Bad news - V8 Head Gasket - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
 1Likes
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-07-2015, 08:18 AM Thread Starter
Registered User
 
stugilmour's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Calgary Alberta Canada
Posts: 465
Bad news - V8 Head Gasket

Sooo, after getting the cooling system correctly sealed and still suffering loss of the traced coolant, it looks like a head gasket leak on the front passenger side. I haven't got under the car to look over the leak personally yet, but the tech who did my oil & tire change says it is quite apparent. Although the system pressure tests OK when cold, coolant is leaking from the gasket when running; looses approx half a liter/quart when run for a day. No evidence of coolant in the oil yet. Have not done compression / leak down yet. Presently 50,000 miles on the clock. Bummed but still love the car.

A few questions...

  • Thinking this will be about $5K to have fixed. Am I close or dreaming?
  • Thinking JAE / Tricky will be able to provide a list of stuff I need to get for the job; any suggestions appreciated.
  • Would the engine typically be removed for this job?
  • Would both heads typically be done at the same time?
  • Car build date is July 2000 on the door tag; VIN ...0138. I have read in previous threads the liner issue was resolved June 2000? Any way I can make sure I don't have a liner issue?
  • Other items at the same time? Belts are good, transmission good. Clutch seems OK, and was done about 25K miles ago. Actually, everything else is working fine. I have seen David mention turbo rebuilds as a typical item, but not sure what would be involved.
  • I presently have had a CEL with no codes present for about 2,000 miles on my simple OBDII reader. Have tried to re-set numerous times but no joy. I have ordered a laptop cord that I expect in a week or two, so hopefully will get the issue resolved prior to undertaking the big service job. Does this make sense, or just wait until the engine is completely serviced?
  • Might be a stupid option, but Slava in Oregon had a couple of used V8`s available for about $9K IIRC. Still better to bite the bullet and get mine fixed?

Stu

Stu
Calgary AB
'69 Elan Plus 2
'00 Esprit V8
'87 BMW M6 & '84 BMW R100RT

Last edited by stugilmour; 10-07-2015 at 08:25 AM.
stugilmour is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-07-2015, 11:26 AM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Rochester, NY
Posts: 893
A big external coolant leak without contamination in the oil? Honestly, I would suspect a coolant hose first. Put the car up on stands, pressurize the coolant system (you can rent the tool from most auto parts stores), and check every coolant hose and connection.

2016 Chevy Cruze, manual
1987 Lotus Esprit Turbo HCi
2005 Elise
1981 DeLorean, manual, EFI conversion
delomike1049 is offline  
post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-07-2015, 03:45 PM Thread Starter
Registered User
 
stugilmour's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Calgary Alberta Canada
Posts: 465
Quote:
Originally Posted by delomike1049 View Post
A big external coolant leak without contamination in the oil? Honestly, I would suspect a coolant hose first. Put the car up on stands, pressurize the coolant system (you can rent the tool from most auto parts stores), and check every coolant hose and connection.
Agree 100% & have done that several times with the manual pressure pump testing tool. As you mention, there were a ton of leaks to address, and they kind of cascade to another clip as each one was addressed and the system stays pressurized for longer and longer. Will definitely check again, but now that the tech (with a proper lift) says there is some leakage at front right head area I am thinking the worst....

Have tried to review some on-line V8 pictures to see what hose could leak to this area and can only think it would be the right hand thermostat housing discharge, which is pretty easy to inspect from the top for leakage.

Here are a few reference pics I found

Lotus V8 Cortina

Having a run of luck here. The water tank turned in to a geyser this morning. Fortunately it set off a flood alarm so no damage; got the tank replaced today. Anyway, I immediately bought a lottery ticket.

I checked out my engine number and it decodes as a June 2000 build date, so looks like it is right on the liner fix date.

