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MGB Bought 1980 MGB and got it home - head gasket?

RickB

Yoda
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About 180 miles on the dry hot roads of eastern Washington.
The car ran well but I smelled coolant when I shut it down at the end of the trip.
I see some coolant loss at the head gasket between the 3rd and 4th plugs.
Looks like new HG is in the car's near future, unfortunately there's always something wrong with these old cars and I didn't get lucky with this head gasket.
I can put up a picture if anyone wants to see it.
 
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RickB

RickB

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How common it this, does it indicate anything worse than gasket replacement?
Is there someone I can trust in this area to pay to do it for me? I have the gasket set.
 

Brinkerhoff

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You'll need to pull the head off and have it checked for flatness and internal cracks by a competent machine shop or just replacing the head gasket might be foolish.
 
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RickB

RickB

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Took it out tonight to just run around, got home and coolant was leaking out the bottom of the water pump.
Sometimes you buy them just before all this stuff happens, that's how I roll anyway.
On the up side, once done I will know how it was done and by whom.
Otherwise the car drives like a dream! Vantage to Ellensberg at 75MPH without overheating and it was a hot afternoon.
(There's a hill called "ten mile hill" there and it's relentless)
 

Rut

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Rick,
Like any of these old British cars things will just let go. If you have a true straight edge and a feeler gauge set you should be able to check it yourself. If all is ok replace the HG with a good Payen, torque it down and drive it like you stole it! Re torque after a few heat cycles and I hope you're good to go.
Rut
 
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RickB

RickB

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Thanks Rut, that's how I've always done it in the past on other engines.
 

JPSmit

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Took it out tonight to just run around, got home and coolant was leaking out the bottom of the water pump.
Sometimes you buy them just before all this stuff happens, that's how I roll anyway.
On the up side, once done I will know how it was done and by whom.
Otherwise the car drives like a dream! Vantage to Ellensberg at 75MPH without overheating and it was a hot afternoon.
(There's a hill called "ten mile hill" there and it's relentless)

So, is it this AND the head gasket? or just this? water weeping out of the pump is the sign it is going - OTOH - a much easier fix than a head gasket!
 
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RickB

RickB

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JP it's in addition to, not instead of.
Wanted to drive it another 20 miles or so to see if there was more seepage and when I got home found the pump making noise like a bearing was failing and coolant leaking.
I don't know where the weep hole is on the MGB so can't say if it was coming from that or not.
With the noise it was making and seeing coolant pouring out I guessed at it being a water pump issue, seems like I've changed one on every MG I've ever bought why should this one be different?
 
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RickB

RickB

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After thoroughly describing it to several old timers at our club show today they all (separately and without any coaching) said the same thing, re-torque the head.
The president of the club said to re-torque but add 5 lbs.
Sounds like pretty good advice.
I have my new water pump in hand, tomorrow is the day I have to work on it.
 
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RickB

RickB

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Replaced the water pump, wow the cast iron version is so much better than the one I removed it's not even comparable!
The ignition light was staying on for my test drive after, got home and put the meter on the alternator and was below 12 volts.
Took it back to O'Reilleys and got a replacement.
New one works great, no more leaks and electrical power seems much better now.
Some WD40 in the door latches and everything (mostly) seems good now.

I still need to bleed the clutch and see if I can get a bit more pedal but that's the last of my major "to-do" items on this car!

Except... the OD doesn't want to engage all the time, do I need to do something maintenance wise or is that a sign of a solenoid replacement in my future?
 

drooartz

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Congrats on the new B, even with the issues.

As for the OD, you can change the oil and screen filter in them. I've used both 20w50 and 30wt non-detergent in a B overdrive. It certainly won't hurt. My last BGT had some issues with the OD engaging some times -- it was the wiring going to the switch in my case (bad connection). I repaired the wiring and it worked reliably after that.
 
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RickB

RickB

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Since putting the newer better alternator in my OD seems to be working more reliably.
Would low electrical power make the OD not work or be 'flakey'?
Nice drive to work this AM in the blue B.
 

Sarastro

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Low voltage could definitely affect the overdrive, especially if its mechanics are a little sticky.

How did you make out with the head? Was retorquing it enough to fix the problem?

I had a similar problem after working on my TD engine. It occasionally would start to smoke for a few minutes; smelled like coolant, not oil. I retorqued the head, added 5 ft lbs to the torque, and it's been OK since.
 
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RickB

RickB

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I actually haven't done it yet.
I need time to re-torque and reset the valve clearances and I don't want to be rushed when I do it.
Too many family "things" at the moment.
However it's just seeped a very little since I replaced the water pump - I'm pretty confident that the re-torque is the solution.
Maybe tomorrow afternoon, today is my youngest daughter's last band concert of the year (she plays Tuba) so that's on my schedule so I'm not working on the car today.
 

max71

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What I found on my OD was confirmation of that Quantum Mechanics who specialize in this. While you should check the viability of the solenoid and a good clean electrical connection be aware of oil.

Some say 20-50wt like the engine. Some told me Redline. Quantum said 30 wt non-detergent.

20-50wt results in smooth forward gears and slow engage of the OD
Redline results in a hole in your wallet and terrible performance and clutch slippage of the OD. My experience anyway.
30wt Non-detergent results in a little more effort in the forward gears and very fast OD engagement and disengage.

HTH
 

PAUL161

Great Pumpkin
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The overdrives get gum on the piston and works slowly or not at all. Remove the bottom plate, pull the piston and clean everything. You'll be amazed just how fast the OD will work from then on. 20/50 is what I use in the B and it works great with no hesitation. If I use a product that does the job perfectly, I don't change because others say I should! But that's just me and 55 years of working on cars and heavy equipment. :encouragement: PJ
 
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