827 front cylinder head

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Mark827
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827 front cylinder head

Post by Mark827 » Mon Jun 21, 2021 11:40 am

Hi folks, it's been a while but I'm still in love with my Rover. During the first lockdown I did some resto work, changing the radiator and front oil and water pipes, then after some brief use in November the front head gasket sprung a leak, leaking water into cylinder number 6. In reality it's been leaking for years as number 6 spark plug was always rusted in.

So a couple of weeks ago I stripped the front head off to effect repairs. At the same time I would replace all oil seals and sump gasket as it had many leaks, also I discovered the distributor bearing was seized so I had to rebuild that, but that can be another topic.
The head however has much corrosion with lots of pitting on the cylinder face, one area is very close to the fire ring where it leaked through. The head gasket was in very bad state too.

I've searched the internet and found a place not too far from me that can do cold alloy welding to repair the corroded head but its hundreds of pounds and just not economical to do.
My current engine I only paid £50 for 12 years ago from a colleague on this forum.

So now I think the most economical way forward is to source a replacement head that is in better condition than mine.
So a call goes out to fellow forum members to see if anyone has a stripped 2.7 engine that I can have the front cylinder head from, I'm desperate to get the car back on the road as it's going to be my main car again once fixed.
Mark

'92 827 Coupe

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Re: 827 front cylinder head

Post by scoobyh123 » Tue Jun 22, 2021 12:04 am

Two things come to mind Mark, first is that it sounds as if the engine was running a lot of the time without antifreeze and secondly, if the front head is in that state, the rear won't be far behind it if it's not already there.

Also if it's the head surface that's pitted, a skim might sort it out, again if you skim the front, you need to skim the back too. That means a full head gasket set (which you'd likely have to buy anyway) and it would probably be a good idea to do a full decoke while you're at it and lap the valves in. Obviously that extends the time factor and it sounds like you're looking for a quick fix.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/154500258224

This has recently come up on ebay, i know the engine was sweet in it a few years back as i saw it in the flesh and heard it running. The seller used to be on here but you won't find any of his posts these days - long story, he may tell you if you chose to buy the engine (i'd suggest buying complete and then just swap the engines, that way you know you're buying a runner) as he's unlikely to sell you just one head off it as it would render the rest of the engine unusable. He may even have a spare head if you really want to go down the minimalist route but bear in mind what i said about the rear head on yours. There's also a well-known effect that i've always called the "Domino Effect" where if you fix one major part of something, it puts higher stresses on the other parts in it and leads to them failing soon after. For this reason alone, i'd suggest that even just doing the minimum, you should at least lift the other head and see what the state of play is on it. After all, you wouldn't just replace one low brake pad out of two in a caliper, would you?

Good luck no matter which way you decide to do it, i'd go for a complete engine then strip and rebuild this one over a period of time, skimming the heads, lapping the valves, renewing the water pump/timing belt etc so it's as good as you can get it.
Cheers,
Dave


'94 827 Sterling saloon
'88 Volvo 760 V6 Estate
All auto :D
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Re: 827 front cylinder head

Post by Mark827 » Tue Jun 22, 2021 2:26 pm

Thanks for your input Dave. I've debated the pro's & cons of taking the rear head off too. As you said I expect the rear head to be in a similar condition, but the old saying of 'if it ain't broke, don't try to fix it' springs to mind and also the rear head is a lot more difficult to get to. My current train of thought is that if that head gasket goes in the future I'll just strip it down again.
I have a full head gasket set but don't know the brand and the head gaskets look cheap and are 2mm less in diameter than the original, so I've ordered another Ajusa one off ebay as they have a good reputation.

You are right that I've never had much antifreeze in it over the last 10 years as it's always had a small radiator leak so I was always topping up the water, but I now think that the leak was also the head gasket causing the water loss. I'm debating whether to fill it with the 4life coolant next time, but that's a debate for another time.

