Mick Forster's cars

1963 Series IIa 88" in 1973" | 1963 Series IIa 88" in 1981 | 1976 Series III 88" in 1986 | 1973 Series III 109" Safari | Sam's Landy | LPG conversion
Mow Cop Castle | Peak District | Burslem | Somerset | Photos of Norfolk
Citroen C1 | 1953 Morris Oxford MO | 1962 Ford Cortina Mk 1 | 1963 Austin Cambridge | 1973 Toyota Celica

Rover 100 (Metro) head gasket

Headless K-Series

Changing the head gasket of the Rover 100

Warning: have the head skimmed!! And use new head bolts.

It was the begining of November 2006 when the Rover 100 started to steam a bit. About two months after fixing the inlet manifold to stop it overheating. The performance was not too bad, but it was just acting like a steam engine with the steam coming out of the exhaust pipe. So back into the garage hoping that somehow it wasn't the head gasket gone.

I checked the oil first and sure enough there was the white emulsion on the dip-stick. I checked the water and there was a little but not very much oil in the header tank.
So the gasket had gone. A ten month fear finally realised. There was no way I was going to pay £300.00 plus to have a garage do the job, the car was barely worth that, so I made a start.
I jacked it up to remove the wheel and supported the subframe on a piece of timber

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No air-filter

Next removed the air filter housing.

I took this picture as a record of where the spark plug ignition leads went. I tend to forget which goes where and it was a simple matter to take a picture and print it off later. The distributer cap was unbolted and put safely to one side.

spark plug leads
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The spark plugs were taken out and checked. Plug 1 was wet and the others didn't look too good.

With the wheel off I could get at the crank-shaft pulley bolt, so I turned the engine over with a rachet to see what would happen.

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Low and behold a spurt of water came out of the number one spark plug hole. The head gasket definitely needed changing.

The water container for the windscreen washers was taken out. This was carefully placed by the windscreen after easing the two pipes from their channels under the container. This way I didn't have to drain it or remove the pipes from the pumps. Then the header tank was removed after draining the coolant system by removing the bottom hose off the radiator.

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Now I could get at the timing-belt cover, so this came off next.

According to the Haynes manual, before the head bolts are loosened the engine must be rotated to the correct position since the crank-shaft will not move afterwards. I was a bit apprenhensive about this but followed the instruction to find the alignment marks.

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The mark on the pulley was clear enough but I had to check the book a couple of times to be sure I had the right mark on the engine. Eventually decided this was it.

Further reading required going to a different section of the book about the camshaft, as opposed to the cylinder head. Here I found that the position of the cam-shaft was critical too. Of course the mark on the toothed pulley was on the wrong side, so I had to turn the engine crankshaft through another complete revolution.

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So now the mark on the toothed pulley was in the right place and the mark on the crank-shaft pulley was as well, so I could now start taking the engine to bits........

 

The inlet manifold was un-bolted first. I decided to leave the injecter casing in place, there was enough slack in the fuel lines to allow the manifold to be moved far enough out of the way.

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With the emission control pipes removed from the cam-shaft cover this came off next. The oil which should have been here was a nice creamy emulsion due to the water contamination of the oil.

So now the cam-shaft toothed pulley could be removed. The belt tensioner was slackened off and then removed. This made it easier to slide the belt off the pulley. Again I decided to leave the belt on round the crankshaft instead of trying to remove the crankshaft pulley.

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The exhuast manifold fixings were removed and then the actual head bolts slackened off, in the correct reverse sequence to tightening them up as per the manual.

Once all the long bolts were out the inlet manifold was tied up out of the way. The exhaust manifold was carefully eased off and down, the filxing studs for this came out of the head. First a bit of a worry but this also meant that there was enough room to move it. The exhaust has a flexible part underneath so there was enough play to move it without taking it off altogether. The head was gently rocked front to back and came loose without too much effort. The two dowels mean it cannot be slid, but must be lifted. The silicone strips on the gasket had come loose but it was still difficult to see where it had originally gone.

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After lifting the gasket off, the block was cleaned up and the pistons, particularly number one, dried out and cleaned a bit.

In the packet the new head gasket came in was a note about replacing the two plastic dowels with the metal ones provided with the kit. This was for earlier versions of the engine. So since mine had plastic dowels it must be an earlier one. The black plastic ones came out easily and the metal ones went in eventually, care must be taken to keep them dead level when pushing them in, and then they needed a tap with a rubber mallet to seat properly.

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The inlet manifold surface was cleaned up too.

The exhaust manifold was also cleaned.

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The old and new head gaskets can be compared. There was some difference in the silicone strips, the newer ones seemed more substantial than on the old one.

The cylinder head upside down on the bench showing the inlet ports.

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Jack it up

Now everything was a bit cleaner the new head gasket was in place and the head had to go back on the block. This was not as easy as first thought. It was just a matter of easeing it down and being confident that it was in the right place. At one point I thought of replacing the metal dowels with the plastic ones again, until I realised that getting the metal ones back out was probably impossible. Eventually after a cup of coffee and a rest I tried again and it went down. The first of the new bolts (old ones stretch apparently) went in and I breathed a sigh of relief.

