Head Gasket - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
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post #1 of 103 (permalink) Old 03-10-2018, 01:03 PM Thread Starter
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Head Gasket

Well, not great news, head gasket leak confirmed this morning. Number 2 cylinder is filling with coolant. Gasket had a little less than 40k miles on it. Going to start next week on pulling the lump and fixing it. While it's out I'll take care of a lot of maintenance, cleaning, and cosmetics. Lotus life! Enjoy the journey

Tom Mieczkowski
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post #2 of 103 (permalink) Old 03-10-2018, 03:11 PM
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Tom,

If you haven't done so already, install a set of ARP head studs, and use ARP's own thread lubricant and their torque spec. That results in a significantly higher clamp load on the gasket.

While it's a part,...
1) check the cylinder head for any warpage...
2) check the liner nip (exposure above the block deck). The 910S nip spec allows the liners to actually be below the block deck, and I'm not very fond of that at all.

Good luck,
Tim Engel
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post #3 of 103 (permalink) Old 03-10-2018, 05:28 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Tim. I have a set of those studs in the shop in Artie B's old block which we salvaged way back when. And I've got the ARP lube. I just need to extract them from the old block. I'll post the progress and what I find out about the failure.

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post #4 of 103 (permalink) Old 03-11-2018, 09:46 AM
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Also save the nuts that go with those ARP studs. The Lotus studs are coarse thread, and the ARP studs are fine thread.

How old is the ARP thread lube that you have? There were at least two formulations, maybe more. And each time the formulation and coefficient of friction changed, the torque spec changed with it. The studs remained the same, but the torque changed with the thread lube.

If you don't know which generation lube you have, or what the correct torque is for it, then I strongly recommend that you buy some new ARP thread lube (it's not expensive) and use the current torque spec (ask).

90 lbs-ft was the original ARP torque spec
110 Lbs-ft replaced it when the ARP thread lube changed.

I haven't used the ARP stuff in about two years, so I don't know if it has changed again. Ask JAE. And if you buy new ARP lube, ask for the current torque spec that goes with the lube they're selling now.

Regards,
Tim Engel

Last edited by Esprit2; 03-11-2018 at 10:40 AM.
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post #5 of 103 (permalink) Old 03-11-2018, 10:22 AM
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Tom,
Which gasket/source did you use last, and what do you plan to use to replace it? I've got a sparkplug with a tint of green on it myself right now......

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post #6 of 103 (permalink) Old 03-11-2018, 05:44 PM Thread Starter
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Well I consulted with Travis on this, who has been through a couple of head gasket failures. I can't say for sure until I take the head off the engine' but I think I have the JAE "copper ring" gasket, which is I believe different than the Goetze gasket, which Travis described as having a different color and also having a rubber as opposed to a copper sealing ring for the oil pass-through. I will be talking with JAE tomorrow to see what my options are. Given the car ran more than 35k miles before failing I am inclined to think this is a gasket failure rather than an install failure - but of course I have some ego invested in that point of view 😁.

Tim, I think regarding the studs I'm just going to buy a new set for the engine rather than mess with Artie's old block. I assume one of these years someone one will need a block and I'd prefer to sell it with the studs. That also solves the lubricant age issue as the studs will come with lube.

As I do the post-mortem on the gasket I'll snap pictures and post them so we can come to some collective sense of what happened and why.

Tom Mieczkowski
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post #7 of 103 (permalink) Old 03-11-2018, 06:32 PM
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I'm getting lots of info on this one. Thanks a lot.

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post #8 of 103 (permalink) Old 03-12-2018, 07:46 AM
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Jay at JAE said he has both and will sell either the older Goetze gasket with the rubber ring for the oil galley, or the later black composite gasket with the copper colored ring.

My failures weren't necessarily related to the head gasket, but I think I like the earlier Goetze gasket rather than the black one. I lost over a gallon of coolant on track due to a bad coolant pressure cap letting all the coolant go at 11psi. And then the later gasket lasted a day, after a mod that I did to add a temp sensor on the outlet of the head, must have blocked the flow.

