Head gaskets

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2014: Head gaskets
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim Hycner on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - 07:29 pm:

I need to replace the head gasket on my engine and
looking for some advice. Do I go with the original copper style which I have have used on my other engine or the new modern steel silicone style.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Seth from NC on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - 07:33 pm:

Copper with copper spray!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Gregush Portland Oregon on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - 07:42 pm:

Stock engine, copper. 45-50 lbs torque on the bolts. I spray one side with copper spray and grease the other. Make sure you put it on the correct way, the water passages at the ends of the block are different sizes.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tim Wrenn on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - 07:50 pm:

I learned the hard way to agree with Seth. Copper only! Take Mark's advice too, but I also learned that you're supposed to put the "right rear" bolt through first, when standing at the front, facing the drivers side...this helps line the thing up correctly. Didn't do that once, twice, leaked both times.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Seth from NC on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - 08:44 pm:

Y'all grease one side? Which side?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Erich Bruckner, Vancouver, WA on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - 08:48 pm:

Copper with several coats of copper spray on both sides, save grease for the rest of the car.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ted Dumas on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - 08:56 pm:

Copper, plain and dry. No headgasket problems since 1957.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Erich Bruckner, Vancouver, WA on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - 09:07 pm:

Forgot the usual info about being sure the bolt holes are very clean and threads chased, bolts not stretched or damaged, torque to 50 ft lbs (criss cross pattern in several stages), run it to operating temp, let cool, re-torque to 50. enjoy it.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kerry van Ekeren (Australia) on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - 09:19 pm:

Sorry Erich, cast iron is re-torque at operating temp, aluminium is re-torque after cooling.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Gene Carrothers Huntington Beach on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - 09:37 pm:

I've always used the copper style with spray coating on both sides. Torque and recheck it a few times after driving.
I've reused the same gasket several times when in good shape, so never had a leak.
YMMV


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Norman T. Kling on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - 10:00 pm:

A good idea is to use new bolts. The head should be installed without any gasket and the bolts turned until they stop. Don't torque at this time. If any bolt does not touch the head when tightened down, grind off enough to make it go in all the way. Then grind the others the same amount. Now you are ready to remove the head and install the gasket and torque the bolts using the sequence shown in the instruction manual.

After you warm up the engine turn it off and if you have a cast iron head, re-torque the bolts. If you have an aluminum head let the engine cool off and then torque. Drive a short distance and re-torque the head again. After about 3 torque checks, you will notice that the bolts do not need to be turned down any more. Leave it alone and drive it. Have fun!

Norm


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Gary London, Camarillo, CA on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - 12:32 am:

Jim;

You need to chase the threads in the block with a bottoming tap, not a regular one. Run a scribe or wire or something in each hole and loosen the junk on the bottom, blow it out, chase the threads. I use a regular tap followed by a bottoming tap. Clean the crap out of the bottom of the holes again. Do this before you put the bolts in the holes to test their fit.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce in Dallas TX on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - 06:57 am:

I remember Bud Scudder telling me that you could use grease on head gaskets when we were getting his old rusty '17 touring ready for the Texas T Party in Kerrville. I was thinking Hmmm not what I would do......

His head gasket blew on the second day of the tour.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim Patrick on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - 07:57 am:

Be sure to blow out the bolt holes with high pressure air to get everything out of the bottom of the holes. May need to use an ice pick or some sort of strong thin sharp probe and a small hammer to tightly tap it with, to dislodge and scrape out the years of compacted crud stuck in the bottom of the holes, then blow them out with a thin stream of high pressure air.

Use the copper spray on both sides of the copper gasket. In my 44 years of mechanicing, I've never heard of using grease on any head gasket or any gasket, for that matter. I assume it is meant to allow one to easily remove the pricey head gasket so that one can clean off the grease and re-use the gasket, but it also makes it easier for the gasket to lose it's seal and suffer a blowby by hot high pressure gasses from one of the cylinders that could introduce gasses into the water jacket and water into the cylinders and crankcase, which could result in much more expense than the savings incurred by reusing the head gasket.

Here are a couple of bolt order sequences. The first chart is Ford's Model T recommendations, the second photo is courtesy of our own, well respected, Dave Huson. Both orders will be suitable. The idea is to vary the sequence from the center outward to the edges, so that one end is not tightened down tightly leaving the other end loose. A good way to crack your head. It is also a good idea to tighten the bolts in several steps and not torque each one down all the way at first. Tighten all of them a little at a time, using one of the sequences then go back again, then again until all are torqued down to 50 lbs. After running your engine for the first time up to operating temperature, let it cool, then re-torque to 50 lbs. again. Do not tighten while hot, as everything is expanded from the heat and torques will not be the same upon cooling. Jim Patrick




Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim Patrick on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - 08:04 am:

