Head gasket on VHPD engine

ok had my coolant checked today and my headgasker is defo fried!!

I have been quoted �500 including parts to fit with a Lotus mechanic but he is busy for 2 weeks. So I am thinking of doing the job myself this weekend.

Is it a big job?

What parts will I need?

New head bolts
Head Gasket
Exhaust manifold gasket
Oil Filter

Also thinking about fitting a remote thermostat while the clam is off.

Any help would be great, is there any online guides how to replace the gasket?


You may have to skim the head as well… AFAIK

IMO you need to sort what caused the HGF in the first place.
The remote thermostat you have covered.
The other one is the liner heights.
And for a weekend mechanic it’s something that can be very difficult to sort out. Once you have the head off and find out the liner tops are wrong what are you going to do? take off the rest of the engine? It can get complicated.

I do most of my own mechanics but for a first timer I doubt you can do it over a weekend. You’ll always find things that you need to change/modify and need to wait for monday to buy them.

OTOH, you don’t need the clam off to do the HG, but it may be worth if you’re doing the thermostat as well.

Don’t know, the Lotus mechanic might not check the liner heights either…

(you need an intake gasket too, and some sort of goo sealant that goes below the cam carrier, maybe cam seals too)

You may have to skim the head as well… AFAIK

If there is no damage to the face of the head, avoid skimming. This can only raise the CR unneedingly and lead to time retarding to avoid pinking.

Thanks for the reply guys

hmmm I’m stuck what to-do really! Its only a fun car so if its not on the road by Monday morning its not the end of the world but then again I don’t want to wait 2-3 weeks before I can drive the thing again.

I have just phoned Elise parts and have all the bits coming my way, also ordered a new header tank cap as this can cause HG to fail.

If I do the job rear clam will defo be coming off as I need to swap the alternator as well! Its going to be a long weekend.

Just wish I had someone who knows what they are doing for the technical bits! You might see a few posts from me over the weekend lol

Good man, that’s what I would do.
And in fact, I’m sure we can all help, albeit through the net.

If it’s any help check out my rebuild gallery:

I’m sure there’s a few bits that’ll come in handy.

Thanks Uldis!

Will give it a bash start Saturday morning!

Can you tell me what I need to look for on the head to know if it needs skimming, is there anyway of testing it? I have heard than you can check it with a straigh metal ruler?

Will post up pics if I get stuck with anything!


The exhaust manifold gasket should go again if your careful and I left the inlet manifold on. You can use the head bolts again as well, but no doubt I will get shot down in flames for saying that. LOL.

It isn’t a hard job, just make sure your are careful with the cam timing and cam belt tension.

Good Luck!!


Thanks Sean!

Head bolts are already on order!

Will this car ever run again, Will take some pics as I do it over the weekend and post them with any questions.