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emulsified oil

Discussion in '"Stock" Alpine' started by Jeff Mannning, Jan 20, 2007.

  1. Hi all,

    I have a 67 Series V that has been rebuilt with about 2,000 miles on rebuilt motor. She's been running quite strong until this morning when I noticed a small puddle of gray goo under the steering cross member. I've pulled the valve cover and, although there's what appears to be condensation, there's not a bunch of gray goo there. If I pull the stick it's clearly an oily/watery mess.

    Now, one other bit of info: I'd just swapped out the Strombergs with a pair of Webers from an old Hunter. It took a bit to get it started, but once it did, it ran well. The only thing I noticed that could have effected the water/oil was hat I'd mistakenly placed the vent hose from the side lifter inspection plate around to the top of the valve cover oil filler opening.

    So, I guess I'm looking for a couple bits of help here. First would be you expect the cross over be coming from? And second, how far down will I have to take this? I'd prefer to avoid pulling the engine, again, and was interested in the collective thoughts about where to start with the dismantle.

    Thanks all!


    (ps. great new site Ian, et al!)

  2. Wombat

    Wombat Donation Time


    Misconecting that hose should not have made any differents. Both locations vent the sump. With the positive crankcase ventilation originally fitted, air goes in one and sump fumes come out the other (I forget which is which) and then the sump fumes go to the inlet manifold.

    When I first read your post, I thought "blown head gasket". Has the head been re-torqued after the rebuild?

    Is the coolant level low?

    I can't think of many other ways water can get into the sump, other than someone mistaking the oil filler cap for the radiator cap (they are the same shape!!!)

    Maybe change the oil and see if it does it again.
  3. Krogp

    Krogp Donation Time

    I have to agree with Robert, it sounds like a blown head gasket or at least a leaking one.

    Try draining the oil and refill as Robert suggested and take a short drive and recheck the oil. I would not drive to far as you do not want to damage the lower end if water is getting in the oil. Water does not lubricate the bearings very well.

  4. serIIalpine

    serIIalpine Donation Time

    I had a head gasket go south very shortly after I did a head job and a new gasket.

    I was told to spray the copper gasket stuff on the bottom? or Top? side of the new gasket, which I did, and I've been trouble free ever since.

    '62 SerII
  5. Nickodell

    Nickodell Donation Time

    Jeff, did you follow the head stud tightening sequence exactly? If you don't you can warp the head. Secondly, did you re-torque after putting no more than 500 miles on the engine with the engine hot? If not, the gasket will bed down and your original torque settings will be off, and you risk at least a water leak if not a blow. If oil and water are mixing I would expect an oily surface to the coolant too.

    My advice is to (sorry!) remove the head and have it checked for flatness and if necessary made plane again by a shop that knows its stuff, then reinstall as above with a new gasket.
  6. Wombat

    Wombat Donation Time

    A mate of mine has a Mk2 Jag. Years ago he replaced the head and he mentioned some form of copper spray on stuff. I will probably be seeing him tommorw evening. I will quiz him.
  7. Hi All, sorry for the delayed response to your helpful replies - I've been locked out, couldn't login, and finally got help from Paul to reset my password (thanks Paul!).

    Well, as it happens, I had planned on re-tightening the head bolts as soon as I had the Webers running (one step forward, two backwards). They were running sooo well too. Until I looked down and found a blob of gray goo.

    To answer Nick's question, yes, there was an oily feel around the coolant hoses. I've pulled one off and there's definitely oil in the water too.

    To my defense, I hadn't really driven the car more than 20 miles, but have had the engine running, sometimes up to temperature, fiddling and adjusting various things, leading me to think I could wait a bit longer to re-tighten.

    So I've resigned myself to pulling the head. I'll have my machinist check to see that it didn't warp. And this time around I'll re-tighten much sooner.

    Robert, I would appreciate hearing about your friend with the Jag, or any one else, regarding the best approach for replacing the gasket. It'll take me a day or so to get down to Sunbeam Specialties to p/u a new gasket. Any other procedure suggestions are very much welcomed.

    But the biggest remaining question for me has to do with cleanup? I think Paul suggested to drain and refill with fresh oil to see if the leak continues, seems to easy to me, but is that all I have to do to clear out the oil galleys (sp?) and I'll assume I need to do the same with the radiator?

    Net Question: is there anything special I need to do to 'flush' the oil and water systems before replacing them with fresh oil and water/coolant ?

    Thanks guys for your help, and thanks again to Paul for getting me back into the site.

    Very best,

  8. Alpine Bob

    Alpine Bob Donation Time

    :) Jeff,
    If you are going to go to Sunbeam Specialties in person, ask Rick while you're there, he has always taken the time to explain anything to me when I needed help. Of course that was on the phone all the way across the country. Wouldn't hurt to ask. Like the old saying "You have not, because you ask not". :)
  9. Krogp

    Krogp Donation Time

    You are welcome Jeff, any time.

  10. Nickodell

    Nickodell Donation Time

    Once you've cured the leak you need to remove oil from the cooling system. After draining the system you could try putting a cupful of non-foaming laundry detergent (not dishwashing liquid) in as you refill, running the engine, for 10 minutes and then draining, and I mean draining everything - remove bottom hose, open block drain, remove heater hoses and blow through. Then refill with fresh water and repeat. Then 50/50 antifreeze.