Earlier Goetze gasket


Black gasket

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post #9 of 103 (permalink) Old 03-12-2018, 09:19 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for posting this Travis. Very helpful. Do you know any of the history on the "new" (post-Goetze) gasket? Is this a JAE developed item or from Lotus or? You hear any other scuttlebutt on what people who have some experience with these two items?

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post #10 of 103 (permalink) Old 03-12-2018, 04:57 PM
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Tom
I installed the Goetz on my rebuild. Jeff originally sent the black one. I discussed this with him on the phone, he said the black one was an alternative gasket that JAE had sourced.

https://www.thelotusforums.com/forum...comment-429108

sorry to hear your woes! I think you dont really wail on your nonCC Esprit so surprised to hear of gasket failure!

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post #11 of 103 (permalink) Old 03-17-2018, 05:00 PM Thread Starter
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Lump is coming out soon...

Well, I've been working way and the transaxle was removed today. If all goes well the engine will be out tomorrow..... Anxious to see why the heck the head gasket went down.
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post #12 of 103 (permalink) Old 03-17-2018, 05:14 PM
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Tom,

There's something wrong with that transaxle... it's too clean. Did you put oil in it?

I find it easier to remove the engine and transaxle as a single lump. But you've done it enough times to have your own way of doing things.

Regards,
Tim Engel
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post #13 of 103 (permalink) Old 03-17-2018, 05:32 PM
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The black gasket wasn't just something JAE sourced off a shelf. They went to a gasket manufacturer, paid for tooling, and had it produced. For the first run, they went with temporary tooling, and there was a problem with the registration of the fire-rings around the inside of each bore hole. You might be able to build a case for some blown gaskets being due to that.

For the next & subsequent production runs, they paid for permanent tooling that resolved the registration problems. Unless you've been sitting on a first-run black gasket, there aren't any more in the system.

The later JAE black gaskets are supposed to be comparable to the Goetze brown/ gray-green (olive drab) gaskets, but I don't have any test data that quantifies performance for either of them.

One thing I'm curious about is the compressed thickness. The Goetze gasket's compressed thickness is about 0.5mm (0.020") greater than the original steel-asbestos-steel gasket. As a result, the cylinder head ends up sitting that much higher up off the block deck, the combustion chamber volume is increased, and the compression ratio drops by about half a point (8.0:1 becomes 7.5:1). When the Goetze gasket was introduced in Jan 1993, Lotus simultaneously changed the block spec, machining the deck height lower by that same 0.5mm (0.020") in order to compensate, and seating the liners a similar amount deeper to maintain the correct 'nip' (liner exposure above the block deck). So all new engines produced from that time forward maintained spec compression and power; while all old, existing engines that were rebuilt with the Goetze gasket lost half a point of compression and some power.

Anything that changes the distance between the crank and the cams alters the amount of slack in a loose timing belt. Then when the tensioner is tightened, the slack in the exhaust side of the engine gets pulled up and over the cams to the tensioner on the intake side. Cutting the head to flatten a warped bottom puts extra slack into the belt, which results in both cams being slightly retarded when the belt is tensioned. Installing a Goetze gasket with it's thicker compressed height reduces the slack in the belt, so less slack gets pulled over the pulleys, and both cams end up slightly advanced. If you can't figure out why your cam timing marks don't align perfectly, the answer might lie in the amount of slack in the belt when loose (cut head/ fat gasket).

I would be curious to know if the JAE black gasket has the same compressed thickness as the Goetze part, or hopefully, thinner... more like the original steel-asbestos-steel gasket. That's probably just wishful thinking.

Regards,
Tim Engel

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post #14 of 103 (permalink) Old 03-17-2018, 05:53 PM Thread Starter
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Tim,

I am pulling the engine and trans separately this time because I am solo in the shop. I usually do it as a unit but I don't have a second set of hands right now. Doing it this way lets me slide the engine back far enough so I can get it out without having to mess with the hatch at all and it's a little less risky as far as banging something. I also pull a lot of stuff off the top of the engine, the intake manifold, the intake cam tower, etc. again, so I can comfortably clear the rear deck and not have interference from the hatch.

