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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently had what I thought was a radiator issue with my 1964 122S, but it turned out my radiator wasn't leaking after all. I believe it's a head gasket issue.

Here's why: I am spitting liquid out of my tailpipe, and emitting white exhaust. It's the worst at startup and for about 5-10 minutes after startup, then it gets milder, but it persists pretty badly nonetheless. Most likely, this is coolant coming out of the tailpipe - I've kept an eye on the radiator level, which does drop, and I've been refilling it. Here's a photo of it at its worst:



I'm looking at having to replace the head gasket, I assume. To add to this, I know that the valve stem seals are badly shot, since I see a lot of burning oil coming out of the tailpipe when letting off the accelerator on the highway, say, or going downhill, and at first morning startup.

All of this, I imagine, is bad.

I've hesitated even asking, for fear the answer may be "Get rid of the car." I love this car, but I'm not sure I've got the skills for the job / jobs. There's a mechanic in town I could call and get a quote from, but want to gauge your reactions first.

What do you think? Will it be ridiculously expensive? Can I do it myself without an engine pull? Am I better off putting a new engine in it? Is there a detailed step-by-step somewhere online for replacing a head gasket and valve stem seals that I could check out?

Thanks for any suggestions you might have.

G.
 

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Best way to fix it would be to pull the head and have a machine shop rebuild it. That you can do with out pulling the engine. But there's a pretty good chance the rest of the engine needs work at this point. The leak could be other things besides a bad gasket. I pulled a B20 apart that had an oil pan full of antifreeze it was a crack in one of the bores.
As for a step by step instructions a service manual will have all the info you should need.

A good used engine maybe the cheapest way to go. Maybe one of the guys here has one. On my B20 boat to car engine I shelled out 1,700 bucks at the machine shop that included the pars to put it together with. Machine shops (mine anyway) always seem to find ways to add on charges.
 

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Head gaskets on these cars are pretty easy. Pull the valve cover and unbolt the valve train. It should stay together so you can just plop it back in there when you're done. Pull the 10 head bolts and pop the head off. From there you can see what your head gasket looks like. The stem seals should just slide off of the valves and you can buy some more to put on or take it to a machine shop and they should have some. It will be a good idea to have the shop deck the head too so that you know it's flat. Shouldn't cost much just to have it decked and maybe buy some new stem seals if you can't find them online. I would think less than $100 for sure.

There are a couple other things you'll need to remove like the fuel line to the carbs, PCV hose, intake and exhaust manifold. Nothing serious by any means but make sure to get a new intake/exhaust gasket too so that you don't have to re-use the old one. Have fun and make sure you know the proper torque specs on those bolts!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well, this is tempting now. Last year, I removed the exhaust manifold in this car, got it surfaced at a shop and replaced it with a new gasket myself. If I can do that, you think I can do the head gasket and seals myself? And, is there a way to test if this is a head gasket issue beforehand, or do I just need to pull the thing off to find out?

If it helps diagnose things, I'm also seeing steam near where the manifold meets the exhaust pipe, pretty much constantly.

Thanks again - all of this is helpful.
 

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I would say to even see what might be going on you're going to have to pull the head regardless. Then you'll know what you're looking at.
 

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I recently had what I thought was a radiator issue with my 1964 122S, but it turned out my radiator wasn't leaking after all. I believe it's a head gasket issue.

Here's why: I am spitting liquid out of my tailpipe, and emitting white exhaust. It's the worst at startup and for about 5-10 minutes after startup, then it gets milder, but it persists pretty badly nonetheless. Most likely, this is coolant coming out of the tailpipe - I've kept an eye on the radiator level, which does drop, and I've been refilling it. Here's a photo of it at its worst:



I'm looking at having to replace the head gasket, I assume. To add to this, I know that the valve stem seals are badly shot, since I see a lot of burning oil coming out of the tailpipe when letting off the accelerator on the highway, say, or going downhill, and at first morning startup.

All of this, I imagine, is bad.

I've hesitated even asking, for fear the answer may be "Get rid of the car." I love this car, but I'm not sure I've got the skills for the job / jobs. There's a mechanic in town I could call and get a quote from, but want to gauge your reactions first.

