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Have had a leak of coolant for a few months and decided i would tackle the hose to radiator over christmas period. I did and thought job done, new coolant and a full flush and bleed job done ........or so i thought!:(

Loaned the car to my daughter while she visited some old school pals and at 2am this morning got that phone call:( I have her well trained so she stopped as soon as she realised and she told me temp was sitting at 130o and header tank was totally empty. Left the car and picked her up this morning and towed Rab home. Just had the mechanic around and its been diagnosed as head gasket as i had not sealed the front pipe to radiator properly and there was also a 1" split which i hadn't noticed.:rant:

So, apart from Torque wrench and the Torque Angle Guage, Cylinder Head Removal tool, Head Gasket and Cambelt Kit, New Head Bolts x10. Is it just a matter of ripping head off and throwing on a new gasket and rebolt back together in order sequence and torque and then do cambelt while im there, i have done the cambelt before but the head gasket is all new to me and in the cars before that have had failed head gaskets (Saab):rant: I have just got shot. Is the head gasket really an easy job just its complicated by needing to do cambelt at the same time?

Thanks in advance as always.:)
 

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Its not too bad, some of the bolts on the back of the plenum are a pain, if you can grow more knuckles and elbows then that might help. :lol: The GTV is the most awkward to do it in because of the bulkhead design. But for one of our technicians, it would all be done in a day. When we do these jobs we always use a fully re-conditioned cylinder head, which is ready & waiting to go on. You head at a minimum should be skimmed, ideally you should replace the valve stem oil seals which are in a head gasket set anyway. Replace inlet manifold gasket too. If you don't want to use a fully reconditioned head then at least turn the head upside down so you can see the valves and then fill the dishes with petrol to see if it gets between the valves and the head, that will give you a good idea of whether or not you should re-lap the valves back in.

You will need to change the oil & filter as you'll get coolant in the oil when taking the head off even if the oil is OK now.
 

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What great timing you have - I'm halfway through a head gasket change on mine at the moment :lol:

Reckon on it being a two-day job just to do the basics - if you want to replace valve stem seals and lap the valves, that's going to add another half-day. I decided not to, as there weren't any signs of problems, the engine is an unknown to me and I don't have huge amounts of time.

Getting the two bolts out from under the plenum chamber (15mm socket on about a metre of extensions, miserable job from under the car as a tab on a bracket must be bent out of the way - use a screwdriver poked through the hole in the tab and reach from on top, driver's side) is the hardest part. Also the dipstick tube was a ridiculous struggle. It comes off with the manifolds, which stay on the head - the whole lot gets lifted off as one huge lump.

Most of the time is spent cleaning everything up and resurfacing the head (I used coarse valve grinding paste on a sheet of glass, because no engine reconditioners are open around here at this time of year).

I stripped and cleaned all the hydraulic tappets. My experience with the 156 taught me this is worthwhile. You rap the tappet on a concrete floor to get the piston out, then the inner part of the piston can be pulled out with pliers. Use Scotchbrite to remove any varnish, wash and reassemble so that the spring inside gives the piston a springy feel. This is contrary to advice I read in the 156 forum that states "any tappets that feel squishy should be replaced". They have a spring in them, so they SHOULD feel squishy when the oil is washed out - if not, then the inner piston is jammed and probably won't self-adjust properly, which gives tappety noises (which I had, and fixed). Also check for pitting/erosion of the top surface and replace any that are affected, since you don't want to wear the cams. The tappets will take ages to fill after the first start-up (about 20 minutes of running).

Probably more points to add but I'm writing on an iPhone and it's very late at night.

Don't forget the cam locks... I can't get those either, so I'm making do with white marks and will re-set the timing later when my set arrive from England, or when I can borrow a set on the 15th, whichever comes first!

-Alex
 

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Thanks guys, it is a complete overhaul then, thankfully i have had the experience of removing plenum before with doing alternator and have discovered that just removing the bottom bolts that bolt to block was the easy way as the stand can be twisted and the chamber popped out to the right. luck is on my side as i have a spare engine with a good head that i might just swap onto 'Rab' as i don't fancy rebuilding topend all in one go as time is sadly lacking. Keep us posted as to how you get on Alex. Thanks guys! Happy New Year.
 

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I had a glitch and only just managed to save my additions to the post above :)

I agree with Pud, I think my 2-day comment still stands if you don't have an exchange head ready to go on. This is the first time I've ever fitted a head without doing the valves, I'll let you know how it runs. The valves seemed a bit slack (one visibly moved as I scraped around it) and I thought I didn't want to get involved in the time and expense of fitting new valve guides. There were no sealing problems (parts washer fluid stayed in combustion chambers) and no carbon on the backs of the inlet valves (which to me would suggest worn guides and seals). The biggest problem I had to deal with was the sheared-off spark plug which had rendered the engine a non-runner and caused it to arrive on a trailer.

-Alex
 

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Don't worry about new head bolts, unnecessary expense.
 

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Just reuse with abit of thread lock then Mitch?:)
No need for threadlock on really tight bolts. I just reused mine and they seemed to tighten down OK. I always oil the heads and washers generously to avoid that 'cracking' effect.

-Alex
 

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Cheers Alex, i managed to get the job one quarter done ie: head off on one now need to get head off the good engine.
 

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Don't forget the cam locks... I can't get those either, so I'm making do with white marks and will re-set the timing later when my set arrive from England, or when I can borrow a set on the 15th, whichever comes first!

-Alex

Whoa......unless you are absolutely desperate, and prepared to risk having to do the job again - wait for the camlocks - although people have done the job without, it is certainly not recommended, and its a matter of chance whether you get away with it.......;)
 

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Whoa......unless you are absolutely desperate, and prepared to risk having to do the job again - wait for the camlocks - although people have done the job without, it is certainly not recommended, and its a matter of chance whether you get away with it.......;)
Hehe... well, I worked hard and had some help for hooking up the cooling system, exhaust etc. leaving me free to re-time the engine. The marks I made were with the crank at TDC. The cams snap themselves into a position forward of where they should be at TDC, and also the crank mark is on the outside pulley, but both that and the balance belt pulley have to come off to get the belt on or even to turn the engine over, because a socket can't go on the crank nut unless the balance belt pulley is off!

It's all a tremendous hassle, fighting against the exhaust cam and guessing how much forward to turn the crank ("hmm, this one's a bit past, so the crank should be about twice as far, and if I hold the exhaust cam forward a bit with one hand...<CLACK-Cling-CLANG> ok I'll get the 18mm socket - right, now if I pull the belt tight - well that was two teeth around on the crank so we'd better allow for that - a crowbar against that plastic idler might get the tensioner out into the right place...") then it's time to wind the engine over two turns (groan, wheeze, and then there's the engine...) and put the pulley on to find the timing is two teeth out. Then try again...

After only about five tries (and three hours) the marks were all lining up.

I have done the job the proper way on my 156 and it was definitely much easier - the only hazard when working the proper way is to ensure the exhaust cam pulley doesn't run out of travel - it moves in a range of only four teeth, so if it runs out of travel with the cam locked, the belt won't be tight when you think it is.

Stuffing around the improper way wastes hours, but at least the engine is running ready for today's round trip of a couple of hundred miles. That was the important thing for the new owner (who hasn't paid yet). Seems to be going well too - sounds great and I had difficulty keeping up in my Spider. Not smoky either. The variator is noisy when the engine starts, but the valves are quiet now.

-Alex
 
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