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1978 Spider
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Discussion Starter #1
what is this gunk? I've never seen anything like it on my other cars. It's not hard, it cleaned off pretty easy. Was greasy/gooey feeling. appears to be isolated to the outlet side of the t-stat and a little was in the upper hose.

FWIW, when I bought the car I did the finger in the radiator neck check and lots of black oil goo came out...meaning leaking head gasket either now or at one time in the past.

I just did the head bolt retorque yesterday. I marked all the nuts and then removed, oiled and retorqued to 65#. All except 2 nuts ended up back at the same marks. the other two were around 1/8-3/16 past the original marks. Many of the nuts/studs still had wet oil left over from I guess the PO doing a retorque.
 

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It looks like old oil/water mixture. Did you just replace the head gasket? You mention re-torquing the bolts.....
I've seen fresh oil/water goo, and it looks whiter than that, like whipped cream.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
no clue...I only recently bought the car....the antifreeze is green and pretty clean. I drained it and will let is settle, clear and reuse for a while...

Currently flushing the system...old standby of laundry detergent...effective on oils and low suds...good at flushing grime out without foaming out the overflow...put it in, run the engine a while, drain it, repeat a couple times, flush it all out and refill or follow with a standard acidic radiator flush product for the deposits and such...

I have not done the head gasket. I did the re-torque after learning about it being a "normal" maintenance item. Plus the pre-inspection guide that says check the rad neck for oil, indicating a failing gasket. I have no way of knowing if the HG was maybe already replaced and the PO just didn't clean out the radiator well enough.

It seems the head was re-torqued at some point before. Maybe even fairly recently. Perhaps because of the oil in radiator neck? No idea if that resolved the issue and I'm just observing a crappy post-clean up job.

Until the car is drivable, for many other unrelated issues, I cannot really monitor and observe what is going on here. I wish to eliminate other possibilities before I go down that rabbit hole.
 

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You have a small amount of water getting into your oil. I've had several older BMW's that looked just like that right before the head warped and they blew the head gasket.
 

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Check the end of the dipstick. If it has that same goo on it then drain the oil to see how much water is in there.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Haven't noticed anything on the dipstick yet. Does the stick go all the way to the bottom? But I gather I should run he engine and then check? let the oil get all frothy if there is water in it?

guess I could drain all the oil, put it in a large clear container, see if any water separates out?
 

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If there's a significant amount of water in the oil pan (other than just what you'd get from a bit of condensation) then it should be noticeable on the dipstick, especially after running the engine a bit. Although no water in the pan doesn't necessarily mean there isn't a head gasket breach. Another symptom of a blown gasket could be white or grey smoke from the tail pipe, that doesn't disappear when the engine warms up. If you haven't changed the oil since you acquired the car, I'd start with that.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Have not changed oil...only topped up as it was a bit low....no smoke from tailpipe.

have not changed oil yet since I will be dropping lower pan soon to look for crank plugs. Cold start oil pressure is low IMO. PO notes state a couple plugs were found years ago and re-installed. I think likely they have come lose again.

Is it possible to remove upper/lower pan as a single unit?
 

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FWIW: the thermostat and gasket from a small block chevy work perfect on our 2 liter Alfa engines. Can be had almost anywhere and much cheaper

Drain the engine oil and if there is contamination the water will separate very distinctively
 

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Discussion Starter #12
great tip on the SBC parts... many different makes share common parts... no auto maker makes T-stats, brakes, alternators, filters, etc...they all source them from outside...often the same supplier...

anyway...ran the car a few minutes...pulled the dipstick...like maple syrup...amber and clear...guess it's not leaking coolant into the oil...

hopefully it's not leaking the other way either. I'm hopeful that gunk was leftover or residual from before it was hopefully fixed? Maybe not...will fully flush cooling system and monitor.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Maybe an antifreeze reaction?? Some cannot be mixed.
I have heard certain anti-freezes will gel or something like that if mixed with a certain other type. Given how many millions of cars are running around and how common a product AF is...I mean most all AF claims it will mix with other AF (green, orange, yellow, etc)...yes, there are some really high end stuff floating around, specialty AF...but you just never really see it on the shelves anywhere. If someone was to use that kinda stuff, they are probably aware that it's NEVER to be mixed with the normal stuff.

I had a first Gen V-Max Yamaha once...there was purple coolant in it. I was not a new bike either. 2002 I think.

But I've always just bought the standard green or extended life house brand from Autozone or Wally World. It's always been green or a green/yellowish color. IAT stuff I believe. Never touched Dexcool. But cannot speak for what PO might have been using.
 
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