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K-Series Gbs Zero


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And day 2 was a great success too :)


Wired up the oil temperature sender.

Moved the fan relay onto a separate output from the ECU, and it started working, *but* I get exactly the same behaviour as CMA had a while back in this thread. And it's not misconfiguration - it's configured correctly - so call to Emerald needed when they're back after the new year. I think the output on pin 6 for the rad is knackered; but the move to pin 2 has left me with a cycling relay so not entirely practical.

We fitted the seats. This involved putting the seats all the way back in the runners, then putting some tyre pen on the bottom of the fixed bolts on the rails, and touching them on the floor to mark where to drill the holes. Then simply bolting up with big spreader washers, although since these are temporarily fitted for now I haven't put nylocs on them yet (will need to pull them out for trimming). They are old Westfield seats out of the Exmo donor.

Lagged the lambda sensor, purely to cure the sharp edge issue, not for any heat management.

Then the main job, fit the dashboard! I've used M4 dome-head machine screws with rivnuts into the dash panel, and some chassis foam on the back edge between the fibreglass panel and the aluminium dash panel.




Centre console is still to do, and when I do all the sikaflexing I will tape and bond the edge around the dash so that the black sikaflex matches the edging strip and it doesn't look such an obvious gap.


I did a bit of wire shrouding in the engine bay while Steve did various other little jobs, mainly getting the throttle pedal sorted. I'm not getting quite 100% throttle opening at the body, maybe ~95%, which is annoying but will suffice short-term. I'll discuss with the rolling road when it eventually makes it there and, if necessary, I'll have to either machine a curved throttle pedal end or maybe 3D print some sort of add-on to it that pulls the cable over an arc rather than straight. I'm not going to focus on it too much now, it will add a major delay and I really doubt that last few mm of throttle body opening in the Jenveys is really going to make all that much difference on a standard 1600 engine. Maybe when the DVA head and cams go in, sure, but for now... it'll gnaw at me, but "it'll do".


So, couldn't resist, we put all the fluids in (diff, gearbox) and couldn't wait to see if she drives out under her own steam.... (the audio on my phone is *bleep*, by the way)....



All in all, a great 2 days with some real progress, very happy!



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  • 4 weeks later...

Oh dear; curve ball time... :(




Huston, we have a problem! And it's that game the K-Series loves to play... yup, head gasket! Thankfully it's not all that serious, it's just between the water jacket and the outside of the block at the front left corner of the engine, and it's a tiny, tiny dribble.




It's a day job but I have a bit of a decision to make. If you've read the whole thread you'll know I have sitting and ready to go, a DVA Power cylinder head and a set of cams to put on this puppy to bring her up to ~160-170bhp spec. My original plan was to get it on the road and then over the next winter, do the head swap (along with ARP bolts, 3J plate diff, Caterham 6-speed and a TTV flywheel).


So it would seem a waste of a head gasket and set of head bolts to just change the head gasket now, only to be ripping it all off again later in the year. The obvious thing to do would be to just put the head on now, while I'm sorting it.


The problem there is, there's a set of shims needed to convert the followers to solid, and Dave Andrews doesn't make them any more, so it's a case of "sort it out yourself". I need to either make the shims myself, or buy a set of dedicated solid followers for the engine, which at best part of £400 is a last-resort for me when £40-worth of shims should do perfectly fine.


The other option is of course to just pull the head off, fix the gasket, put it all back together again standard... but then I'm ripping it all off again in 12 months, and wasting a head gasket and head bolts.


So, plan is, in order of preference...

1) Investigate the shims (someone currently looking into that for me). If I can sort them in time, I'll just do the whole caboodle now.

2) If shims are not feasible in the short-term, do a head gasket fix only, and just take the hit on the repeated tasks later on... then, I've got 12 months to sort the shims otherwise I'll just have to take the sting on the solid followers - but that seems unnecessary really.


Ah well, could have been worse. I am guessing from sitting around for 3 years the gasket has just perished, but the engine is original from '95-96 and has never been apart, so it will no doubt benefit from the upgraded head gasket, rod bolts and possibly even the dowels (depending on what's in it). Anyone who buys a K-Series should not expect anything less :D so I'm not complaining!

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I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought of some way to effect a short-term repair :) radweld, liquid metal, egg in the rad, etc :D ;) :)


I still might, if I can't get the shims sorted. Steel Seal is very tempting. I normally wouldn't trust sticking stuff like that in an engine, but given I'm taking apart in the not-too-distance future I suppose I have the opportunity to inspect the results and clean up if anything is necessary.


