JAGUAR V12 HEAD GASKETS
There are reportedly two types of head gaskets available for the Jaguar V12. The ones that came in the car consist of two layers of thin sheet metal with a fiber layer in between. There are reports of aftermarket head gaskets that consist of two layers of fiber with a thin layer of sheet metal in the middle.
The Jaguar V12 doesn't have a history of head gasket trouble, so the metal-fiber-metal gaskets are certainly acceptable. There isn't enough data available to know whether the fiber-metal-fiber gaskets are just as reliable.
There is at least one report, though, of a very serious problem with a replacement head gasket, and that was that one of the holes was omitted! It happened to be the rectangular hole at the rear end of the B bank gasket, which is an opening that allows oil in the tappet area to drain back into the sump. As a result, the car started and ran fine pointed downhill so oil would drain down the timing chain passage, but when pointed uphill oil would pool around the tappets, start working its way down valve stems, and cause a really bad cloud of smoke from the B bank exhaust.
Hence, it is important that you check your new head gaskets and make sure they have all the holes they're supposed to have. It is believed that this was one of the fiber-metal-fiber gaskets, but check whichever gaskets you have. Richard Dowling provided this picture of a new pair.
The front ends being bent up is optional.
As you can see, the two gaskets are significantly different; you couldn't possibly put the wrong one on the wrong bank. You can't possibly put one on backwards or upside down, either.
Dowling: "The dark line is actually dark red, a bead of gasket sealer or suchlike on both sides of the gasket. The gaskets are steel and stamped "Jaguar". They are also stamped "Made in England". They have a thin layer of almost transparent material either sprayed or silk screened all over the metal surface. It is almost like an adhesive coat, but not sticky. I am not sure what it does, but it is easily scratched and there are small bare patches due to careless handling by me or the supplier."
If you visit the page on coolant filters and look at the stuff Kirby Palm pulled out of his Gano filters, maybe some of what you're seeing is flakes of this coating peeling off the head gaskets.
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