Photo of gasket
Photo of gasket
Lol Harv, you haven't even posted a link for Richard to un-mangle. You have surpassed yourself :) :) :)
Sorry guys, I like to think that I'm a reasonably good mechanic, but I'm definitely not great on computers. I'm pretty sure that the coolant wasn't getting past the head gaskets, but I'm fairly hopeless at getting photos attached.
I haven't had time over the last 2 weeks to continue to tackle this project, other than making a tool to hold the crank pully to remove it. When I get back to it I hope to find evidence of the leak under the timing cover.
Thanks for all your replies so far.
Got back to it today. Timing Cover off, and it looks pretty clear that there was a good leak from the RH coolant gallery. It looks like someone previously tried to repair the same leak using the old gasket and a bunch of silicone. Nice to find something fairly definitive, as the Head Gaskets looked perfect.
Nice one, you'll have to give Sloth some lessons on finding something definitive, he's still chasing his squeak.....
All back together, runs great! No apparent leaks (yes I did replenish the fluids).
Good news, so - conclusion was timing cover gasket failure?
Yes. After disassembling I understand things quite a bit better. The coolant level kept going down, but stayed clean, while the engine oil was contaminated with coolant. The tops of the pistons were not steam clean looking. It really wasn't likely to be a head gasket failure. Coolant was being pumped directly past the failed timing cover gasket into the timing chain area, ending up in the oil sump. Next time I'll do a better job of diagnosing.