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Head Gasket Leak - Options

Posted by WGS 72B 
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WGS 72B Avatar
William Spencer
North Carolina, USA   usa
1972 MG MGB

Well, after 2 starters, and an oil/filter change, and finally getting the old girl back on the road, the new 'opportunity' I have is dealing with a leaking head gasket. After the first 10 minute test drive, after the oil and filter, I gave the engine bay a visual inspection.

Right between the middle 2 spark plugs, a bit of wetness and steam were coming out of the joint where the Head sits on the block. See photo below.

So far no white smoke coming from the exhaust, but this leak shows up every time I run the car for even 5 minutes.

Never changed a Head Gasket before, on any car, much less this one.

Thought about re-torquing the Head studs, but have not touched them yet.

Is it ( compete head gasket replacement ) a DIY job, and if so what is the best Gasket to use.


Attachments:
HG Leak.JPG    35.1 KB
HG Leak.JPG

pirate Avatar
Clevan B
Perris, California, USA   usa
1976 MG MGB "Pirate"

Yep ! looks like a head gasket, but also be prepared for a cracked head . I don`t want to be an alarmist, good luck.

Robert Kirk
Davenport, Iowa, USA   usa

Head cracked. 90% are by virtue of my most recent survey. Most don't leak as bad as this but I doubt its a gasket and you do need a new head IMHO. If you buy used, be willing to pay for the part AND a clean bill of health. Otherwise, you are throwing good money for crack.....ed head most likly.....

Sorry to hear of your misfortune. A drill thru the problem area and set screw insert will bleed the last bit of air which causes the steam crack which was a factory flaw.



Regards,
Robert Kirk
kirkbrit@yahoo.com
563 323 1017
Moss distributor UK importer
Beat or match any retail/delivered quote


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British Classics Avatar
Brad Pace
Deep Creek, Wa., USA   usa

If you want to buy a little time and only drive the car minimally get a can of BlockSeal, follow the instructions carefully then retorque the head, after a cooling cycle, take two salt tablets and drive on..............

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PaulM Avatar
Paul McLaren
Lower Mainland BC, Canada   can
1968 MG MGB
1970 MG MGB "Miss Lou"
1970 MG MGB "Dolly"

William, It may not be cracked atall. I had the same leak but not as bad and the head was fine after I pulled it off.

Basil Adams sells Payen Head gaskets for a good price.



Paul McLaren

1969 MGC GT
1970 MGB Roadster
1970 MGB Roadster

mac townsend Avatar
Fairfield, CA, USA   usa

Basil also has some checked good heads that are often hard to find locally.

local NAPA stores handle FelPro brand gaskets which is the same as Payen.



1973 Pale Primrose Roadster. A nice 10-footer!
SUs, Datsun 5-speed
MGB Tips and Tricks: www.mgrescue.com

underdog Avatar
Jim Underwood
Pittsburgh, USA   usa
1972 MG MGB
1980 Triumph TR8 "Fabulous Trashwagon"
1999 Chevrolet Corvette "Darth Vader"
1999 Chevrolet S10 "Spare Change"
2003 Jaguar S-Type "Eleanor"

Common for the gasket to weep on that side. Also a common spot for the head to crack. Obviously something is leaking but I wouldn't shop for a head just yet. One way or another it will have to come off. Not a particuarly difficult job if you are mechanically inclined. Make sure to use a Payen gasket. Quality piece with extra sealant material in the problem spot you are experiancing.

mac townsend Avatar
Fairfield, CA, USA   usa

I think that first I would try to re-torque the head. Costs nothing to try it first.

Then if that does not work, I think I'd yank the head and have it checked for crack in that area... you may be able to see yourself, but a machine shop might be better equipped. Won't be free but at least you will know one way or the other.

if the crack length is small, at that point you could reinstall it with a new gasket and try one of the new "nano" sealers. Note that they can't work with antifreeze in the system--at least not the ones I've looked at. Conventional radiator sealers won;t do the job here.

I used to have a friend (a GM dealer production line mechanic, who owned the 64 Sebring MGB I had...I bought it from him) who often suggested something he called "egg preservative" (sodium silicate) which he claimed would harden upon exposure to air and seal the crack. You might research this. Also called "water glass" and farm supply stores seem to have it. do an online search.

If (whatever you try) works then you have bought some time at least and can start saving for a new head. If it doesn't, you haven't gained anything but it didn't cost much to try.



1973 Pale Primrose Roadster. A nice 10-footer!
SUs, Datsun 5-speed
MGB Tips and Tricks: www.mgrescue.com



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2010-04-12 06:46 PM by mac townsend.

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MT-B Avatar
Matt T
New York, USA   usa
1959 MG MGA "Delilah"
1959 Royal Enfield Indian
1961 Royal Enfield Interceptor
1972 Opel GT
1976 MG MGB "Ruby"

That would have to be one heck of a crack to leak that much. If I were you I would re-torque the head just to see what happens. It's free and should only take a few minutes. Just back off all the head studs in the order specified in the manual and then re-torque them in the correct order (some people oil the threads but that's a contentious issue and I'm not getting in the middle of that one).

WGS 72B Avatar
William Spencer
North Carolina, USA   usa
1972 MG MGB

Thanks for all the input.

I had researched the Payen Gaskets, and planned on needing/doing the replacement with that gasket.. Luckily I have a Torque wrench, and some free time, and the Bentley Manual, so that will be the first step.

So this weekend, I will start this new journey. As old General Custer said, "what is the worst that could happen".

Robert Kirk
Davenport, Iowa, USA   usa

It is my considered opinon that the debate about head gasket quality is more debate than substance. The only time I have ever had a head gasket fail, is when I lost a coolant house on my 240Z and drove the car the next 10 miles to work at 4am. The overheating stretched the studs and the gasket eventually failed.
At that, I probably could have saved it had I known the damage was done and retorqued instead of letting it fail.

I own and have driven a fair amount of vehicles a fair number of miles in my life. Not saying that with the new Chinese products landing there isn't a problem but I have never seen it first hand but once.
The head crack is a most common problem on OEM heads.



Regards,
Robert Kirk
kirkbrit@yahoo.com
563 323 1017
Moss distributor UK importer
Beat or match any retail/delivered quote


Member Services:
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