Cylinder head removal

In 2015 my 2200 TC most probably dropped a valve seat (see thread Possible valve spring failure? | Classic Rover Forum). Since then the car has been sitting in my garage. I really miss the car and has now scheduled two days to remove the cylinder head, then sending it for repair. First time for me removing a cylinder head, so I would be glad if you could share me any tips/tricks to avoid pitfalls.

Today I have removed carburettors, exhaust and rocker cover, and set the engine to EP. Tomorrow I will start with loosening the timing chain.

I´m most worried about the timing chain and the tensioner. Do I have to remove the tensioner, or is it enough to use a circlip around it to prevent is from falling down in the sump when loosening the timing chain and securing it at the "smiley face" support bracket?

Is there anything special to bear in mind when loosening the head bolts, camshaft and when lifting off the head?

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Well-Known Member
The allen key that you use to back off the tensioner should lock it, but putting a cable tie around it is worth the effort involved.

The head bolts need to be undone in the correct order otherwise the camshaft can break. Once it's pegged up if you look at the second retaining cap back (disregarding the small one behind the chainwheel) you will notice that the two cam lobes on either side of that cap are pointing directly downwards. This cap needs to be slackened last in any sequence. If you do it first then the force from the valve springs acting on those lobes will make the shaft snap. IIRC they break into 4 pieces.

Secure the top chainwheel to the special carrier at the front.


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I've done this a dozen times, but even I still refer to the factory workshop manual. One false move, and your next post will be asking someone how to reset the timing on the thing.


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I would second that, i dropped a bit of the tensioner into the sump. The WSM tells you to tie it up, i didn't.

For when you refit, make sure the o ring goes on or you will lose oil out the back of the engine.
Thanks for your info.

My Renold tensioner does not seem having the allen key insert. So I assume the circlip will be the only security. Do I have to loosen the two bolts and take the tensioner out? The repair manual says ’Remove the plug and copper washer from the chain tensioner’. The text does not say however to remove the complete tensioner.

So, I should begin loosening 1 and 2, and then 3, little by little on each bolt?
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Well-Known Member
I would tighten the cable tie more, and try to get another one on if you can. The removal of the plug for the Allen key is "Progress", ie, cheaper to make.

As for the head bolt removal order. Personally I slacken "1" first, then start at the rearmost and work forwards, this means that "2" is always last in the sequence. You can do each a bit at a time in turn. Remember that the camshaft must be correctly pegged before you do it.
Shall I remove the two bolts and take out the complete tensioner, or shall I leave it where it is?

With the word "pegged", I suppose you mean aligning the L-shaped locking key to the camshaft hub?

So glad i have a Rover P6 and found this forum, there is always helpful experts when needed =)


Well-Known Member
If it were secured with 2 well fitting cable ties that pulled the plunger right back into the body, then i would leave the tensioner where it is. If you remove it there is a plate behind it that can fall down into the chains.

Yes, the peg locking the L-shaped key into the front of the camshaft, and the peg down the side of the engine into the flywheel.
One last question. I just noticed that it not the EP mark I aligned, but FP (?). I thought it was EP, but the manual says no 2 valve from front shall be fully open, but mine is fully closed. So I suppose I have to turn the engine.

I have removed the tensioner. Can I turn the flywheel without the tensioner in place?


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Well-Known Member
You are probably 180 degrees out on the camshaft. Regardless of what the book says, the very rearmost cam lobe should be pointing directly upwards. (Valve fully closed). As long as the top chainwheel is still attached you can turn the engine over by hand.


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You don't need to remove that if you don't remove the small cap at the very front. The whole thing, carrier, camshaft, and caps lift off as one unit.

When you lift the head off raise the rear slightly more than the front, that eases it over the top chain.
So, here is the result and why the car hasn't been driven for six years. A dropped valve seat of the 2nd cylinder exhaust valve.

There is a small impact mark on the piston; does it matter? Can I leave it as it is? There are clear impact marks from the shim on the valve spring "washer".

I will send the cylinder head to renovation to a company with great knowledge of British classics. Should I send with the tappets, shims and carrier/camshaft so they can adjust the valve clearance with the right thickness of tappets?

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Well-Known Member
If thre are no sharp edges on the mark on the piston I wouldn't worry about it. I think I'd change the valve spring cap though. If the company know what they are doing they should be able to set the valve clearances for you, and if you send the shims and bauckets and carrier that will help
I have had the cylinder head on rebuild and have test fitted and tightened the top bolts twice to measure/adjust the valve clearance. Now the workshop will take the head off again for a third and final adjustment. Can we reuse the same head gasket, after all it hasn't been exposed to any heat?
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You don't need to take the head off for shiming the tappets, just the camshaft. But that's almost the same procedure as removing the head but you retighten each cap with a distance piece.
The WSM tells you how.
(Annars kan du kontakta mig direkt så kan jag guida dig)

Yes I’ve seen that it can be done that way, but we do not have such distance pieces. So now I’m unsure of the head gasket can be used, or of I need a new one!?

I’ll contact you with PM.


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If the head is torqued down, then the gasket will be compressed and cannot be reused.
Regarding the required spacers, you can use suitable sized nut that fit over the head bolts.
You have to take into account the procedure described in the workshop manual though, otherwise the camshaft might snap in two pieces.