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So it looks like my head gasket is failing, (sludge of oil cap and slowly losing coolant. )
Can anyone tell me what I need to buy before doing this, are there any kits that's are good?
Do I need new bolts etc or can I reuse everything?
I've never changed a head gasket before so any hints and tips would be appreciated.  
I've watched a vid on YouTube on changing one on a stag engine so I imagine it's pretty similar.  
Also, should I do anything else while I'm at it?
Cheers


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Don't jump to conclusions!

The symptoms could be due to other reasons:
Sludge on oil filler - is this whiteish "mayonnaise"?     Could be just water condensation in the rocker cover - give it an 'Italian tune-up', a blast down the motorway.
Loss of coolant - could be anywhere.

Get yourself a cylinder compression gauge and test the compressions.
Procedure:
Warm up the engine.
All plugs out, battery charged.    Coil disconnected (there will be petrol fumes pumped out where they shouldn't be!)
Wire the throttle WIDE OPEN.
Screw the gauge into each cylinder in turn.
Turn the engine over on the starter, until the gauge plateaus.
Note that value, do the next.

You may need a few runs to practice.
What you want to see is that the pressure are the same across the block, all within 10psi.
If two are down and are adjacent - there's your failed gasket.
If one is down, it might be.

Test by tipping a teaspoonful of engine oil into each bore before repeating the test - quick buzz first with the starter to spread the oil about.
This tests the piston rings.  The oil improves their seal temporarily, but a gasket OR a damaged valve will not improve.

Good luck!  Hope you find them all the same!
John

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And if it is the gasket, rest assured it willbe an easier job than a stag one.

Make sure you get a payen headgasket. You haven't said what car, but some engines are available in recessed or non-recessed bores (especially if say a vitesse engine has been replaced by a later 2000 engine)

You can reuse studs, nuts and washers. Be careful if any are damaged, the nuts and washers are hardened, not the usual variety so would need to come from a specialist.

You can do it with all the manifolds still attached to the head if needed, saves time but is heavier to move.

And take all the studs out of the block if the head looks like it is sticking at all (likely)

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Rocker box Mayo is normal in cold weather and short runs  nothing to do with HG problems
unless its real nasty HG lets compression into the water jacket rather than coolant into the combustion as the pressures are vasty different.

rarely water in oil ,  I go with John  look for a hidden leak and do a Compression test
with a good battery all plugs out and throttle open.

pete

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