Engine Reconditioning & Rebuilding

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Why do you pressure test cylinder heads?


Cylinder heads: when they fail, they fail in style. It really does pay to keep your engine’s cylinder head in good condition. Trust us, repair definitely is cheaper than replacement in this case. Cylinder heads, like all engine parts, will wear over time, and that’s where pressure testing comes in. In this article, you’ll find out what causes cylinder head damage, when to take your vehicle in for a check-up, and where you can do so in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.

Causes of cylinder head damage

Using compressed air and water, engine repairers search for microscopic cracks on the head. These cracks are a common cause of cylinder head failure, and really should be checked out as soon as their impacts are noticed. A cylinder head gasket creates a seal between the cylinder head and block of an engine. It is an integral component, and performs many important functions during engine operation.

Cylinder heads can fail for a few reasons, the most common of which being extreme engine temperatures. This happens if there’s a coolant system leak, or if there isn’t enough coolant in the radiator. Another common issue is the non-use of antifreeze.

When to visit an engine refurbisher

There are a number of easy-to-spot signs that your engine and its cylinder heads need looking at. Visit your nearest engine repairer if you experience any of the following cylinder head damage symptoms:

  • A weak engine is usually the first sign of cylinder problems, and presents itself when a vehicle is struggling to scale an otherwise easy-to-climb hill, or if you notice a sudden onset of sluggish acceleration.
  • Oil lubricates an engine, and that includes the cylinder heads. Oil leaks could be from the sump, but could also be from a blown cylinder head gasket.
  • If your engine coolant is going down faster than usual, there could be a leak. This vital fluid keeps the engine and cylinder heads cool, and if absent is a one-way road to a blown gasket.
  • A misfiring engine is arguably the most obvious sign of cylinder head damage. The loss of pressure within the block leads to missed combustions and can cause an engine to cut out while idling – or not starting at all.
  • Strange white smoke coming out of your vehicle’s exhaust pipe? That’s another clear indication that the engine needs looking at. This happens when exhaust fumes, tainted with coolant, are vented into the engine space, and is usually the last symptom before total cylinder head failure.

Get cylinder head repairs in Durban

The Eagleharm Engineering workshop is located on Hillclimb Road, Pinetown, where we have on our floor one of only a few machines capable of repairing the world’s largest engines. We’ve been pressure testing cylinder heads for over 50 years, and we’re highly skilled at ensuring that our clients’ engines remain in peak condition, and that we get the best performance out of them possible. Get in touch with Todd or Ryan Harmsworth to arrange expert engine maintenance and cylinder head repairs in Durban.

What are the advantages of reconditioned cylinder heads?


Ask any engine reconditioner what the most important engine issue is and they’ll mention cylinder heads.

This is because improving an engine’s output has a lot to do with ensuring that the cylinder heads operate at the highest level of performance. When engine components like cylinder heads are in tip-top shape, things quite literally run a whole lot smoother.

This article takes a brief look at three real benefits to reconditioning an engine’s cylinder heads.

Prevent wastage

An important phase of the engine reconditioning process is to closely examine the engine cylinder guides and seals. When the seals become worn out, you’ll notice an increase in oil consumption. This is largely due to oil leakage, and can end up costing you much more in replacement oil than you’d otherwise have to buy. Worn guides are even worse, as this can lead to them failing to efficiently control valve movement.

Increase performance

Cylinder heads in bad shape can be detrimental to overall performance. When the combustion chamber isn’t sealed, horsepower is lost to the exhaust system. As part of the reconditioning process, valve seals can be cut and positioned depending on the purpose of the engine. The angles of the valves will impact the output horsepower, so it makes sense – if you’re looking to get the most out of your engine – to use an expert engine cylinder refurbisher.

Reallocate resources

When it comes to engines, it really is better to recondition than to replace. Too often under-performing engines are simply scrapped and replaced in the name of convenience. It might take a lot of work to recondition an engine to manufacturer specification, but this will work out a lot cheaper than buying a new engine. The truth is that engines weren’t designed to break and be replaced, so companies can save money and resources by choosing to recondition instead.

Should you DIY cylinder head reconditioning?

The engine reconditioning process can involve – depending on the specific job – milling, re-engineering, and/or replacement of parts. While there are engine refurbishing processes that can be done at home using specialist kits, this might not guarantee getting the best performance our of the engine, or worse – this might end up damaging the cylinder heads if not done properly. For this reason, if you value your engine and would prefer not to risk damaging it beyond repair, rather let expert automotive engineers handle your engine reconditioning.

Expert cylinder head reconditioning in KwaZulu-Natal

There are back-yard engine reconditioners, and then there are expert reconditioning workshops, with excellent reputations, widely trusted in the industry.

With 50 years of automotive engineering experience, Eagleharm Engineering is one of these companies. Our workshop is fitted with the equipment needed to refurbish any engine – from passenger vehicles through to massive earth-moving equipment.

Arrange engine reconditioning in KwaZulu-Natal by getting in touch with Ryan or Todd today!