Head gasket problem on twin spark? Beware! - Alfa Romeo Forum
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Thumbs Up Head gasket problem on twin spark? Beware!

Hi. This forum has helped me out at times so I just thought I'd write about my recent experience with my GTV Lusso as it may prove useful to other owners and could save them a wad of money and grief!

I've been in the car industry a long(ish) time ever since a nipper and worked on all cars including an independant Porsche garage at one point. I was an MOT tester as well so know a thing or two about cars.

However this one nearly fooled me! I had the usual symptoms of a head gasket problem... began with running on 3 cylinders, then suddenly on a journey, the temperature guage goes sky high, header tank boils and theres steam under the bonnet. When topped up with water, I limped home. Further investigation when back home reveals gas in the header tank, steam coming out the exhaust and rusty sparkplug electrodes. Thermostat ok and rad ok. Anybody with a little knowledge of engines would say it was the headgasket gone. No question.

Well it wasn't!!! I was all set to tear into it and whip the head off. I was just looking at where to start and eying up the inlet manifold when I saw the upper manifold nut was almost off its thread. I reached down to feel for the lower one but couldn't find it!! Just the stud.

The penny dropped... The inlet manifold not only mates up with the ports but also the water jacket in the head. With these nuts missing, the engine was drawing in water along with the air. I couldn't believe it. I found a nut and torqued them both up. A long thrash down the road proved all was ok. PHEW!!!

I wonder why Alfa don't believe in spring washers? There's not a single one on my whole car until I put a spanner to it!

I hope this may help somebody else in a similar situation and to at least check those nuts first.


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Welcome to AO. That's a great first post.
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I wonder why Alfa don't believe in spring washers? There's not a single one on my whole car until I put a spanner to it!


Because they use far superior shouldered K nuts on the manifolds.Now if garages take them off and put normal nuts on, thats a different story.
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Exact same symptoms as mine.
I thought it was the thermostat at first so I have replaced that. Before I go and spend more money on mine I will check these bolts that you say of!
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Can anyone post a picture of the location of these nuts so I can check mine, please?
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Same problem was a common fault with rover k series engines inlet manifold gasket used to fail by water channel to manifold housing.Thus causing loads of white smoke misfire and water loss.Trouble is even if you fixed that and felt relieved a rover k series head would go eventually anyway.
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beware , gasket , head , problem , spark , twin

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