I'm not after a quick fix, I'm after a permanent fix but it's got to be an economical fix. I've thought about using JB Weld on the pitted head areas as many forum reports say it works. Skimming alone won't fix it as some of the pitting is 1.6mm deep, way too much for a skim, but it will need a small skim as the leak into No6 cylinder caused 4 small grooves under the fire ring.

Thanks for pointing out the car on ebay, however it's so far away from me and I've no idea how I'd get the engine back. It took 4 people to lift my last one when the scrap man took it. Also I wouldn't be able to perform another engine swap as my car is parked in my single garage front first at an angle, as I drove it in . The only way it will move now is under it's own steam, I'd never push it around on my sloping drive - the only option is to fit the head back on and get it working.
Mark

'92 827 Coupe

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Re: 827 front cylinder head

Post by scoobyh123 » Tue Jun 22, 2021 3:47 pm

First and easiest to explain is only use ethylene glycol antifreeze, all the OAT and 4-life type coolants have acid in which will attack various gaskets inside the engine, not to mention the radiator, heater matrix etc. There are other reasons that the newer coolant react with the EG causing the silicates to precipitate out of it and form a silicon gel which clogs all the waterways - Phil B had exactly this problem on an 827 which had been put in for a timing belt and water pump change, the idiot garage didn't know this and just refilled with OAT coolant when the system wasn't completely empty of EG and it blew (if memory serves) both head gaskets and caused Phil many sleepless nights cleaning the entire cooling system internally!

Do you not have another vehicle to use? The seller has an engine hoist so could help you load it, you'd need an engine hoist to change it anyway so unloading would be easy enough.

You've driven yourself into a corner by driving into the garage. If you needed a jump start you'd be snookered! Better to reverse in then first you don't have to reverse out on a cold morning with the rear screen all misted up, second any engine problems can be done in the relative good light at the front of the garage, third - easier to jump start if neessary or tow out as you can see what you're doing.

I also noticed that ebay seller has a C27 engine and autobox as a complete unit for £450, he could probably put that on a pallet for you and get it to you that way. Alternatively, ask him, he may have a "loose" front head that he'd be willing to deal on.
Cheers,
Dave


'94 827 Sterling saloon
'88 Volvo 760 V6 Estate
All auto :D
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'95 827 Coupé LPG gone but not forgotten!

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Re: 827 front cylinder head

Post by Mark827 » Tue Jun 22, 2021 4:22 pm

I've seen that engine on ebay for £450, way too expensive, my car is probably only worth that.
Swapping the engine isn't an option at this stage, it'd be impossible without getting my car out back onto my flat drive where I normally do engine changes.
I have a tandem garage, I built another single garage at the end of my first one with an up and over garage door between so with the door open I have space to work around the front of the car, although I say space in the loosest sense as I have tools and car parts everywhere and even a classic Mini buried in there somewhere, but both garages are low ceilings about 6'6" high so no room for a hoist and only a narrow 2' wide personnel door to get in other than the main vehicle door at the front so I'd also never get an engine in there.

My last 2 engine changes on a V6 Jag X-type & a V8 S-type I dropped the engines out the bottom and jacked the front end over the engine, but when I swapped my Rover engine I lifted it out the top, all done outside though, usually in freezing temperatures, so this time I decided I'd be cosy in the garage to facilitate the repairs when I parked it up in November.

I'll figure out a solution, I've just found someone else on the internet local to work that welds alloy engine parts so I've emailed him. If that comes up blank I'll still pursue a replacement head.

My main lesson learnt here as you rightly said was the correct use of antifreeze.
Mark

'92 827 Coupe

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Re: 827 front cylinder head

Post by scoobyh123 » Tue Jun 22, 2021 6:38 pm

You'd be surprised, cars have gone up in value dramatically over the past 12-24 months, especially pre-2000 cars!

From the pics on ebay, that engine/box has been removed by dropping the subframe and lifting the body off the engine and box/subframe.

I'll make a few enquiries about a cylinder head via other sources, not holding out a lot of hope though!
Cheers,
Dave


'94 827 Sterling saloon
'88 Volvo 760 V6 Estate
All auto :D
Image
'95 827 Coupé LPG gone but not forgotten!

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