This is a 1979 Leyland Sherpa 230 1.7 L Petrol "O-series" engine.
I'm suspecting a blown head gasket and if this is confirmed I'll be removing the aluminium head and getting it resurfaced at the engineers.
I've read and it makes sense that the aluminium head is more vulnerable to warping than cast iron due to its material properties. The head I can manage to sort out but having the cast iron block resurfaced as well poses some logistical problems - never mind the added expense. I can remove the head and take it on the bus if need be but to check the cast iron block I would need a mobile engineer or park up by the engineers and sort the whole thing out from there. Either way this is impractical.
I understand that it would be a risk and all mine but what in your experience is the likelihood of the cast iron block needing resurfacing as well?
I did replace the blown head gasket recently myself not too long ago and was satisfied that the surfaces were within 2/3 thousands of an inch (using a 2 ft long steel rule and feeler gauges) - but, well obviously it didn't work out.
To give you a little history the engine had been suffering with overheating for some months (occasionally creeping up into the red a little before I would have to pull over and wait), so I replaced head gasket with care.
This time round the degree of overheating has been more manageable but I suspect that a little amount of combustion gas is escaping from cylinder No. 1, enough to put an air lock in the cooling system.
So, I don't think the problem is severe but it does need sorting as I am comically dependent on this van. I understand that there is probably no exact right or wrong answer to this question and so your general opinion or accounts of your own experience would be appreciated.