[Healeys] Head weight

Bob Spidell bspidell at comcast.net
Wed Oct 27 09:27:29 MDT 2021

The late, great Norman Nock used to recommend a lacquer-like paste 
called 'Wellseal,' esp. for the 4-cyl engines known for leaking between 
the #2 and #3 cylinders (supposedly, not enough head studs in that 
area). I've only put a few hundred miles on my BN2 since rebuild--with 
Wellseal--but, so far, no sign of a leak.

I 'heard from the grapevine' that Payen off-shored manufacturing to 
(guess where) and quality suffered. I had most of a Payen set I'd bought 
decades ago for my BJ8 and didn't use for whatever reason. I used the 
head gasket on my latest--and hopefully last--overhaul a few years ago; 
6K miles and still good. If I needed to rebuild again I'd probably 
spring for the composite-metal gasket from DWM; supposedly reusable for 
up the 3 times.


On 10/27/2021 5:23 AM, m.g.sharp--- via Healeys wrote:
> Fred, I can add to Mike’s comment as it is my BT7 we were working on.  
> We had used the head gasket that came with the head set supplied by 
> MOSS.  As the engine warmed up I had coolant leaking out almost the 
> entire length of the block/head seam, and coming up through several of 
> the head studs.  This was not a localized leak and I would describe it 
> as complete failure of the gasket as far as the coolant passages are 
> concerned.  There was no evidence of oil leakage, but I think I am 
> correct in saying that all but one of the oil passages between the 
> head and block are for drainage back down to the sump and thus not 
> under pressure.  There was no water/steam in the exhaust and the car 
> fired evenly (it sounded great!) and no coolant in the cylinders after 
> we removed the head, so it looks like just the coolant was leaking.  
> However remember the motor had been running for only about 15 min 
> total over several gentle warm/cool cycles.  FYI, I use a correct 7 lb 
> rad cap.
> On removing the head we could find no evidence of any problem. The 
> gasket looked fine, so we really do not know the cause of the 
> failure.  This was a complete rebuild so both the head and the block 
> faces were machined.
> I ordered a “Premium” head gasket which was supplied by A-H Spares via 
> Healey Autofarm here in Ontario (thanks Amanda for the quick 
> service).  My understanding (i.e., I don’t know for a fact) is that 
> A-H Spares has these Premium gaskets made and supplies them to others, 
> including MOSS. It is pricey and the prices vary, so shop around.  
> Neither Mike nor I could discern any visible difference between the 
> “regular” head gasket and the Premium one (except for the part 
> number), although we did not measure the thickness and the material 
> that is sandwiched between the copper/steel outer layers may well be a 
> different material or thickness.
> There is much debate about using a gasket dressing or not and I have 
> never seen any actual evidence that using it helps the sealing; it is 
> all anecdotal evidence (e.g., “I have/have not used a head dressing 
> for 40 years and never had a problem”).  Neither Mike nor I have ever 
> used a head gasket dressing in other rebuilds so although we discussed 
> it we did not apply any.  Curiously, the MOSS tech expert finally 
> responded to my request to discuss the issue (about a 3 week response 
> time!).  He has apparently rebuild many Healey engines and always uses 
> a gasket dressing.  Take what you want from that.  He had no 
> explanation or helpful suggestions that Mike and I had not already 
> discussed.
> The head is now torqued down and the rocker shaft is on and torqued. 
>  I plan to get everything else bolted up this week and will re-start 
> the engine, perhaps tomorrow.  I’d be grateful if all listers could 
> keep their fingers crossed tomorrow in the hopes that positive vibes 
> will compensate for any lack of quality in current head gaskets for 
> Healeys.
> BTW, it was two elderly folk and one pretty strong young buck that 
> removed the head w/manifolds – my 30 something friend Dan might be 
> cheesed as being referred to as elderly!  I had lifted the head with 
> manifolds once before so knew it could be done, but this was a BT7 and 
> I am unfamiliar with the details of a BJ7 engine bay and whether there 
> are any added complications.  I suggest if you lift it with the 
> manifolds, rest the head on top of the studs when you lift it and 
> remove the two intake manifold drain pipes, and do the same in reverse 
> (as they are a real bugger to get on later) and you would have to lift 
> the head very high when removing if you left them on.  Frankly, use of 
> an engine lift/chain fall would be safer (but less exciting) if you 
> have access to one.
> Stay tuned!  Mirek
> *From:*Healeys <healeys-bounces at autox.team.net> *On Behalf Of *Michael 
> Salter
> *Sent:* October 26, 2021 10:24 PM
> *To:* healeys <Healeys at autox.team.net>
> *Subject:* Re: [Healeys] Head weight
> We are struggling with head gasket problems on a newly rebuilt engine 
> BT7 engine at present so will be following this discussion closely.
> Regarding lifting the head off with the engine in the car.
> With the manifolds on we managed reasonably easily with 1 person on 
> each side lifting the rear of the head and 1 at the front. Bit of a 
> grunt but possible with 3 somewhat elderly folks.
> M
> On Tue., Oct. 26, 2021, 10:15 p.m. Fred Wescoe via Healeys, 
> <healeys at autox.team.net> wrote:
>     Listers,
>     It appears that I may have to pull the head (some oil in the
>     radiator fluid) on my 66 BJ8 and I may (likely) have to replace
>     the head gasket.  I am going to leave the engine in the car.  I
>     have pulled the head of my BJ7 but that was many years ago.  I
>     will need help physically (I'm older now) to pull the BJ8 head. 
>     Does anyone know what the *actual weight* of just the head is?  I
>     need to determine how many people I need to help me.  Of course, I
>     will remove everything from the head before pulling it and then
>     place a straight edge on the head and block to determine if I have
>     additional issues to deal with. Hopefully not but I will check.
>     Do I use sealant on the new head gasket and if so what type?   One
>     side or both sides?
>     After the recent discussion on Moss and their prices and quality,
>     what are the thoughts about sources for a good quality head
>     gasket, without being gouged.  Entering the cold months, I have
>     plenty of time to do this right.  Is there anything I should be on
>     the lookout for, or check before buttoning up things?
>     I want to do this just once but I do want to do it completely and
>     correctly.  So, any words of wisdom are certainly appreciated.
>     Thanks as always,
>     Fred
>     66BJ8
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://autox.team.net/pipermail/healeys/attachments/20211027/bfeb8bcf/attachment.htm>

More information about the Healeys mailing list