Lots of pics incoming. You've been warned.
TL;DR - Head is off. Noticed a few other issues as well.
Started off by cleaning up the area around the car and optimizing everything so I can easily find tools and organize parts. Pain in the tail now but will probably save my life later.
Before I start -
Removed air intake, intercooler piping and stuff generally in the way.
Figured while I was here it'd be the perfect opportunity to re-tape and clean up this wiring mess. This is just the MAF harness but the intake manifold has a completely butchered harness that I will tend to later.
Yes the actual clip is broken but it still connects, I'll get another if I can source one.
Exhaust manifold is off. Wasn't too hard, some of the nuts were hard to get to and most of them removed the stud from the head but it came off relatively easily.
Surprise surprise, it's cracked. Doesn't seem bad (never noticed a leak), but I'll have it welded anyway and get this thing cleaned up. Maybe a coat of some high-temp paint.
Next on to the intake manifold. This thing is took complex for it's own good. Rip that crap off.
And it's off. It's complex but still pretty straightforward to remove. Just made sure to label things. I did have to contort my body in unhealthy ways to get some of those nuts off though.
After that, I called it a night on Saturday. Got back into it today (Sunday).
Fresh start Sunday, got the valve cover off. Only about a gallon of dried RTV was used to seal it.
The cam has seen better days. Might try and source a new one.
Head off. Block and cylinders look good to my inexperienced eye. Gave everything a scrape and wipe down with brake cleaner to remove any gasket material and excess gunk. Head gasket looked fine but I'll be getting a gasket kit anyway.
A little carbon-y but overall looks good. No cracks that I could find. Bonus knee shot. Please no requests for nudes.
I'd consider it a success for now, especially since this is by far the most in-depth engine work I've ever done. Just need to contact a machine shop to have the head measured and machined.
While I've got it torn apart I'll clean some stuff up. Going to re-do some wiring and paint some parts. I might over-do it. I have a tendency to do that.
Will update soon.