I recently added water to my new rebuild and had some water seep from a front head bolt. After removing the head I found that there was rust through from the head water jacket into the bolt hole. There was some water in number one and four cylinders, about 1/4" which I removed. I floated some oil in each cylinder and let it stand for a few days.
My question is: Can I use the copper head gasket again? and Should I be concerned about oil contamination in the oil pan/engine?
A replacement low head is in the works. Any advice would be appreciated! Thanks, John
Scrape off all carbon and sediment from the mating surfaces. Run a bottoming tap down each threaded hole in the block and blow out any sediment. If the bolts appear to be stretched or are rusty, replace with new bolts. Try the head without the gasket and tighten the bolts until they just touch the head. If they get tight before they contact the head. Grind off enough from the bolts so that they will make contact with the head. Actually, if you resurface the head or the block, do the length check of the bolts after resurfacing. Check the surface of the block for straightness and also the replacement head. Resurface if necessary. Do not reuse the gasket and when you do replace torque to 50 ft lbs starting at the center and working outward to the sides and end of the engine. torque evenly part way and then go back and tighten a little more several times until you reach 50 ft lbs. fill the cooling system with straight water and start the engine and warm up to operating temperature. Turn off the engine and if you have an iron head torque again to 50 ft lbs. If you have an aluminum head let it cool completely and then torque again. After you are sure there are no leaks, drain the cooling system and fill with a mixture of half anti-freeze and half water. If you are in an area which gets very cold, mix the water to anti-freeze according to the recommended mix for the lowest temperatures you expect.
Interesting. That was one very rusty cylinder head. If the holes in the head for the head bolts were breached by rust, I would suspect the head is structurally compromised and likely would not clamp the head gasket evenly. It was good to find out now that you need a different head.
You didnít say if the engine had been run since the rebuild. If it had been run at all, I would be reluctant to reuse that head gasket. If it had not been run yet it might still be ok, but honestly, Iíve never been confronted with that scenario. The good thing is that removing a T head to replace the head gasket is about as easy as head gasket replacement can be. Maybe not as easy as replacing the head gasket on a lawnmower but close enough. So either way, you have to decide it you want to take the chance.
As far as coolant in the oil, It depends on how long it took you to get the head off and remove the water that collected in the bores after you realized you had a problem.