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Bodiam

United Kingdom
16 Posts

Posted - 16 Dec 2018 :  14:25:27  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi, I’m new to the world of Rapiers, having picked up my 1963 111A last Monday. I have a problem which I hope someone can guide me with.

As soon as the engine starts to warm up, it dumps water out of the overflow until the top radiator tank is empty. Topping up results in the same thing again after a few minutes. There is no water in the oil, nor oil in the water, nor is there any steam from the exhaust. It isn’t possible to see if there are any air bubbles in the top tank with the rad cap off as it gushes over the radiator neck as soon as the thermostat opens, it seems.

I have tried a NOS AC Delco 4lb cap in the hope it might be a simple cure, but no luck.

I’m thinking along the lines of a head gasket bleeding combustion gases into the water and over pressuring the system but would be very grateful for any guidance anyone can give me on this.

I will introduce myself properly as soon as I can!

Many thanks, John

John D

pollystag

12 Posts

Posted - 16 Dec 2018 :  15:00:37  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi mate,
Have you made sure it has all the air bled out of the system?
Steve.
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Bodiam

United Kingdom
16 Posts

Posted - 16 Dec 2018 :  15:35:23  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi, Steve,

Thanks for the reply. Yes, it has been topped up several times (at least 10) but after each top up (not overfilled) pushes coolant out of the overflow until at least the top tank is empty.

Should have mentioned, no sign of external leaks and rad has been recored - did a crude flow test with the bottom hose off and it does not seem to be blocked.

Cheers, John

John D
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jimlagos

United Kingdom
164 Posts

Posted - 17 Dec 2018 :  08:40:25  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Good morning.
99.9% sure it's head gasket!

jim
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Bodiam

United Kingdom
16 Posts

Posted - 17 Dec 2018 :  10:10:05  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Good morning, Jim, thank you for the reinforcement.

I guess it was hoping for too much that someone would have had a similar experience and fixed it with a 2p washer!

Head off is no bad thing anyway, the car hasn’t been converted to unleaded so that would be a good excuse to get it done.

Thanks again, John

John D
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Bodiam

United Kingdom
16 Posts

Posted - 17 Dec 2018 :  12:18:36  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Now I’m going to be taking the head off (unless anyone has any 2p washer fixes in mind!) I’d be obliged if you could recommend a supplier of a good quality head gasket set.

I come from the world of Triumph TR’s, where there is so much Chinese junk on the market (and I don’t mean their boats) that inside information on quality is invaluable.

Thanks in anticipation,

John D
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jimlagos

United Kingdom
164 Posts

Posted - 17 Dec 2018 :  19:58:06  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I've used speedy spares for parts, and also Alpine West Midlands.
Never had complaints about either. If anybody has comments it might be useful.
Good luck.
P.S check carefully for any cracks in the head!


https://www.speedyspares.co.uk/
http://www.sunbeam-alpine.co.uk/

jim
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Bodiam

United Kingdom
16 Posts

Posted - 17 Dec 2018 :  20:10:34  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks for the suggestions Jim, I’ll give them both a try. Won’t be making any more progress before Christmas now, but will post any useful information as I go along.

I’ll certainly have the head crack tested and hope there’s nothing else hiding away!

Best wishes,

John D
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tgr747

United Kingdom
12 Posts

Posted - 18 Dec 2018 :  19:25:55  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I am no expert but is 4lbs the normal rad cap for this engine?
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Bodiam

United Kingdom
16 Posts

Posted - 18 Dec 2018 :  20:58:24  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi, tgr747,

I believe the 4lb cap was fitted to Series I - IIIA cars, increased to 9lb for Series IV to V (unless anyone has better info than I’ve found in the catalogues).

Your post has made me think, though, that I ought to check that the engine in my car is actually the 1600 it started out with before I do anything else.

Thanks for the pointer.

John D
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bigt80

United Kingdom
1008 Posts

Posted - 29 Dec 2018 :  19:50:02  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yep; 4lb for the early cars - always seemed v..low :-).
I'd agree head-gasket & just to also confirm that Speedies supply top quality cu/st H.G's for c. £11.50 + the postage. I've used several over the years with no issues. A lot of NOS stuff is not really usable these days. Best of luck with the fix. Cheers. G.
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Bodiam

United Kingdom
16 Posts

Posted - 29 Dec 2018 :  21:48:53  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thank you, Glen.

John D
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Bodiam

United Kingdom
16 Posts

Posted - 29 Jan 2019 :  16:56:13  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Head off at present for crack testing. A bit concerned that there is no obvious sign of gasket failure, just a general overall deterioration.

The head has had some welding done previously to broaden the land between the water jacket and the edge of the cylinders which is quite narrow and the head has been skimmed after that.

Does anyone know the original depth of the alloy head on a Series 111A? The reason I ask is I have noticed another thread where the owner found the head bolts were bottoming because the head had been skimmed and I’d like to be able to avoid this problem.

Thanks in anticipation for any help.

John
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jimlagos

United Kingdom
164 Posts

Posted - 31 Jan 2019 :  00:11:26  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I believe that there is indication of amount of skimming by the recesses
machined into the edge of the head itself. I don't know how to load a photo, but hopefully somebody can do some kind of photo or drawing to show what I mean. As for "bottoming" out of the head bolts you can get an idea if you just screw the head bolts into the block until a little bit more than finger tight and measure them? Then check the cylinder head to ensure that they are down enough to clamp the head down.

jim
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Bodiam

United Kingdom
16 Posts

Posted - 31 Jan 2019 :  07:56:10  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi, Jim,

Thank you for the reply, I’ll measure up as you suggest and hopefully put my mind at rest.

John
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JPSH120

United Kingdom
1080 Posts

Posted - 31 Jan 2019 :  09:24:12  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Face of the head should have notches in it, similar to the one in this image;



If they're not visible, then the head has been skimmed to it's max.
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