able to first get it running to pop that head.

On a running vehicle, there is the "breaking the seal" factor of starting the car to pop it loose, but they still are a bear to get up past all the studs, so this tool (or a myriad of other possible head pulling devices) may assist with the rest of the job.
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Old 08-10-2010, 04:19 PM   #13
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Default Re: TECH: Homemade Head Puller that works!

Very nicely thought out Elrod.
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Old 08-10-2010, 04:23 PM   #14
pat in Santa Cruz
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Default Re: TECH: Homemade Head Puller that works!

As mentioned above, it looks similar to Gord B's puller. But with the exception that it pulls across the entire width of the head in all stud rows. In the case of a really badly stuck head, pulling from both sides and the center is no doubt a better design. When pulling from the center and one side, the really bad heads need some assistance from the drivers side, usually with a wedge of some sort. I think this design will work well on easy heads as well as the most difficult. I wonder if a cut out over the fwd end of the water riser would allow one to lift the head a touch higher before manhandling it the rest of the way off? Thank you for going to the effort to post photos with an easy to understand narrative.
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Old 08-10-2010, 04:35 PM   #15
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Default Re: TECH: Homemade Head Puller that works!

Elrod, I like threads like this, pictures and explanations to how it works or will work. Thanks for posting, now I have to see if I have steel to make one. Also figured I could lay out all the holes from another Model A head that is laying around. Thanks again.
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Old 08-10-2010, 05:14 PM   #16
marc hildebrant
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Default Re: TECH: Homemade Head Puller that works!

Elrod,

Thanks for the information.

Marc
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Old 08-10-2010, 05:28 PM   #17
Larry Seemann
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Default Re: TECH: Homemade Head Puller that works!

Elrod, thanks for sharing the info. I have one like that that we made many years ago(didn't keep track of the cost) that has made pulling several heads pretty easy. It does seem to me that I originally got the plans from Rainmaker Ron - if it was someone else I apologize. Anyway, every time the subject comes up I think about sharing the info as you did, but I just have never taken the trouble to do it. Glad you did!
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Old 08-10-2010, 09:27 PM   #18
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Default Re: TECH: Homemade Head Puller that works!

Elrod,
THANKS for sharing your wonderful creativity! Do you think that with a little variation, that your puller will also work with V8 flatheads?
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Old 08-11-2010, 07:36 AM   #19
TK in LA
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Default Re: TECH: Homemade Head Puller that works!

As a side note, if you don't have a drill press you could use an old head clamped to the plate and use the head as a drill guide to keep the drill straight and in the right location. Just a cheap thought.
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Old 08-11-2010, 08:42 AM   #20
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Default Re: TECH: Homemade Head Puller that works!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Brumfield View Post
There's more than one way to skin a cat .....

But assuming that a person with a drill press has to go out and buy the steel plate and hardware plus pay for the gas to get there and back, how much would the total cost be to make this tool?
A nice technical post,well illustrated and explained. Thanks,Elrod.

Here in Central PA, gas is $2.71/gallon. A three minute Google search turned up about $15 for a 1/2" titanium drill bit, new Sears 1/2" drill press for $367 and a new 1'x2' 1/2" steel plate for $52 + shipping. Scrap steel is, I believe, about 15 cents a pound but the scrap yard would charge you what=$5 for the piece you need? #2 bolts/nuts in bulk are $1.99/lb at Tractor Supply. Good ice cream cone is $1.75 on the way.

Lowes.Sears and TSC are on my way to work. I am 6 miles from the scrap yard, I have a drill press and a 1/2" drill,too. Hours spent trying to get the old head off at $40/hr would more than pay for the tool-even for a 1x use.

So, maybe $10-15 for the tool? $40 if you buy the drill bit? $400 if you buy the drill press? And who really counts gas money when we're going to a JUNKYARD?!
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