Thanks again

Stu

Stu
Calgary AB
'69 Elan Plus 2
'00 Esprit V8
'87 BMW M6 & '84 BMW R100RT
stugilmour is offline  
 
post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-07-2015, 05:41 PM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 3,091
As suggested I would make damn sure it is a head gasket before tearing the heads off. If it IS a head gasket you should probably do both sides. The "While you are in there " stuff is going to run the bill up. Rebuilding the turbos, replacing the belts, hoses, spark plugs, fluids, filters, and such, I would think $5K is low. Unless you can do most of the work yourself. If you R & R the heads, have a shop clean them up and pay to have the belts done you probably can do it for less than $5K. The motor doesn't have to be removed. I would repair the motor I had, you know it's history and how it has been cared for, what do you know about the one for $9K? Do a compression and leak-down test. If the rings are good fix it up. Rebuilding the turbos is simple. You take them off , stick them in a box, send them out and follow it up with a check. They come back like new in about a week. After you confirm a leaky head gasket discuss with JAE.
David Teitelbaum
jtrealty is offline  
post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-07-2015, 08:48 PM
Registered User
 
ksgrimsr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 394
Hi Stu,

When you say you're loosing coolant, you're loosing coolant to the exterior of the motor (as in the coolant is puddling on the floor of your garage)? Or are you loosing coolant in a way where it is disappearing altogether and is unaccounted for?

If you are dripping coolant on your garage floor, I find it really unlikely that it's a head gasket. If you have oil in your antifreeze (check your coolant) or you have antifreeze in your oil (check your oil) then that's a different story. I send oil samples to Blackstone on oil changes to get a sense for the condition of things. It's a pretty helpful service for cheap money.

But if your oil is good and your antifreeze is good and you have antifreeze on the floor, then consider checking hoses first.

The other scenario is exhaust gas in your antifreeze which causes your coolant system to over-pressurize and you burp coolant out the overflow.

Can you say a little more about the nature of your coolant loss?

Knut
ksgrimsr is offline  
post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-08-2015, 05:57 AM Thread Starter
Registered User
 
stugilmour's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Calgary Alberta Canada
Posts: 465
Thanks for the replies Knut & David.

I have been mysteriously loosing coolant for a long time. There would be the odd drip on the floor issue, but I have spent several sessions under the car checking every clamp and taking care of the leaks. At no time have I had an actual puddle; well once when I didn't get a new clamp tightened correctly but I took care of that.

The tech doing new tires just changed the oil and saw no evidence of coolant in the oil. I have never seen coolant in the oil either.

I have also never seen evidence of oil in the coolant.

We have changed the radiator out three times. First time was essentially before I bought the car, using an aftermarket aluminium unit. Second time was with a better aluminium unit. This time we re-built a stock unit. I don't see any leakage at the radiator or connections, but will check again.

I had one severe overheating event immediately after the third radiator job with extensive coolant loss. One of the fan fuses had blown due to a servicing error (fan plug backwards). While the car was idling in my driveway it got to about 120 on the gauge and the cap relieved. I shut the car down immediately and refilled / bled it.

Cooling system appears to work correctly, temp range on the gauge normal, thermostat working OK based on gauge movement, fans working correctly. The heater performance is pretty lame, but I understand this is pretty typical; I was planning to separately flush and pressure test the core this winter as I can't see the core clamps to check them.

As mentioned before in different threads, I have been getting intermittent high oil temp warnings only when tracking the car. I have hopefully addressed this issue by changing to different oil grade with this oil change. Unfortunately I was out of town for our last local track day last weekend; idea was to confirm I had the high oil temp issue licked.

After the overheating event I checked the coolant for combustion gas and it was OK. I might want to re-do the test as I was just using a hand vacuum pump to bubble through the tracer and want to make sure I did the test correctly. Is there a vacuum line handy on the V8 to use for the test? My kit instructions say to connect to a vacuum line.

I added UV tracer to the coolant as well to assist in seeing any leaks. I need to get a better UV flashlight, but it really looked OK to me prior to the LOG trip.

On my big LOG trip I checked coolant level twice a day. The recovery system worked correctly, which I have found is not the case if there are small leaks in the rad, hose clamps, etc. However I would estimate coolant loss at about 1/2 litre a day with continuous running.

