85 GTSi Head Gasket Nightmare - Ferrari Life
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post #1 of 148 Old 10-27-2011, 11:55 AM Thread Starter
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85 GTSi Head Gasket Nightmare

Back in 2000, I purchased my Ferrari, a Blue 1985 GTSi. A couple of photos are here: http://www.ferrarilife.com/forums/154887-post108.html

It was a great ride for about a year, then it started to misfire a bit, and then idle rough. After I made all of the typical first pass checks (spark/fuel/ etc..) I ran a compression test. I found that the 2 and 3 cylinders were way down on compression. All of the others were rock solid.

I'm fairly good with a wrench, so I decided that I would take on the task of replacing the head gasket myself. After a weekend of removing all of the topside parts of the engine...I discovered that I needed a special tool to remove the head nuts.

A couple of weeks later with the new tool in hand, I was ready to pull the heads. That's when I discovered that the heads were seized in place. The most likely cause was coolant leaks into the head stud passages. I then decided it would be necessary to pull the engine to get enough access to work on removing the stuck heads.

With the engine out, I was still unable to pull the heads. I contacted Ferrari of Denver and they suggested that their head extraction tool would be needed to pull the heads. I took the engine to Denver, and they worked on it for a couple of months. In that time, they were able to remove the front head, but not the rear one. When I picked up the engine, their suggestion was that the rear head would have to be cut off.

OK... Between then and now, I had a career change that forced me to put my toy on the shelf for a while. I also couldn't bring myself to cut off the head, even though I had already purchased a replacement. Over the years, I would pour at least a dozen cans worth of various penetrating oils into those stud holes, then bash away...

I guess I didn't want to admit defeat. (Not to mention lose the $1000 core charge on the rebuilt head.)

At the start of October, I finally had enough and decided I wanted my 308 back on the road. I picked up a package of new hacksaw blades and went into my garage with destructive intent on my mind. Even then, I still stood there a good minute or two with the hacksaw resting on the head before I could make the first cut...



The plan was to make four cuts separating the head into five chunks with only two head studs to deal with at a time, rather than all ten at once. After the first cut, the end section came off easily. The other end came of easily as well. The middle three sections were all difficult, since they were each held in place by a LOT of corrosion. However, after about an hour of bashing with a lead mallet, they all came off. I even broke one chunk off the middle section...



The amount of corrosion on the top three studs was stunning..and they were all pretty much dry. In all those years, not a drop of the penetrating oil had seeped in more than 1/4 inch down from the top.



With both heads now off, I started on cleaning up the studs and cylinder deck.



The sealing surfaces of the cylinder liners all appear to be in good shape. The deck surface, however, has suffered from some corrosion around the top coolant passages. The surface around the lower coolant passages and oil returns are in pretty good shape. I'm currently working on removing and polishing up the corrosion.

Enough for now... Next up is rebuilding the front head that was successfully pulled all those years ago.
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post #2 of 148 Old 10-27-2011, 12:46 PM
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damn..... you must of had to dig down deep to cut that off like that. My hat's off to you.

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It's a simple process...... it's just complicated by human beings....
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post #3 of 148 Old 10-27-2011, 12:57 PM
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post #4 of 148 Old 10-27-2011, 01:22 PM
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Gene- Holy Mackeral, what a mess. Takes some big ones to take a hack saw to a Ferrari head. Do you think they will give you back your core charge if you mail them the pieces?




Just kidding.

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post #5 of 148 Old 10-27-2011, 01:30 PM
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Holy smokes. I had to hacksaw a basketball goal post over the weekend and thought that was tiring. Amazing. What's the plan for putting new headers on?
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post #6 of 148 Old 10-27-2011, 01:39 PM Thread Starter
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Tazandjan: After reading through KKRace's 308 V12 project thread, I figured I could send him the chunks and he could weld them back together.

