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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all my head gasket has just gone on my 1965 Giulia Sprint GT ,its got the original 1.6 engine ,what I need to know is , are these engines prone to warping on the head or the block ,I will have the head skimmed of course but I don't think I could get anything done if the blocks warped , any advise will be welcomed . Thanks Chris
 

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Warping the head will happen if severely overheated, warped block would be unusual unless a major problem happened. The block is basically an aluminum shoe box into which the steel liners are inserted with plenty of open space in between. Thermal expansion of aluminum vs steel being what it is, leaves the head gasket mostly pinched between liners and head until everything warms over. Usually the first failure is a leak from some of the 6 oil passages that feed oil from the block edge into the head for cam lubrication, resulting in an external oil leak. Black streaks at mid length or near the corners of the block on either side come from failed o-rings.

Measure the head carefully before skimming it, it might not need it. Good spare heads are getting harder to find, especially for an early 1600 like yours. There are newer heads that will fit, but they have visible differences that scream non-original if that matters.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Warping the head will happen if severely overheated, warped block would be unusual unless a major problem happened. The block is basically an aluminum shoe box into which the steel liners are inserted with plenty of open space in between. Thermal expansion of aluminum vs steel being what it is, leaves the head gasket mostly pinched between liners and head until everything warms over. Usually the first failure is a leak from some of the 6 oil passages that feed oil from the block edge into the head for cam lubrication, resulting in an external oil leak. Black streaks at mid length or near the corners of the block on either side come from failed o-rings.

Measure the head carefully before skimming it, it might not need it. Good spare heads are getting harder to find, especially for an early 1600 like yours. There are newer heads that will fit, but they have visible differences that scream non-original if that matters.
Hi Yves , thanks for your reply , the car is original and I would want to keep it like that , I basically asking as I can remove the head and send it off ,but if the block was prone to warping I would send the complete engine off for inspection , you have said that it would have to be very bad to cause this problem so I will go ahead and take the head off, I have some flat steel I can check the block for level and check the head . Thanks Chris
 

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Head gaskets blow for a reason, so you should look for what that is. Might be as simple as just time and miles, and failure to retorque the head? Might be something else though.

Any good machine shop can check the head for straightness. Also check the liners, that the protrude above the block edge the right amount, which I believe is .000 to .002". Check the book. And they should all be the same. Look closely at the head gasket, see if you can tell where the leak was, and why if possible.

I wouldn't cut the head unless you have to. Cutting it takes it one step closer to scrap, raises the compression, and brings the valves, pistons, and head surface closer together in operation. If you're building an engine from scratch you can check all that, but it's not so easy on an existing engine; just be wary of it.

Andrew
 

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Continuing the discussion, a lot of people like Rienz head gaskets. More $ but I have had very good results with Rienz
 

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I have blown 2 head gaskets in the past 3 years. The first was due to overheating and I had to have .009" skimmed from the head. The second was due to lean detonation on a dyno and it happened very quickly. We just replaced the gasket and it has been fine. So I agree with Andrew that it depends upon why it failed and take it to a machine shop and have it measured for straightness and don't remove any more than you need to.
 

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Good points. Agree on not shaving if it is not needed.
Did the cooling system run low on water?
If the engine did not overheat, your head is likely okay.
You're just stuck with the mess of a gasket failure, messy but salvageable.
As well, some detective work to figure out what caused the gasket to fail is important.
Age, poor prior installation, detonation, poor torque procedure or lack of.
While the head is off, I would definitely have it checked for flatness.
 

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I know Alfas have a reputation for blowing head gaskets. Maybe I've been lucky but it has not been my experience and I've used a 105/115 car daily since 1977. The ones I've blown I've known why: the leaky radiator, ran out of water, overheated. Stuff like that. I've changed more head gaskets due to leaky O-rings (oil leaks down side of block) than failure of the fire rings. So I haven't personally had the problem myself that the reputation would lead you to expect.

Andrew
 

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A fun one I've run into twice recently: it doesn't cause the head gasket to blow but you need to address when the head is off. Norman Racing found two of my heads were skimmed but were not equal at both ends. That is, the skimming sloped, one of them by .013". So they had been surfaced without making sure the surfacing was parallel to the original plane, or to the upper surface. Took a new cut to make it truly flat.

Andrew
 

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My experience through the decades, starting with my own 64 Sprint GT, has been that Alfa heads have always needed to be retorqued once in a while, every few years. It is a need inherent in the basic design. I found this to be true even with the later 164s. I suspect the new Giulias are quite different, the engine not being related in any way with earlier engine designs.
 

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If it's warped, sure, it can be put in a press and straightened. I'd check the cam bores for alignment before doing that though. If they're straight I'd do only machining, not pressing.
Andrew
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Hi all, thanks for the replies ,I have got the head off and the gasket seems ok around the cylinders but appears to have been leaking on one edge , I have sent it to our engineer with the head set ,he has just told me there are no valve seals or any provision for them , does this seem right ,I have included a few pictures ,one including the engine number. Has anyone had this before on the early 1.6 engines? Thanks Chris
DSC_3391.JPG

DSC_3394.JPG
DSC_3397.JPG
 

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Early on 1600's had no seals, nor did any earlier engines, 101 or 750. With correct guide to stem clearance oil loss was minor and predictable. For oil control, unless guides are badly worn, seals on intake only prevent inlet vacuum sucking oil down the guides. Exhaust seals differ from intake due to higher operating temperatures.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Early on 1600's had no seals, nor did any earlier engines, 101 or 750. With correct guide to stem clearance oil loss was minor and predictable. For oil control, unless guides are badly worn, seals on intake only prevent inlet vacuum sucking oil down the guides. Exhaust seals differ from intake due to higher operating temperatures.
Thanks for the information, Gordon, I didn't want to argue with the engine man, and now I don't have to. Thanks again Chris
 

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In saying this I understand that I am speaking heresy . . . but here goes anyway. Sometimes, when we have a blown head-gasket space/time/expediency intrude on our ability to immediately pull the head and replace the head-gasket. A few years ago this happened when the head-gasket blew on my1300 Super. Since I didn't have time to pull the head, I opted instead for Blue Devil head-gasket "repair". Yes, I put "mouse-milk" into my hallowed Alfa engine. But, you know what? The doggone stuff actually worked! While it really isn't a permanent fix, the Blue Devil stuff will work for awhile---enough to get you home if you're oh the road or if you just need a few weeks or months to find the time to do a proper fix.
 

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Hi Chris, I think classic alfa sell new guides with a provision for seals, if you have it apart it might be worth considering.

cheers ian
 

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Hi Chris,
I would advise putting later guides with seals on both sides while the head is off, then it is done for life. You need to use the late green colored seals as these also withstand exhaust guide temperature.
Regarding the initial head gasket failure, given the age of your original engine, DO check the liner/block height.
AND also signs of corrosion in the block. There can be corrosion at the liner seat base diameter in the block which can cause the liner to be insufficiently supported right around, causing the liner to sink or tilt slightly which allows head gasket failure.
I've had to machine the liner seats & deck on two 10502 blocks so far this month.
The good news is that at least from your photos, the head looks remarkably corrosion free around the waterways, so most likely the block is good as well. But check the liner to block height while it's off & staring you in the face.
Vince.
 
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