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Recessed or non-recessed that is the question?

Phil C

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Firstly, apologies for raising a question that has probably been discussed many many times!

I have reviewed previous discussions but would like some reassurance before spending my hard earned money.

I was about purchase a full gasket set to commence rebuilding my 1970 Vitesse Mk2 engine when I was asked the question recessed block or not.

From previous posts I understand it is unlikely any Vitesse had the the recessed block but of course engines can be changed.

My car has its original engine with the prefix HC, again, suggesting non-recessed.

I am not sure how apparent the recess is but simply running my fingers across the block it does not appear to be recessed.

All this convinced me I have a non-recessed engine. However the head gasket I removed from the engine has a tab at the bulkhead end - recessed?.

I am thinking perhaps the wrong gasket has been fitted at some time and my engine is actually non-recessed but would greatly appreciate the views of the forum. 

Thanks in anticipation.




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Yes, a recessed head gasket has a tab to identify it. The recess on the bores is obvious and can be seen and felt, if you have it. So it looks like you are right, wrong gasket! How did it ever run?!! 

Here's a recessed block, not a Triumph but you get the idea.



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Doug,  many thanks for the quick reply (14 mins!) 

Looking at that photo I am pretty sure I have a non recessed block and will proceed on that basis.

18 minutes ago, dougbgt6 said:

How did it ever run?!! 


The car had been laid up for 30 years when I bought it so have not driven it. The previous owner did start it up and it sounded pretty good given the circumstances and there was no evidence of head gasket failure!

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53 minutes ago, dougbgt6 said:

So it looks like you are right, wrong gasket! How did it ever run?!!

That way round - recessed gasket on non-recessed engine - will normally run OK because the reinforced compression rings still sit flat and do their job. However, it's likely to suffer oil and water leaks.

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