Right now, I think I'm going to open up the sides of the intake and exhaust ports a bit for better visualization of the valves, then clean and polish the chunks, . I'll mount the sections on lexan bases with felt pads and sell them as desk ornaments.
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post #7 of 148 Old 10-27-2011, 02:06 PM
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Actually that's mk_e who's doing that V12 conversion. I'm betting though that if anyone could do it, it would be be him. Love the paperweight idea.

Current: 85' GTS QV
It's a simple process...... it's just complicated by human beings....
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post #8 of 148 Old 10-27-2011, 02:08 PM
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Gene- Five paperweights at $200 each and the core charge is recovered. Use a bandsaw, though, a bit more efficient.

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Past: Dino 246 GT 02984, 365 GTB/4 14009, 308 GTS 25125

Every day I look around, and if nobody is shooting at me, it is a pretty good day.
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post #9 of 148 Old 10-27-2011, 02:21 PM
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Wow. Dude, you're the man. I too have had a hate-filled relationship with 1985 308qv head studs in my lifetime.
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post #10 of 148 Old 10-27-2011, 02:34 PM Thread Starter
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Barchetta: Yes, you're correct about mk_e doing the V12...My bad, I misread the thread owner as the car owner.

Taz: I don't own a bandsaw...but my arms are really buff now!
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post #11 of 148 Old 10-28-2011, 04:45 AM Thread Starter
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Andrew: The current plan is to rebuilt the front head, then install it along with the already rebuilt rear head and get the 308 drivable again. I'm cleaning everything that's in good shape and replacing anything that is obviously worn or broken such as wiring and hoses in the engine compartment, but that's it.

I'm desperately trying to avoid project creep! I have a '66 Plymouth Satellite that I am considering doing a restoration on. By the time I'm done with that, the 308 will probably be ready for a complete rebuild.
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post #12 of 148 Old 10-28-2011, 05:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trainman View Post
Right now, I think I'm going to open up the sides of the intake and exhaust ports a bit for better visualization of the valves, then clean and polish the chunks, . I'll mount the sections on lexan bases with felt pads and sell them as desk ornaments.
Taking orders? Put me down for first right of refusal on one, depending on price.

Thanks & BTW welcome to FLife!

'99 550, Rosso Corsa / Nero, S/N:114654, Assy: 31836, Engine: 52084

High mileage, low compression, and missing on a few cylinders.....just like my cars.

Maranello Skunkworks Team Member
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post #13 of 148 Old 10-28-2011, 09:16 AM
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Cut the head off???? NO,NO

I guess you dont have or know what a porto power is? No welding torch either. I would heat the unit with heat lamps from my paint shop,16-100watt bulbs,then use the portopowers to lift the heads, and move them up and down. At the worst I would saw the studs but never would have done what you did. It took me 4 months to get the heads off my 1st 330GTC but it can be done.That was BAD advice. You could sell the pieces to head porters for experimental porting.
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post #14 of 148 Old 10-28-2011, 10:26 AM
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Wow. I wish you'd posted before you sawed the head apart because there's a much better way.

When I rebuild my QV it took my 20+ hours with wedges and an massive hammer to get the heads on.....which wan't the best approach and only slightly better than the sawing approach as I'd decided the head would either come off or be smashed to bit in the and come off, but they were coming off much like your sawing method.

On the 2V engines making a puller to force the heads off gently is pretty straight forward. Just bolt a plate to the cam cover and cam cap studs, drill and tap over the head studs, drive bolts in that hit and push on the studs and the head comes off no matter how badly corroded the studs are.

On the 4v heads the same thing can be done but the puller is not as obvious how to make it.....but you basically do the same thing. The difference is that you can push directly on the studs, you need to drop a piece of steel between them and then push on the steel bar with your bolts and the steel bar pushes on the studs and pops the head off about 1/2 an inch until the steel bars contact the head casting. At the 1/2" mark you can probably get the head off with heat, wd-40 and wedges or you can drop spacers under the steel bars and push another 1/2".