What do you think? Will it be ridiculously expensive? Can I do it myself without an engine pull? Am I better off putting a new engine in it? Is there a detailed step-by-step somewhere online for replacing a head gasket and valve stem seals that I could check out?

Thanks for any suggestions you might have.

G.
Hello again, Gabe.

For review this is a '64 Amazon with B18D, Weber, rebuilt radiator and new starter that has a new exhaust manifold gasket.

See above for current ailments.

Now for some dumb questions...

Did the smoking tail pipe come on over many miles or in short order?

Did it smoke before you did the exhaust manifold work?

Is there an indication of gasoline and/or water on the engine oil dipstick?

Do you plan to keep this car?

Options...

1. Send the head to a reputable machine shop for valve work, new seats, seals, etc. then reassemble and drive.

2. With the head at the machine shop, drop the oil pan, pull the pistons, install new rings, bearings, oil pump, cam, lifters/pushrods, timing gears, water pump, distributor (if needed), all new gaskets/seals then reassemble and drive.

3. Pull the engine and trans, send both out for a full rebuild to include new twin SU's, street cam, head work, twin-outlet exhaust manifold/headpipe, M41/OD, then reassemble and drive.

4. Pull the head then post here what you discover.

The docs on this page...

http://volvo1800pictures.com/sweden/Volvo_1800_dokumentation_main_page_en.php

...are all you will ever need for any repair on your Amazon.

Once the download(s) is complete save a copy on your system.

George Dill

Edit - a Weber carb out of adjustment can cause raw gasoline to wash down the oil seal at the ring/cylinder interface causing rapid wear and oil burning.
 

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There aren't many engines easier to rebuild than this one. It's a great first timer's rebuild, and there are a ton of things you can do to it that will make it run trouble and leak free for literally hundreds of thousands of miles. If you understand how to use a torque wrench you can rebuild this motor. If you do the bottom end as well, it'll just cost more money.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Did the smoking tail pipe come on over many miles or in short order?

I noticed the spitting liquid from the tailpipe first, about 3-4 months ago, then the smoking came gradually. One day about a month ago, after driving about 120 miles, I noticed the car overheating. I pulled over and called for a ride, then checked the radiator, which was extremely low on coolant (the problem which was the source of my previous post). I got the radiator tested, but the shop said it wasn't leaking, so I put it back in and filled it up. (Note: I haven't added an overflow jug yet.) I've been driving it when necessary ever since, but the smoke is only getting worse. It's the worst at startup and for about 5-10 minutes of driving. Then it stops being embarrassing, but it's noticeable.

Did it smoke before you did the exhaust manifold work?

No, and not afterward either; that was about a year ago. This is a recent development.

Is there an indication of gasoline and/or water on the engine oil dipstick?

I'll have to check more closely when I get home, but none that I've noticed so far.

Do you plan to keep this car?

I would really, really love to. I'm pretty attached to it.

Sounds like since I figured out how to pull and replace the exhaust manifold, I probably have the skills to pull the head. I'll give it a shot, I think, see what I find, and keep you posted. There is a machine shop in town that I used for the exhaust manifold who were great, so I'm lucky there.

If there's any other advice, I'm all ears. Thanks - this forum is indispensable.
 

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Since the engine is still running the leak must be up top like a bad gasket. That's a good thing ! If you had antifreeze in the oil the bearings would be shot by now most likely.

As stated above these are simple motors to work on. Take your time amd be glad it's not an Alfa Romeo !
 

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This is not the end of this car, do not worry. The cost of repairing is far lower than the cost of a replacement disposable modern car.

In addition to everything others told you. When you take the head off, ask a professional to measure the bore around the top of the ring stroke to assess the condition. That could affect your decisions once you re-assemble the engine. Also, make sure you get an oil pressure gauge on it, and see what the oil pressure is. If you have healthy oil pressure, your bearings are most likely fine.
 

