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Head Gasket Blown?


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So, I have had this 74 02tii for about 2 months. Got it from a local consigner for what I thought was a good deal. Ran and drove. Checked under the oil filler cap (looked good), oil in engine looked good. Was not able to get under the car but from above, the engine looked pretty good with no real leaks.


Have not driven it much (<3 miles) as the tires were horrible and the drivers side caliper is locked up. got some new tires took it around the block so I could back it in the garage and do the brakes. Up on stands, I finally got a good look at the engine:





I also found this puddle. Looks like it came out of the little gap between what I would call the timing cover and the block. The little gap is seen in the photo above about an inch to the left of the rightmost edge at the very bottom edge of the picture.






The car has leaked no oil while sitting in the garage. Could this have come out due to my jacking the front end up?



More of the engine:





One thing I did notice was that oil seemed to be gathering around a couple of the exhaust manifold studs. I have done some research and it seems like it is possible for oil to leak from these stud holes. Is there a galley there or something?


I did check under the oil filler cap and there was a slightly milky substance but not a lot. Looking at the rockers and cams, they looked to have pretty clean oil on them.


Here is the dipstick:





My thoughts on a workplan (if my order looks off, open to your thoughts):


Clean engine

Check plugs and post pics on forum

Change the oil and filter

Based on feedback from forum, check torgue on exhaust studs. Apply sealant if needed.

Retorgue head to 55 foot pounds (saw this somewhere on the interweb)

Compression test

Flush cooling system


Car did sit for a while so seals and gaskets likely need a lot of help. I have read through a lot of threads on head gaskets and am not afraid to dive in - just not what I was looking forward to doing!

Edited by Texasyeti
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That little gap is a tell-tale leak off to leak either oil or water to the ground instead of into the other side (water or oil sides) if the gasket is leaking and it looks like your is.

A radiator shop is a good place to take a leak.


I have no idea what I'm doing but I know I'm really good at it.

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By the time you deal with resealing the timing covers and front main seal plus the oil pan, the actual head gasket isn't that much more work. Watch out for project creep. As Esty said, start with a compression test. That might tell you if you need to go further while your in there.


Edited by Harv

Fresh squeezed horseshoes and hand grenades



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Oil leaking from the front of the engine is likely the main crank seal, not the head gasket. The rest of the oil on the engine block is likely a combination of leaking timing cover seals, oil coming through the exhaust studs thread if they were not loctited (the exhaust stud holes go all the way through into the head, they are not blind holes), oil from a leaky valve cover gasket, and possibly leaks from the distributor housing gasket of O-ring.


Concern about the head gasket is a different matter. As said above, do a compression and leakdown test, check for oil in radiator. Does the car emit white smoke (steam) when it is first started? Clean off the oil filler cap, put some miles on the car, park it, and look at the cap after it has cooled. If there is milky residue that points to a head gasket problem--post a photo.


--Fred '69 & '74tii


'74tii (Colorado) track car

'69ti (Black/Red/Yellow) rolling resto track car

'73tii (Fjord....RIP)

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Clean it really well before you do anything else.  Then drive it around the block and see where it's leaking, if it is still dry get it on the freeway for a mile or so and check again.  If you drive it very long at freeway speeds the oil will be blown around and get everything wet and you will have trouble figuring out where it is coming from.


It is very wet up top, I suspect a valve cover and/or front upper timing cover leak.  This engine has been apart before (evidence the excessive sealant on the oil pan gasket)  There is a chance the cylinder head was surfaced and they did not have the upper timing cover on the head and it is now a few thousands taller than the head and it won't seal that way. 


The oil on the exhaust manifold studs is coming through the threads of the upper studs.  They need to be removed, cleaned and installed with Loctite, use new copper locking nuts and gaskets.  Yes this means you need to take the manifold off. 


Doing a compression and leak down test is a good idea on any engine, it will give you some idea of what condition it is in.  Take the valve cover off and have a look, if it is clean then the rest of the engine is most likely the same way,  if it is nasty, I'll guarantee the rest of the engine is at least that bad.   

1970 1602 (purchased 12/1974)

1974 2002 Turbo

1988 M5

1986 Euro 325iC

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if you have oil in the water, you'll know it:  the oil won't look like oil, and the water won't look like water.


otherwise, your engine exterior looks just like my '74tii exterior:  oily.  I've got some oil drips up front, no biggie to me, I just keep the oil level topped up.  All the bolts are properly snugged but oil is weeping out from somewhere, fortunately "weep" is the operative word, as opposed to "gush."  So I don't worry about it.





Edited by OriginalOwner
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