Many of the items you mention are common items that I know but it never hurts to have anotherr set of eyes when diagnosis problems! So don’t worry how elementary the questions/comments are.
Let me go into a little more detail on the engine condition. Before starting on a cosmetic and some mechanical issues restoration 2 years ago the car was running and had completed about 200 miles in my hands. At that time the only issues I observed related to the engine where weeping of coolant along the block/head gasket on the front cylinder. From the looks of the staining on the block it appears to have been leaking for a while. The was not much loss of coolant of any white deposits in oil or valve cover area.
During my repairs i removed the head, cleaned both surfaces, cleaned out stud holes with fine sandpaper, cleaned exposed studs, checked both surfaces with thick metal straightedge to be if warped and reassembled with new (more expense) gasket from Worchester Spares.
The only item replaced except the head gasket was the chrome acorn nuts. Washers appeared to be correct and original. When I reassembled it was at a professional auto repair shop that has been in business for years and even worked at MG, Jag dealer in area for years in the late 50’s and 60’s. He maintains his tools regularly so assume torque wrench is close to accurate. WHen we torques head we did not notice and bottoming of threads in dome nuts before it the head appeared to be tight but this is always a possibility.
As far as crack location and visible signs. Ther is no coolant leaking when car is not running. After starting and allowing it to idle for 5-10 minutes. I notice small bubbles of coolant forming along a crack which runs the the 2nd dome nuted head stud on the right side of the engine back at a 45 degree angle towards the m front exhaust port stud on the middle exhaust runner on the front exhaust manifold. There also appears to be a similiar crack rinning from the other side of this head stud forward on the top of the head towards the raised diamond shaped letter in the head casting. This fluid puddle will continue to grow over time and then run down the head to the head gasket seam. My guess on volume is maybe 1-2 teaspoons in 10-15 minutes of running.
On the left side of the block it is harder to identify exactly where the fluid is coming from due to external water jacket, carbs, etc. I do see 2-3 areas the appears the water is runnig down the side of the block to the head gasket seam. The worst of these (by volume) appears to go from the 8 o’clock position in the front freeze plug downways at a 45 angle to the head/block mating surface. I cannot define the exact crack path like the top of the head since gravity is working on the fluid before it forms large bubbles. I have not identified exactly where the other streams are coming from but have felt the bottom mating surfaces of the external water jacket ports and do not feel this is the source. The head gasket seam on the left side is wet almost the full length of the block. In the same 10-15 minute running time I guess there was 2-3 tablespoons of fluid loss on this side.
To tell you the truth I did not look at the fluid level in radiator after running the car nor look for any white substance in oil or valve cover area. Unfortunately I work about 3 hours away for the car during the week so won’t be back until Friday to check this.
The only other thought we had is to retorque the head bolts but I won’t think less than a half hour of total run time after installation would cause this much loosening.
As always and thoughts, questions or comments would be appreciated.