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Barrykearley

V8 head gaskets

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I had this discussion with an Esprit Guru last night who said that Only Lotus OEM head gaskets should be used. Period.

Anything else and there's a high probability of an engine rebuild on the horizon.   

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Here is a picture of one of my failed gaskets.Coating is badly damaged, but not sure if this was subsequent over heating or a root cause of failure.  Witness marks seem to show failure in the coolant galeries close to the liners.  

Failure mode of the cooling system was sudden loss of coolant, apparently from presurization of cooling system from combustion chamber.  Did several combustion gas checks that were negative, final test done by my very experienced independent shop was positive.  Only seemed to occur under load at reasonable rpm (say 4000 or more with some boost).  No obvious cross over of oil and coolant noted, but on disassembly some mayonaise seen in the cooling system tubes from the turbo's, which confirmed crossover did occur. 

Very frustrating problem, as we have essentially refurbished the cooling system completely and have not solved the issues.  This recent head gasket failure is the second while I have owned the car.  First failure was a small external leak located at front right, just above the alternator.  May have caused two alternator failures due to dripping coolant; no coolant seen below car as it would presumably only leak intermitently and slow enugh to evaporate off.

I did not see the head gaskets removed on the first job, but the tech swears they were not OEM, and not even of the laminated steel type.  This seems real strange to me, and might not be accurate.  As I say, never saw the gaskets, just saw the evidence of the external leak and noted very rapid coolant loss/consumption (about 1/2 litre per day if steady running).  Anyone seen V8 head gaskets that are other than the laminated steel type?

Replacement gaskets are installed, and just waiting for turbo's to come back from service/rebuild before recommisioning the car (2000 V8).  Very strange, as I have an impeller failure on one of the turbo's, even after rebuild last winter with the first head gasket job. Whether this failure is related to the head hasket failure, sudden coolant loss on track, brief overheating, oil/water crossover, etc. I am not sure.

Don't think we have an overboost issue happening.  Seems to be normal boost pressures according to my gauge I installed last winter after the head gasket replacement.

We have used OEM head gaskets this time based on recommendations from other folks and on-line research.  Sourced the OEM gaskets from Steve at SJ.  He indicated to me he was not aware of failures with the aftermarket gaskets.  He did mention he supplies and sells the same aftermarket gaskets as JAE; I assume these are the 'Steve's Pick' gaskets on his site for about half the cost of OEM, but perhaps others who have bought them can confirm.  Although he could supply me with OEM gaskets (about two months ago), he mentioned they may be the last set he has available right now.  I did not interpret this to mean OEM gaskets are not available any more, just not in stock with him right now and perhaps not in stock with Lotus or through his supply chain.  Trying to be very clear here, as I did not understand @Bibs mention of someone being banned for saying (among other thinks apparently, I can't really follow the posts and back and forth too well) Lotus does not have any more V8 gaskets available in this other thread.  Not taking issue with anything, just saying I do not know what the exact gasket supply situation is, but understand the OEM ones are hard to get...

https://www.thelotusforums.com/forums/topic/84521-fourth-time-blown-head-gasket/

 

I do not know right now what caused my second gasket failure.  Hoping the OEM gaskets solve the problem, but no experience to report yet. Unfortunately it is going to be a very short fall driving season here in Alberta after the new gaskets are installed.  I do have a Track Day scheduled for October 1st that hopefully will use the Esprit. The track is about three hours (one way) from home, so it should be an excellent road test if trhe car is ready in time and the snow is not too deep :).  It is actually snowing in Banff today, so fingers are crossed.

I have not contacted JAE yet about my most recent failure, as (1) I did not purchase the gaskets, the shop did, (2) I do not know specifically what caused the failure, and (3) I don't know yet if the coolant loss issue will be solved with the new OEM gaskets.  If the OEM gaskets solve the problem I am prepared to report results to Jay and Steve.  As Steve mentioned to me in an email, the only way the suppliers know if there is an issue is if we let them know.  I am pretty confident in the shop doing the work, but things can happen on assembly, etc.  We did send the heads out for cleanup, the block deck was checked, etc.  The shop has done extensive work on a number of Esprit V8's, including heads, liners, etc.

