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Head Gasket Without Engine Removal?


Monkeybooze

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Just started tearing down my '84 S3 2.2 engine after oily blobs appeared in the water tank. I think the antifreeze had gone bad and the first thing to rot was the head gasket.

Is it possible to remove the cylinder head in situ and renew the head gasket? I keep looking at the left hand side by the exhaust manifold and keep thinking "shall I start trying to remove those inaccessible manifold nuts?" I have a tubular replacement that will make the assembly easier.

The engine was recently overhauled completely so the block should be ok so unlikely that it will need to be decked. I will get the head skimmed as a matter of routine and possibly a port & polish.-Other mods I can do to the head while it is removed? i.e. oil drainage?

Found a few things that need to be renewed/adjusted when I rebuild too. Sometimes a good excercise for everybodies health including the bank balance! Removed the distributor to find that the four "teeth" underneath the rotor arm sometimes catch, betting it was this that caused my intermittent misfire at idle rather than poor compression - we shall see.

A link showing the timing mark alignments on the four pulleys would be useful too thanks.

Advice on gasket supplier/thickness & quality too would also be much appreciated!

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You can, but do you really want to?

I've done a HG on an Excel without removing the engine, and I've removed a couple of turbo CHs without removing the engine, in all cases it involves undoing one engine mount and slackening the other so as to tip the engine far enough to lift the head beyond the body. For the Esprit you're best to remove the engine surround as well.

Now, why remove the engine?

Why not do the belt and water pump while you do the HG? Both are probably going to need doing soon, one is predictable service item one just fails and starts leaking water, moving from a drip to a jet of water in just a few hundred miles. And to do all three is a much easier job with the engine removed.

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  • Gold FFM

I can confirm Andy's comments that it's possible - we've just done it! To make it easier we released all engine/gearbox mounts. However, one thing led to another and we ended up taking the engine out anyhow. Par for the course...

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

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Yes I can also confirm that the headgasket can be done in situ, best way to do it, is turn the engine so the crank is on the tdc marks on the crankshaft pulley and the camshaft pulley marks line up! I always mark mine with white paint aswell so they are easly visible, remove then remove the cambelt, remove the inlet manifold as a oner with everthing still attached as this will gie you loads more room!

Then remove the cam covers, then unbolt the cam housings, when lifting them off make sure the buckets come out and that you dont loose the shims that will either be stuck to the tops of the valves or stuck to the underside of the

cam followers!

unbolt the exhaust downpipe but leave the manifold attached to the head! remove head nuts in order

sequence then lift the head of and hey presto!

DO NOT TURN THE ENGINE WITH THE HEAD REMOVED OR YOU RUN THE RISK OF UNSEATING THE PISTON

LINERS!

as for the gasket size get the number of the old one and give it to steve at sj sportscars and he can tell you

if its standard or not and will supply you with the one you need!

ALSO KEEP THE SHIMS FOR THE VALVES IN THE CORRECT ORDER WHERE THEY WHERE!

Good luck regards danny

A

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Add to above.

Check and note valve clearances before stripping the cams off, if they need re-shimming it's a lot easier to start with a known change to a clearance and a measured shim to determine the correct size shim to re-assemble with.

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Save yourself a whole world of pain, and take the engine out!! Unless you are a dedicated masochist, it's always the easiest way. Even Edd China on the telly says so!! Everything is so much easier with the lump out of the car..you can clean the thing properly, for a start, and such things as the cambelt and waterpump are far more accessible. Also, don't skim the head as a matter of routine, check it's flatness first as every time you skim it the cam timing will change a bit; and there is a limit to how much can be removed from the head face and you don't want to use it up unneccesarily.

As Gary said, you can start in situ and end up taking it out anyway..it's "par for the course!"

Scientists investigate that which already is; Engineers create that which has never been." - Albert Einstein

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Look at that thing and think about your back! I pulled my motor and thank goodness I did.

Word of warning on head gasket. ONLY USE THE FACTORY ONE!!!!!!!!! I used a Cometic and it leaked around the oil galley hole and I had to do it over. Major PITA.

Good luck,

Jeff

www.espritturbo.com

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The original head gasket used a small "O" ring at the head oil supply interface..the new one has built-in sealing.

Scientists investigate that which already is; Engineers create that which has never been." - Albert Einstein

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Regarding the original question, I did it a couple of times with the engine in situ. Removing the exhaust manifold is the toughest part. :)

Edited by Tony K

Tony K. :)

 

Esprit S1s #355H & 454H

Esprit S2.2  #324J

1983 Turbo Esprit, Investor Edition #03

1991 Esprit SE

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"Word of warning on head gasket. ONLY USE THE FACTORY ONE!!!!!!!!! I used a Cometic and it leaked around the oil galley hole and I had to do it over. Major PITA."

Thanks for all the info.

I've never come across a cam belt tensioner like that before, I was impressed! A mirror helped me figure it out. Taken the head off now and it seems that it was this failure. Ordered my head gasket set from SJ and got the same one! Seriously don't want to stick this on again so off to Lotus. The gasket would probably be ok if it had a rubber seal around each galley hole, a seriously cheapo gasket which cost me

post-5581-1236381049_thumb.jpg

post-5581-1236381129_thumb.jpg

Edited by Monkeybooze
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I believe the S&J top end gasket set IS Lotus...at least, the labels on mine say so..and the Goetze gasket you picture is the standard one for the engine nowadays. The points you indicate are simply where the oil drains back down into the sump; I would have expected that if they were leaking, you'd get water in the oil rather than oil in the water, as the pressure would be on the coolant side and not the oil side. The only point where the oil is under pressure on the head joint is the small hole where the oil passes up to the camshafts; there it is under normal oil pressure and that's why there was an "O" ring at that point, and the new type gasket has a special sealing ring built in there.

