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Working on it

Fenchurch is still poorly

I ran into some problems yesterday night so wasn't able to finish putting Fenchurch's engine back together until tonight. Unfortunately it was immediately obvious after starting it up that the new gasket had not sealed properly - bubbles fizzing out of one side, rough clattery idle, coolant leaking out from under a head nut, and emulsified oil in the radiator.

I'm going to take the head off again tomorrow and have it professionally tested by an engineering firm. I've also found out that there is a better quality head gasket available than the ones I've been using (if I'd known earlier I would have bought one because they're only a couple of quid more), so I'm going to try using one of those. I may need to buy a new torque wrench too because I have reason to be suspect it may not be clicking over at the correct torque.


I just thought I'd say how much this narrative reminded me of my childhood, which included tracing on to ?oiled paper? something to do with the gasket for my father. The Gasket was along with The Bodywork the chief locus of concern in our MM. At the time, I was both ashamed and delighted to travel in a car that grew moss inside its windows.
That's how you make a new gasket by copying the shape of the old one onto oil-proof gasket paper (or some people just use cornflake packets, but they don't work as well). The head gasket is different though - it's made from a couple of thin sheets of metal with something softer sandwiched in between (used to be asbestos but I'm not sure what the modern ones use). Moss growing in the channels is always a problem with that kind of sliding window - my old Land Rover was the same.
The soft bit is Marshmallow.

Rough idle? Clattery tappets? Weeping gasket? Oil in the water? Water in the oil? Sounds like a Morris Minor to me.. In fact, sounds like my Morris Minor. I'm developing a theory- if you buy a Morris Minor, you get a short and unspecified 'lulling period' of reliability, after which everything goes wrong and continues to go wrong for the remainder of the car's (and your) natural life.
I don't think it was the tappets that were making the clattering noise because I'd only just set them - it was the new gasket that had completely failed to seal. The old one only started clattering like that after about 5000 miles. I have a plan that really ought to fix the problem, whatever is causing it:

* Get the head skimmed flat and smooth (it currently has quite a rough flycut surface finish).
* Buy a new torque wrench because I suspect it may have gone out of calibration (I was given it second-hand about ten years ago and it's spent most of that time in a damp garage).
* Replace the head studs in case the old ones have stretched.
* Use a higher quality head gasket.
* Torque it down to 44 lb/ft instead of 40.
and The Wood, don't forget The Wood..