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So for the last few weeks, I have been working to replace my blown head gasket, I can finally declare triumph now: the car is back on road and accrued another 200+ miles on it, I felt it runs even smoother and the acceleration is more responsive, a result of re-adjusted valve clearance maybe?
Some of you may not have worked on head gasket before (it's the first time for me as well), so I figure I'd share some random thoughts here. Correct me if I am wrong;-)
First of all, what does a blown gasket look like? I am sure the blown can happen in millions of ways, but here it is what mine looks like:
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The circled part enlarged:

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There ought to have gasket material on the copper ring to seal the oil passage(?), but obviously, they are worn out.
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The bigger ring that seals the cylinder, however, I can't spot visual damage.

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When the head was taken out, the piston chambers were left with coolant, so there must still be leaking somewhere in the bigger ring above.

By the way, I have no ideas about the previous maintenance history, but this one does not look original at all;-)

Cheers!
 

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Yes, that head gasket was leaking in that area. The combustion part of the gasket look to be intact. Good work.
 

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"the piston chambers were left with coolant, so there must still be leaking somewhere in the bigger ring above. "

My guess would be just some residual coolant fell out of the head when you lifted it up and ran down into the cylinders.

I forgot the history of your problem. Where you experiencing an external oil leak at the back of the block?

Where you loosing a bit of coolant and/or seeing some bubbles in your coolant reserve tank? However, I don't see any traces extending from the combustion ring over into a coolant passage that would indicate such.
 

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All heads I've ever pulled make a mess when removed no matter how long you drained them lol. Coolant in the cylinder bore after removal is completely normal.
 

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And I dont see an obvious compression leak but it's strongly recommended to have the head machined and pressure checked by a machine shop as burned valves can cause compression loss as well. I'm not saying you had compression loss just describing scenarios.
 
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