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Smoking Herald 13/60

Paul Jones

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I have a Herald 13/60 that burns alot of oil when it is revved. I assume that the Oil Rings around the cylinder are ok. But I think the problem is with the lack of oil stem seals in valve stems. Most of the cars in the 70'S were fitted with rubber oil rings to prevent oil dripping into the cylinder and then burning out in the form of blue smoke.

I contacted Rimmer Brothers who sold me some small rubber oil rings that are used for the Vitesse.


Could someone please tell how to fit these rings or a more suitable product as the rings look very small?


Thank you for your help and support.


K r



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Valve guide wear is easy enough to spot. Find a nice long downhill stretch, drive down it a dn then lift off the accelerator, then after a few seconds blip the throttle. If you get a puff of smoke valve guides are the issue.

Back to the rubber 0 rings. They may be from a mini or similar? I think they are just pushed onto the valve stem so they find their own height and seal only when a valve is fully opened.

Other types used on these cars include Pinto, and in fact I used some vauxhall ones many years ago. 

Another check. The head doesn't have a "high pressure oil feed kit" fitted, a bit of hose from the oil pressure switch to the back corner of the head?


If, when stationary, and the oil filler is off, you rev the car, is there masses of pressure? If so it is rings. 

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To be honest, valve stem oil seals make very little difference on the Triumph engine. It's designed to have not much oil around under the rocker cover so there's really nothing for them to seal. Unless, as Clive said, some DPO has idiotically fitted a spawn-of-the-devil external oil feed. If so, take that off first, check the factory designed oil feed isn't blocked, and your problem will probably go away.

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Hi there


To all those who have replied to my Smoking Herald.


Thank you, your suggestions were very helpful.


I remembered that my car can't use unleaded petrol, even though I have been using an additive. As a result, I believe the valves are worn and need replacing. Plus, I will include the additional oil seals for added protection.


K r



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No, that's not your problem.

The Herald engine is unstressed and, unless you've had it rebuilt in the last twenty years, has plenty of "lead memory" to keep it going. And you've been using an additive anyway. Besides which, the damage you get from lack of lead in the petrol is "valve seat recession" and has nothing to do with guides and nothing to do with oil use or smoke.

If your valves need replacing because of unleaded fuel then the head needs work too. By all means get an unleaded conversion if so, but the symptoms you would have would be low power and difficulty starting, not smoke.

For reference, I have used unleaded, mostly without additive, on my GT6 for twenty years (I've owned the car since 1992) and four Round Britain Reliability Runs. It still shows no signs of valve seat recession. In contrast, the Toledo did suffer it, badly, but only after a weekend of merciless thrashing (RBRR again) with the mixture set way too lean. It was the extra heat that did for it.

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Quoted from glang-

A wet and dry compression check would be useful as well...

Hello Paul - this is good advice to properly diagnose your problem, if you can find someone with a compression gauge that winds into the spark plug hole. Before you spend £300-400 on a reconditioned head, only to find the problem remains!

If the valves/ guides are worn enough to cause a problem then the bores are probably worn too. 

As an example, I have just put new valves & guides on my Spitfire head, and it still smokes quite a bit. (The bores were too worn to hone and fit new rings, as I don't want to do a re-bore just yet so left the cylinders as they were). Haven't been able to test actual oil consumption because of being locked in the house! But it certainly looks like the old worn valve guides were not the principle cause of the smoke screen.


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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi All


Thank you for all your suggestions, very much appreciated. As as a resulting of working from home and from the information I received from all the members, I have decided to complete the following tasks:

- Compression Test

- If poor, then I will rebuild the engine.

- Sort out my head (values and skimming). Is it worth getting it gas flowed?

- Apart from replacing all parts that are worn. I would automatically replace, the oil and water plump and seals.

- Anything I missed off, which should be included.


Finally can anyone recommend a good classic car mechanic shop that could service my head and rebore the cylinders if required. I live near Reading RG10.

Many thanks






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Do the compression test, then decide on the next move. You've listed four other steps all on an assumption that may not be valid.

If the compression is poor or uneven only when dry, then new rings and possibly a rebore are indicated. You won't know how much of a rebuild you need until you take the head off and inspect the bores.

Whether you need to "sort out the head" hasn't yet been established. Poor compression when wet would indicate valve problems and a need to sort it. Otherwise, how much money do you have spare to throw after unnecessary work? Unless you intend to go racing, "getting it gas flowed" is definitely unnecessary.

I wouldn't replace the oil pump unless it looks damaged. They don't really wear out. They can become unserviceable if they ingest bits of hard, sharp metal... but you'll see that sort of damage if you pull the rotor out. The water pump, again, I wouldn't replace "automatically". They have bearings and seals that do wear, but the new ones may not last any longer than the part-worn original.

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Hi Paul,

I just typed out a long boring reply to this, but the frigging website kicked me out when I tried to preview it! So I'll give it another go. 

Rob is right - only replace things if they need replacing; too many new parts are vastly inferior to the originals. Your oil pump may well be fine. 

If you take the head off and strip it you can check valve-to-guide clearance, and valve seat condition. If the exhaust seats are showing signs of damage and the valves are sloppy in the guides you can then open the can of worms of what to do about it!

The question you need to ask at that stage is: what do I want to achieve? Performance modifications should generally be done in concert, several elements at once, in order to work properly. If you haven't already have a look at this site for the good starting points on head work: http://auskellian.com/paul/links_files/performance_enhancements.htm#Power

Skimming to increase the compression ratio is a fairly benign modification as long as you don't go too far. Your 13/60 engine can easily be raised from 8.5:1 to 9:1 by skimming or just sticking a mk3 or mk4 Spitfire head on it. They come up on ebay quite often for modest sums. 

On gas-flowing, I looked into this subject quite a bit and came to the conclusion that you need to spend a lot of money for a very uncertain outcome if you pay someone to do it. Plus it's really only worth doing alongside a spicy camshaft, decent tubular exhaust and twin-carb / Weber / whatever conversion  Nevertheless there's a certain amount of tidying-up you can actually do yourself if you're that way inclined. Mostly just softening sharp edges and removing casting flaws. If you want to go further there is some useful discussion here: http://sideways-technologies.co.uk/forums/index.php?/topic/690-diy-heads/

Afraid I can't recommend engine builders, the machinist I used for my head was highly disappointing. However I've heard good things about Southern Rebore, somewhere around Crawley.


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  • 3 weeks later...

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