On the weekend of 12th January 2002 I was invited by H at Ashford Motorsport to visit him and let him replace my head gasket for me. I was planning to do it in the street outside my house when H intervened with his offer, and a good job it was too - we started at 14:00 and didn’t finish until 03:00 the following day. Imagine how long it would have taken me on my own (well actually I would probably have broken it beyond repair). Read on for part 1. My head gasket had sprung a leak at the front right corner, just behind the distributor. Coolant was escaping under pressure. Fortunately it wasn’t contaminating the oil, but it did mean regular coolant top-ups (every day the header tank was completely empty).
Here are the replacement parts I had bought for the job. I got most of them from Euro Car Parts.
First, the new gasket itself, and the rocker cover gasket:
If you’ve never seen a head gasket before, you will be surprised at how well made they are. I was expecting a piece of paper, but as you can see they are quite thick, and some of the holes (like the cylider bore holes) are reinforced with metal.
Here’s a closer look
You also need 14 new head bolts
These are the combined gaskets and heat shields from the exhaust manifold
This is the new seal for the camshaft, where it comes out behind the distributor to drive the rotor arm
There were three bags of assorted components, here is the first…
…and the third.
The long strips in bag 1 and 2 are for the sides of the top timing chain cover. The 12 parts in bag 3 are valve stem seals. I didn’t bother with those as I didn’t strip down the head. Most of bag 2 is inlet manifold gaskets. This is the new thermostat
More to come in Part 2.