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4K Exhaust Leaking Excessively


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Hey guys and girls. I'm new here and have recently put a 4k in my Morris Minor.


I replaced the head gasket not long ago and this is the first head gasket I've ever replaced. I thought I did everything right, cleaned off any of the old gasket, checked the head and block for warps with a feeler gauge, tightened head bolts in order and in the stages recommended and to the torque recommended. Followed everything I could find on what to do (and learnt a lot in the process, I have a new fondness for this engine now).


Unfortunately she's now leaking extremely badly out of the exhaust. Not steam, just excessive water and will run too hot so I turn her off. It didn't leak at first, but in a couple of weeks (I don't drive it often or far) it started spewing water out.


Be gentle, but after much thinking and looking over photos of what I did, I think I found out I'm a complete and utter idiot and installed the head gasket backwards as I didn't take note of which end was where when I took the old one off. Upon looking at images of the gasket, all the holes lined up but I've only just realised now that the two really curved ends of the gaskets have different curvatures.


In the attached photo, which end is cylinder 1? The end with the two extra holes on the end and the extra curve (left in the image) or the end with no extra holes (right in the image).


I'm ready to kick myself for this but I want to be sure before I take it apart again and guess I'll probably be needing a new gasket.


Also, when (if ever) should the head bolts be replaced and where can you get them from? I'm not sure how often the head has been taken off and new bolts couldn't hurt if I continue to have issues.


Thanks in advance.


Edited by swiftless
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Hi Donald,

I read this post this afternoon and couldn't believe it, because I don't believe you can reverse a head gasket and get it to sit in the right place. I have a 3K block in the garage at present, which is very similar to a 4K, and the old head gasket that came off it, so I trundled out there to see how you managed, what you suggest you did.


In your picture of the head gasket, assuming we are looking down on the top of the block, the RHS of your picture is the front. There are no water jacket holes between block & head between the number 1 cylinder (nearest to radiator), and the end of the block. Conversely, the water jacket holes are at the back of the engine to promote better circulation of the coolant, as the water pump is at the front.




I found it impossible to reverse the gasket for two specific reasons.


1. The front edge of the head gasket, "reversed", hits the back of the water pump before the cylinder holes line up proper.


2. There are two locating dowels in the block to locate the head gasket & locate the head. They are at the front, pushrod side, & rear pushrod side, of the block (highlighted above). These two holes are not identically spaced, so that if you were even able to reverse the head gasket with the water pump not fitted, the head gasket would not line up properly, because it would not sit on the dowels.


Others may disagree, but I don't think you have reversed the head gasket.


It didn't leak at first, but in a couple of weeks (I don't drive it often or far) it started spewing water out.


I personally believe, if you did somehow manage to get the head gasket on in reverse, it would have leaked straight away, not waited for a couple of weeks.


However, as there is water coming out of the exhaust, unless there is a break through between water jacket and exhaust port in the head, due to severe corrosion, then the coolant leak into the cylinder will be at the head gasket somewhere.


You will almost certainly have to remove the head again, but first off, you should remove the four (4) spark plugs and look at their colour and internal insulator. If there is water only in one or two cylinders, it should be very obvious from the spark plugs, if you have been driving it like this.


When you were driving it, was it down on power ?


Be interested hearing what you do find, once you remove the head, but frankly, I don't believe you have or could put the head gasket in reverse.


When you did put the new head gasket on, was it one with the thermoplastic sealant beads around the cylinders, which looks like someone dribbled something on it. If it was a gasket with sealing beads, the sealing bead always faces upwards from my experience.


Cheers Banjo

Edited by Banjo
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What were the syptoms of the problem that made you take the head off in the first place? Were they the same??


A warped head usually lifts in the middle and blows compression into the radiator system, not down the exhaust. That warp you would've spotted with the feeler gauges, and as you didn't it suggest that Ke70Dave could be right, the head is a throwaway.


I bought a KE70 with a slightly leaking head gasket and when it got terrible I did the same as you. Although I couldn't measure a warp I sent it off to be lightly skimmed as the previous owner/mechanic had used a power disc to get the crap off the head and left little marks on it. Only when they made the first pass with the mill did they see the crack from an exhaust port out towards the edge, straight into a water jacket.


I've never replaced head bolts, but I do make sure the holes are cleaned right out and the threads & washers clean & greased. Same with the manifold bolts/studs.

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Ive replaced heads on these cars


Its pretty obvious to know if a heads badly corroded as you described, when i replaced my old head it could collapse by a poke with a screwdriver around head nut which was pretty shonky


Its good that you know how to use feeler gauges to checked a warped head but for peace of mind just pay the extra $40 and get the head resurfaced by a professional, its saves alot of time and money in the future and gives you someone to blame


In some cases it may be cheaper to buy a whole new engine then going about replacing and repairing one old and bad engine


Let us know what happens

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Thanks for the responses everyone.


Banjo: That's great news in that I'm not stupid enough to have put it backwards. I remember being a little confused at the time because it appeared to fit either way but I've got a photo with the beading up and the ends matched up to the cylinders you pictured.


ke70dave: I did run the car and I believe without issues, however I don't think I actually ran it long enough to get it up to temp. No visible corrosion, it was in pretty good condition from what I could tell. However I am worried about a crack.


Altezzaclub: This excessive water coming out the exhaust is different and I'd say worse than the original problem of some white smoke. My head bolts were pretty clean and I made sure to grease them up.


Dzhoel: My thinking is either pay to have the head tested and skimmed or go to a DIY wreckers and grab another cheap head. Either way it's a gamble.


I'll keep you all posted. I was hoping something simple like stretched bolts or even having actually put the gasket on backwards, but it looks like it'll be a little more work than that.

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Hi Donald,

I was working in the garage at the weekend on my ride on mower & I kept thinking about this reversed head gasket scenario on a K series engine. I grabbed an old gasket & trimmed about 6mm off the rear end of it, so it wouldn't hit the back of the water pump, if reversed. I was surprised to find it fitted perfectly when reversed, including the locating dowel/pins that I had previous assumed would not be equi-distanced from the centre line of the engine.


I am now more convinced than ever, that you did not reverse the head gasket, confirmed by your comment of the sealing beads being visible when you fitted the new head gasket.


However, even if someone was to fit the gasket reversed, before the water pump was fitted, it would create two grave problems that could stuff the engine.


1. The oil feed to the rocker gear would be blocked, & there would be no lubrication to the rocker shaft.


2. The water jacket holes at the rear of the block to create good circulation at the rear end of the head would be blocked & number 4 cylinder & head area would get very hot.


Let us know what you ultimately find when you remove the head again.


Cheers Banjo

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Well, that's a trick Banjo! Would you notice that the water pump wasn't fitting properly.


1. The oil feed to the rocker gear would be blocked, & there would be no lubrication to the rocker shaft.

I figured this would be a larger disaster than the overheating right at the start. Cam followers, pushrods, rockers, valve stems, cotters.. all operating without any lubrication at all. I reckon the noise would be noticeable before the temperature went over the top.

Edited by altezzaclub
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