The 3000 Forum

Head Gasket Issues

Moss Motors
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bridunc Silver Member Brian Duncan
Indianapolis, IN, USA   USA
Does anyone have a picture of the "high end" head gasket that is offered at Moss? Part #528-035. They only show one side of the gasket. I want to know if the opposite side is copper also, or steel.

I purchased the "Head Gasket Set" from Moss. It includes a head gasket, but I have heard, and proved, that it is a sub par gasket. I had antifreeze seeping/dripping between the head and block before I had a chance to fire the motor. I checked torque again and had 75 on all. I've never witnessed a leak like this. I do have pitting around the water passages on the block, but the gasket should encircle those areas.

Any help is appreciated.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2018-04-04 10:01 PM by bridunc.

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bridunc Silver Member Brian Duncan
Indianapolis, IN, USA   USA
This is a clip of the leaking head gasket after 5 min of run time

video: https://photos.app.goo.gl/cl0FbbtCHFmJZS4I2

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2018-04-04 10:25 PM by bridunc.

sliproc Avatar
sliproc Kevin Quistberg E
Long Beach, CA, USA   USA

That's one of the most depressing things I've ever seen, a beautiful rebuild leaking like there's no head gasket. The only good news is that you should be able to replace the head gasket with the engine in place, still gonna be a lot of work though. Also I think I'd try a different make of head gasket.

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bridunc Silver Member Brian Duncan
Indianapolis, IN, USA   USA
These are the surfaces prior to the assembly. I do not see anything that stands out to cause such a leak. The leak is on both sides of the block, but more pronounced on the right side where more of the cooling passages are.

The studs were hand tight, so I don't think I cracked a water jacket at any of those points.
Does anyone put sealer on the studs as they enter the block?

I thought about using a "spray on" or "squeeze on" copper sealant around the water channels. Has anyone had success with that fix?

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sliproc Avatar
sliproc Kevin Quistberg E
Long Beach, CA, USA   USA

When you get it apart you can put a flat edge on it but I doubt you'll find a problem, from the looks of it I'd say your machinist knew what he was doing. You might give Moss a call and see if anyone else has had a problem and who's their supplier, you don't want to use that make again. Also, it might be nice if some of the guys who have had successful rebuilds could chime in on a recommendation for a good replacement.

pkoot Avatar
pkoot Peter K
Alkmaar, NH, Netherlands   NLD
Maybe a stupid remark, but by torque 75 you mean 75 lb.ft (which is Ok) and not by accident 75 Nm?

I had the same problem with my headgasket (leaking too soon) and bought a really good one with an extra O-ring for the coolingwater canal. I had to place that O-ring into the head gasket. Unfortunately I didn't make any pictures.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2018-04-06 03:42 PM by pkoot.

San Jose, CA, USA   USA
Leaking at the head/block union between the #2 and #3 cyls is common on the 4-cyl cars (not enough head studs). 'Old school' mechanics like Roger Moment and (the late) Norman Nock recommend(ed) Wellseal. We used it on our 100M's head gasket, and after a couple thousand miles don't have a leak.


However, given this from Denis Welch Racing:

"With the loss of British made Payen Gaskets and now only cheap imitations to choose from, we decided to invest in the very latest design ..."


... I might spring for the DWR gasket (it's also reusable up to 3 times). Dunno if that is what Moss is selling, but they do source some parts from DWR (but usually advertise it when they do). Service from DWR is typically good--they have techs on 'chat'--and shipping is not as expensive as you might think (US Customs can be a PITA, though). NFI, but all the stuff I've bought from them has been top shelf.

I just rebuilt my BJ8's engine and, fortunately, had most of an old 'Made in England' Payen gasket set including head gasket laying around from years ago and using that gasket have over 5K miles on the engine with no problems. If you do talk to Moss please let us know what they said.

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rusty1c Avatar
rusty1c Peter D
Antioch, CA, USA   USA
1961 Austin-Healey 3000 BT7 "RUBY"
1963 Chevrolet C10 "Rusty"
I had a similar problem, but mine was leaking between #2 & #3 cylinders with only 10-15 min of run time on a fresh rebuild. Both the head and the block had been resurfaced. I, like you, had only put the studs in finger tight. When I went back and checked the torque on the nuts many had loosened up. I checked the Healey manual and the studs themselves are supposed to be torqued to 400 in/lbs, about 33 ft/lbs. I double nutted the studs and torqued them to the recommended setting, replaced the gasket with a new one from Moss and coated both sides with "Copper Coat". I have over 2000 miles on the engine and have not seen any leaks between the head and the block so far.

sliproc Avatar
sliproc Kevin Quistberg E
Long Beach, CA, USA   USA
I'm amazed at the problems I've read about on these boards that guys have run into doing engine rebuilds. Brian's is just the latest. Looking at Brian's pictures it's obvious this is a high quality rebuild done by the numbers so you'd think it would have come off without a hitch and run beautifully.

Maybe it was just dumb luck, but I bought my first Healey in '73, a '57 100-6 for $500 it was my only car, my daily driver. At some point I decided to pull the head, I don't remember exactly why. It was my 2nd car and I had very limited tools, knowledge, and resources. I got the head to a machine shop where it was disassembled, cleaned, skimmed, and had a valve and a couple of springs replaced, then reassembled for $30. While the head was out I scrapped about a 1/4" of carbon off the tops of the pistons. Somehow I got it all back together without a torque wrench(I didn't even know what one was) it fired right up and ran beautifully and was still running great when I sold it a year later. Go figure, British cars, right?

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bridunc Silver Member Brian Duncan
Indianapolis, IN, USA   USA

I was out of town last week and did not have a chance to work on the motor. After pulling the head back off and inspecting all of the surfaces, I took a file to the top of the block to find any high spots. Although nothing shined up around the cylinders or water channels, I did find an edge along the back of the block that could have prevented the complete seal. I found the edge when I placed drops of oil around the deck of the block and pressed a pane of glass on top of the deck. Oil spread evenly over the machined surface except for the edge along the rear of the block.

I decided to reinstall the head and gasket using Indian Gasket Shellac. I debated using Copper Coat, but the shellac appeared to lay down thicker than the copper. Although the manual does not call for a sealer on the head gasket, many of you have had success with it. I found that using a sealer required re-torquing after the initial set.

I fired the motor up and am please to say that there are no leaks around the head after several heat cycles.

video: https://photos.app.goo.gl/EkD5JubUzRpej9oo1




Gasket Shellac is messy and sticks to everything (hands, tools, glasses, clothes.....)
The edge should have been eliminated at the machine shop.
Do not over torque intake manifold. Notice broken bolt boss on #5 intake.
My apologies to Moss Motors for jumping the gun and blaming the head gasket. They were very helpful with information about all of the gaskets they offer.

Thanks to everyone for the suggestions and help on this.

petnatcar Avatar
petnatcar Silver Member Peter Carbone
Watertown, NY, USA   USA

If you "decked the block" and "resurfaced the head" and double checked your torque settings then my guess is a bad gasket.

It's probably hard to believe that's the cause but you obviously have to disassemble the engine so get a good machinist straightedge
and check the components for flatness.

I got a racing type gasket from Denis Welch 18 years ago, it hasn't leaked yet and I drive the living hell out of my engine.

Spend the extra money and get a little peace of mind.

Good luck.

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