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Possible engine issue - thoughts?

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Its been a while since I posted a technical post about my S2 Esprit, its not had much attention for various reasons but is now at the top of list.

For reference, the last time the car was driven was mid 2020, and last year was only started on a couple of occasions during the summer.  That was to diagnose a couple of electrical issues, one of which was the temp gauge.   For that, the car was just ticking over, although the gauge wasn't working properly we had a digital temperature reader on the engine block as reference, so I know it didn't get very hot.  The gauge was deemed to be the issue and has been replaced (voltage stabilizer was also replaced just prior to that)

Anyway back to the present.  I have just changed the oil, and on Friday have taken the carbs off to be ultrasonically cleaned.  That was going to be the extent of the work but when removing the carbs I noticed some dried coolant around the edge of the kinked rubber pipe which goes to the thermostat housing.  There was also some water around the bolt heads on the thermostat housing.  The gasket around one of the cylinder heads also seems to be damp and I think the gasket may be compromised here, as the section visible between the two surfaces is almost like paper.  There is also some white spotting on the top of the gear box

So I am considering my next steps and would appreciate any feedback.  Puzzled why there would be water present when the car hasn't run for 8 months (car is stored in a ventilated carcoon so I am sure it will not be atmospheric).

The old oil looked OK, don't recall any coolant in it (although I wasn't looking for it), underside of oil filler cap is spotless and the coolant in the expansion tank looks fine.  Presume it wouldn't hurt to flush the system anyway as coolant could do with changing. 

Just worried I may have a head gasket failure although surprised as to how this could have happened given how little the car has been used during the last few years. As the carbs are off, would removing the inlet manifold reveal anything?  Happy to remove this but won't be touching the cylinder heads - I am at the stage now where anything major will be done by a garage rather than myself, but would be good if I had an idea what may have happened.

Happy to put up any pics if required, and appreciate any thoughts/feedback.


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I suspect it’s just residue which you haven’t noticed before, it won’t hurt to replace the thermostat and gasket before running again though and checking the hoses and jubilee clips are secure.

Without being with the car is hard to diagnose properly but think you will be okay. You only have one head with two Cam carriers so assume you are seeing moisture around them which is pretty normal on the 907 with the original type gaskets especially if not run for ages.

Expect a bit of smoking as the Exhaust side tends to weep onto the manifold after time which will burn off. Nitrile gaskets are the way forward if this becomes an issue.

Good call getting the carbs cleaned and rebuilt with new seals by the way, they will need setting up again now though.

Is the coolant nice and clean in the header or as clean as it can be if the original steel header is still fitted?

Do or do not, there is no try! 


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Thanks Dave.

Coolant is nice and blue, I have an aluminium header tank as the old one was rusty as anything when I got the car.

I was going to do the thermostat and gasket, so sounds like I was on the right lines.

The car has given me a few issues so hope I may have been panicking without too much issue.


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