I will photo and measure the blown gasket and report the findings. My plan is to use the JAE gasket this time so I can take some measurements on that if you want them.

Tom Mieczkowski
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post #15 of 103 (permalink) Old 03-17-2018, 08:14 PM
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Tom,

I've never measured any type of 9XX head gasket before or after use, so I don't have anything for you to compare against. But perhaps it would be good to start taking measurements. Besides the obvious loose-part dimensions, also consider measuring it's thickness before and after torquing the head. 'Somehow' (?) measure the gap between head and block with the gasket installed, but the nuts only finger tight, then again after torquing them down. What are the natural and compressed thicknesses? If we had that info for both the Goetze and JAE gaskets, we might be able to... ahhh... figure out what to do with it.

Tim
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post #16 of 103 (permalink) Old 03-18-2018, 05:57 AM
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Tim,


What timeframe was the JAE black gasket initially introduced?

I have a head gasket ordered in early 2012 (part of JAE's gasket kit) that I didn't use when I updated the crankshaft for the Renault-style input shaft bearing. If its an early one, I'll toss it.

I know that @Techspy just had a 16K-old head gasket fail on his S4, but hopefully his shop had used the Goetze gasket. (I don't know the serial number or build date of his S4)

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post #17 of 103 (permalink) Old 03-18-2018, 08:54 AM
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Sorry Atwell, but I don't recall dates for the first and second runs of JAE's gasket. No clue.

*~*~*~*~*
Off point but related... everyone should note that the introduction of the Goetze gasket was a package deal that included new upgraded head studs and a new, higher torque spec. If you follow the instructions in pre-1993 Service Notes, and use the original studs & low torque spec, that doesn't sufficiently clamp the new gasket... either Goetze or JAE.

Or, alternatively, use the ARP head studs, ARP's proprietary thread lube, and their own torque spec.

But use the torque that's appropriate for whatever head stud you use, and avoid using the original pre-1993 head studs.

Regards,
Tim Engel
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post #18 of 103 (permalink) Old 03-18-2018, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by mieczkow View Post
Well, I've been working way and the transaxle was removed today. If all goes well the engine will be out tomorrow..... Anxious to see why the heck the head gasket went down.
Failure of the head gasket is commonly due to overheating. Sometimes, depending on the gasket and engine design, it can also be due to corrosion. To confirm overheat you examine the history of the motor (did you ever overheat or were you adding coolant) and measure the head for flatness. If you have (had) either condition it indicates overheating. Once confirmed good practice dictates replacing the studs or bolts and having the head ground flat. For the Lotus motor you must also maintain the proper nip to prevent liner leakage. Of course once you disassemble the motor and remove the transaxle there are all kinds of "while you are in there" kinds of things to do. You can get the whole list from Atwell.
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post #19 of 103 (permalink) Old 03-20-2018, 05:02 AM
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Tom

So sorry to hear this. I hope you get her back up purring very soon. If you like I can put Carbuff in a box and ship him out straight away.

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post #20 of 103 (permalink) Old 03-20-2018, 06:18 AM Thread Starter
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Progress is being made, but a little unevenly. Doing this job solo so this time I decided to pull the tranny first, then the engine second as handling the lump would be a little less prone to banging into something while extracting. Good idea but as the photo show the reach on my engine crane was about 8" too short to safely grab the engine. So I put the transaxle back in the car so I can now pull the whole lump out with my existing equipment. I pulled a whole lot of stuff off the engine while it was still in the car so that I had maximum clearance coming out as far as lift goes. Actually once you have the tranny out standing in the engine bay and accessing the motor is pretty easy, and since I am going to do a complete disassembly of the engine all of that stuff was going to come off anyway. Also thinking about modifying my crane a bit do that a can make that final 8" reach if I need to in the future. I think it can be done safely without compromising the stability of the crane but I'll have my mechanical engineer son run some numbers to see whether the math agrees with my intuition.
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