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196 Ring Change

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RamblinMan63 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RamblinMan63 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/27/2018 at 11:29am
Theres a place here in roseville that will magnaflux it and hot tank it for $145. 

Farna mentioned it could be a blown head gasket. How will that show?
Theres definitely no water in the oil and I dont recall oil in the water. It couldve just gone? Im not sure. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RamblinMan63 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/27/2018 at 12:56pm
So Im on my way to rent a leak down tester and it occurred to me that maybe the head gasket failed between cyl 5 & 6 where compression was the lowest.

If the rings bad itll be obvious right? Id imagine the cylinder wall would be fairly marked up
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ramblinrev Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/27/2018 at 5:15pm
I think when you get the head off, you'll be able to see how the cylinders look. I've got a 196 that had terrible scoring in cylinder 4, and don't really know why. It had a burned valve too but not a blown head gasket.
Good luck and let us know!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RamblinMan63 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/27/2018 at 8:35pm
The only option for a leak down tester here was from harbor freight and it didnt work out of the box. Grrr
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tomj Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/27/2018 at 10:27pm
as frank says, chronic head leaks are the major *symptom* of long term maintenance problems. when cars are parked for a long time there is always a reason it was parked...

if you don't have a torque wrench then carefully just check torque/tightness and see if they're "all the same". don't over tighten! you might very well find a few are simply loose, or very much looser than the others. even torque not maximum torque. 

the cylinders are cast as siamese pairs; 1-2, 3-4, 5-6. they're "8" shaped. the spacing between cels in a pair is very very close -- about 1/4" so when the head bolts loosen, leaks there are *very* common. so yes, this could be the source of poor compression.

(one way to use oil to do the leaky-ring test is to pull all the plugs, squirt a teaspoon of oil (couple pumps on an oil can), then crank the engine over -- with the plugs still out -- to distribute and fling out extra oil. THEN check each one at a time with the other plugs out. count three (or at least the same number) of compression strokes. release, do it again. if it's not the same, then find out what you're doing wrong and repeat the whole thing until the test is repeatable. if its' not repeatable its not meaningful.)

once the head gasket has leaked, its gotta be replaced. a retorque will temporarily fix or improve it, but if combustion gas or oil or coolant got under the gasket, it won't seal again.

if the engine compartment has/had rusty water flung all over the engine -- the telltale orange/brown color -- then I wouldn't bother doing anything but immediate remove and replace -- that is the CLASSIC sign of a cracked head and bad head gasket -- chronic overheating, the owner just kept adding water, it burped/steamed it all out, lather rinse repeat, engine damage. done and done. 

I've flat-out solved the head sealing thing. it's been 10 years since I've needed a retorque. the "trick" is no trick at all. after fixing all the bad stuff (cranks and WARPED head, gasket, etc) just solve the underlying problem -- either get a thermostat with a "jiggler" installed or simply drill a 1/8" ir 3/16" hole in the edge of the thermostat. I have details why elsewhere or ask. and then keep the cooling system is modern-day top-notch condition -- and not treat it like we all did in the 60s and 70s! lol.

spotlessly clean cooling system, no clogs, no rust, never ever EVER overheat it, antifreeze and change it every year or at most two. 

on all engines, something fails first. solve the head cooling on this engine and it will last a long time. otherwise they drop dead at 80,000 miles. it's a design from thew 1950's, it needs a lot more preventative maintenance than (1) we gave 'em then and (2) most people do now!

but once they've gone off the deep end these particular problems are not amenable to picking at.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote farna Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/28/2018 at 7:10am
Your leak down test will tell if the gasket is blown. Other than the engine running hot, two adjacent cylinders with the gasket blown between them will show about the same low compression, or both will leak down, since one leaks into the other. Even with a standard compression gauge instead of a leak-down tester compression should slowly go down if the rings and head gasket are good. If you're taking the head off for other things I wouldn't worry about the gasket though, since you're replacing anyway. The gasket can be blown on that motor and no oil or coolant lost, or very little... same as the head crack on mine.

And as noted, if it has micro cracks that only show up under magnafluxing you CAN still run that head, especially if it's a show car or weekend pleasure cruiser (and assuming it only loses a little water along like mine did). I drove mine daily for three years, and two day long trips (6-8 hours on the road). The move home, towing a trailer and driving for three long days (12-14 hours total, including stops), the first through a late season blizzard, just proved to be too much for it. Needed another day and a half to complete the trip, after a two day stay in Oklahoma deciding what to do (ended up renting a u-haul truck and dolly, my utility trailer loaded in back of truck). Normally took three days driving, but that blizzard through the Rockies took some time off as I could only go about 40-45 mph at best for 4-5 hours, and I-70 between Denver and St Louis was closed as the the blizzard got in front of me. Waited around at a truck stop 2-3 hours waiting to see if they were going to open it, then drove south into the upper part of Texas and started back east...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RamblinMan63 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/28/2018 at 1:05pm
I was not able to do a leak down test. The only one I could get my hands on here in roseville was a harbor freight tester that suffered infant mortality. 

Now that you mention it farna, the temp gauge always got into the hot zone when I was driving it. The radiator never boiled over and the cheap scate I bought it from assured me it was fine. I did re torque the head bolts soon after buying it. I thought maybe the temp sending unitwas bad. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote FSJunkie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/28/2018 at 1:29pm
A leak down tester just gives you a leakage % and tells you where it leaks from.

A shop air hose with a gun on the end and a fitting that will seal to the spark plug hole will tell you where it leaks from. Super cheap and easy.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote vintage60 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/30/2018 at 5:57am
one simple test for a cracked head, especially in an exhaust pocket to cooling system, is to run it and watch for air bubbles at the radiator filler. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote farna Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/30/2018 at 12:52pm
You could have a faulty or incorrect temp sending unit. Try another  or a aftermarket gauge and sender.

I never had bubbles in the radiator when I had a cracked head, it just lost a little water over a long time. It was a daily driver that averaged about 7k a year, so a little over 600 miles a month. So it "used" a quart of water about every 800-900 miles. Of course if it has larger cracks you will get compression leaking into the radiator that will produce bubbles or just blow the coolant out. That last day when the micro cracks opened up it blew the coolant almost all out in about 10 minutes of driving -- shortly after the thermostat opened up.
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