I asked the oil change tech (not my usual service shop that has done most of the work on the car, but a good guy at our local tire shop) to look carefully for any coolant leaks, and he came up with the head gasket issue. Unfortunately I haven't had time to confirm this, and from his description it might be difficult to see without a lift.

Thinking the best thing to do is to get a better UV light and get the car on the lift at my regular shop to examine the head area and do a compression / leak down. Maybe re-do the coolant combustion gas test first myself. Hoping to get the CEL sorted first as well. Pretty sure I would have to have the head work (if required) done by a shop. I just don't realistically have the tools and skills required. I will be thinking about a more realistic budget.

The used engines seem to be sold, or at least not listed on eBay anymore.

On a lighter note, the new tires seem great.

Any suggestions appreciated.


Stu

Stu
Calgary AB
'69 Elan Plus 2
'00 Esprit V8
'87 BMW M6 & '84 BMW R100RT

Last edited by stugilmour; 10-08-2015 at 06:02 AM.
stugilmour is offline  
post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-08-2015, 07:53 AM
Registered User
 
duneomatic's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 96
I had a coolant leak that only occurred under boost. It was hard to track down but I found it when I put a pressure gage in the cooling system. The gage was large enough to be seen out the back window when driving. Under boost air was forced into the cooling system causing the system to overflow and loose coolant. When the car was at rest the coolant and air would be sucked back into the header tank and trigger a low coolant light. As this only occurred under boost while driving no leaks were seen when the car was parked.

1999 Esprit V8 Twin Turbo (box stock except for 02 OZ 16 spoke nova wheels, Lotus Evora steering wheel, HKS blowoff valves and LED headlights)
duneomatic is offline  
post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-09-2015, 06:10 AM
Registered User
 
lotusdriver2001's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Manteca, CA
Posts: 212
It is possible to isolate and pressure test the engine cooling system from the rest of the system rather simply. Remove the front cooling hoses and plug the thermostat housing ports with two expansion plugs. Disconnect the one heater hose from the heater pipe at the rear of the engine and cap off the pipe. You can then pressurize the engine cooling system by pressurizing through the turbo return hose that feeds into the top of the header tank.

Found the leak in mine this way. Eliminated everything out of the equation that would not come out when the engine was removed. Tested again prior to reinstall and held 24 psi with no leakage. Engine seems to work fine now... but it is a Lotus and I ain't no Lotus mechanic. Time will tell.
lotusdriver2001 is offline  
post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-09-2015, 07:12 AM Thread Starter
Registered User
 
stugilmour's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Calgary Alberta Canada
Posts: 465
Thanks guys, excellent points and suggestions.

Robert, I am trying to understand better where you had a leak under boost. Was your head gasket seal compromised to allow the cooling system pressurized?

Dennis, I like your idea of isolating the engine.

I think I will retest for combustion products in the coolant this weekend; my brother is visiting so I will have a helper. I reviewed the instructions and want to make sure I gave enough time to bubble the coolant vapour thru the tracer.

I have the car booked for Tuesday to get it up on the lift for closer inspection.

My local tech (Bill) asked if the stock head gaskets are the way to go or if folks have a preference for an aftermarket gasket. He showed me a V8 that is presently stripped, and the witness marks on the stock head gaskets looked light for about half the circumference of the liner top. I think I saw a discussion here regarding assembly procedure indicating getting the liner projection above the block correct, but didn't understand it fully. I want to make sure my engine would be assembled correctly (if in fact the head work is required).

Bill told me the head can be done with the engine in place if it is stock head bolts. If converted to AP studs it has to come out. If both heads are being done, preference is to remove the engine to the bench. Figures fifty hours or so for both heads, so budget number of about $8K, more if turbo's serviced, etc.

Will let you know how it turns out next week.

Stu

Stu
Calgary AB
'69 Elan Plus 2
'00 Esprit V8
'87 BMW M6 & '84 BMW R100RT
stugilmour is offline  
post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-09-2015, 07:20 AM
Registered User
 
LotusGuy48's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Orlando, FL.
Posts: 479
Garage
If you do end up needing a complete V8 engine gasket set I can tell you that Lotus charges over $1,000 for it. Go to JAE where they only charge around $600 and you can save even more money by just getting the ones you need.