    As for the oil system, to flush the emulsion out you need to do a normal oil change (including filter), fill with 20W oil and run the engine for 10 or 15 minutes, then drain, replace the filter and fill with your choice of oil.
  11. Hey Nick,

    This is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks! Sounds like a pain, but far less so than needing to pull the whole motor and doing a complete dismantle.

    So... I pulled the head this afternoon and sure enough there is a spot on the metal ring that surrounds piston 1:


    There was a rip in the gasket but it appears to have been there for some time. So can water pass into the cylinder, past the rings, into the oil pan and get sucked up via the oil pump and have all of the oil emulsified within a minute or two? BTW: the fluid in the bottom of the cylinder is some light oil to displace the water that had built up down this one cylinder, which also had rust, as you can see, around the top of the cylinder.

    Is there a special gasket seal for the head? I did this last year and don't recall the specifics.

    I really appreciate everyone's help with your thoughts on this oil problem. With a little luck and hopes that Rick has all of the gaskets in stock, I'd like to get this one back on the road in the next day or so.

    Thanks all!


  12. RootesRacer

    RootesRacer Donation Time

    Your firing ring on the head gasket blew through.
    This isn't something that just happens or from a bad head gasket.

    This could be due to lack of support near the combustion chambers around the water passage (from corrosion of the passage), or is could be due to detonation (spark timing or over skimmed head).

    In any case, check into both possibilities before just slapping it back together or it will happen again in short order.


    Oh and where is your aux choke for cyl #2?
    Those are pretty important to the jetting on the holbay.
  13. RR,

    While attempting to get the webers running, I had a few nasty backfires - are you suggesting that those could have blown out the head gasket? I'm going to have the head checked for warpage ('skimmed head'?), but is there something else that I should check before 'slapping' it back together?

    In terms of the aux choke on the second image, you can't see the cable, but it runs between both carbs and I've not yet finished the linkage that controls the choke. Thanks for the comment and question!


    oh yeah, I guess I'm also looking for confirmation that this is/was the cause of the oil/water mixup? I can imagine that this would have forced water into the cylinder, past the piston, and into the pan - then mixed it up pretty quickly via the oil pump, but this is my first blown head gasket on an Alpine (had one on a 48 Ford flat head 35 years ago, but that's a different story altogether).

  14. RootesRacer

    RootesRacer Donation Time

    Not likely.

    It takes a lot of pressure to tear out sheet metal compressed between two large chunks of metal an such. I am talking about spark timing detonation (pinking/pinging/preignition ETC).

    What I mean about over skimming is taking a head that has been resurfaced too many times, and resurfacing it again and using it. The chabers start at around 38ccs and when the head has been skimmed 100 thou, the chamber volumes are something like 27cc, which yields a very high compression ratio, which will detonate with just about any gas when the timing is set to specs.
    This causes pressure spikes in the chambers ( and on the gaskets ) that are double or triple the normal forces they normally see.

    Also like I said, check your heads water passages, if its not a nice clean crescent shape, the sealing area around the firing ring does not support the gasket, and you burn them out just like what yours looks like. With a new gasket on the head, you should see aluminum all the way around the passages in the gasket.
  15. jumpinjan

    jumpinjan Donation Time

    One needs to consider skimming the block's deck surface on these rebuilds. When I rebuilt Ian's Harrington engine, it had considerable rust. First, I had to have the block dipped at our local metal cleaner facility, to remove the rust from everywhere (water jackets and so on).
    There was considerable rust pit damage in the steam holes area (that crescent shaped area in the gasket), that I had our machine shop weld up the craters and then plane down the deck. They did a fantastic job. The lesson learned here is to surface the deck too, but I think the head gaskets may have problems too.
  16. I just got the head back from the machinist. Turns out it was warped and needed to be machined.

    I'm about to reassemble the top end and wanted to get clarification on whether I should use something on the head gasket when assembling it? And if so, which side, or both? Product recommendations are very much appreciated.


  17. I wanted to share the final answer to my head gasket sealer question below and close this thread.

    I suspect that many of you know the answer to this question, but according to the manual and a few other independent sources, assembling the head should never be done with any type of gasket sealer.

    Also, reading the manual further, in terms of the re-torquing the head: the re-torquing should take place within the first 1000 miles and each bolt should be backed off, then re-torqued. In the past I had simply started with each bolt's position and ensured that they were each up to the spec'ed foot lbs.

    Thanks to all for your help and experience.

  18. Nickodell

    Nickodell Donation Time

    The reason for backing off is to ensure the correct torque. If a bolt (or nut) had been inadvertently over-torqued in the past, applying the torque wrench and hearing the "click" (or getting the correct reading on a dial-type gauge) would only tell you that you had reached at least the correct torque, and not that it was over-torqued.

    Just a reminder that may not be necessary. Follow the recommended tightening sequence as specified in the shop manual, taking each down a bit at a time and moving on to the next until you reach the correct torque for all, or you risk distorting the head again.
  19. Wombat

    Wombat Donation Time


    I finally caught up with my friend with the Jag yesterday. The stuff he used was a copper based spray on sealer. The brand name was "Hylomar" or similar. The head gasket on the Jag is a single layer pressed steel gasket, unlike the Alpine gasket with the steel, copper and asbestos (or asbestos substitute), so what works for the Jag may not be applicable for the Sunbeam.

    For what it is worth, when I tighten heads, I do it in 3 steps, first to about 20 ft-lb, then to 40 and finally to the 48 ft-lb. Also make sure the threads on the bolts are clean and lubricated.

    Good Luck

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