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Tacoma cylinder head?

i have a 2004 2.7 liter toyota tacoma with 135000 miles. the head cracked and was leaking coolant into the #2 cylinder. it wasn’t catastrophic and was still running with just a stumbling idle at start up when cold.
that said i took it apart, found the crack and i am in the process of replacing the head at home, my mechanic did all the diagnosis work.
i don’t remember overheating or when the head could have cracked.
question is…what should i check or replace while the head is off so that i don’t crack my new head??
there were never puddles of coolant under the truck.

please help.
any input is great.
i just don’t want to replace my head and crack a new one.


Make sure to get a good head gasket and new bolts. The head bolts are not reusable. Also, torque the heads to proper spec in the proper sequence.

If you bought a used head be sure it isn’t warped.


“there were never puddles of coolant under the truck.”

That is because the coolant was leaking INTO the cylinder, not onto the ground

If I was you, I’d also change the engine oil and filter. It’s possible some coolant found its way into the crankcase by now.

Drain the radiator, and the block. Get all of that crud out, since it might be contaminated by now.
I’d also replace the thermostat by now. It’s old, and might be sluggish, or stuck open by now. I’d also opt for a new radiator cap. Might also be a good time to replace the belt(s). I’m not sure how many you have, but if they’re still original, they might be glazed or cracked by now.

Don’t reuse the intake or exhaust gaskets, no matter how good they look

As for the brand names . . .

Belt(s) Toyota or Gates
Thermostat Toyota
Coolant Toyota
Radiator cap Toyota or Stant
Head gasket Toyota or Felpro
Head bolts Toyota or Felpro

A precision straight-edge.

You want to check for flatness on the engine deck surface and on the cylinder head before attempting to try to clamp the two together.


awesome! thanks to everyone for the tips, i have a new rebuilt head coming this week from a machine shop. i will be sure replace all the cheap stuff (thermostat, etc)

i have the manual, but like i said if anyone has any thing to add i am all ears.

The only thing I will add is that you should also check the intake and exhaust manifold flanges and make sure they’re not warped also.

Sometimes what can happen with age and miles is that the flanges can distort once the attachment bolts are removed. The general rule of thumb on heads and manifolds is no more than a couple of thousandths warpage.