Can someone confirm the head torque spec we should be using?  I believe we are using stock head bolts, but I will check on that important detail.  

'Guest' asked about the gasket replacement job being done with the engine in or out of the car.  My gaskets were done with the engine in the car.  My understanding is if you are using ARP replacement studs the engine has to be pulled to provide enough clearance to get the head off over the studs, but I am absolutely open to correction on this detail.

There is a post above in this thread that 'Guest' says is from the archive; not quite sure what is meant there.  I think it is actually taken from this thread on Lotus Talk, but not sure.  Although it says 'Stu' at the top of the post, it is not based on my experience.  Rather it was another fellow on Lotus Talk that reported solving his coolant loss issue with OEM gaskets, and he posted publically after I enquired if he had solved his specific issue.  This was when we were planning my head gasket replacement job.  The thread contains a bit of history on my first gasket failure...

http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f164/bad-news-v8-head-gasket-330489/

I did hear off list from one other person regarding this issue, and he also reported OEM gaskets solved his problem of sudden coolant loss.  We will see if he also posts in this thread.

Looking at the HowardRoark thread regarding sudden coolant loss, I am wondering if it is another occurance of the same issue?  I thouight I simply had an air bubble in the cooloing system, but definitely gasket failure.

Hope this helps.  Any experiences, good or bad, are probably helpful.  

Stay Calm and Carry On I guess.  Wish me luck.

Stu

IMG_1504.JPG

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Really hope you get her back on the road with no further issues chap

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The service notes also specify the cylinder head bolts should have the threads and underside of the bolt head lubricated with engine oil.

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Excellent guys.  Thanks.  

A few years ago I provided an electronic copy of the service manual to the shop, so hopefully all good. The torque settings and procedures Mike and Derek provided are as per my Service Manual, page ED-36.  Reason I asked for confirmation is at one point my tech mentioned a revised torque spec. I may have missunderstood; he may have meant the torque spec used for another highly modified Esprit V8 that was using ARP studs.  At any rate, as we are using stock gaskets and screws, I would want the Lotus recommended torque spec to be used.  Will check with the shop to see what they are using.

Another quick thought.  Our local independent did major service work on about four V8's last winter (when my aftermarket gaskets were installed). I think at least two jobs involved using the aftermarket head gaskets.  The other cars don't accumulate much for miles, and don't see track use.  Unfortunately I seem to be the local trial baloon to see if we have isolated the cause of this issue.  Any experience from others helpful.

Cheers!

Stu

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On 9/21/2016 at 18:07, mike_sekinger said:

From memory, final torque for the ARP heads stud nuts was 85lb-ft (115Nm) - but again taken in cycles leading to that final setting.

For future reference - the correct torque for the ARP head stud nuts was 90lb/ft (122Nm), using the ARP Ultra Torque Lube

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On 9/20/2016 at 14:39, stugilmour said:

Here is a picture of one of my failed gaskets.Coating is badly damaged, but not sure if this was subsequent over heating or a root cause of failure.  Witness marks seem to show failure in the coolant galeries close to the liners.  

Failure mode of the cooling system was sudden loss of coolant, apparently from presurization of cooling system from combustion chamber.  Did several combustion gas checks that were negative, final test done by my very experienced independent shop was positive.  Only seemed to occur under load at reasonable rpm (say 4000 or more with some boost).  No obvious cross over of oil and coolant noted, but on disassembly some mayonaise seen in the cooling system tubes from the turbo's, which confirmed crossover did occur. 

Very frustrating problem, as we have essentially refurbished the cooling system completely and have not solved the issues.  This recent head gasket failure is the second while I have owned the car.  First failure was a small external leak located at front right, just above the alternator.  May have caused two alternator failures due to dripping coolant; no coolant seen below car as it would presumably only leak intermitently and slow enugh to evaporate off.

I did not see the head gaskets removed on the first job, but the tech swears they were not OEM, and not even of the laminated steel type.  This seems real strange to me, and might not be accurate.  As I say, never saw the gaskets, just saw the evidence of the external leak and noted very rapid coolant loss/consumption (about 1/2 litre per day if steady running).  Anyone seen V8 head gaskets that are other than the laminated steel type?

