Triumph Spitfire:

Head Gasket Problems

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# 1  11/1/2013 12:08 AM

New member
Registered: 10/31/2013
Posts: 1

Head Gasket Problems

I have a 1976 Triumph Spitfire Model 1500.

The engine was rebuilt several years ago and since then the head gasket has failed on numerous occasions.
I have checked the engine serial number and it says the engine is a 1976.
Whenever the head gasket is replaced it fails within a few hundred miles.
A different mechanic told me that the engine was from an early 19 seventies engine (Note I bought the car new in 1976) .
My mechanic installed a different head gasket and this time it did not have rip but rather a small portion near a water chamber was bulged upward and there was water mixed with oil in the oil pan.  The engine block head was both pressured tested & checked several times for head unevenness and no deviations were found.  Also, there was no high temperature failure (rip).
Both the mechanic and I are stumped.  Before the engine was rebuilt there had never been a gasket failure.
Thankyou in advance for your time



# 2  11/1/2013 3:10 PM

Registered: 11/24/2009
Posts: 1306

Re: Head Gasket Problems

There are a few things you can look at.

First is the head gasket failing in the same spot on the gasket or a different spot?

What do the head bolts/studs look like? Are any stripped or stretched?

When the head gasket fails try to re torque the head bolts just to see if any may be loose at the failure point.

Take a compression test on all four cylinders only to see if the failure is between cylinders or at a water jacket.

The straightness of the head and the engine is very important it should be checked with a machinist straight edge and a feeler gauge. Was the head checked for cracks at a different machine shop? One shop may be better than another.

Was the engine sent out to a machine shop and checked for the water passages to be clear of any obstructions? If you are not sure you can pull out freeze out plugs and see if any gunk is blocking the water passages.

What was the ignition timing set at?

These are some of the things I came up with. Because of the year of the car it is difficult for me to get all of the specs on the engine.

When you can get back to me if you have any more information you can give me.
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