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...If there's any other advice, I'm all ears. Thanks - this forum is indispensable.
From: http://www.vclassics.com/archive/ignition.htm
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(From Phil Singher) Quick and dirty timing:
I prefer to take the distributor out of the car when changing points and condenser. It's a lot easier to do on the bench, and lets me give the whole unit a good look-over. If you're fortunate enough to have access to a distributor machine (getting hard to find in these days of computerized ignition control), it makes it easy to set the dwell perfectly and check the advance mechanism. Here's how to get the distributor back into the car with the timing already close to right.

Before pulling it out, turn the motor so the rotor is pointing at #1 plug wire (that's the forward-most one). Leave it like that until the distributor goes back in. If that's not possible, turn the motor so #1 piston is at TDC on the compression stroke by lining up the zero mark on the crank pulley with the pointer on the timing gear cover. You can tell it's the compression stroke and not the exhaust stroke because both forward valves will be closed -- look through the oil filler cap and see that the rocker arms are even with each other (if your filler is in the middle of the valve cover, pull the cover off).

The pulley is marked at 10 ATDC, 0 (TDC), 10, 20 and 30 BTDC (some also have 40 BTDC). Turn slightly more until your desired timing mark lines up; in other words, if you want to set basic timing at 15 BTDC, the pointer should be midway between the 10 and 20 marks. Now insert the distributor, seat it fully and hook up the points wire. The rotor will point at #1, but we still need to turn the distributor body to the right angle. Turn it counter-clockwise (looking from the top) until you're sure the points are closed. Switch on the ignition. Turn the distributor clockwise until the points just open -- you'll hear and/or see a spark snap across them. Turn off the ignition and tighten up the distributor enough for starting the car. Put rotor and cap back on.

This will get you within two degrees or so of where you need to be; certainly good enough to start the car and permit it to idle. Of course, you'll need to finish up with a timing light to really get it accurate.
--------------------------------------------------------------
http://www.vclassics.com/contents.htm

http://www.vclassics.com/archive/index.html

http://www.vclassics.com/

George Dill
George Dill
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Pulled the head today with the help of a good friend's dad, who used to own an import shop (and is currently restoring a '66 Jaguar). Needless to say, I was in good hands. He's a great guy.

Here's what we found:



Definitely some coolant leaking into the third cylinder, and the second, to a lesser extent. The gasket wasn't blown, and the head surface was flat as far as we could measure. But the head bolts were noticeably looser in the center of the head when I was removing them, which might have been the problem. One of the center bolts was also bent, to the extent that we couldn't get it out, and ended up cutting the top off and punching it out the bottom once the head was on the bench.

I'm taking it to the machine shop tomorrow for a hot tank / surface / valve job. We pulled the first valve to look at it. The tiny amount of play in the guide was marginal, but we saw a little bit of pitting forming on the valve.

And... surprise discovery in the water pump! Notice it up there? One of the holes was completely blocked with buildup, sand, and what-have-you. I started chiseling it out, then realized that I should just order a new pump. So that's on the way too, along with some cylinder head bolts. (I have a new thermostat to put in too, even though I tested the current one on the stovetop as working.)

The good news is that we could feel no ridge or piston wear at all in the cylinders. Whew!

Couple questions:

1. The only hose we had to cut was the heater hose that runs from the head to the plastic "T" heater exchange. It looked original, and needed replacing anyway. IPD and Swedish Treasures have this one: http://www.ipdusa.com/products/6745/103516-heater-hose :but that's it. Found a couple from overseas:

http://www.skandix.de/en/spare-parts/interior-temperature/heater/heater-hoses/heater-hose/1000869/
http://volvoonderdelen.com/Amazon-1...azon-P1800-B18-kachel-motor-2098/language/en/

Does anyone know a US supplier for this hose?

2. There's a neat-looking old Stewart Warner Oil Pressure Gauge mounted under the dash, but no connecting wire - there's a sender in the block now, but it only has one terminal and is just for the oil light. I'd like to put in a sender for the SW gauge while the block is accessible. If anyone has a lead on where to get one that'd be handy.

I think that's it for now. Won't be able to get to putting it back together until next weekend, but pretty glad at how it's going so far.

Thanks for your help, everyone.

G.

