Porsche Cylinder Head Repair
Xtreme Cylinder Heads of Palm City presented LFP with a virtually impossible task- to repair a museum display, 1950’s, Porsche four-cam cylinder head that had broken into 4 pieces. The museum car was in the process of being driven from the basement to the showroom floor when the engine detonated and destroyed the cylinder head. For the car to retain its value, the numbers had to match, so Xtreme Cylinder Heads brought in LFP to assist in repairing this ‘unrepairable’ cylinder head. Replacement and failure were not an option due to the imposing value of the car.
In those years of manufacturing, casting was poor. Multiply that problem by the age of the metal and the years the engine spent soaking in oil and we had a recipe for potential disaster. We began the repair by grinding out as much of cracked material as we could, then shifted to welding. As soon as we began to weld, the impurities started to cook out of the metal and it was apparent that we weren’t going to get the smaller pieces to work. We turned to the salvageable main cylinder, machined as much as possible, and filled it with weld. After that, we were able to digitize and reverse engineer the opposing cylinder head’s combustion chamber, intake and exhaust ports, valve guides, valve seats, and spark plug locations. The real challenge came with applying that reverse engineering to the rebuilding of the other cylinder head. We ended up discarding the pieces that fell out, machining out as much as we could, cooking out further impurities through welding, and repeating this process about 5 or 6 times. Getting the cylinder head into working condition required extreme care, extensive machining, and an incredible amount of welding.
The Final Product
After approximately 40-60 hours of machine time and an undetermined amount of welding, which we did end up outsourcing, the cylinder head was complete and the engine was fully repaired. Here was an engine initially deemed irreparable, and through incredibly hard work from the onset, pouring ourselves into the project, and taking extreme care not to create more damage, we did it. We weren’t sure that it would work, but we achieved what most would have never even attempted. Impossible projects are my favorite kind of projects. Almost anything is possible with metal. Xtreme Cylinder Heads was very happy and their client was thrilled; this collectable Porsche regained its original engine and the museum beauty retained its value.