Head gasket problems - a "musing"... - Renault Forums :: Independent Renault forum

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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 27th August 2007 Thread Starter
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Head gasket problems - a "musing"...

Hello all.

Maybe its just my bank holiday beer-clouded mind, or some other random thought process going on, but I have been thinking (and in the pub earlier, talking about) cylinder heads and cylinder head gaskets.

Now these cheeky little chappies (the gaskets I mean!) can be a wee bit troublesome. A couple of examples are the Renault Megane mk1 1.6 8v engine, Rover K-Series and I'm sure theres plenty more. One thing is for sure - those engines don't like them gaskets much!

OK, now I'm rambling on. The point I was trying to convey in the pub (and, err, now!) is why don't the car manufacturers produce a one piece engine? That is, head and block as a unit? Surely in this "day and age" it is possible? Theres no real reason for the two to be seperate is there? After all, the crank is bolted on from below, so the pistons could be introduced to the block from below. A clever machining, err, machine could both cut the bores and machine then the combustion chambers. The valve guides could be machined from above. Surely all feasible.

Unless I've missed some really obvious technical problems with this (quite quite possible, I know!) it seems like a really good idea. And the point to this ramble of course... No head gasket problems!

OK I've had my musing/rambling, maybe I should cart myself off to bed now and leave you all in peace. Thanks for reading if you have gotten this far!

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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 27th August 2007
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In theory,your right.In this age of technical advancement it should be possible,but it would make the engine a complete nightmare to work on,especially if something like a cambelt broke.Instead of just taking the head off and replacing the valves,you'd need to take the complete engine and gearbox assembly out,split the engine and gearbox,remove the crank and pistons,have a valve spring compressor about 4 foot long,remove the valves etc etc etc!

Of course,you could have an engine driven by a chain which would reduce the possibility of it breaking,but there would still be an awful lot of problems to overcome.

Ford developed an engine that was mainly made of plastic quite a few years ago,so it would have become a disposable unit,but the idea sank without trace.If the engine was made as a cheap and desposable unit,then I think the one piece engine could be mass produced,but I think we are a long way from that.......

I'd rather push my Alfa than drive a BMW....
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 27th August 2007
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This idea was muted many years ago in the aircraft industry but the laws of thermo dynamics where the difficulty. All metals expand when heated and contract when cooled and the main problem with the standard 2 or 4 stroke engine is that its running temperatures are not equally distributed throughout the engine. In other words the top end of the engine is the hottest (combustion takes place in this region)and the low end is comparatively cooler beacuse not only is it farther away from the point of combustion but is closer to the oil supply which also cools. Without permitted movement (joints which allow expansion and contraction, e.g. the head gasket) in the upper areas the stresses would cause rapid failure. One other main difficulty would be in the casting of such engines wherby it would be extremely dificult to ensure the water cooling pathways where correctly situated.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 27th August 2007 Thread Starter
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Cheers for the replies chaps, interesting stuff. I think its a case of, "oh I hadn't thought of that" for those technical points!

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 27th August 2007
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I recall listening to a chap in a pub one night who claimed that he had worked on a diesel engine from a bus which was of this design. If I can track the guy down, I'll try and get the details of what make it was and from what era as I know that he has worked on engines dating back to the 1930's.
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