156 ts head gaskets - Alfa Romeo Forum
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156 ts head gaskets

Hi I have just got my 156 selespeed back on the road after buying it with a timing belt failure to which all 16 valves were damaged.

My reason for this thread is the head gasket set that i bought the gasket was of the new style metal shim type, on refitting the head and setting the timing I found that the pistons would not got quite to TDC whilst using the proper set up tools that I have, so after taking the cams back out of head so I could turn crank anti-clockwise so pistons 2 & 3 were at TDC they still would not go to TDC.

So after removing the head to inspect, during which time I bought a replacement gasket which was of the more common style (metal centre with lined faces). The first thing I noticed that the headgasket that I had fitted appeared to be very thin and flimsy and as I had already noticed that the pistons come proud of block when at TDC I came to the conclusion this was the problem.

So after fitting the replacement headgasket and refitting the head and torqueing to spec, I turned the crank by hand so pistons 1 & 4 were coming to TDC, and hey presto there was no locking up, so setting timing and fitting timing belt turning engine by hand to then recheck on pistons 2 & 3 still no locking.

I have now got her completely back together and running, sounds sweet and gave her a run to Gloucestershire yesterday and back to Yate Bristol.

So word of warning there are head gaskets that are not thick enough to give pistons clearence to the head, check carefullyso it saves you time and frustration, Iwill deffo remember this for the next one I do.

This sele is listed on classifieds if anyone interested.

If anyone else has experianced this how long did it take you to sort it.

Last edited by paulbarrett98; 12-12-10 at 15:06. Reason: spelling mistakes
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Yep, you've found the danger of getting head gaskets from most auto centres.

There are two basic types, which we can classify as thick and thin. The metal layered gasket, as used on the later engines, is the thinner type.

The switch over date seems to vary on engine and model type so I won't quote any given figures for this sadly. I have seen either type on many varied ages and models, so it seems a little hit-and-miss despite the exact date being given by Alfa - well that's my experience anyway.

Therefore, if you install a thin gasket on an early engine, or have even had the head skimmed, it is recommended to use the thicket earlier type. I know of plenty of Alfa mechanics who just use the thicker type on all engines with no problems.

Personally, I simply check what gasket came off the engine, but if there is any confusion, like an unknown sourced block or head, then I use the thicker one to keep on the side of caution. I too have never had a problem with this method.

I did once get an engine that someone had installed the wrong gasket on and then sold on quick. At idle it seemed not too bad, but as you revved it, you could hear all the pistons hitting the head. You could also feel a resistance as you tried to get any of the pistons to TDC.

As you would expect it needed the pistons and head checking fully for damage, a set of new big ends and a thicker gasket and all was well again.

If it helps, EuroCarParts seem the cheapest source for Alfa headgaskets. They do the earlier thicker style (from memory its pn# 366510021) for around 12-14 if you have a good trade account with them.

Hope that helps you in the future.

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