Rebuilt engine installed. Filling with fluids prior to first start. The excitement and anticipation is palpable. Getting under the car to fill the tranny, noticed a steady drip of water from the back of the engine. Crap! Reroute is leaking!
Pulled the BEGI adapter and Kia waterneck from the back of the head and this is what I found:
The crack is all the way through. And it's warped, big time. You can see that it's been seeping for a while. I can't believe I didn't notice this when I was putting the parts on with the engine on a stand. Now I get to finally experience installing these parts with the engine in the car.
I bought this waterneck used. I suspect it had been overtorqued. Note than the BEGI spacer sets up this kind of damage because it doesn't fully support the waterneck at the bolt holes.
I had another waterneck on hand. This is one that I bought new and used on the Silver car for several thousand miles. It had always been installed with a torque wrench. Inspecting it, noticed that it wasn't cracked, but it also wasn't flat. So, even using a torque wrench the BEGI spacer design results in a warped water neck. The gasket surface was easily fixed with 220 grit:
Now to install. I've never installed these parts with the engine in the car, and I've read all the horror stories. As it turned out, it wasn't that bad. Duct tape held the parts together just fine. I loosened the PPF and tilted the engine/transmission forward. That gave me just enough clearance. Thank God for shorty wrenches!
Bottom line, about a 2 hour delay. Still got the initial break-in done tonight. No leaks. So far so good.
My recommendation for service and reinstallation of the BEGI spacer and Kia waterneck:
1. Expect the waterneck to be warped after initial installation and service. Inspect carefully. If not cracked, use a flat surface and 220 grit to prepare the waterneck for reinstallation.
2. Use genuine Mazda thermostat gaskets.
3. If reinstalling with the engine in the car, use duct tape to keep the assembly together during installation. Tilt the engine/transmission forward for working room.
4. Torque carefully and alternate between the bolts. Remember that the Kia waterneck is weak and the BEGI spacer does not fully support its bolt holes.