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Old 03-19-2012, 12:09 AM   #1
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Default Head gasket problem...need ideas please

Replaced the head on my 94 with a rebuilt head from a shop in Texas. I used an oem mls gasket and arp studs. The head and block are both flat. I torqued the nuts in four stages to 65 ft lbs with arp assembly lube.I used a quality torque wrench. When I fired it up I had water smoke and drops coming out of the tailpipe. I though it was some condensation but it ran for 30 minutes and never stopped dripping and the smoke changed to oil smoke as well. After a few warmup cycles it never quit so I yanked the head again. I didn't see anything obvious with the gasket. I am confused...btw..the head was replaced because of a stripped spark plug hole, not because of any mechanical issues.HELP?
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Old 03-19-2012, 12:17 AM   #2
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MLS gaskets are finnicky bitches. If you had a single drop of coolant or water on either the block or head surface, it will leak like a sieve. Been there, done that.

Clean it all up, replace the gasket, and try again. Remember that the mantra for engine assembly is "Cleanliness before Godliness."
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Old 03-19-2012, 01:50 AM   #3
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Was the gskt orientated correctly to line up all the holes?
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Old 03-19-2012, 05:59 AM   #4
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Did they re-surface the head? If so, what RA?
There is also a thread discussing studs and torque you may want to peruse...
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Old 03-19-2012, 09:37 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Savington View Post
Clean it all up, replace the gasket, and try again. Remember that the mantra for engine assembly is "Cleanliness before Godliness."

you would slap me if you saw how my last HG got installed. straight up slap me. then laugh.
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Old 03-19-2012, 10:31 AM   #6
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Was the gskt orientated correctly to line up all the holes?
The gasket was lined up correctly. I'm thinking Savington may have the answer. I will clean it up and try again.
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Old 03-19-2012, 01:03 PM   #7
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I'm not disagreeing with what has been said, but it is hard to believe that just starting it up [and not even driving it] for 30 mins of mostly idling would cause the rather severe leaking you are describing from a little contamination installing, and from your post it sounds like it was instantly, not even waiting to warm up to operating temp. I don't know about the 94 but a 99 you can install the gasket flopped 180* and some holes line up but the water passages are not correct. Either that or the wrong head gskt was sold to you.

Another possibility is you got a cracked cyl. head?? Don't mean to disagreewith anyone just throwing out food for thought.
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Old 03-19-2012, 03:50 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by jmann View Post
I'm not disagreeing with what has been said, but it is hard to believe that just starting it up [and not even driving it] for 30 mins of mostly idling would cause the rather severe leaking you are describing from a little contamination installing, and from your post it sounds like it was instantly, not even waiting to warm up to operating temp. I don't know about the 94 but a 99 you can install the gasket flopped 180* and some holes line up but the water passages are not correct. Either that or the wrong head gskt was sold to you.

Another possibility is you got a cracked cyl. head?? Don't mean to disagreewith anyone just throwing out food for thought.
I thought the same things but the hg matched the old hg perfectly. I made sure it was not flopped. As for the cracked head idea, all four pistons had water on top when looking thru the plug holes. That would have to be a severely cracked head. The engine was running smooth as silk which I believe would rule out a head that was that damaged. I do appreciate the input tho
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Old 03-19-2012, 04:17 PM   #9
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I can't imagine a head gskt leaking enough to wet all 4 pistons within 30 mins of idoling. I agree a cracked head shouldn't either, infact I can't imagine what would be causing all 4 pistons to be wet other then leaving the head gskt off or you didn't clean the block or head at all which I doubt, so I give up. Good luck. Post what you find out fixes it someday, I'm really curious. Thanks
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Old 03-20-2012, 03:36 PM   #10
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I remember the first time I started up my car after removing the cat, it would spit water out of the tailpipe enough to leave moisture droplets on the ground.

The first time I rebuilt it, it did the same thing. I just finished my 2nd rebuild with what is now basically a fresh engine and it still does it. I have never used a drop of coolant and it runs great.

As long as compression is good and it doesn't use coolant, I would just drive it. I think it's just condensation building up within the exhuast system.
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Old 03-20-2012, 04:14 PM   #11
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Flounder doesn't that condensation only happen for a few minutes when first started? I would guess it is condensation from the muffler?
Also the OP says all 4 pistons are wet, I wouldn't think there should be any moisture in the cyl. from some condensation with ignition taking place.
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Old 03-20-2012, 11:20 PM   #12
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BugShield, I posted this for you to look at

https://www.miataturbo.net/showthrea...042#post851042

If the head gasket surface looks like the surface in the first pic, your MLS gasket will have little to no chance of sealing properly.

It should look like the last pic in the linked thread, nice and shiney.

Belt surfacers are not the best peice of equipment to use to surface a head.

When you pull the head again, post a pic of the surface finish.
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