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Wrong head gasket?

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flash9 Jeff Arsenault
Fremont, NH, USA   USA
Hey guys , I am having a hell of a time getting the coolant to not leak into the cylinders, mainly #4. I sent the head and block out to two local machine shops to test for cracks, none were found. I have tried several brand head gaskets, and even gone as far as to install ARP head studs. I have included pictures of the block. I removed the head after assembling the complete cooling system and pressure testing, the rust in the cylinders especially #4 is alarming, as well as the hole that is roughly 1/2" deep before bottoming out filled with coolant. What am I overlooking?

Thanks for any help.

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CLOSE UP #4 CYLINDER AND COOLANT FILLING HOLE.jpg    47.5 KB
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Lizzard d id
san jose, CA, USA   USA
Is the head / block , flat / true ?

spitfire50 Avatar
spitfire50 Paul Mugford
Rochester, N.H., USA   USA
Jeff,
Are you getting head gaskets with the tab at the back? That is what you need.
All the best,
Paul

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flash9 Jeff Arsenault
Fremont, NH, USA   USA
The head was just planed, and the deck was checked with a straight edge, I didn't find any variations.

Smithisretired Avatar
Smithisretired Michael Smith
Wells, ME, USA   USA
This must be very frustrating, and I apologize for only being able to offer guesses without a firm solution. I would think that either or both of the machine shops would have checked both block and head to see that neither is warped. It appears that the block has been bored and sleeved, although I may be incorrect in this observation. But if I am correct, is the sleeve level with the deck? The coolant passage looks to be very close to the sleeve and if there is any clearance, it would seem that this could be a cause of the problem. Also, was the head gasket correctly installed? I am just now awaiting a replacement gasket for the one that I installed downside up last week! The gasket came to me unmarked as to which side, the fibre side or the metal side should go up, and after installing it with the metal side to the head, I was informed by the vendor that I had it all wrong.

Lizzard d id
san jose, CA, USA   USA
In reply to # 1540502 by flash9 The head was just planed, and the deck was checked with a straight edge, I didn't find any variations.
Put the head on the block without a gasket , feel around for slop by rocking the head , test with a thin feeler gauge , see if it will slip in anywhere .

Is there any chance that the intake is leaking into the cylinders ? If the intake was cracked or holed from corrosion it could leak coolant .



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2018-06-13 08:00 PM by Lizzard.

clshore Carter Shore
Beverly Hills, FL, USA   USA
It extremely likely that you have the WRONG head gasket.
There are two different kinds, both will fit, only one will work.

As Paul asked in post #3, does your head gasket have a 'tab' at the rear?

Here's the one you NEED:

https://www.bpnorthwest.com/triumph/spitfire/engine-gaskets-seals/head-gasket-payen-spitfire-72-to-80-midget-1500.html

Here's the WRONG one:

https://www.bpnorthwest.com/head-gasket-1147-spitfire-herald.html?gdffi=7c26fa82af054ed48c16509776f45115&gdfms=1DE8F39251D04128B3C2F3F10C564C86&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI2uPN8IrS2wIVTiSBCh0RyA6XEAYYAyABEgIyYPD_BwE

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Lizzard d id
san jose, CA, USA   USA
In reply to # 1540493 by flash9 I have tried several brand head gaskets,
It would be odd if all of them were the wrong type .

Darth V8R Avatar
Darth V8R Vance Navarrette
Beaverton, OR, USA   USA
1980 Triumph TR8 "Wedgie"
In reply to # 1540493 by flash9 Hey guys , I am having a hell of a time getting the coolant to not leak into the cylinders, mainly #4. I sent the head and block out to two local machine shops to test for cracks, none were found. I have tried several brand head gaskets, and even gone as far as to install ARP head studs. I have included pictures of the block. I removed the head after assembling the complete cooling system and pressure testing, the rust in the cylinders especially #4 is alarming, as well as the hole that is roughly 1/2" deep before bottoming out filled with coolant. What am I overlooking?

Thanks for any help.