 

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Take a real good look in that third cylinder. That's where my B20 was cracked and leaking. But hopefully it has something to do with the loose head bolts !

I would flush the water jacket as much as you can when you get the water pump off. If that is sand it could be left over from when the block was made. They were sandcast after all. However I've only ever heard of one car wiith problems from left over casting sand and that was a new 1958 Buick my dad worked on in 1958 ! SO I don't think it's a common problem at all.
 

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Valve stem "seals" on the B18 amount to umbrellas and are really of little effect. If you REALLY want smoke free deceleration you probably will have to replace both the valve guides and the valves. Unless the valves are really loose in the guides I would not consider it. The amount of smoke on a hard decel far exceeds the amount of oil actually consumed. Also it is kinda fun to watch everything behind you disappear when you finally tromp the gas pedal to start up the other side.
Sign me one of the "don't sweat the small stuff" guys!
 

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Looks like the person that put together that engine messed up. Its best to do all the work yourself, as much as possible, so at least you can only blame it on you. As simple as these cars are, and as well as they are designed so that they can be easy to work on, you have to try to mess up like that.

I liked that test they did on that P1800 video we recently discussed. Poor a liquid such as gas on the combustion chambers (head face up), and see if it holds. If it leaks away through the valves, then the valve seats need replacement, and you need a valve job. Good time to install hardened exhaust valve seats.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Well, here's the update.

Got the head cleaned, checked and decked and had new guides and valves installed. Replaced the head gasket, heater hose, thermostat, manifold gasket, and installed new water pump. Put everything back together. This was around Christmas.

Aaaaaaand... I'm still getting white smoke out of the tailpipe.

The problems are exactly the same as before - see photo up top of the thread there. Water sputtering out of the pipe at startup for about 5 minutes, then pretty bad white smoke for 10 minutes, then it eases up at driving but it's still prevalent, especially at intersections. Also, I can shut off the car for 5 minutes, and the smoke might have been so-so, but when I start it back up again, whooosh... a plume.

In addition, before the job, and even after the first oil change, when I pulled the oil cap, there was white oil around the bottom of the filler cap and on the ceiling of the valve cover. Noticed tiny white strains on the dipstick as well. So coolant is getting into the oil, too.

Checking the radiator level, I am losing coolant.

I've been making myself crazy coming up with theories about what's going on, so I could use some feedback. Remember that I've never really worked on engines before last year, and might be missing something obvious.

1. Is the Head Cracked? I called the machine shop (they have a good reputation) and told them what was happening, and asked how they checked for cracks. They confirmed that they magnafluxxed it and found no cracks. There's always the possibility of an interior pinhole that they might have missed. But before I remove the head again for a second opinion (and buy another head gasket set), maybe there are other tests I can do to determine where the leak might be happening?

2. Is the Intake Manifold Cracked? I have a Weber with a Cannon manifold. Cooling line runs through the manifold, and I suppose it's possible that coolant is getting into the chamber via a crack in the manifold. Could I bypass the manifold to test this - is that ok to do? Now, that wouldn't explain coolant getting into the oil, though, would it?

3. Is the Block Cracked? My worst nightmare, but maybe this is the case. We looked closely and saw no cracks when we (meticulously) cleaned it before reassembly, though.

4. What's With the Exhaust Pipe? In the morning, before startup, I was seeing quite a little bit of liquid around the exhaust gasket and seeping a couple inches down the outside of the exhaust pipe, and have since tightened up those bolts. But I still notice steam coming from near there at initial startup, and also, weirdly, from the exhaust bracket bolts below. (Maybe this is just normal morning condensation? Or would it be coolant leaking into the exhaust pipe overnight?) When I was replacing the manifold, I did notice that one of the nuts tightened up a little soft, so I didn't torque it down as much as the others for fear of possibly stripping an old stud. But the engine is quiet as ever, so I doubt it's causing a leak there.

