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The cylinder head or the head as it is simply called, is the top end of the engine. It connects to the top of the engine block and makes the other half of the combustion chamber of the engine. The modern engine includes a valve train, camshaft, crankshafts, and spark plugs. Modern internal combustion petrol engines use a cross flow system where the intake manifold is opposite to the exhaust manifold and usually come as either a single overhead camshaft (SOHC) or dual overhead camshafts (DOHC).


A SOHC has only one camshaft and the lobes control the timing, lift and duration for both the intake and exhaust valves, in a DOHC head one camshaft is dedicated to the intake valves while the other takes care of the exhaust valves. Most modern cylinder heads are made from aluminum which saves weight. Replacing a head is not an ordinary procedure as it is very easy to damage the head to such an extent that it may need replacement. If a head is having problems it can usually be overhauled, the replacement of the valve seals and the valves themselves are usually the only maintenance that needs to be undertaken within a cylinder head. Usually when a head is changed out it is for performance enhancement.

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