When you're cleaning the block, fill the cylinders with something; rags are fine. Just make sure that when you scrape the block, the muck doesn't end up down in the rings.
I use a razorblade and brake cleaner. It seems to work fine. you could use a whiz-wheel, but use a scotchbrite, not a metal. you don't want to cut into the metal.
Any time the head comes off, you should be dropping it off at a machine shop to be planed. I always have my guy inspect it, and adjust guides/replace valve seals.
If you're looking to have minimal downtime, buy a junkyard head and have it re-worked prior to dismantling. do NOT put a gasket under a non-planed head.
Get new head bolts or head studs. Replace the thermostat, and clean the thermostat housing or get a replacement. It's not just the thermostat housing, but it also serves as a couple very important grounds.
lastly, be VERY careful pulling the head off, and pulling the head over the chain guides.
If you happen to lift the head up, and it gets caught on something, it's almost a guarantee that when you lower the head to disconnect whatever you missed, you'll break the tip off the rear guide.
2008 9-5 Aero-1995 900T 'vert
Last edited by g96nt; 03-01-2014 at 11:11 AM.