PS. prior to blowing out the dislodged crud in the bottom of the holes, be sure and stuff old rags in each cylinder to prevent the hard rust and crud from going down into the cylinders and getting stuck behind the rings. This could play havok on the walls of your cylinders if allowed to remain. Just in case, when you are done blowing out the holes, remove the rags and, using the same high pressure air nozzle, blow out around each cylinder ring to be sure no debris got past the rags.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Strange on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - 08:20 am:

And wear eye protection to keep rust and crud out of your eyes!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim Patrick on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - 09:03 am:

PPS. Remove only one rag at a time to blow out the cylinders and replace the rags in the cleaned cylinders prior to blowing out the next one. That way, the debris from one cylinder will not fly into a cleaned cylinder. And be sure to remove all rags prior to replacing the head. Believe it or not, it has happened, not only in Model T's but in surgery prior to closing the patient... and ditto on Marks' suggestion to use eye PPE. Jim Patrick


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Donald G Victory on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - 09:47 am:

Thanks Jim (Patrick), I am about to put my 1926 engine back together, and do appreciate the advice on the head gasket/head bolt info, and Mark for the eye protection. Do any of you have problems getting torque wrench on the back bolt head (5 or 15 in photos). With my normal socket on my torque wrench, there is not enough room with the engine in the car.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By John Zibell on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - 09:56 am:

Donald,

I use an universal socket, but a plain universal between the socket and extension will work as well. The universal will not change the torque value.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim Patrick on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - 10:18 am:

Donald, Before assembling your engine, please review the below 2 older threads detailing a procedure I found for installing gaskets that will make your engine virtually leakfree. It is more time consuming, but well worth it. I used this procedure in 2010 when assembling my 1926 engine and 4 years later, believe it or not, the floor of my garage is still clean.

www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/257047/291302.html
www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/257047/313252.html

Jim Patrick


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Donnie Brown on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - 10:33 am:

I do all the cleanup info from above, chase the threads with a bottom tap, The bolts should run with your fingers all the way down. Do not cut off any bolts unless you absolutely have to. You need all the thread you can get. If they will snug up on the head with no gasket in place they are OK. The gasket will give you the needed clearance on the bolt ends. I also always use anti-seize on the bolts when doing final assembly. Anti-seize does not change the torque values, It is not a lubricant. I also re-torque after cooling off. I have not heard of the difference between cast iron or aluminum being different. I am not saying it is not but I have never heard of it. The ways I do it is the techniques we use in the Nuclear Plants I have worked in for years. I always thought if it was correct for a Nuclear Power Plant it should be correct for a Model T. I also use Copper gasket with spray copper coat on both sides. Never had a leaker yet.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Adam Doleshal on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - 11:12 am:

I've used copper head gaskets dry with nothing on them. I used copper spray for a while, then quit doing that the first time I had to take one off. Then I was using copper with grease for a while. There was a point where I used steel gaskets maybe 4 times. I'm pretty sure I didn't put anything on them. Then a friend of mine started making the graphite head gasket and one of his first samples was installed on my touring car about 9 years ago. That gasket has probably about 20,000 miles on it and is just fine (car has a Waukesha head too). I started using the graphite gaskets when copper prices increased sharply and have installed about 25 of those gaskets.

I have NEVER had a head gasket problem.

Of course, your head and block have to be FLAT.

If there is something else wrong that would prevent a head gasket from doing its job properly, yes, you may have a head gasket failure. Warped head or block, dirt in bolt holes, corrosion or un-even-ness around water passages, head bolts that are too long, head bolts that are too soft, overheating, and even certain ignition or carburetor/intake issues can all cause an apparent "head gasket failure".

My opinion is that just about any T head gasket on the market will work just fine, so long as you don't screw up installing it and don't have "other" issues that cause it to fail.

I'm pretty sure that "what head gasket should I use?" is like asking "what color should I paint my house?"


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Gregush Portland Oregon on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - 11:34 am:

I have put used copper head gaskets from other engines on Nellybell, those I did put a coat of copper spray on, so far so good. With a new gasket if I do put grease on one side it's the block side so I can take the head and gasket off.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim Patrick on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - 11:36 am:

Adam, I applaud you. You obviously have much experience and knowledge of Model Ts and make sure that any job you do is done right, however most people are not as meticulous as you are, so, yours is the exception and not the rule.

A better example of your last analogous question would be "what type of paint should I paint my house with". Now there is where the differences come in and where the opinions of those with experience and knowledge will make a big difference between whether your paint job lasts for 30 months or for 30 years.

You say "Of course your head and block have to be FLAT". Now there's the kicker, for the majority of 87 to 100 year old heads and blocks out there are not perfectly flat. Copper gaskets excel over other gaskets because they will provide a good seal on engines which are not perfectly flat and the copper spray on both sides just ensures that all the voids in an untrue or rust or heat pitted mating surface of a typical model T engine are sealed. Jim Patrick


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ted Dumas on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - 12:14 pm:

Jim,

Do you mean your head gasket replacement will last longer if you do the surface preparation correctly?

