Jump to content


Blown Head Gasket!!!


Recommended Posts

Ok well this week I didn't drive my Z because I was gonna do work on it but having a need to use my car on Sunday i took it out and was being nice to it.

So anyway I'm in traffic and trying to change lanes when i hear a bang. I see a bit of smoke and the engine stalls, great I think try to start her nothing crank crank crank she comes to life but I try to accelerate and it dies again.

At first I thought a valve had given up but I managed to get it down a side street and start it up again at idle. Idles ok not great ok dies if you rev or try and move.

Would not start then blows a heap of blue smoke through the intake. But it's running called a mate with a Z we have no idea I can't hear a valve making any noise. Sounds normal apart from a bit of miss here and there.

Anyway later I discover water from the exhaust and a small puddle behind the car.

Great head gasket but why the backfire through the carbs and the smoke.

I put it down to poor tune and knocking from the high compression engine and electrical timing not quite right.

So that sorted out I've been meaning to replace the valve stem seals for a while and since I'm taking the head off now's the time.

But I'm thinking I should really rebuild the entire engine or build the L28 P90 I dunno if I can afford a turbo setup yet would be nice.

I can try stuffing about with an L24 that hasn't run in 2 years ran ok before. But it's alot of mucking about and I only have a electronic distributor mapped to the L28's cam.

If I go to the effort of rebuilding the head of the one in their already an e88 with a bit of engine work, 280zx valves, cam , port and polish etc.. I would like a bigger cam..

Hmm starting to feel a bit lost now the other alternative is to just replace the head gasket but hate the burning oil.

Any suggestions?

Guess I'll have to pull the engine head then sort things from there will keep you guys up to date :(.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry to hear :cry: If I was doing it I would go all out. IMO I dont feel its much more work. Why wait for a major low end meltdown with a new head job:finger: . Bite it in the butt and get it done. You may find it just needs rings & bearings. Hold off, wait for damage and it wont just be rings :tapemouth

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Gav240z

Would not start then blows a heap of blue smoke through the intake. But it's running called a mate with a Z we have no idea I can't hear a valve making any noise. Sounds normal apart from a bit of miss here and there.


Blue smoke? Not wanting to be a wet blanket, but it doesn't sound like a head gasket.

White smoke is associated with a blown head or gasket.

The bang worries me also? Was it more like a backfire?

Have you pulled the plugs? THis will give a better indication of the condition of the head/gasket.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is why I posted this :(.

I heard a noise which to me sounded like some form of bang. I then was sure I could hear it again and again like a valve had broken into the cylinder and was getting wacked around by the piston. It's hard to recall exactly as 100 things were going through my mind.

I felt the engine die and smoke belowed out the front of the car.

White/Blue smoke which I later determined as coming from the intake area.

It took a while to get her running again I cranked and cranked and cranked let go of the key about to give up and as I did it was as if the engine decided to start and blew out more blue smoke through the intake, I pulled the air box and played with the carbs a bit noticed that when I pulled the piston up in the carbie it almost dies but that could be because the tune was out. But this was the front carbie and where I suspect she's blown a gasket.

Had constant trouble getting it to rev and would die when any throttle was applied.

I had no tools on me so I couldn't pull anything apart yet.

I have noticed a pool of water out the exhaust on 1 side only as the dual pipe seperates first 3 and last 3 cylinders it indicated that one of the cylinders had blown the gasket.

My theory thus far is that it's possible the timing has gone funny and possibly run the engine backwards is this possible? Not sure if this caused the engine to blow the gasket or not was driving ok before.

Could start again later and when i returned a few hours later to tow her home I fired her up with the choke and it seemed ok.

I did manage to rev it up to 3500-4000 rpm but for some reason the engine will just stop like cut out. I have to do more diagnosis but I am confused to say the least.

I think I should also mention that the engine oil was clean and the coolant looked fine and still fairly full mind you I didn't run the engine long.

I also had very good oil pressure still but this would only indicate that the bottom end bearings were still good I guess.

Also water tempreture seemed fine just below halfway as it usually is.

I just hope it's not a combination of problems here.:disappoin

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by carguyinok

Sorry to hear :cry: If I was doing it I would go all out. IMO I dont feel its much more work. Why wait for a major low end meltdown with a new head job:finger: . Bite it in the butt and get it done. You may find it just needs rings & bearings. Hold off, wait for damage and it wont just be rings :tapemouth

Exactly along the lines I was thinking just the monetary factor at the moment but thinking of going without a car for a few months while I save money and build this new engine.

Because I have the spare P90 and block I was thinking of building the motor I had always wanted that a friend of mine built.

