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Do I give up! Mayonnaise - again.


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Hi all,


As a few of you may know from your help on a "chugging in low revs" thread, I'm a novice Spitfire owner. Bought to learn and I'm definitely learning.


I can report back that I managed to solve that issue this weekend thanks to your (and particularly thanks to Pete on the phone) help with the ignition - new plugs, condensor, points, cap, rotor and leads eventually did the trick once I'd realised I had the timing about 100 degrees out - d'oh.


To celebrate this victory I decided to take the car on a trip to Devon. We stuck to 50mph with a few decent rests - very careful - but in the last mile of 150 - literally - clouds of white smoke from the exhaust.


Limped the last mile (it was 2am) - here's the situation:


- Lots of white smoke for that last mile and on arrival last night

- Today, mayonnaise under the rocker cover (although dipstick looks ok)

- Lost about 2l of coolant, and a slight film of something on the top

- Spark plugs are all tan with some matt black on the threads, getting progressively lighter from 4 to 1

- Tried to see if it would start: first attempt turned over ok but didn't fire, followed by a "hissing" from the top pipe of the radiator (sounded a bit like fierce bubbling of coolant) - you can hear it on the video

- Second attempt, engine totally "seized". Wouldn't even turn over. I then got coolant leaking from the air vent opposite plugs 4 and 3.


This engine is 300 miles old after being rebuilt by a specialist MG garage in Bristol. It cost an arm and a leg! 


I could do with some advice as to what to do next. I can't afford another garage bill. This feels like it might be a head gasket again (or worse - why won't it turn over now?) - is that right? If so, surely the garage should bear some responsibility? If not, any ideas for what I can investigate?


I've never taken a head off before or anything like that, but willing to learn as I really don't want to sell (the drive down was fantastic) and I just can't spend another penny in a garage. 


I'll attach a few photos. Plugs are in order from 4 to 1.


Thanks all very much.












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If it was rebuilt and a garage did all the work then don't you have a warranty? You should have something as at only 300 miles the work is considered not fit for purpose. I wouldn't touch it without taking it back to them as that will probably invalidate any warranty.

If you paid on credit card you are also covered under that if you need.


Don't give up. Get them to fix it FOC.

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i would think this is head gasket  failure in a big way, guess it wont turn as cylinder is full of water .


sorry needs head off and possible its got the wrong head gasket 


when heads off  ( justa few nuts   rockers off , manifolsa off hoses off , remove all remaining head nuts and a heave ).  


if the edge of the bore in the block has a recess cut out  then  gasket must have a tab on the back edge, if the block is just flat then gasket with No tab at the back


its not unkown for these to be mixed and early life disasters happen in a few miles 


where are you now ,  I think you should contact the repairer and tell them to recover the car at their cost


depends who you are with but most classic insurance covers recovery if you are stuck


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From what you say it sounds like a blown head gasket. Did they tell you to tighten the head down after the run in period? If you haven't done it, that might explain it. Replacing a head gasket is not a difficult or time consuming job, even for a beginner and the gasket is relatively cheap. I watched/listened to the video and I don't think your starter motor sounds too powerful! Sounds like a flat battery. Suspicious after a long run.


If you haven't already got one I would get yourself a manual and a head gasket. Are you still in Devon? Can you do the work there? There is a good TSSC presence in Devon, might be worth making contact for some help. Details in the area directory.

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As already said this is almost certainly head gasket failure with one cylinder full of water preventing it from turning over.  You can check this by removing the plugs again and turning the engine by hand.  I think you'll find that it spits coolant out of at least one cylinder.


This is almost certainly due to the wrong gasket being used.  I'm guessing here but it sounds like what happens when the gasket for a flat block is fitted to a block with recesses around the bores.  Actually 300 miles is a bit further than they usually get!


The head gasket will need to be replaced with the correct one and the oil and filter also being replaced due to the water contamination and it needs to be done ASAP to limit any corrosion damage.


I'd be asking the company that the did the rebuild to sort it under warranty and to get the car recovered to their premises if you don't have AA/RAC etc.



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Supply of Wrong head gasket is common , I rebuilt my 1360 engine but in my amateur ignorance I didnt realise the head gasket with a ring I was supplied wasn't for the flat block I had. luckily mine didn't even get out the garage before it failed so I was able to spot my error. If you had a professional garage do it then the onus is on them to check and put right . I would be there when they take the head off though, if they do not play ball its an independent report and small claims. I diligently had a cam belt done on a rover 800 by a local garage and they left the cam cover bolts loose . It went bang on the M1 - the AA did a report for me which the garage accepted and replaced my valves etc.

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