Replacement gaskets are installed, and just waiting for turbo's to come back from service/rebuild before recommisioning the car (2000 V8).  Very strange, as I have an impeller failure on one of the turbo's, even after rebuild last winter with the first head gasket job. Whether this failure is related to the head hasket failure, sudden coolant loss on track, brief overheating, oil/water crossover, etc. I am not sure.

Don't think we have an overboost issue happening.  Seems to be normal boost pressures according to my gauge I installed last winter after the head gasket replacement.

We have used OEM head gaskets this time based on recommendations from other folks and on-line research.  Sourced the OEM gaskets from Steve at SJ.  He indicated to me he was not aware of failures with the aftermarket gaskets.  He did mention he supplies and sells the same aftermarket gaskets as JAE; I assume these are the 'Steve's Pick' gaskets on his site for about half the cost of OEM, but perhaps others who have bought them can confirm.  Although he could supply me with OEM gaskets (about two months ago), he mentioned they may be the last set he has available right now.  I did not interpret this to mean OEM gaskets are not available any more, just not in stock with him right now and perhaps not in stock with Lotus or through his supply chain.  Trying to be very clear here, as I did not understand @Bibs mention of someone being banned for saying (among other thinks apparently, I can't really follow the posts and back and forth too well) Lotus does not have any more V8 gaskets available in this other thread.  Not taking issue with anything, just saying I do not know what the exact gasket supply situation is, but understand the OEM ones are hard to get...

https://www.thelotusforums.com/forums/topic/84521-fourth-time-blown-head-gasket/

 

I do not know right now what caused my second gasket failure.  Hoping the OEM gaskets solve the problem, but no experience to report yet. Unfortunately it is going to be a very short fall driving season here in Alberta after the new gaskets are installed.  I do have a Track Day scheduled for October 1st that hopefully will use the Esprit. The track is about three hours (one way) from home, so it should be an excellent road test if trhe car is ready in time and the snow is not too deep .  It is actually snowing in Banff today, so fingers are crossed.

I have not contacted JAE yet about my most recent failure, as (1) I did not purchase the gaskets, the shop did, (2) I do not know specifically what caused the failure, and (3) I don't know yet if the coolant loss issue will be solved with the new OEM gaskets.  If the OEM gaskets solve the problem I am prepared to report results to Jay and Steve.  As Steve mentioned to me in an email, the only way the suppliers know if there is an issue is if we let them know.  I am pretty confident in the shop doing the work, but things can happen on assembly, etc.  We did send the heads out for cleanup, the block deck was checked, etc.  The shop has done extensive work on a number of Esprit V8's, including heads, liners, etc.

Can someone confirm the head torque spec we should be using?  I believe we are using stock head bolts, but I will check on that important detail.  

'Guest' asked about the gasket replacement job being done with the engine in or out of the car.  My gaskets were done with the engine in the car.  My understanding is if you are using ARP replacement studs the engine has to be pulled to provide enough clearance to get the head off over the studs, but I am absolutely open to correction on this detail.

There is a post above in this thread that 'Guest' says is from the archive; not quite sure what is meant there.  I think it is actually taken from this thread on Lotus Talk, but not sure.  Although it says 'Stu' at the top of the post, it is not based on my experience.  Rather it was another fellow on Lotus Talk that reported solving his coolant loss issue with OEM gaskets, and he posted publically after I enquired if he had solved his specific issue.  This was when we were planning my head gasket replacement job.  The thread contains a bit of history on my first gasket failure...

http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f164/bad-news-v8-head-gasket-330489/

I did hear off list from one other person regarding this issue, and he also reported OEM gaskets solved his problem of sudden coolant loss.  We will see if he also posts in this thread.

Looking at the HowardRoark thread regarding sudden coolant loss, I am wondering if it is another occurance of the same issue?  I thouight I simply had an air bubble in the cooloing system, but definitely gasket failure.

Hope this helps.  Any experiences, good or bad, are probably helpful.  

Stay Calm and Carry On I guess.  Wish me luck.

Stu

IMG_1504.JPG

Hi Stu and all,

Any updates on the availability of Lotus OEM head gaskets for the V8?   Yes I have used JAE and SJ Sportscars gaskets, and both resulted in blown gaskets and coolant loss.   I see the current Pancho thread video and it seems to explain a bit of the issue.  My car is currently in the shop.  I hope Lotus can solve this issue for all V8 owners.

