surprise surprise another head gasket seems to have blown

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surprise surprise another head gasket seems to have blown

Postby Sir Brixalot » 06 Mar 2020, 12:08

Bubbles in header tank, levels dropping in the header tank and leaks appearing. All too familiar from previous Elite engines, this one lasted nearly 20,000 miles so by far their best. Seems to me that head gasket has blown. Waiting for sniff test.

Has anyone got a recommendation for someone to repair it? If the price is high I might as well go 2.1 but I have to sell within the next year. I was just about to sell until I had this latest problem.

Compression test results. As three and four have different readings as well as being way off from 1 and 2, does it mean the whole engine needs rebuilding?

cyl 1 - 120
cyl 2 - 120
cyl 3 - 140
cyl 4 - 148

Also now failed sniff test.
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Re: surprise surprise another head gasket seems to have blown

Postby Swebby » 06 Mar 2020, 13:21

That VW engine company isn't too far from you near Biggin Hill. Might be worth considering if you need a new one. Not sure if they fix old ones. Not sure what they are like but might be worth a look.

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Re: surprise surprise another head gasket seems to have blown

Postby Sir Brixalot » 06 Mar 2020, 14:01

Thanks. I emailed the Engine Shop this morning, feedback seems to be mainly positive. I've got a feeling they only sell rebuilt engines and don't repair,
Last edited by Sir Brixalot on 06 Mar 2020, 20:23, edited 1 time in total.
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surprise surprise another head gasket seems to have blown

Postby DoubleOSeven » 06 Mar 2020, 14:28

I think you are being very honourable Mr B. Some folks might put some radiator sealant in it and sell it, as is.
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Re: surprise surprise another head gasket seems to have blown

Postby Mocki » 06 Mar 2020, 15:39

Sir Brixalot wrote:Bubbles in header tank, levels dropping in the header tank and leaks appearing. All too familiar from previous Elite engines, this one lasted nearly 20,000 miles so by far their best. Seems to me that head gasket has blown. Waiting for sniff test.

Has anyone got a recommendation for someone to repair it? If the price is high I might as well go 2.1 but I have to sell within the next year. I was just about to sell until I had this latest problem.

Compression test results. As three and four have different readings as well as being way off from 1 and 2, does it mean the whole engine needs rebuilding?

cyl 1 - 120
cyl 2 - 120
cyl 3 - 140
cyl 4 - 148

Also now failed sniff test.


water jacket seals have nothing to do with compression, so could be a cracked or holed head , the water will not mix with the oil in either case , but compression gasses in the coolant point to head or barrel seals as there is no head gasket.
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Re: surprise surprise another head gasket seems to have blown

Postby Sir Brixalot » 06 Mar 2020, 16:26

Seems like 2 separate issues

1. From what Mocki says it sounds like a crack or hole on 1 and 2 side...weird because the engine sounds very smooth. Even the lowest is PSI is 120 so isn't that within tolerance and would that suggest its less bad than a crack?

2. Where is the coolant going then? I've stopped all the leaks and nothing seems to be leaking from water jacket seals? I can't brim the header tank because even when the coolant is hot the level rises even with the accelerator down hard which suggests a leak somewhere. However when it's cold the level rises in the header on opening suggesting a vacuum or is it exhaust gasses getting caught in the header tank releasing when opening -all very confusing. Any ideas?
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Re: surprise surprise another head gasket seems to have blown

Postby Sir Brixalot » 06 Mar 2020, 21:17

Swebby wrote:That VW engine company isn't too far from you near Biggin Hill. Might be worth considering if you need a new one. Not sure if they fix old ones. Not sure what they are like but might be worth a look.

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Ah thanks initially gi=ot them mixed up with The Engine Shop. Looks like £2800 for a 2.1 OK if I was keeping the van but as I have to sell before the Ulez extension I don't think it sensible. Probably looking for a known engine or if I can't find one I might even sell as is
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Re: surprise surprise another head gasket seems to have blown

Postby ajsimmo » 06 Mar 2020, 23:35

I wouldn't read much into the compression test unless you have earlier reference readings and something has significantly changed. It certainly doesn't tell you with any certainty which fire ring is leaking. It might be mismatched pistons (I've known them mix used sets) or heads (early heads had a smaller chamber than late).
The reason for so many failures seems to be the gunk they use under and over the fire rings, some white stuff they larrup on which contaminates the sealing area, and ultimately burns/breaks away leaving a breach. Or it might just be a loose head (as on at least 3 vans I've fixed with Engine Shop engines with insufficiently torqued head nuts).

I wouldn't normally recommend it, but in light of your circumstances you could try just retorquing by removing each head nut one by one, clean threads and sealing face, apply sealant and retighten to 50Nm. Then if it works tell the buyer to save up for a reseal/engine. If not, it's cost you bugger all.

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Re: surprise surprise another head gasket seems to have blown

Postby Sir Brixalot » 07 Mar 2020, 07:24

I've never done a compression test before so not got a reference point. Thanks for the tip Andrew. I'm still quite immobile but sure I can give it a go with a willing assistant/nephew.

Just checking, these are the 4 nuts under the rocker cover next to the valves and 4 outside?

Does the engine need dropping to do this?
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Re: surprise surprise another head gasket seems to have blown

Postby ajsimmo » 07 Mar 2020, 20:12

Yes, them's the ones, and no, no need to drop the engine.

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Re: surprise surprise another head gasket seems to have blown

Postby Sir Brixalot » 07 Mar 2020, 20:24

Feelling positive about it. Thanks. Do you have a preference for the nut sealant? Thinking of ARP or thermatex thread sealer
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Re: surprise surprise another head gasket seems to have blown

Postby ajsimmo » 08 Mar 2020, 09:35

It should ideally be a non-setting sealant like the yellow one supplied in the gasket sets, but the ARP looks like it'd do the job.

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Re: surprise surprise another head gasket seems to have blown

Postby Sir Brixalot » 08 Mar 2020, 14:54

Thanks Andrew going to crack on with tomorrow. Might as well find out one way or the other
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Re: surprise surprise another head gasket seems to have blown

Postby Sir Brixalot » 09 Mar 2020, 10:54

Should I buy new bolts or is reusing the existing ones back in the same holes just as good?
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Re: surprise surprise another head gasket seems to have blown

Postby ajsimmo » 09 Mar 2020, 14:49

Bolts? What bolts? You only have two cover clips, four rocker shaft nuts, and 16 head nuts to undo and reuse. The only thing you might need to replace are the rocker cover gaskets, but don't bother until you know if the fix works. All torque settings are in the manual.
Ah, you mean manifold bolts. No, you don't need to replace. Just undo all four, and lift out the way, tie up. If the gaskets are undamaged reuse (preferably with a smear of hylomar). Sorry, I do all this without thinking as I've boxes full of new and used bits, so forgot you'll be doing it as a newbie. My bad.

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