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Editoral Ramblings

by

The Editor

Things aren't looking good for the future of the newsletter. I haven't received much for this edition and almost everything is from the 'old hands'. Maybe the newsletter has reached the end of its life and we should consider some other format. Without people making a contribution the newsletter will die!


I've had problems with Quicksilver. I went over to Leeds to collect it for its summer holidays in Ireland. I drove it back on the Thursday without any problems. The Limerick Classic Car Club were scheduled to have their annual show on the following Sunday so out with the Autosol and rags galore for a polishing session. The weather on show day was bright and sunny and a good day was had by all.

I decided to go for a spin the following week but noticed what appeared to be a smoking exhaust. I stopped and then there was a mighty bang and exhaust gases and lots of oil poured out of the off side cylinder head joint. The head gasket had blown. Luckly it was downhill back to our house so with a minor bit of pushing I got home.

The next day I went out to investigate and noticed the near side exhaust studs were missing. A closer look revealed that one stud was missing but the other had sheered off in the head. The standard repair is to redrill and tap fresh M6 holes adjacent to the ones that have failed. The alloy is very soft and removing the broken stud and helicoiling the resultant mess is a place I'd rather not go. I whipped the head off and did the repair but had a mental block forgetting I hadn't taken off the other head before I ordered a head gasket from Gutzibits.

head gasket failure

When I realised that I hadn't looked at the blown side so I took the other head off I discovered that the exhaust gases has removed part of the hard plating at the top of the bore and eaten into the alloy barrel which was now a write off. Luckly the head was OK with no sign of damage. Back on the phone to Gutzibits and they had a second hand barrel which is now in the courier's hands.

My concern is to work out why the head gasket blew in the first place. The car has done over 10,000 miles without any problems up to now. My guess is the loss of exhaust studs on the near side put an additional load onto the off side cylinder head - enough to cause the seal to fail. It seems as if the leak must have been contained within the engine for some while with exhaust gases entering the crankcase until the exhaust finally ate through to the outside. I hadn't noticed any problems like high oil consumption or loss of performance until the final failure.


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