5. Did I Mess Up Somehow? We followed the incremental torquing of the head bolts to the letter, but because the rocker assembly is in the way of the right-side head bolts, we didn't torque the head bolts to 60 lbs, then run the car for ten minutes, then torque them down to final spec. We just incrementally torqued the head bolts to spec, following the proper pattern, then put the rocker assembly on and readjusted valves, etc. Could this have caused a problem? (I doubt it.) Or, included in the IPD head gasket set, there were a number of gaskets that didn't apply - I assume they were for the SUs. We couldn't have missed putting on one of those, could we? (We replaced head gasket, manifold gasket, water pump gasket, all four rubber rings for water pump, exhaust gasket... I think that's it.) I'm almost positive we put the head gasket on facing the right way, with the thickness stamp on the top.

6. So I Flushed the Cooling System And... Last week, I discovered the cooling drain plug in the actual engine block, behind the oil filter. I had only been using the radiator petcock up til then, and only getting about half the capacity in the drain pan, so I drained the radiator and then removed the block plug. There was only a slight trickle. I got a wire and poked it in there and moved it around, and dislodged something, and coolant gushed out. Looking in the drain pan, there was some crud in there. General corrosion, small sand-like rocks, and tiny little blue crystals that looked like tumbled glass, like you'd find on a beach. (All this is the stuff that clogged my water pump, see above in thread.) I ran the garden hose in the radiator with the block plug open, and flushed it for a good five minutes or so total. I kept finding trace amounts of the same kind of crud in the pan. Refilled with 50/50. Here's the thing: the smoke actually got worse after this. Before, I had times when the car didn't smoke at all, period. But it was instantly worse, and the oil under the oil filler cap was whiter than ever.

7. The Block Sealer Theory I wonder if the small amount of aqua blue tumbled glass crystals I found were old crumbles of block sealer from the previous owner. Maybe he poured sealer in there a few years ago and it's just now starting to degrade, explaining the slow onset of this smoke problem — and that would explain why when I flushed it all out, the smoke worsened.

8. A Band-Aid I put half a bottle of a moderate Bar's copper block sealer in the radiator the other night just to get by for a while. (It was this kind: http://www.fleetequipmentmag.com/Content/Site310/SmartProducts/99962BarsLeaksj_00000052556.jpg) It seems to have had only a small effect. Tell me if I'm crazy and should flush it out immediately. (Incidentally, I noticed as far back as four months ago that the smoke is worse right after I top up the radiator, which doesn't have an overflow jug. Sometimes I think that after a certain amount of coolant is burned off, the pressure isn't as high and therefore it doesn't seep through the cracks in the system.)

9. Oil I've changed it twice since the head gasket job. Once with 15w-40, and then after the flushing (#6) and subsequent smoking and white oil cap, again with 5w-30 that I had in the garage. I'm not burning oil like I used to. The valve job really helped a lot. My old guides were worn. But I don't want to run oil with a lot of coolant in it, for obvious reasons. Then again, I don't want to change my oil every weekend...

10. Anything Else? Like I said, maybe I'm missing something obvious. Are there any tests I can do to determine where the leak is coming from? Sparkplug check? Compression check?

I'm very, very attached to this car and want to save it. But I also want to try every avenue to find the leak and fix it before considering installing a new engine. (Sure wish I could afford / knew how to pop this engine in there: http://sfbay.craigslist.org/nby/cto/3520057908.html) Currently thinking about a more high-grade block sealer like K&W, the type you drain the radiator for.

As usual, your input is super valuable, thanks.

G.

 

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Source a B20E with twin SU HS6 carbs ready to bolt in along with a full clutch job, trans service and electrical/cooling/heating systems rehab.

George Dill
 

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Definitely bypass the manifold to rule it out, as it's not necessary. But to me it sounds like you have a cracked block. Sorry man.
 

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The craigslist ad looks like a pretty good deal if you want a wagon. Carbs are 1 3/4" stock, NOT 1 1/2" Tranny is M41 with D-type OD (earlier). Your old style shifter lid will bolt right on to it so tunnel surgery is NOT required. I agree with "Lloyd", if it is not in the intake manifold (which I would NOT pipe for water) it has to be block, head or gasket leaking. You should be able to find a good deal on a B18 or a fairly good deal on a B20, which would be better and bolt right in. I'd go for SU carbs if possible.
 
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