Dodged Another Bullet!

5053: Dodging Another Bullet

After a great couple of days down in Maryland for the Radclife Motorcar/ Party, it was time to come home and face my 330 America. I needed a couple of weeks off from the car after the discovery that I had a bad coolant leak between the head and the timing chest when I reinstalled the heads. The leaks kept me from bringing my Ferrari to the show, but that’s life with owning an old Ferrari.

After reading some suggestions from my Vintage Ferrari Forum, especially one written from Jim, an owner with a similar problem, I started to think there might be another option than pulling the heads again. Jim had managed to get silicone sealant to these water passages from the thermostat housing, and stopped the majority of the leaks. I discussed this fix with François, and although he felt this method would offer limited success, he wanted to try something. He instructed me to loosen all the nuts securing the front timing chest to the block. We then drove some screwdrivers and wedges between the two surfaces to gain access to the o-rings. With a pick and several tries, we managed to get the o-rings out of their grooves!

Looking at the dried silicone, and the dimensions of the o-rings, we could see the o-rings were not thick enough to seal these passages. I felt a little vindicated because it wasn’t my fault these heads were leaking! As the apprentice to this type of work, I’m ready to take blame for problems, but there was enough evidence that it wasn’t my doing. Either way, however, the leak had to be fixed!

Taking a closer look at my heads, one gap for the o-ring looked wider than the other, maybe by a few thousandths of the an inch. This slight difference was probably all that was needed to cause my leaks with an o-ring that was just a little thin or crushed.

Using thicker o-rings, and lots of silicone sealant, we sealed up the water passages and bolted the timing chest back together. After drying overnight, the block was filled up with coolant to test for leaks. After a day of sitting, no coolant was found leaking from any of the water passages. François saved me dozens of hours of work, and a $400 dollar set of head gaskets!

Just a reminder, I’m looking for a new Vintage Ferrari Project. If you have, or know of a restoration project, please let me know. It would be great to restore another car on this website! My E-mail.

Previous Restoration Day
Next Restoration Day
Home page