David.

2015 Dodge Charger R/T Premium (Daily Driver)
2001 Lotus Esprit V8 (Weekend Driver)
2011 Dodge Charger Rallye (Sold)
2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee (Wife's car but great for golf trips and hauling stuff)
2001 Superformance S1 (Sold)
1968 Mini Cooper (Sold)
LotusGuy48 is offline  
post #11 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-09-2015, 07:52 AM
Registered User
 
duneomatic's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 96
Stu
To make a very very long story short it was the Viton coating applied to the head gasket. I now only use OEM Lotus head gaskets. 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. I compared the coating on the OEM and the aftermarket gaskets and found it to be different. I did nothing but replace the aftermarket gaskets with Lotus gaskets and the leak has gone away.
tricky_dickey likes this.

1999 Esprit V8 Twin Turbo (box stock except for 02 OZ 16 spoke nova wheels, Lotus Evora steering wheel, HKS blowoff valves and LED headlights)
duneomatic is offline  
post #12 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-23-2015, 04:04 PM
98 Esprit V8 Calypso Red
 
E5PR1T's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 310
If your engine has severely overheated once. It is very possible that your liner sealant is toasted. I don't think it matters whether it's Loctite or Holymer, both will melt completely at 150C.

You may not see the coolant in the oil or oil in the coolant, the only way to find out is send the oil to Blackstone Labs.

2006 Porsche 911 Carrera S - Weekend Cruiser
2009 Audi A4 Quattro - Daily Driver
1991 1.8 SuperMiata, 139 rwhp - Spec Race Car
2015 Dodge Durango R/T - Family Car / Tow Truck
1998 Lotus Esprit V8 - SOLD!
E5PR1T is offline  
post #13 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-17-2019, 07:30 AM
Registered User
 
beinmymirror's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: san diego
Posts: 280
I have an S4s and have noticed loss of antifreeze from my overflow tank. No trace of any leaks. Mystery to me.
beinmymirror is online now  
post #14 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-17-2019, 11:02 AM
Registered User
 
2Many Cars's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: NorCal
Posts: 211
It might be seeping into the cylinders and going out with the exhaust (hope not). You can get a test kit that will tell you if that's happening.
2Many Cars is offline  
post #15 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-17-2019, 12:33 PM
Registered User
 
beinmymirror's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: san diego
Posts: 280
Where would one find a test kit?
beinmymirror is online now  
post #16 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-17-2019, 03:15 PM
Registered User
 
2Many Cars's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: NorCal
Posts: 211
Quote:
Originally Posted by beinmymirror View Post
Where would one find a test kit?
Combustion leak tester:



2Many Cars is offline  
post #17 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-17-2019, 05:49 PM
Registered User
 
beinmymirror's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: san diego
Posts: 280
Thank you for the info. Will order it.
I did some initial tests like the motor oil smelling like antifreeze which it doesn't, and running the engine with the header tank cap removed. No bubbles (combustion gas) appeared.
Hopefully this new device will confirm what's going on.
Thanks again.
beinmymirror is online now  
post #18 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-17-2019, 06:30 PM
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: vancouver
Posts: 12
guess this is a old post
tricky_dickey is offline  
post #19 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-19-2019, 10:00 AM
Registered User
 
beinmymirror's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: san diego
Posts: 280
I used the combustion tester. No green liquid appeared. All good I guess. Also read on another forum that it might be the turbo coolant feed line that can get chafed against the heat shield. I have not seen any leaking around my turbo.
beinmymirror is online now  
post #20 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-19-2019, 03:16 PM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 375
Garage
Any chance its just the system still reaching equilibrium? I have read that it takes a while for the air to work its way out during a coolant flush unless you bleed it very carefully.

94 Esprit S4 - Silver
Previous - lots of hot rod Air Cooled 911s
[email protected]
Erik L is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply

  LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community > Lotus Discussions > Lotus Esprit

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in











Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome