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'85 TE - Head Gasket? or something else?


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I've done some interior trim, replaced blown bulbs, put all the binnacle back together and got the car back on the road for a mini-shakedown just to make sure nothing rattled loose.

Problems then started emerging at quite a rate for a novice owner ...

1. Flat battery

Cause: I removed door cards to resolder lamp holder and check/clean door mirror switch. Door cards indoors for leather balm. As there was no contact with the 2 door switches, door lights remained on and battery was knackered. Newbie error. Replaced battery, and checked starting all seemed OK. then disconnected again until weather allows me to replace door cards.

2. Replaced carb's top plate as a banjo bolt stripped the thread after fitting carb gasket kit. 

3. Prior to a little drive, checked coolant/oil levels, only to find white emulsion on dipstick, and coolant level slightly lower.

4. Throttle now adds revs, but taking the foot off of the accelerator, the revs come down very slowly. 

My questions are,

A) Is this definitely a head gasket failure, or do I need to look elsewhere. Car has done approx 700 miles since top-end rebuild, had it's 500 mile check. Do the heads come loose? will just tightening any bolts provide a solution? Or can I put in some Head Gasket sealant to solve the problems, or will it require stupid labour costs to replace the almost brand new gasket?

B) - How do I diagnose the throttle issue. All cables move freely, all springs are in place and the linkages seem to be working freely too.

I would like to actually get out in the car and do some hassle free driving !!!   😡

 

Cheers,

 

 

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Hi @thebartman "Car has done approx 700 miles since top-end rebuild, had it's 500 mile check " I assume this is all recent work time wise ? If so push it back to the Lotus service centre and see

Woohoo !!   Have taken apart the crankcase breather hose, airbox and completed CO2 test. Breather hose / airbox filter piccies follow.   Underside of Airbox - with guaze filter covered

If you want to take a drive and meet me somewhere, you could compare your dip stick to mine     

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Who did the top end work?    Do they know liners need to be clamped if still using original sealant?  i.e.  It could be leaking water from either top or bottom of liners!   Its a bit of a smoking gun that work was done a few hundred miles ago.

Revs falling back slowly could be something as simple as lack of free play in cable, linkage or balance badly adjusted.   If none of them, then I would suggest an air leak of some description. 

 

 

 

 

 

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A leak-down test would be advisable, and you could then check not just whether there's a leak from the cylinder but also where it goes to. Even if you don't have access to a full kit to compare cylinders you can do it by putting compressed air in via the sparkplug hole and checking for signs of air leak, out vid dipstick = rings, out via oil filler = valve guides, bubbles /disturbance in coolant = HG or bottom liner seal ( as per Steve's post), out via exhaust or carbs = valves.

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Hello mate, happy to go at a bit of diagnosis, Tier permitting, in January.

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British Fart to Florida, Nude to New York, Dunce to Denmark, Numpty to Newfoundland.  And Shitfaced Silly Sod to Sweden.

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I would start with the basics and check all the hoses for splits, cables for slack, chokes. My first thought was air leak but as Barry said do a quick compression test.

Bite Sparkies arm off if he’s offering to give it a look over and sprinkles magic dust on them I think 😁

I hope it isn’t a head gasket/liner failure and you get going again soon. 🤞🏼
Dave :) 

Do or do not, there is no try! 

 

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There's a test for combustion products in the vapors above your coolant in the header tank, pretty simple and quick if you know a shop or buy a kit. 

Fingers crossed there's just some condensation or some such in the oil and it's not a gasket or liner failure! Been there a time or two....

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if the car has stood for a while and you then drive it you can get some emulsion on the dip stick. check under the oil filler cap and see if there is emulsion there, gives more indication. Also check the breather pipe between the block and the air filter is clear as restrictions here can cause an issue with excessive breathing out the dip stick hole.

Then take it for a decent drive and get the oil hot and see if you still have an issue.

C43

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16 hours ago, 910Esprit said:

Do they know liners need to be clamped if still using original sealant?  i.e.  It could be leaking water from either top or bottom of liners!   Its a bit of a smoking gun that work was done a few hundred miles ago.

