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Thread: Cottage cheese?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    St. Louis, MO
    Posts
    455

    Default Cottage cheese?

    Looking for confirmation (I guess) that what I've found is indeed the dreaded "cottage cheese".

    First, a confession. The Seven has not been exercised since last summer's NJMP event. Life has been complicated, and the Mallock has been absorbing all my attention. That's my excuse, and I'm sticking with it.

    But, one of the reasons it's not been driven has been how the engine has been running since the end of the track event. Basically, running on what seems like 3 cylinders, and unable or unwilling to clear it's throat. I pulled the plugs, and they looked oily. So, threw in new plugs, but no change.

    As I pondered my next analytical step, for some reason I opened the thermostat housing - and found what you see below.

    So, I believe this is "cottage cheese", formed by the combo of oil and coolant. And yes, my coolant is green.

    Assuming it is, pulling the head seems like the appropriate next step? And hopefully just a head gasket replacement.

    Thoughts and opinions welcome. Thanks.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    313

    Default

    Any white smoke or sweet smell out of the tailpipe?

    Bubbling in the coolant indicates a possible head gasket leak, try running the engine with the radiator cap off or look the overflow tank if you have one.

    Do you have any smell of coolant in the crankcase oil?

    How old is the coolant? Coolant loses its corrosion qualities over time. Distilled water used? A flush and refill can’t hurt. I’d take the radiator to a shop for cleaning instead of an off the shelf chemical flush.

    I’d do a cylinder compression check and pressure check of the cooling system, the chain car parts places might have loaners, before pulling the head.

    If you get the Mallock out this year let me know what your schedule is, I have some polish and transmission fluid left over from my car you can have.
    2006 Caterham 7 SVT(sold)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    4,882

    Default

    Hi Steve

    Sorry to hear that Mr Shiny is having engine troubles. Looking at the amount of residue and location, I am reluctant to call that head gasket failure on just that without some additional data points. Is its consistency soft/mushy or crystalline? Photo seems to show soft/mushy. Given its a crossflow, I would more expect to see it first under the radiator cap being the high point of the cooling system.

    Breezy lists a good number things to check.

    I would add a couple of extra:
    1) any sheen on the surface in the coolant overflow reservoir?
    2) whats your temp gauge doing when running?


    Quote Originally Posted by bball7754 View Post
    Life has been complicated
    Understatement of the day...I feel it.
    Mike
    2010 Caterham CSR with Cosworth 2.3 Duratec
    2018 Caterham 420R with 2L Duratec 210hp at Donington UK
    1975 BMW CSL Group 4 (restoration - engine and dry sump install time)
    1977 Holden Torana "A9X" (awaiting restoration)
    1985 Holden Commodore SS Group A
    1985 Holden Commodore Group A
    1982 Ferrari 400i
    1965 Ford Mustang Fastback "Holman Moody"
    1992 Ford Escort RS Cosworth WRC (fettling after long period of storage)
    1990 Range Rover 2 door Classic
    and another project car coming....

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Laurel MD
    Posts
    172

    Default

    I think you might be relating the bad running with the coolant crystallizing. I am not sure there related, I would follow breezy7 plan first. A compression test, a coolant pressure test. Then drain the oil and coolant and give them a close inspection. You might just have some old coolant and a stuck fuel pressure regulator.

    Graham

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    St. Louis, MO
    Posts
    455

    Default

    Finally did the compression test, and the results are not good. I did it cold, and results were:

    Cylinder 1 - 120
    Cylinder 2 - 125
    Cylinder 3 - 100
    Cylinder 4 - 140

    Seems like things are not happy at cylinder 3. Haven't pressure tested the cooling system, but don't really feel the need at this point.

    Steve

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Laurel MD
    Posts
    172

    Default

    Squirt a couple of cc's of oil down each cylinder before you test it, if it goes up it's rings. You could try a leak down test and listen for the noise, you can tell if it's the head for cylinder.

    Graham

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