However the E88 head I'm sure has plenty of potential and I don't see any reason that it's restricted in any sense from being as good as the P90 now that it has the bigger valves and port work done. It should blow good and have the advantage of no emission controls in it's design.

The p90 I would like to build is the same as Brian Littles one at Zgarage. However what will I do with the old L28 E88 combo?

Oh well time will tell I guess.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Gav240z

This is why I posted this :(.

I heard a noise which to me sounded like some form of bang. I then was sure I could hear it again and again like a valve had broken into the cylinder and was getting wacked around by the piston.

Valves broken in cylinder sounds more like a tat tat tat until no more tat! Trust me you'll know immediately this has happened, the sound once heard is unmistakable.

As you've been able to re-start the engine and I gather you're not hearing a tat tat tat then I would doubt a broken valve and I would doubt the gasket theory.

Pull the plugs and let us know what condition the're in.

Perhaps it's all in the timing ,have you recently checked it?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It could be the timing but I also believe the gasket is gone due to the white smokey water out the exhaust.

I will pull the plugs tonight and buy a compression tester soon to check.

I also ruled out the valves when it started later and was quiet as before.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


I am sorry to hear this story. The smoke consideration is the key here, as alluded to by Zedrally it is probably the major problem, to me if the blue smoke is constant and not effected by rpm or load, I think it is more serious probably holed or destroyed a piston or at least scored the hell out of a bore when something impacted the rings and shattered them. I hope I am totally wrong.

I wish you the best of luck with the recovery.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

First thing I would do is run a compression check, it will only take 10 minutes and will tell you a world of info before you tear into it. If it is just a head gasket, you could have it changed in a couple of hours for the cost of the gasket. That would keep you driving until you are ready for the big swap, if it is more than the gasket then I would only work on the swap not spending any money on something that you are going to toss in a few months.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah unfortunately my compression tester is busted and have to buy another.

I have end of semester tests/exams coming up in the next 2 weeks so thinking about leaving it for my 2 week break.

The car runs like normal but the smoke(blue) was only coming from the intake when trying to start after the initial break down.

So far I've been able to start it like normal with the choke out and do get a watery spray from the exhaust.

You could be right Steve as the noise I heard was one of those not good ones. I guess I'm really eger to know what went wrong but have to wait. Will keep you guys posted on the progress and thank you all for your input.

The only real other dilemna was I was gonna use the P90 head for turboing the car at a later stage. To get the turbo set up happening I'm looking at more money than I have :(. I don't mind having the car off the road but I'm still planning to be a student for at least 2 years and possibly even longer if I choose to keep going further after that. (Should have become a doctor) LOL.

The current E88 F54 setup was great and I liked the way it drove Just not sure what to do with it. I guess first step is to do a compression test and pull the head go from there.

Will keep you all posted.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

hey gav ive heard the same bang. turns out the water jacket near cyl 6 corroded into the combustion chamber whcih in turn stuffed the gasket (which i assume went BANG) and created compression in the coolant system. also check your oil breather on top of the cam cover. if its chuffing white smoke, then its time for a new gasket/ major head repairs:disappoin

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Strange you haven't lost all water if the heads cracked?

All indicators are pointing to it unfortunately.

There is a possible solution, however, there is a propriety head repair can of hope available. The name escapes me at present [i have no doubt someone on this board will remember the name], but in retrospect your problem was my problem a couple of years ago.

My 240 occaisionally dropped all it's water, usually [always] leaving a big white cloud in it's wake, [very odd as when filled it could run for days or weeks without any indication of trouble, probably indicating a hair line crack] in desperation I tried the can of hope and you could have knocked me over with a feather as it worked for 2 years until another fateful day and it gave a slight lurch coupled with strange engine events [can't remember exactly what but it was weird] signalled the end of the can of hope.

Inspection of the head showed that it was a basket case and it was a cheaper option to re-build a good used head.

If you do use the can of hope, make sure you follow the instructions, as it DOES NOT work with any coolent in the system.

Good luck.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hope you guys are wrong on this one. As for a can of hope might be good as a tempory solution but not permanent enough for me.

I have the spare P90 and F54 block I think I'll be building a new engine I have a friend with a wicked setup that I wanted to build anyway now's my chance I guess.

I won't give up on this engine just yet and I haven't really lost any water at all.

Hmmm I just haven't got time yet to pull it apart what I shame I really wanna know the answer :(.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Compression results finally got a compression tester and well I don't think it's a gasket.

Cylinder's in order are from 1 to 6.

{181, 179, 180, 182, 182, 179}

Minor discrepancies but I put that down to valve adjustment which needed to be done anyway.

Trying to recall the event and definately remember a bang like sound.