New liners, liner sealant, pistons, rings, valves guides, (amongst other items)

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1 hour ago, thebartman said:

New liners, liner sealant, pistons, rings, valves guides, (amongst other items)

Were they experienced Lotus 900 series egine builders who know about such things as the required liner nip?

Cheers,

John W

http://jonwatkins.co.uk

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Only got car back mid July (after lockdown, after Technician had to self isolate etc. etc.) and since have been trying to get all the "little" jobs done that are currently within my grasp as I acquire new knowledge (from this forum) and new skills ......  

Compression test kit, CO2 test kit, feeler guages ordered today and en-route via Santa  - pity I don't have anywhere to store them apart from the front room ......  🙂 

At least I can do lots of bedtime reading of the instruction manuals .....   🤣🤣

 

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21 hours ago, thebartman said:

Thanks @Christian43  Will driving it not damage other parts of the engine? I thought oil and water mixed was quite abrasive? 

 

Depends on how much there is in there, I was working on the basis its not much. Reading the rest of the post and the fact the car has just come out the garage I agree with the other comments in terms of testing you can do and sending it back to the people who did the work in the first place.

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Thanks everyone -

If there is only a little white emulsion from a condensation build up (in cap and dip-stick) , will this disappear after a good run of 20 miles or so?

If not, then is this plan OK ?

  1. CO2 test (kit arrived - seems straight forward)
  2. Compression test (kit arrived - seems a little more research/reading required on how to use it)

Will 1) or 2) above definitely indicate head gasket or some other failure for sure?

  • If yes - good - I can proceed to fix. 
  1. Replace HG at garage ££££££££
  2. Head Gasket fix additive????????
  • If not, what/how do I check next?

I have new oil and filter, but it's mineral (20w50 racing valvoline)

I have new coolant (blue)

I can't keep wasting product by flushing/holding/disposal as I don't have workshop, so I need to be economical in my endeavours, whilst doing the "right" thing by the engine ...

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My last head gasket was a little shy about failing, compression/leak down tests were fine when the engine was cold, and the coolant stayed up most of the time, but the combustion gases test in the warm coolant told the story. You can replace the gasket with the engine in the car, but checking liner nip and adjusting valve clearances might test a casual wrench.  All is posted in the forums...

I run the VR 20/50 oil, should be fine.

+1 on seeing if the shop will stand behind the work if it's gone bad.

 

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8 hours ago, thebartman said:

If there is only a little white emulsion from a condensation build up (in cap and dip-stick) , will this disappear after a good run of 20 miles or so?

For the benefit of clarity - let’s have a photo. One mans little is another mans oh fuck how much.... and vice versa. This could simply be a condensation issue.

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Only here once

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on my turbo (freshly rebuilt) I get a little on the dipstick but the car is driven so infrequently its not getting burned off. I did a compression check and they were all good (9.8 / 9.9 / 10.0 / 9.9) when cold. I did find if I fed the crank breather into a catch can rather than the intake the white emulsion got burned off quicker. As far as how much I have about 5mm worth right at the end of the dipstick. 

C43

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Thanks so much @Christian43, this sounds exactly like mine currently. Emulsion along whole dipstick, with several mm at the bottom.
When it stops raining, and and I can get outside, I’m planning on going through all the tests mentioned in this thread. I now have a compression test kit, and a CO2 test kit which I shall use to prove/ensure the car’s ok to drive as well as taking a few piccies. Clearly, I’m erring on the side of paranoia as I really just want to drive and enjoy her. 
Season’s greetings to you 🎄

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7 hours ago, thebartman said:

Thanks so much @Christian43, this sounds exactly like mine currently. Emulsion along whole dipstick, with several mm at the bottom.

Sounds to me you're being a little paranoid, by all means do the tests but if you don't have mayonnaise in the filler cap & aren't loosing water then I wouldn't worry 😃

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Cheers,

John W

http://jonwatkins.co.uk

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They tell me Paranoia rules .....

Here are three pics. There's NO emulsion in/on/under filler cap,just along and at bottom of dipstick. Coolant level has risien by about an inch in header tank (-  I'm now putting that down to Storm Bella 😉 ) and has a very slight film of something floating on top - can't get decent camera definition to post here.  Nothing apparent leaking anywhere else.

 

 

Dip1.jpeg

Dip2.jpeg

Dip3.jpeg

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