I'm back! (But the car isn't...)

Hi guys, I’m back from my thrash around Europe. We had a fantastic time. The roads were amazing, and the weather was mostly brilliant.Unfortunately, the car didn’t quite make the return trip. We started losing water up in the Swiss Alps, and air was hissing out of the header tank cap. I thought it might be the seal in the cap that was at fault, but I guessed it was more likely to be our old friend Head Gasket Failure. Switzerland was closed, so we headed home [image]http://www.exiges.com/ubb/NonCGI/images/icons/wink.gif[/image] We stopped for a nice picnic by the side of a canal in France, and I decided to start the car and see if there was any sign of steam coming from the exhaust. It wouldn’t start. I think I have a cylinder full of water.I now get to wait 2 weeks for the AA to get the car back to Blighty before we can get a proper diagnosis. Bugger.Anybody got any experience of uprated gaskets? Any suggestions to make sure this doesn’t happen again?

Sounds like HGF for sure.One thing I would have done would have been to remove the plugs and turn the engine over to get the water out… wont do it much good to have water in the cylinders all this time :frowning: Hopefully it wont have bent anything trying to drive against the water. :frowning: Sorry I cant give you any good news. I suspect that lot is the last thing you wanted to hear. On the plus side… fit a Mike Satur gasket, and some nice new steel dowels and you should be ok if the head is flat. :slight_smile: Bri(just been through all this!)[This message has been edited by bdrought (edited 08 May 2003).]

Thanks for the reply, Bri.Good point about leaving water in there for 2 weeks. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a plug socket with me, so I couldn’t do anything about it at the time. I guess I could check with the AA whether they can do something about it now.Where can I get a Mike Satur gasket and the dowels, and what sort of cost are we looking at?

Was talking with Phil Davies about head gaskets and I mentioned about the Raceline Supersteel versions.These are somewhat expensive - 150 quid … but are made from embossed laminated Stainless steel.I used them in my 16v A series engine and once I had them fitted my head gasket problems went away.Checked at the Raceline web site and they are available - worth talkin to them IMHO

Dave Andrews (www.dvapower.com) can advise you on how to help the head gasket situation and also supply the Satur gasket. The major problem with the steel ones afaik is this… when they go, they tend to leave an almighty impression on the head meaning a skim is certain. Swings and roundabouts.(I may be completely wrong btw) Bri

Thanks for the help chaps.I’m not really sure which way to go now.I did phone the AA this morning and ask them to try to get the water out of the cylinder, but I’m not sure how they’re going to get on. I’m half expecting them to wreck my new motorsport engine cover because it’s very flimsy, and a bit fiddly to open.

The block and head have to be perfectly flat to use the raceline headgasket, as the liners should be a few thou above the block on the VHPD it make it very difficult unless you get the whole thing skimmed flat!Yes, the BBS has thrown a wobbly with my login again [image]http://www.exiges.com/ubb/NonCGI/images/icons/frown.gif[/image]Philp.s. if you need an engine rebuilder, let me know [image]http://www.exiges.com/ubb/NonCGI/images/icons/wink.gif[/image]

Interesing point about the liners Phil - that could well be a problem … you do need a complete flat surface for the raceline gasket.I can also beleive that if a steel gasket fails you have a mess becuase of the relative hardness of the two materials…However there must be an “ultimate” solution somewhere …

From what i understand about the construction of the gasket, yes it has to be perfectly flat, standard gaskets including the Mike Satur have crushable fire rings and beads of sealant around it to compensate.Phil

PhilStrange question - but how far up the bore do the pistons come - are they below deck or flush ? Just curious … My problems with the min came about because I decked the block so the pistons were flush ( required to get max comp ratio and best “squish” ) - of course they then come out of the bore a little at high revs as the rods stretch - if the gasket is not 100% in the right place the pistons kissed the gasket and eventual failure resulted.

From what i remember the crowns are flush when at TDC, however the gasket has slightly larger fire rings, so they wouldn’t hit that.As you know i have a HGF, when i take it apart again i’ll check the deck height for you.

Andy,Found this info on the MLS gaskets…Head and block faces must be flat within 0.08mm / 0.003" and have unblemished surface finishes within 10 microns / 32 C.L.A. - N6. Since the M.L.S design is “unforgiving” any slight distortion, dirt, or surface blemishes will result in a leaking gasket, be it water, oil or compression gases.Phil

Andy,Just to confirm the pistons are flush with the top of liners.You’ll never guess what i’m doing at the moment, its a bit scary but i’m having to fettle the cutouts in the forged pistons as the valves (larger Ivey ones) have been kissing them as the piston rocks at TDC when cold [image]http://www.exiges.com/ubb/NonCGI/images/icons/blush.gif[/image]

Phil !!I guess the “every cloud story” saying comes to mind on this - had you not had a HGF …So using an MLS gasket is a bit er … tricky oh well Mike Satur then I guess !Keep the hand steady there [image]http://www.exiges.com/ubb/NonCGI/images/icons/grin.gif[/image]

To right Andy, a very steady hand and plenty of grease to catch the swarf !!I still cant see any signs of breaching but the oil and water definatly mixed somehow but only at high revs.I also checked the valve clearancies earlier and decided to re-shim it whilst the head was off as a couple were 5 thou too large, took the cam ladder off and measured the existing shims, most of them have a nice valve stem indentation pounded into them of between 3 & 5 thou !!Looks like i will have to look for high strengh steel to make some new ones, i guess a high carbon content steel would be ok?CheersPhil

This is all a bit beyond me, but I think it sounds like the Satur gasket is the ‘safe option’ ?

Sorry for hi jacking your thread Brendan, but yes the Mike Satur style gasket is a much better option than the standard one.Phil

PhilNot sure whats best steel - but I would guess at something like D3 - its a high carbon, chrome steel used for its impact strength - Let me know if your stuck and I’ll try and bollow a bit of bar [image]http://www.exiges.com/ubb/NonCGI/images/icons/smile.gif[/image]Apologies Brendan but I guess you got the answer in the end [image]http://www.exiges.com/ubb/NonCGI/images/icons/grin.gif[/image] www.mikesatur.co.uk Phone: 01709 890555 | Fax: 01709 890642 | Email: [email protected] Gasket is about 30 quid and the dowels are about a fiver for the set.

Cheers Andy, I spoke to Piper, they just use silver steel that is flame heated and quenched, they have never seen shims indented 5 thou in such a short time !None of the existing shims have been ground square either, some have 5 thou difference from one edge to the other :0 I may just buy a set from Piper �41+vat and then find someone to grind them to size for me. Unless its something your “cough” workshop could do? [image]http://www.exiges.com/ubb/NonCGI/images/icons/wink.gif[/image]BTW the Satur gasket comes complete with steel dowels.

PhilIf your stuck let me know - no worries.