Ted


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Anthonie Boer on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - 12:28 pm:

Donald G : I use a [rebuild] socket for the torque wrench for the [5 or 15 bolt]
Toon
1070R
1072R


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim Patrick on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - 01:36 pm:

Hi Ted. I'm not sure of what you mean but anything should last longer if it is done correctly as opposed to being done incorrectly.

If:
1. The mating surfaces of the head and block are relatively flat and not pitted too badly,
2. The surfaces are cleaned with solvent of all dirt, grease, old gasket material and carbon,
3. Aerosol Permatex or KW copper gasket is sprayed on both sides of a copper gasket,
4. The gasket is applied correctly to the block,
5. The head is installed with the proper bolts in cleaned out holes,
6. The bolts are torqued down as explained in the above posts...

I see no reason why it should ever fail.

Jim Patrick


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dave Huson, Berthoud, Co. on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - 01:44 pm:

Jim Hycner:

Norman Kling is correct. but your head on WITHOUT a headgasket. If even one bolt does not go all the way down and you have cleaned your bolt holes then grind the end off until it does. NOTE if Is grind one off I usually grind then all off so I won't get them mixed up some day.

One possible source for head gaskets. I get mine from Ford-N-More. I believe their top of the line gaskets have Kevlar. Their phone number is 800-327-1469. I believe that they are one of the most knowledgeable venders that there is.

picture


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dave Huson, Berthoud, Co. on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - 01:44 pm:

Jim Hycner:

Norman Kling is correct. but your head on WITHOUT a headgasket. If even one bolt does not go all the way down and you have cleaned your bolt holes then grind the end off until it does. NOTE if Is grind one off I usually grind then all off so I won't get them mixed up some day.

One possible source for head gaskets. I get mine from Ford-N-More. I believe their top of the line gaskets have Kevlar. Their phone number is 800-327-1469. I believe that they are one of the most knowledgeable venders that there is.

picture


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mike Zahorik on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - 01:44 pm:

I have also used the graphite head gasket that Kevin is making. I've had the same gasket on my engine for nearly 10K miles with no problems. When I used a copper gasket I had some water leakage issues near the back water passage. With the graphite gasket there is no problem. My 2.

Mike


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dave Huson, Berthoud, Co. on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - 01:49 pm:

I forgot to say that if you are having problems tightening the two back head bolts, use a crows foot on your wrench.
picture


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dave Huson, Berthoud, Co. on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - 01:51 pm:

I forgot to say that if you are having problems tightening the two back head bolts, use a crows foot on your wrench.
picture


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim Patrick on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - 01:53 pm:

On many blocks the space between the water jacket holes on each end of the block and the block exterior is very thin, especially if the interior of the water jacket has badly rusted and deeply pitted over the years and, in many cases, has pitted the surface to the exterior of the block. In these cases, about the only thing to do is to have the block and head re-surfaced, because the imperfections are too great to be properly sealed with gasket and gasket sealer. Jim Patrick


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Carl Klem on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - 08:44 pm:

How timely this thread is. I had a very minor haed gasket leak that has been bothering me, so on Monday I took the head off, and I am putting all of your good advise to use. I do have one contribution to make, that you can see in my picture here
tapeonhead
I used masking tape to cover every opening during the thread chasing operation. Worked 4 me :-)
Oh, the leak was caused by the old gasket getting the large style manifold gasket hung up under it (for who knows how long).


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim Patrick on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - 08:49 pm:

Better than rags Carl. Good suggestion!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Carl Klem on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - 09:16 pm:

Oh, it pulled off in one swipe like a bandaid!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Les VonNordheim on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - 09:19 pm:

Providing the block is flat....I have used JB weld to fill pits and imperfections that could cause a gasket to not seal properly. I used a flat file and sand paper to sand flush the JB weld. Some may consider this a "Patch"....however, it has worked for me. Saved from pulling a good running engine apart to have it decked.
Sometimes, due to the depth of rust pits, there is no-longer enough material left to remove surface defects. Also, excessive decking can cause clearance problems.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By lorenzo leon on Thursday, February 13, 2014 - 07:39 am:

Does the gasket have a top side or any side up??


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Roger Karlsson, southern Sweden on Thursday, February 13, 2014 - 07:43 am:

The front and rear water passages are of different size and shape. The head gasket upside down is an invitation to Mr Leak big time ;)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim Eubanks, Powell, TN on Thursday, February 13, 2014 - 08:18 am:

I use the Ford spark plug wrench to tighten the heads on my T's. I think Ford engineered that wrench the right length. Never had a head gasket to leak, of course I use copper coat on both sides of the gasket and let all set for a day after tightening. I am running Z heads on everything and like I said, no leaks and lots of miles.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ed in California on Thursday, February 13, 2014 - 08:22 am:

I have used JB weld on imperfections or pits on the block surface with no issues. For really rough decks that are not flat, you can use a fine coating of Permatex aviation sealer on the surface to provide a solid seal along with a copper clad gasket.


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