Hyundai Elantra cylinder head gasket replacement

My son’s 2002 Elantra has no compression on cylinders 1, 2 & 3, qabout 25 psi on cylinder 4. The timing belt is still in place so I susspect a blown head gasket. It quite runing when my granddaughter was driving down the freeway, make no clattering sounds but she thinks she saw a puff of smoke. I want to pull the head to see if the gasket is damaged. Is it possible to pull the cylinder head without removing the cams. It looks like it would be possible.

Cylinder heads usually come off with the camshafts attached. You’ll want a service manual for this job. Haynes might be good enough, but a Hyundai factory manual would be better.

Try for inexpensive used service manuals.

Thanks for the comments. I have a Haynes manual but it covers about 5 model years. The instructions show removing the camshafts a page earlier but it doesn’t state that it was done to remove the cylinder head. It’s more of a tear down set of instructions. I don’t want to take apart any more parts than I have to and I’m concerned about messing up the timing.

Before you pull the head check to be sure the timing belt has not jumped a few cogs. It would be extremely unusual to blow a headgasket in all four cylinders at one time, and a blown headgasket will result in an inability of a cylinder to hold pressure, but not zero ability to compress. I suspect you may have open valves due to a jumped timing belt preventing compression rather than a blown headgasket.

Besides, an engine with a blown headgasket will continue to run. It won’t suddenly stop like yours did. An engine with a slipped belt will stop suddenly.

Mountainbike is right. Check the camshaft timing before you take anything apart.

Check the manual under “remove cylinder head.” That should tell you whether or not the camshafts have to come off.

Thanks for the comments. The timing belt was intact, tight and it appears to me that the timing marks were correct also. We did pull the head without removing the camshafts. The head gasket did not look greatly damaged but it did appear to be delaminated with upper portion and a lower portion. Once the head bolts were loosened, the head came off very easy. One of the exhaust valves for #3 cylinder had an edge missing but it did not look fresh. There were no marks on the pistons. At this point I am thinking the head gasket separation was the cause of no cylinder pressure. Any thoughts?