I'm also a bit undecided about head tightening procedures. The last couple of times I have done this job, I followed the instructions with the "new" type gasket, which has a very low start torque and then works by increasing angular rotation. Now, this system works by "stretching" the studs a predetermined amount...so you would need new type studs (10 of them at

Scientists investigate that which already is; Engineers create that which has never been." - Albert Einstein

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I have seen a 'fake' Goetze gasket. (Well maybe not a fake, but an inferior copy - I returned it and got my money back).

The genuine article is supplied in a sealed plastic bag and has the work 'goetze' imprinted onto the gasket surface. Its the recommended fitment and very reliable.

You can still find the original Coopers gasket if you look around - but if you cant get the Goetze type oil/water tight, you stand less chance with the old type.

For peace of mind I did change the head studs - in the grand scheme of things, not particularly expensive - Would you believe the list price for the 8mm torx bolts for the cam towers is

Edited by 910Esprit
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I have just completed an overhaul and the new studs looks like this:

112.jpg

Here is my new gasket in place:

122.jpg

you can read all about my overhaul on: http://www.meek.nu/lotus/index.htm

Bjorn

Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die today - James Dean

"If it isn't leaking, it's empty" - Comment from a British sportscar enthusiast after being made aware of an oil slick under his car

Lotus Car Club Norway (LCCN) - lccn.no

LCCN on Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/LotusCarClubNorway/

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Thanks for all the help!

Got the Lotus running late on Wednesday 11th night. As far as a rebuild goes, I found the experience was made a little more difficult than a normal car layout, but not hugely. Reassembling with the exhaust manifold already attached to the cylinder head was the route I took which made things a whole lot easier. I chose the angular tightening procedure then checked the torques afterwards in case of any silly mistakes. A cheap angular torque guage is NOT what to use as they are made from toffee I found. Finding nice places to sit or stand in the engine bay is a problem too (saves the back) found that most of the time my left leg was stood on the floor in the engine bay between the exhaust down pipe and rear left axel while my right leg was perched on the gearbox cross-member like a game of twister.

The only problem I came up against was the cambelt tensioner reassembly and timing. I found the way to tackle this should have been to mark the old belt and then use it as a template for the new belt, never mind. I fitted the new one as best I could with the tensioner fully tightened, marked how many teeth I was out on each pully, dissassembled then reassembled in the correct timing. Getting the markings to align perfectly is impossible without the vernier pulleys due to there being only a finite integer of teeth as mentioned before somewhere on this site.

Found a couple of other things had come astray, the inlet side carb plates (there are four of them that guide the flow into the inlet manifold). Two of them had been over tightened and were cracked all the way around the seals, possibly leaking-(fixed with instant metal), difficult to tell. Suppose this could also be a cause for fuel to dribble onto the distributor and potential to start fires!.

I measured everything if anyone is interested in the data, shim thicknesses, diameters, tappets, clearances, found that everything was in order luckily so overhauled with new valve stem o-rings slight valve seat grind, cam seals, e.t.c and off I went. Another thing I noticed is that the cam carriers to cylinder head are face seals? I Have an old Jensen S1 engine in the garage and that has gaskets. Is this normal for the Lotus not to have any? The gasket set didn't include them (was going to ring SJ to complain).

Oh, tend to agree, the failure was the oil o-ring seal in the head gasket that feeds the cylinder head from the oil pump.

The rest of the gasket was in fact in good condition-suspect it was under-tightened. Found out that I have some nice new Omega pistons and new liners too :harhar:

Edited by Monkeybooze
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Glad you've got it running..!! You're quite right, no gaskets between the cam carriers and the head, just face fit sealant. Early 900 series engines did have gaskets, I believe. Marking the old belt before disassembly is a good idea; about a million years ago I wrote an article for the Club Lotus magazine on cambelt changing and that's what I did! The only real variable is the position of the auxiliary pulley..I now have a mark on the rear face of that pulley which is just visible above the auxiliary housing casting when the pulley is in the right place. Then, given that the two dots are pointing towards each other on the cam pulleys and the crankshaft is on the TDC spot, the belt can just go back on...ensuring that it is tight from the crank pulley to the cam pulleys and the auxiliary pulley, and all the slack is where the tensioner is!

Scientists investigate that which already is; Engineers create that which has never been." - Albert Einstein

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  • 2 weeks later...

With regards to head/block studs - you do not need to change them as a matter of course.

This was confirmed ot me by Lotus Technical Dept.

It is correct that the newer type have a dimple in the top for id, but the only reason this was done was because there was a question over the quality of a batch of older type studs.

Any problem studs would have resulted in failure by now, so if they're still secure, then they're likely to be ok.

They are stretched a bit during torquing, but nothing like Big End bolts, so Head/block studs are perfectly re-useable.

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Thanks for that, Paul, useful stuff from the Fount of all Knowledge. I'll bear that in mind the next time the lump is in bits.... As for big end bolts, yup..they can stretch quite a bit...first found that when I couldn't get the required torque loading on a couple..kept turning but no reassuring CLICK!. Took them out and compared them to the others..didn't need measuring equipment to define the stretch, it was obvious to the Mk. 1 eyeball. So I changed the lot...

Scientists investigate that which already is; Engineers create that which has never been." - Albert Einstein

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