Sunday 10 February 2013

E21 316: M10 Engine cured! - Culprit: manifold gasket...

After repeatedly timing the ignition perfectly to Z on the flywheel, [see this post], we decided there had to be something deftly wrong to be causing the loud noise and backfiring [in the vid below], rather than just the distributor being out of line.

The first hunch was the exhaust had broken while being twisted to get the cylinder-head out and was blowing like mad, but my initial inspections revealed no damage to the down-pipe or manifold and the four manifold gaskets looked all to be in position.

That is to say they LOOKED in position... Today, in the pouring rain, I got the car up on ramps to see what it was I'd missed and as soon as the torch flicked on I could see the answer at last - one of the exhaust-manifold gaskets had slipped off the stud and was only covering half the hole! Nightmare... Right at the back of the engine where we couldn't see and, ironically, the one for cylinder 4 that started all the trouble.

As you can see the gasket has been totally blown apart by the hot exhaust and has separated quite badly in the middle leaving only the metal. I checked the rest of the gaskets in my set for a spare, but can only find the same shape gasket with an oblong hole, perhaps for the E28, so tentatively decided to re-use the blasted one, correctly seated this time and caked in Holt's FireGum.

As soon as the engine fired up again it sounded like it used to. It's amazing the difference that gap in one single exhaust port made to the noise level. It was still idling low though and revving badly, so I grabbed the timing-light again to have another go, turning the distributor to line up Z on the flywheel - 25 degrees before TDC. Now the 30 year old M10 has really begun to purr once more. Awesome! Still some fettling to do on the carb. tuning, throttle/choke cables and checking to see if my damaged manifold-gasket is holding up, but at least she's back on the road after a tense month!

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