I remember the clutch felt like it lost pressure but the resevoir is full.

The car stalled and wouldn't start back up for a while, plugs look definately flooded, was in traffic when it happened.

remember it backfiring and shooting blue smoke out the intake(carbs), i've know the valve stem seals are screwed so that could be the cause.

I'm thinking electrical timing also cause car would start and cut out above 2000rpm put it down to water in chamber but now not so sure.

Just as I was saving for a rebuild still would like to build that motor i was talking about.

Now it seems the engine is ok, as I said no oil in water no water in oil.

Is it possible that the head gasket is slightly blown? but even then the readings would be further apart?.

It was the first time i've used a tester and I disconnected the coil and turned engine with starter and guage went up step by step till it reached a max of ~180 on most cylinders.

Other possibility could it be that the clutch that needed replacement somehow broke or malfunctioned that it caused the engine to stall and not run correctly? I will be pulling gbox anyway so I guess I'll take a look.

Other than that I'm thinking electrical issue causing bad timing.


I will now pull valve cover and take a look for anything like a rocker that's popped off or maybe broken cam oiler even though it supposed to have internally oiled cam as PO said never looked under valve cover will keep posted.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey Gav,

I just read the whole post for the first time. If you trust the compression guage, and those numbers, I'd rule out anything major. Head gasket is fine. Water coming from the exhaust is normal during warm up-- plus your not losing coolant and the oil looks fine. Car seems to run fine too you said, right?

I'd also rule out clutch as well. What type of electrical system do you have on the motor? Also, what are you running for an air filter? I'm thinking it's electrical. Have you checked timing with a light yet to see if it is different than usual?


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the reply, to start with electrical timing checked out ok with the timing gun, it's running an electronic distributor which has been mapped to the camshaft profile.

Car runs roughly like it's missing at first I put it down to perhaps water that had been making it run poorly.

I still am getting water from the exhaust and it's not just on start up after the incident i noticed a small pool of water behind the exhaust when it had been idling it was cold on the day.

It just doesn't make any sense mind you I haven't really tried to troubleshoot the problem due to being busy.

Any other ideas?

Air filter is a stock air filter and just replaced recently, don't think any foam got sucked into the combustion chamber if that's where ya going :classic: .

The plugs looks fouled up but that's probably from it's poor running I know the distributor cap looks a bit worn out and the rotor button probably could do with a replacement.

There a place to start and cheap enough to do.

I guess I'll keep having a go at it and see what turns out.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

ok well i drove her today and she seemed normal, it was coughing and spluttering leaned it off a bit and seems a bit nicer. Car feels pretty rough I think the carbs , electrical distributor could use a rebuild.

I really need to get it on the dyno, the clutch has been slipping so that's the first priority.

Can't see any more watery residue so many it was just normal condensation. It's strange cause the car was running for like 30mins before hand.

I gave it a bit of a rev to see and nothing real abnormal just out of tune.

I bought a new rotor button and couldn't get a dizzy cap but will be trying to obtain it soon enough.

I should drop the gbox see why the clutch is slipping then take it along for a dyno run.

Dunno just have to wait and see if it plays up.


Link to comment
Share on other sites


okay you get an instant hesitation and bang, I think you may have a problem with your distributor wiring. The electronic Distributor wires terminate on a two pin plug into the black box on the side of the distributor, check for loose or damaged connectors, when these distributors are on injected motors sometimes people put the wires under the air induction plumbing and movement gives a similar result to what you are getting spontaneous bang when one pin looses direct contact. The fix on the injected engines is simple you just pass the loom over the top of the air induction pipe so it rests on top instead of the pipe resting on its no pressure breaking contacts.

I suppose what I am saying is have a look at the wiring and see if it could be working against a good contact of the two connectors in the plug.

now I have more.

are you mixing components on your electronic distributor, is it Hitachi or mitsubishi, do you source your parts using the distributor part number.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

ok the distributor is of mitsubishi origin, why is that? so it's not the Hitachi one the rotor button works fine on it.

the car hasn't really hesitated just seems the carbs are the issue here.

Still can't work out the events that lead to it being the way it was.

The smoke the stall and it not starting again, then a bit of water vapour out the exhaust I admit i did leave it for about 20 mins while I was trying to sort the problem it did rain maybe water went down the exhaust since they point up like the works rally cars exhaust system.

I will fidle with the wiring a bit see what that does but they seem fine and haven't caused an issue since I've had it.

That bang also I'm sure it was there I'll speak to my girlfriend about what she remembers cause she was in the car with me at the time maybe my memory is screwed.

So confused. :ermm:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Who's Online   2 Members, 0 Anonymous, 242 Guests (See full list)

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Guidelines. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.