All the other bolts were put in, finger tight, and the exhaust manifold fitted at this point incase it wouldn't fit past the radiator, but it did, with a new gasket too.

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then the head bolts were torqued down, with my torque wrench set at its lowest which was still a bit high according to the book. I marked the flange on each bolt so I could see where to do the final tightening by a couple of half turns in sequence. The Haynes manual at first seemed a bit vague but re-reading it a couple of times made it clearer.

The inlet manifold went back on without much trouble. The two nuts under the manifold are not easy to get on but possible with a small ratchet.

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The cam-shaft cover was put back and all the ten bolts fitted.
The cam-belt toothed pulley went on then the tensioner, a bit fiddily to get the spring on and the bolts in.
At this stage everying was checked for tightness and no spare nuts or bolts lying about. New oil was poured in after running some through to clear the emulsion out. I didn't have an oil filter so that will have to be changed later when I will refresh the oil again. The engine was cranked over to be sure it would turn and not lock up.

The distributer cover was fitted and the cable clips put back in place.

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Windscreen washer container went back next, and the various hoses re-connected.

The header tank was next to be fitted and the hoses connected. the spark plugs were cleaned up and refitted and the ignition cables connected. The air filter housing was back in place and the tubes carefully reconnected.

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Jack it up

Now the air intake was back on it was time to fill the coolant system. This always seems to take for ever, worse than bleeding the house central heating system.

The two bleed screws were already out, that's the one on the heater hose which is a finger tight screw with a black grip on top.

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Then the one under the distributer on the bottom hose feed pipe which is a small bolt.
Topping up the header tank until the water comes out of these should in theory stop air-locks, but its a matter of topping and then slackening these bleed screw alternately until all the air has gone. Then checking it all every day for a week or so.
I Couldn't see any leaks so time to start it.
It went first time and sounded quite nice, what a relief !!!.

A quick run round the street and then a check over before a longer test run.
I had to topup the water level in the header tank, but no more than expected.
All seems well.
I kept a check on the coolant level and after a couple of days there was no change so that seems ok now.

I'm glad to see the back of it...........

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A week later it had been running fine then one day it just stopped, the engine stopped running when I had stopped to turn right and wouldn't go again.
After letting it have a rest for half an hour I tried again and it was fine, no loss of power, no high temperature, no steam and pulling well.
I phoned my favourite mechanic and he didn't know either so just wait and see.
It didn't happen again but I looked in the Haynes manual about the battery. My son has an MGZR which suffered the loss of its alternator and as the battery went flat the car decided to shut down and lock up, fortunately not on a motorway. After leaving it a while it came back to life, I presumed after the battery recovered a bit.
In the Haynes manual it said if the battery voltage was about 12.42 it was only 75% charged but at 12.48 volts it was 90% charged or some such figures, which seemed a bit close to me, so I checked the Rover 100 battery and sure enough it was at 12.32 volts. So I bought a new one, the old one was over two years old at least, and this showed 12.9 volts.
That was three weeks ago at the begining of December 2006 so I'm almost hopeful that the Rover 100 will be ok for a while.

Saturday 24th February 2007

The engine stalled just as we arrived home on Saturday 24th February 2007.
We had been to a DIY shop about 3 miles away. I stopped to turn up our drive and the sngine just stopped, like before. It took a couple of goes to start it again, but it went and I put it up the drive but it cut out again.
I checked the battery and the voltage was 12.66V I checked the water and oil, everything seemed to ok. Then started the engine and checked the voltage on the battery again, it was over 13V. So that seemed ok, I will see how it goes over the next few days.

Saturday 28th April 2007

The head gasket has gone again. This time I will get the head skimmed

Saturday 9th June 2007

The Rover 100 has been running fine since the last head gasket change at the end of April. It has been used every day for the short journey my wife makes to work. This last week my son Ben has had a problem with his car so he has used the Rover 100 for his commute to Crewe everyday this week. Then on Saturday 9 June the car wouldn't start first thing in the morning. We were just going to the shops so it had to wait for a while. I rolled it down the drive and we went in the Landrover.
Later on I thought it might be the fuel pump but I could hear that going when I turned the ignition on, but it still wouldn't start. Next thing to check was the ignition circuit. I connected my multimeter to negative side of the battery for a good earth connection then probed around to see if there was a good earth on the coil and then a good 12 volts with the ignition on. That was all fine, so I then wrapped the positive red wire of the meter around the high tension lead and with the meter set to millamperes and positioned where I could see it from the drivers seat, I tried the starter again, this time the thing started!!!! and there was a good reading on the meter, but obviously the coil was working else it wouldn't have started.
I switched off and started it again a couple of times to be sure and put it back up the drive. I have no idea what's happening, it's so intermittent and just when you think you've found something it goes...........
I suspect a temp sensor somewhere but I never seem to have the time to check it out, must make the effort.

| ©2006 M.G.Forster