Finally got the heads on. There are so many surfaces to clean up on this engine.
Shot of the bare block:
Those divots in the pistons had me worried for a bit, but they were filled with carbon deposits, so I think they were made that way. They're only visible because I spent a couple of hours removing all that **** carbon.
Copper-sprayed head gasket in place:
Freshly milled cylinder head:
Fully installed (opposite side):
Unlike the 4, the 6 requires all eight bolts to be tightened to the same torque (25Nm), then all are tightened 90 degrees, then the inner four are tightened another 90 degrees but the outer four are tightened only 45 degrees more. All the marks on the bolt heads started at 12 o'clock.
I had a slight clacking before the head gasket failed, and I'm pretty sure I found the culprit. The clearance on one of my right-side intake valves was 0.014", way outside factory spec (0.008"). Heading to the dealer tomorrow to pick up a new power steering pump ($470, ouch) and order a new shim.