Head gasket cause of bottom end failure? - Alfa Romeo Forum
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(Post Link) post #1 of 9 Old 31-05-11 Thread Starter
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Help Head gasket cause of bottom end failure?


Looking for some advice, my 2001 gtv had head gasket failure so got it repaired by an alfa specialist (that I used due to good reviews on the forum & who's name I shall not disclose for now!) The repair consisted of skimming the head, new gaskets, new cambelt, variators & water pump. I got the car back & it drove fine for a week (50 motorway miles a day) then the bottom end failed.
The repairer has taken the car back & stripped it, they have told me that the bottom end has failed but it was caused by the gasket failure & has nothing to do with the work they carried out?
I cannot find any threads for anyone having a similar problem?

Does anyone know of a head gasket causing bottom end failure?

Can anyone help with where I stand on this from a legal point of view?
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I can't see how a head gasket repair would affect the bottom end at all.

When you lift the head off, all you can see is the top of the pistons. The con-rods, small and big end bearings and shells etc. are all left in place, remain out of sight/reach and don't get moved or distured during the process.

If you had a cam-shaft or valve issue that might be a different story.. since the head holds all that.. but the bottom end.. I'd be hard pressed to know how to damage it from a regular head job.

Some engines have wet liners and these are held in with O-rings and could have been disturbed if the engine was turned over when the head was off.. but that's still a long way from bottom end damage, even if the T/Spark has a wet liner, which I'm not sure it has.

Obviously a leaky head gasket could be losing coolant into the crank/bearings. but you'd hope that all that oil down there would soon sort that out... How long was the head gasket leaking and did you use the beast every day and for long (10 miles journies)? If not, then there may be a water damage possibility.. but even that's a long shot..

Ralf S.

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(Post Link) post #3 of 9 Old 31-05-11 Thread Starter
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Thanks for your reply,

The radiator was leaking & the car was overheating so I replaced the radiator & the gasket went in the first 3 or 4 miles. The car was driven to the garage (less than a mile) but no other journeys as it was blowing white smoke & had a loss of power. The garage are saying that the damage was caused by it overheating before I replaced the radiator?
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When you remove the head, a fair amount of water can get into the oil. If the sump wasn't drained and flushed out properly it will cause excessive wear on the engine, resulting in premature failure of major components...
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Part of the repair included an oil change so am I right in thinking that should have cleared any water out?
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If when the head gasket failed enough water got into one of the bores it could have caused hydraulic lock and damaged the bottom end.

This would not necessarily be apparent from a top end inspection and repair..

Driving the car to the garage with a blown head gasket wasn't a good idea.. the white smoke was probably
If you drove the car for ten minutes the engine would have rotated about thirty thousand times..under load

The initial overheating caused by a lack of coolant..(leaky radiator) damaged the head gasket and warped the head.. fitting a new radiator restored coolant pressure which almost immediatly blew the already damaged head gasket.. water got into a bore and bruised/bent the bottom end.

I think the garage are right on this one..

If a car overheats ..switch off and investigate.. don't run the engine..
saw a similar thing once.. it was caused by a leaky water pump that resulted in a bent conrod...

Gettin' to old for this sh*t

Last edited by seadart; 31-05-11 at 16:50.
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HI, i have the same issue? did you get an oil light on?

I changed the head and gasket on mine run for about 140miles then bad knocking at the bottom end,

i assume that it could be stress on the bottom end from full compression from a new head rebuilt. i will be stripping mine down this weekend. strip the sump off and see whats what.

going to buy a new engine and get my new head sold which should pay for the full engine.
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If the HG fails it can make the the oil and water pathways join resulting in contaminated oil which isn't good for the bearings at all, I had mine fail 1000 miles after a HG replacement, but mine had piston no 4 jump out to freedom on the M25
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Originally Posted by seadart View Post
If when the head gasket failed enough water got into one of the bores it could have caused hydraulic lock and damaged the bottom end.
When I was in Mongolia........

The friends we were with drove their FIAT into a ford river a bit fast, and it promptly cut out. Those guys didn't seem to know what a spark plug tool was and our Nissans had a different size plug so we had no option to just turn it over and pray.......

Oh god it sounded horrible. I'll never forget the sound of water being forced past valves for 30 seconds, until it eventually fired!!

We were ready to walk away and leave that FIAT to a watery grave.

Edit: my team-mate Matt didn't learn from their mistake and he went in a bit fast, but he got away with it!

Last edited by Turtle4288; 27-06-12 at 17:29.
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