When I put the QV back together I opened up the holes in the heads a little, then grease the hell out of the studs and the holes in the heads, then put sealant around the base of each stud so coolant couldn't get in. 5 years later if came right part.
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post #15 of 148 Old 10-28-2011, 10:40 AM
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Mark can fix it! Right Mark??? Talk about drastic though jeez. Glad it came off some way right.
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post #16 of 148 Old 10-28-2011, 03:08 PM
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Quote:
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there's a much better way.
Mark, I used a very similar method to remove a wire wheel hub off a old Jaguar. Took a couple weeks of heating/cooling cycles with WD40, but it popped off one day while I was at work. I agree, given enough time, that method will work no matter how stuck the parts are.
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post #17 of 148 Old 10-28-2011, 03:31 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the support and ideas! I do mean that, and am glad to have found such a good forum to work with.

However...what's done is done.

For the record, I tried a LOT of thing that I didn't write about. There were ten years of on again, off again attempts... A porta-power was tried (I used these for auto extrication when I was a volunteer firefighter, and thought of this around 2003 or so.) Lots of heat, WD-40, Liquid Wrench, Kroil... Bashed in wedges all around the perimeter, tried pry bars.

I came up with an idea similar to what Mark suggested, but the two machinists I showed drawings to wanted to charge me $500-$700 to make the plate!

As for cutting the studs, I was deathly afraid of damaging the block, even doing it the way I did, the last 1/4" was nerve-wracking enough, never mind trying to fillet a head off with only a 1/16" head gasket protecting the deck.

Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats. -- H. L. Mencken

No more regrets...my project is moving forward now!
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post #18 of 148 Old 10-28-2011, 07:38 PM
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Took me 4 months to get the heads off my GTC in 1979

Took 3 months,3 weeks to figure out I had to make a puller.The last 330 puller plate cost $500 yrs ago and went w/ the Car..Every 330 owner should have one. Every 308 owner should have one, $700 for that puller was worth it cause it has par resale value.I would never use a portopower in this application,only way is to install the puller plate,put even pressure on each plate over stud as M ke, then heat,torque puller bolts,cool to cold,torque bolts,repeat for a day! WHATwas the dealers bill for trying??????? I find it in excusable that you had that unit in their shop FOR MONTHS and they couldnt get it off. The pic of the corrision was not far from normal. Ferrari of Denver just doest have a QV head puller,they dont even know they need one!!!!!! Sir,BAD ADVICE.
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post #19 of 148 Old 10-29-2011, 08:50 AM Thread Starter
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Remember the head that *WAS* removed all those years ago? (The front head)

When I started work on the project again, I discovered one of the cam journal caps was missing. I turned my shop upside down looking for it. I realized that since the head pretty much sat on a shelf for the past 9 years, the cap was probably never returned to me. On the plus side, I now had a small supply of spare caps, but since each one is mated to a specific journal, none aligned close enough to work. I realized that I would need to cut down a cap then have it line bored and lapped. However, I had no idea where to get something like that done, without another trip to F of D. I started searching on the internet and found this forum where I saw the photos of the cam journal reamer being used in Mark's V12 308 conversion thread.

While reading the thread, I later learned that the tool belongs to Dave Helms...who's shop, Scuderia Rampante, is just down the road from me in Boulder. I sent a PM to Dave, and we discussed the situation. A few days later, and he was repairing the journal:



As some of you may know, Dave worked at F of D around the same time my engine was there for head removal. As Dave and I talked about the situation, he started to recall this particular event. He even showed me one of the pry bars used in the process.

I think that brought back a few bad memories...sorry about that, Dave!

Anyway, Dave has checked the head and it is going to get a new set of guides, seals and a valve job. While that's going on, I have a lot of cleaning to take care of. I also need to order a gasket set as well as new timing belts & tensioner bearings.
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post #20 of 148 Old 10-30-2011, 04:02 PM
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...While reading the thread, I later learned that the tool belongs to Dave Helms...who's shop, Scuderia Rampante, is just down the road from me in Boulder...
Very cool. I think by all accounts, Dave is the tops. He takes it to a level that us weekend warriors can only dream of.
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