Does anyone have any first-hand experience, good or bad, of Steel Seal (particularly bad)? I'm going to specifically ignore all the internet scare stories :)

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Well, I was honestly all set to give K-Seal a go this weekend and then it turns out I've found someone who can do the shims and they're just being through-hardened and they will be ready :)


So looks like the head is coming off this weekend and we're going the DVA Power route early!

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Cracked on with the dreaded job today then. Actually, it was all pretty plain sailing. Set about dropping the exhaust and inlet manifolds off, everything can remain pretty much in-situ as there's such much room and easy access - so short of one heater hose, not a lot had to come off really. Kept all the fuel lines and cables connected, for example.


Just for reference, since I'm going to be putting a new head on and timing in the cams, you need to make sure you get the engine to TDC before you start taking it apart because, on the K-Series, it's a through-bolt construction. This means the cylinder head bolts clamp the entire block together, including the liners which are clamped down by the head - so once the bolts are out, you absolutely must not rotate the internals at all otherwise you risk unsettling the liners and causing all sorts of trouble.


Head off and there's nothing totally apparent about the leak, but it was a very minor leak, so I think it was just the rubberised gasket seal that had perished.





One thing I can now say for sure is that I know I have a plastic-dowel engine, so it's probably no bad thing it came apart anyway. These are partly the bain of the K-Series; a cost cutting exercise by Rover after the early engines were fitted with steel dowels. Obviously the engine will be re-built with steel replacements...




Got the old head off. I couldn't build up the new head until the old one came off, because the old head needs to donate it's spring retainers, collets and followers. So it was a slow but not difficult process (therapeutic actually - I quite like building engines and gearboxes!) of cracking the valves out of the old head, cleaning up the parts and keeping them all carefully stored on the workbench in the right order so I knew which bits were paired with which... just take it slow and be methodical.




So, over to the new head. It's as it came from Dave Andrews (DVA Power and ex-hoodie himself - the MAN when it comes to K-Series tuning), the valves have been lapped in and it's all peened, skimmed and ready to fit once the valve hear is in it. So first thing is the valve seals, obviously... his own design, these have a step for dual valve springs if you go that route, although I'll just be staying with single...




Gently position them in the pockets and then use a suitably-sized socket to carefully but firmly tap them down on their outer face. Repeat x15 and then move onto the valves and springs.


The collets can be a real PITA to get into the tops of the valves but I have a little trick. After ensuring everything is clean, daub the valve and collets generously with oil. Fit the spring and retainer, and compress. Then stick the collets (magnetically) onto the end of a small screwdriver...




You can then offer them onto the valve and the viscosity of the oil should provide enough "sticktion" to make them take to the valve and let go of the screwdriver. It's not 100% foolproof but it works well enough for me, with minimal amount of cussing. Ok, there was a couple of blue moments when the missus peered through the door to see what was going on, but...




Repeat x15 and that's where we stand for today! Will clean up the block and re-fit the head tomorrow with new gasket, and then it's the laborious process of setting the clearances on the followers - but I won't have the shims until Monday or so, so that will be a mid-week job....



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Cleaned everything up today and re-assembled. To keep the instructional side of things going (although I'm sure everyone knows how to change a head gasket, or at least read a Haynes manual!) I prepped the block and liner edges by cleaning them up - first a blunt stanley blade to gently scrape any remaining gasket residue or carbon off the top face of the block and the liner edges. The liners protrude ever so slightly from the block to seal into the head, of course. With a proper engine build you'd check liner protrusion and just how "flat" the block is but, the reality of it - I'm just not doing this. It's never overheated in my ownership and the head gasket failure isn't one endemic of a warped head or block (not seriously, anyway) so I'm just going to go with a straight swap. If it was a competition engine I'd maybe do it, but for this? Nah. Not warranted to me.


Cleanliness is paramount here, so it's being very careful about where any scrapings go - I used a vacuum while scraping to minimise the amount going down in the bores or oilways. Water galleries aren't so critical, of course, but you still don't want to be dropping loads of *bleep* down there.


Then some very fine sanding paper, 1200 grit or more, and just take away any remaining residue or baked-on bits. Clean up with brake cleaner, wipe away, check the bores and just make sure there is absolutely no grease or oil on any of the block or head faces. None of it's difficult, you just take your time and be clean clean clean. Just one bit of metal or carbon down into a crank journal is going to compromise the lifespan of your engine. This is part the reason why I haven't cleaned the piston crowns - there's just too much potential for crud to get where I don't want it, plus I can't move the crank as mentioned previously to bring the other 2 pots up to the top.




So nice, new, genuine Payen gasket into place...




Note the steel dowels in place ;). These need gentle persuasion with a little tap-hammer, but don't smack on them or you'll ruin the edges of course.