Cheers,

 

IMG_4212.JPG

IMG_4581.JPG

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If you are having repeated problems with different types of replacement HG, I would be taking a serious look at the flatness tolerances on both block deck and cylinder heads.  If you have issues in either of those components, then your HG have an impossible task to perform.

Independant of JAE or Lotus themselves, SWLC appear to have had a batch of HGs produced recently by the original supplier to the same specifications.

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Sound advice.

 

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^ there's a man that knows 

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17 hours ago, mike_sekinger said:

If you are having repeated problems with different types of replacement HG, I would be taking a serious look at the flatness tolerances on both block deck and cylinder heads.  If you have issues in either of those components, then your HG have an impossible task to perform.

Independant of JAE or Lotus themselves, SWLC appear to have had a batch of HGs produced recently by the original supplier to the same specifications.

Thanks so much, I do see these online at SWLC.   I do believe what they say, but just to be sure, has anyone verified that they are the original OEM manufacturer?

cheers

IMG_6216.PNG

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A CAUTIONARY TALE OF V8 HEAD GASKETS !

Finally it turns out the aftermarket Head gaskets were total crap. My engine was rebuilt three times and finally blew up due to overheating.  $30,000 later and installed a replacement used engine which I had replace the head gaskets again. I went with OEM head gaskets and finally its not overheating Very expensive lesson learned. Also JAE has discontinued selling the aftermarket head gaskets.

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This is the very reason I never pulled the heads off my V8.

These stories are far and wide and frankly I simply never knew who to believe.

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I'm not sure if this video has been posted already but it's very topical for this thread...

cheers

-Chris

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Shortly before selling my '99 Esprit V8 I had multiple head gasket failures on a freshly rebuilt engine.  Everything came from JAE (every time), so it makes sense that I had the same issue.  I didn't talk to them about it since I had no reason to assume the gaskets themselves were bad.  Ah, if only I had known!

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On 09/09/2016 at 02:08, Guest said:
 Oct 09, 2015 - #11
 
Stu
 . I had to make tooling to pressurize the combustion chamber with the engine out of the car. I could then see the leak in the head gasket thru the cooling system.  

reading thru this thread I felt a lot better after this. I can use a cylinder leak tester and a stethescope to listen. 

Then as Mendoza said, CHeck for straightness and smoothness of all surfaces. 

Any1 every use Copper spray? It's always done good by me on other all alluminum engines. So good that a piston melted and the gasket was fine. 

Edited by v8GTmac1

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How about just shimming the cylinder liners with .003" steel shim to bring them back up to the deck?

.003" steel sheet   << click. 

I dont know if this is a secret or not but last I spoke with PBC, he went on and on about their rebuild process and one thing that stood out was their custom made cylinder liners being .003" taller.

 

I'm getting my heads resurfaced atm and I asked for as close to a glass finish as possible and they showed me a sample head,  Very happy with that. 

 

 

Edited by v8GTmac1

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@v8GTmac1 I’d highly recommend keeping the liners as designed and buying the correct head gaskets from SJ Sportscars. 

The reason Lotus made the liners sub flush was to compensate for the expansion. If you were to shim them to deck height, it would blow the second the car got up to any temperature, the expansion of the engine block as compared to the liners would actually stretch the head studs! Although the head gasket price is high, there’s very little way of getting around the problem.

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Help !!

i am currently replacing head gaskets due to coolant leak in the engine (leaks about 2 liters after every drive)

i am using OEM head gaskets.

My mechanic told me to replace the 20 head bolts with new, because he is afraid that the old ones will become “plastic” once he tightens them and will not hold the required torque

Is it necessary to replace bolts? They are very expensive about 51 GBP each !!!

Another mechanic from a Lotus Service center in the UK told me that the bolts are good for 2 gasket replacements. He always checks the length compared to a new bolt and it must be within 10/1000 of an inch.

Certain online shops offer alternative bolts for half the price but still expensive.

Your opinion ? Use the same bolts, buy original new, buy new alternative ??

Thanks

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