Jeff:

First of all, you need to make sure you have the correct head gasket - there are two styles. The earlier head gasket was for a block with a flat deck. The later gasket is for the block with fire rings cut around the cylinders. Your block requires the later gasket. The later gasket has prominent metal rings on one side of the gasket around the cylinder holes.

Secondly, the gasket must be installed correctly. It can be installed upside down, and will fit just fine but will not seal, at least not reliably. The later head gasket has a small tab on one end, and the tab should go to the back of the block, insuring that the correct side of the gasket (the side with the fire rings) is in contact with the block.

You didn't say what year your car is, but even if it is an early model year, engines can get swapped/replaced and so simply ordering a gasket set based on model year doesn't insure you get the correct gasket for your motor. You need the later gasket. I am not sure what year the Spit switched, but the TR6 switched over for the 1972 model year, IIRC.

Lastly, even with the correct gasket, correctly installed, that water passage looks like a case of core shift during the casting process and it ended up too close to the cylinder. So with everything done correctly I suspect it will still leak. I may be wrong about that though.

If it does in fact still leak from being too close to the cylinder, all is not lost. The water passage can be threaded, a pipe plug installed and drilled for a water passage, and then the block can be lightly decked. So it is a straight forward, reliable repair. Your machinist can probably do it in his sleep.

Vance



1980 Platinum Metallic TR8, navy blue interior
Bare metal respray, Crower cam, raised compression
ported heads, modified Zenith carbs, 0.060" overbore

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Lizzard d id
san jose, CA, USA   USA
In reply to # 1540527 by Darth V8R If it does in fact still leak from being too close to the cylinder, all is not lost. The water passage can be threaded, a pipe plug installed and drilled for a water passage, and then the block can be lightly decked. So it is a straight forward, reliable repair. Your machinist can probably do it in his sleep.
Its not a water passage , its a blind hole .

flash9 Jeff Arsenault
Fremont, NH, USA   USA
Yes they have had the tab located in the back. I will give the feeler gauge with the bare head and block a shot. The intake was not on the engine when we pressure tested it with coolant in it. I am concerned about how the coolant would have got in the hole with the Green arrow, the coolant was drained out of the block before I removed the head. That port bottoms out and doesn't appear to be an oil or coolant passage.

Lizzard d id
san jose, CA, USA   USA
In reply to # 1540530 by flash9 Yes they have had the tab located in the back. I will give the feeler gauge with the bare head and block a shot. The intake was not on the engine when we pressure tested it with coolant in it. I am concerned about how the coolant would have got in the hole with the Green arrow, the coolant was drained out of the block before I removed the head. That port bottoms out and doesn't appear to be an oil or coolant passage.
Well so much for the intake leaking idea .
Doesn't really matter how the coolant got into the blind hole , imho . Its a non issue .
How it got from the cooling passages / jackets , into the cylinder , thats the issue .
Were all the intake and exhaust valves shut when you did the tests ?

If you put the head back on the block with a gasket , could you pressure test it with just air and no water ? It could be interesting to see if there is the sound of air leaking ... AKA , a leak down test for the cooling liquid system .

joppamoto Mark R
Crestwood, KY, USA   USA
It looks like signs of water was just about everywhere. Even running down the lifter bores. Those head studs look to be new. Are you sure they are not too long, and causing the head nuts to bottom out on the threads before the head is actually torqued.? It just seems to look like it is not sealing at all, not just 1 cylinder.

Voda2000 Avatar
Voda2000 Andrew McMillan
Winnipeg, MB, Canada   CAN
Just a thought but you didn’t have the block skimed did you?

If the recesses are too shallow the head gasket wouldn’t seal properly.



1978 Triumph Spitfire

Yellowhawk Valley Avatar
walla walla, WA, USA   USA
1969 Triumph Spitfire "Walla Walla"
1969 Triumph Spitfire "Portland"
1972 Triumph Spitfire MkIV "Spokane"
1975 Triumph Spitfire 1500 "Dayton"    & more
As you see in your photo the recesses around the cylinders are visible, did you have the gasket sitting with the metal ribs fitting into those recesses? If that gasket is put in correctly I don't see how the water is getting there either.

Dan

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