Well another 18 months have gone by, undocumented and undisturbed by unexpected failures. UNTIL NOW!
With the restoration show at the NEC looming next weekend and the (even more critical) trackday at Castle Coombe booked for April 4th, I gave in to some deep suspicions and pulled the cylinder head off again last Thursday. I've been using the car as my (only) daily since last September, and whilst it's still pulling like a train, it's started to lose a little coolant, miss a bit on first start and accumulate more than the normal amount of mayo on the dipstick and in the cam box. Even with all the warning signs, I was reluctant to blame the head gasket, having only replaced it (and the head) over Christmas 2014. The dark suspicion was that my trusty (but ancient) Snap-On torque wrench that I used to tighten the head might not be so trusty after all!
So a swift hour was spent pulling the head off and my suspicions of HGF confirmed, but with a much more obvious cause than an innacurate torque wrench, albeit a slightly baffling one!
As you can clearly see, the head has been eaten away round the no 4 cylinder fire ring and there is other corrosion damage around some of the water galleries too, the bafflement is because this sort of thing only NORMALLY occurs when one runs an engine with insufficient antifreeze/corrosion inhibitor, something I am definitely NOT guilty of!
I no longer have a spare head and in any case, this particular one is from a 130bhp SEH engine (think SRi Cavalier) and had been further "improved" by Courtenaysport engineering, a renowned Vauxhall tuning specialist.
So with a heart heavy with dread, I transported the lump of duff alloy up to my head specialist in Telford to be greeted with my worst fear, "that's f****d mate!" only ameliorated by a further "well I spose we could do SOMETHING with it, but it won't be cheap"
Then the gaffer rocks out, checks out the debate, inspects the dead metal and, with a quick "hang on a tick!" disappears into the depths to emerge triumphantly a few minutes later with THIS!
It's not a Courtenaysport, but it IS an SEH head (inlet valves are larger) and it's been improved by them with porting, improved valve guides, three angle seats and a good skim. Apparently it was built for someone else a few years back and never collected, their loss, my gain! For a mere £100 it came home with me and will be fitted tomorrow along with a new timing belt. Id call that a result! A perfect end to a perfect trip came when I arrived back at the shop to find my factors had delivered a genuine Payen gasket set to reassemble it with! I love it when a plan comes together! Especially an UN planned plan!
Whilst it's in the shop, i'm going to deal with a couple of other issues too, a pair of track rod ends, a pair of rack gaiters (managed to get a pair of correct ones in their QH box) and a smidgeon of welding on the o/s/r jacking point, ready for the MOT on Friday.