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Post-Rebuild B20 - Coolant Leak

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Old Jun 7th, 2019, 20:37   #1
gothamus
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Default Post-Rebuild B20 - Coolant Leak

Last night was the first startup of my re-built B20f into B20b (dual SU HS6 carbs with Mech fuel pump and 123Ignition w/Petronix coil).
I've only run her in for 10 minutes. I shut her down for the temperature getting past High and it needed some idle correction I wasn't able to reach easily (I went to reduce the idle screw and then fast idle was screwed in too far on the rear carb).

The news here- no big leaks...outside. Bad stuff. I have coolant leaking into the oil. I used blue coolant intentionally to be able to see it well if there is a leak.

2 leaks- a small trickle of a few drops out the rear of where the head mates to block/head gasket. You can't wait for it but I can see some drops outside and I saw a tiny squirt while I was hunting things during cool down.

Big problem- there is coolant condensation inside the valve cover. See pictures attached. I don't see any noticeable sign that the sump is filled with all of the coolant, i.e. the oil isn't blue and the oil level is not showing above expected. But coolant is going in there at more than a drop or 2.

When I shut off there was some bubbling (maybe) weird sound and then I saw the coolant in the overflow drawn right out in full. I expect that to be from the engine coolant system filling out as thermostat opens and system opens and engine side draws in. Once that happened the odd sound was gone immediately. (I had filled engine with coolant with thermostat off first and then radiator and overflow).

The gasket was installed right side up. When I put the head on I was concerned that it might be mis-placed somehow. But with the head bolts and some other considerations at that time, I find it unlikely that it was mis-placed. But that is my first concern now.

My other concern is that I was sold a bad engine block or head. There was a bad end to my business dealings with this Swedish car enthusiast and I was taken for money and services not rendered. I am 90% sure the new rings and bearings were installed. I pulled the head off because sealant had been used on the head gasket (maybe there was a reason after all) and to see the condition and verify work. I had to clean the head. I didn't;t take it to a machinist but cleaned carbon deposits and swapped the rocker with the one from my old engine which I had already cleaned and refreshed.

I replaced the oil pump with that uprated IPD oil pump.
The B20 head gasket was a good one I bought from them a few years ago.
I have tightened down the head many times since assembly. Removing rocker, loosening a small bit before re-tightening. I used to different style torque wrenches so I would have some level of check against defective or mis-configured settings on one or the other. I followed procedure of tightening order.

One thing that may blow up some opinion/mistake or nothing- due to some issues with heater core and piping directions becoming a big side-tracking of the entire project- I got the idea from an old post of bypassing the heater matrix and thermostat for now and revisiting when I do the breaking-in flush. The coolant pipes in the rear are connected by a hose from the outlet pipe to the inlet pipe, in place of hoses going to matrix-thermostat. I am happy to explain more detail here if there are any questions. If I missed out on a major impact here, let me know. This project needed to get completed and I was/am into sudden death overtime.

Since coolant does not make a good lubricant, I guess the engine won't be running again this weekend. Tonight I'm going to have to find a spot to push my car to. I've been hogging this awesome parking spot with a Citibike stand behind me and fire hydrant 14 feet in front of me. Best spot on the block. After many months a certain person has brought down the law and I am on the run! Hopefully just across the street!

I will post some pictures of parts before assembly. Right-now I want to leave this lab I'm working at in NJ and get back to the safety of NYC.
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Old Jun 7th, 2019, 21:09   #2
blueosprey90
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Well again, sadly, this is from the peanut gallery. My 2 cents is head gasket or warped or cracked head.
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Old Jun 7th, 2019, 21:16   #3
mocambique-amazone
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Is the oil - water heat exchanger ( oil cooler) still in place? Looks like a land mine?

Remove it fast, faster.

Can't believe this bad luck.

Good luck, Kay
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Old Jun 7th, 2019, 23:49   #4
gothamus
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No oil cooler. Head Gasket would be the fortunate problem of the possibles. I donít have anything else before bad head or other. I will order a new gasket. Wish I could drive and pick one up. Itíll be 3 to 5 days before I have one. I should get some other options in place.