Then lower the head into place, using the dowels to locate. Again, it won't just slip into place because of the tight fit of the dowels, so some firm tapping from a rubber mallet will help. Just again be cautious that nothing ends up down the oilways or plug holes (I put the plugs in just to be safe). Clean clean clean! You're a surgeon doing open heart surgery here, so be conscious of what you're introducing into the patient (ie. nothing!).




Then it's just a case of following the instructions in the Haynes manual for torquing up the head bolts - oil them first, thread and top mating face, then carefully lower them into place and hand-tighten. You then torque them up with a torque wrench to 15 ft.lbs (yes, it's not very tight), starting from the middle and working outwards. Once they're all done, just go over them again in order and check they are up to the torque required. Then you do 2 rounds of further tightening, just by angle - 180 degrees turn following the same bolt-pattern from centre outwards, and then another 180 degrees turn on all of the bolts. That's it; you're all done.


I now need to fit the followers with the magical "shim" I'm having made to convert them to solid. I'll use a master shim first, of known thickness (undersize), into a follower - then you need to fit the cam, bolt the cam retaining ladder down, and measure the gap (with feeler gauges) to the non-lobe part of the camshaft (ie. the narrow part where the lobe is not in contact with the follower). It's this gap that needs setting by taking down the full-size shims to the precise thickness needed. One follower at a time.


So that's it now until I can pick up the shims - hopefully tomorrow lunchtime, will have to see when they're ready...

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Removing the hydraulic inserts from the followers is a fun little task (not). For clarity, for those who are wondering, the problem with the Piper BP285M cams that I'm using is that they are quite an aggressive high-lift profile - the cam lobes ramp up and down quickly compared to a standard camshaft - so using hydraulic lifters with them can cause problems at high rpm. As the revs get high, the cam followers do a thing called "pump up", whereby the oil in them can't clear the hydraulic mechanism inside quick enough... the oil can't "keep up" with the rapid actuation of the follower, and the follower starts to lose accuracy... it's not doing what the cam asks of it any more, it's not following the profile of the cam but instead slowly returning back to it's rest position. You can imagine, the cam lobe then comes round and gives it a hearty whack because the gap hasn't been taken up suitably quickly... and then it's asked to move downwards rapidly to open the valve, at which point oil is still struggling to clear the inside bits quick enough. So accuracy of valve control goes all to pot. When your valves are only mm away from the tops of pistons, well, you get the idea.


You can keep the revs down of course, but this K setup of valves, cams and head work is really intended to rev out to ~7800 (more if I could be bothered to upgrade the bottom end) so it won't really make for the characterful engine I'm after.


So anyway... removing hydraulic inserts... let me save you some hassle here because they are stubborn buggers. Get yourself a piece of wood and dremel yourself a little pocket in there to hold a follower snugly...




Then find a soft wooden worksurface (the work bench in the garage is good!), put some cloth over it, and whack the bugger down hard. I mean, you'll start off easy, then you'll realise you need to progressively up the ante with these little sods. You'll be cringing at some point, but eventually the insert will shuffle out of the follower and you'll be able to pull it out with your fingers. I got through 2 pieces of wood doing this technique - yeah, seriously :(




With the follower innards out, we can separate the hydraulic piston and spring out of the larger follower insert (on the left....)




Then enter, stage left, my new magical conversion shims (with thanks to calling in a favour with the owner of Vertex Engineering!). This one has been taken down on the larger top-hat face, so it's undersize by 700 microns (0.7mm). This means I can fit it, assemble the cam and cam carrier into the head with the follower, measure the gap between cam and follower top and then calculate the amount that needs to be taken off a full, unaltered shim. Vertex will then precision grind the shims for each specific follower (yes, all 16 of them) and I can then assemble the head with the gaps accurate for each follower. Phew! Yes, a slow task :(




First checking that the shims are a known thickness.... checking my gauge, and then measuring the shim... gauge is spot on... shim started off 5.7mm thick, but should have had 700 microns taken off it and... yep, pretty much on the money...!



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Shim goes into the outer part of the hydraulic insert...




Next job is to drill some oil clearance holes into the locating rim inside the follower bucket, to prevent oil from collecting in there, and solder up the oil feed hole in the side of the bucket itself... the suggestion is 4 holes spread around the face, so I get started on drilling out the 16 followers...




Obviously make sure you clean the hell out of the things before you put it back in the engine, including any swarf that will have collected inside.


Next job, start inserting them one at a time and measuring up!

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Guest mower man

:sorry: Is all this peeing about worth it to get rpm that you will rarely use? ok I have done mods cos I WANTED to but its just away of burning money ! :crazy: mick

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