PS Iím thinking I should move directly toward tracking down a machinist and taking that head and my old head to him and have them tested. My old one has what I think is a small crack in the middle, though that was not what resulted in failure. If I end up with a good head I can use the new gasket with that. I sent Joe Curto a message. He might know someone in White Plains.

Crazy idea- I do have my old head that was from a B20f itself. Maybe for the immediate short term I try it out? Thatís crazy though. I would definitely need a new gasket for that. Still...

Last edited by gothamus; Jun 8th, 2019 at 02:17. Reason: Add post note
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Old Jun 9th, 2019, 20:07   #5
MatteoB
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Have the head checked. HG are installed dry, without any paste or sealant. I think you are dealing with a warped head or a similar issue.
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Old Jun 14th, 2019, 23:57   #6
gothamus
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Thought I would throw out an update. Took me some moping around, pushing the car and making friends with some policeman while I got a path forward worked out.
I found a machinist that comes recommended by a few reliable sources. About an hour away in Long Island. Jesse's Machine Shop in New Islip.
A fellow I've known around the area that has a motorcycle and motoring shop came over last week to take a second look at what I have going on. He expected to see in my pictures and what was under the valve cover to be frothy. Being just blue liquid had him ask if there was anyway someone could access the engine to contaminate the engine. (No). After he looked around and we cleaned up any blue we could find, I ran the engine for a few minutes. Good and steady sound, clean exhaust.
Turned it off and looked under the cover and there was the frothy coolant he was speaking of. And nothing to see that explains it from this inspection.
On his recommendation I drained all the fluids out. Filled the engine with ATF (not in the radiator! ) and ran it for a minute. Drain and repeat. I changed the oil filter both times as well. When I dumped my catch pan into a bucket I found at least a quart of blue. Maybe my eyes are large, but it was a lot. The filter was almost a cup of blue in central reservoir.
I called the machinist and I'm taking my new head and my head from the old engine out there tomorrow. We''ll see.
I need to make another shopping list too. New head gasket. Mmmm, gotta sit down tonight and make sure I have considered everything I need to replace.
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Old Jun 15th, 2019, 12:53   #7
Derek UK
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I have to say that I have never seen posts or pictures that show neat coolant inside the engine as shown in your photo. Normally it becomes mixed with the oil making a milky/creamy mess. Quite how that's not mixing with the oil I don't know but I await the next chapter of the story.
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Old Jun 16th, 2019, 13:27   #8
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Not certain about this but I believe that it is possible to fit the head gasket "upside down" "back to front" It seems to fit but some of the coolant holes will then overlap with oil. It is certainly possible on B16. I would check this out just to make sure before you do anything else.Of course I may be completly wrong on this.
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Old Jun 17th, 2019, 01:33   #9
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That was in my mind. When I pulled it I was able to verify the correct placement. It has Ďtooí marked on it. And I remember wondering if one could make that error but I donít believe you can without blocking some holes. Iíll take a photo at installation so we can see if one can do it upside down and backwards.

The machinist said the head needed grinding. Iíll have to hope the bottom end doesnít require it, though I would if I was back in February and understood the condition of this Ďrebuiltí engine. Itís just too big a job now, to pull and rebuild a second time. If this doesnít work out my Amazon will be in mortal peril! Not for its own fault but this Swedish car enthusiast that swindled me and my car for whatever they want. Argh! There have been body preservation projects on hold all winter and that rust getting worse. We donít have a lot of leeway for survival, you know? I think next weekend weíll be able to know. Nervous nervous
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Old Jun 17th, 2019, 09:13   #10
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If the head is cracked it's possible to buy reconditioned heads,complete with hardened seats,valves etc for not too much money
There is also the possibility that the wrong gasket has been fitted.
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Last edited by arcturus; Jun 17th, 2019 at 09:59.
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