Will Car Start With No Head Gasket?

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2017: Will Car Start With No Head Gasket?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Robert Brough on Friday, March 24, 2017 - 09:13 pm:

I know I should have one, so let's just skip that lecture. Got a 24 engine that I just want to know it runs before I do an entire breakdown. Two valves were stuck and I got them going. But, pulling the head shot the old gasket.
I've got one on order, but it will be a week that I hate to waste.

So, with battery charged, coils buzzing, spark plugs sparking and some sort of gas temporary connection to the carb, can I put the head gasket on with no gasket and tighten to 50 ft or so and at least see if the engine fires?

Or will I have not enough compression to get it going. Oil in, but no radiator, so any starts would be for seconds only.

Whatcha think?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Doug Keppler, Fredon NJ on Friday, March 24, 2017 - 09:18 pm:

that's crazy talk


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Fred Dimock, Newfields NH, USA on Friday, March 24, 2017 - 09:26 pm:

Crazy talk?

More than crazy talk!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By tommy kum on Friday, March 24, 2017 - 09:32 pm:

super crazy talk?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Rick J. Gunter -- Sparta, Missouri, USA on Friday, March 24, 2017 - 09:40 pm:

Aw, ya don't need no stinkin' head gasket. Just cook some mashed taters till they're all thick and sticky. Spread it on and dry with a hair dryer. Bolt'er down and turn the crank! And--don't need no radiator neither. Jus' hook up yer hoses to a 5 gallon tin can and put some water in it. After all, it's a Model T--ain't no Cadillac.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim Derocher on Friday, March 24, 2017 - 09:46 pm:

What ever gasket that was on there, in any shape would be better. Jim


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Norman T. Kling on Friday, March 24, 2017 - 09:56 pm:

You would have a very bad compression leak, and exhaust leak. The block and head would not hold water or coolant. You might possibly get it to start, but I don't think you would be able to tell much about the condition of the engine and if you ran it for more than a few seconds, you would cause overheating.

You live too far to get a used gasket from me, but I have quite a few used ones which might work for a short time. I still wouldn't trust one of them for any serious driving, but I think you need patience and wait for a new one to arrive.

Also, you can check the condition of the rods and crankshaft without running the engine. You can also check to see if the pistons rock back and forth side to side. If so, your pistons are too loose. If you have oily carbon deposits you very likely need rings. Anyway, there is a lot that you can check without running the engine.
Norm


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Terry Woods, Richmond, Texas on Friday, March 24, 2017 - 09:57 pm:

Or apply high temperature silicone with a putty knife; allow it to set up, and then give it your best shot. (Not guaranteeing anything).


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Robert Brough on Friday, March 24, 2017 - 10:03 pm:

Golllllly! I'll just wait for that Wells Fargo man to deeeeliver that slob of cork and do it up right!

preciate all the good 'ol fat chewing from the good 'ol forum members. Hated to take 'em away from their checkers game!

Wheee doggy!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Chadwick Azevedo on Friday, March 24, 2017 - 10:08 pm:

Didn't Dureya assemble their engines with no head gasket?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Duey_C on Friday, March 24, 2017 - 10:58 pm:

Yes it certainly will start and run if the cylinders can find a bit of compression. Maybe not pretty but it will. Or it should.
Even with out a head gasket. One does not need that much compression to light the fire repeatedly and run it like a champ.
I made the gasket on my '24 out of gasket material from the parts store about 20 years ago and it was good until 2015 when we pulled the head.

There was talk a hundred years ago about fitting your T head with out a gasket to raise the compression. It even went on to seek out an earlier low head for more...
You scrape and smooth the two surfaces to fit each other. True.
Heck, some steam engine men went so far as trying steam traction cylinders without piston rings. Very true. The piston and cylinder warm up and the clearance would be virtually the same as if with rings. True.
Bob, if your engine is ready. Try it.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Seth in Alabama on Friday, March 24, 2017 - 11:21 pm:

Do you have any copper gasket spray? I bet if you sprayed the head with that it'll run pretty decently without a gasket.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Charlie B actually in Toms River N.J. on Friday, March 24, 2017 - 11:33 pm:

I give him credit for at least having the sense to ask first....Speaking of which that's the first time I've ever heard of that being brought up. Even here. As stated it will tell you absolutely nothing Bob even if it somehow did run which I seriously doubt. You had stuck valves which might have been freed up by working on them through the valve cover and once operating a compression test would have been possible which is a strong indicator of the engines condition. All moot now as the heads off. Can't believe how many guys here do exactly the same thing. "It ran yesterday...I wonder what shape the engine is in...ect". Pull the head. Wrong. Compression test first. Always!!!!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Wayne Sheldon, Grass Valley, CA on Saturday, March 25, 2017 - 12:35 am:

A word of caution. Probably not a problem, but could be.
If either or both the block and/or head have been milled, for any reason at any time in the past. Without the thickness of the head gasket, you add a risk of pistons or valves hitting the head if started and ran.
As long as that does not occur, and provided both head and block are not really bad, yes, they can be run without a gasket, a little sealant should help. Even at that, I would expect cooling problems to develop fairly soon.

Yes, many cars in history have been designed and run without a gasket. Most early cars did not have removable heads to begin with. A few early ones did and some early attempts did run without gaskets, at least as we think of them.
In my feeble memory, I seem to recall Bugatti on a few cars or some engines were run without a head gasket. I read it somewhere, it must be true! But check it out for yourself if you want to be sure.
Post WWII, and of little interest to me, I understand that some Ferrari cars are designed to not have a head gasket. On their high compression, and high speed, engines, the fit of the head without a gasket has to be perfect.

Good question actually.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Duey_C on Saturday, March 25, 2017 - 01:28 am:

I'll forego my original response for this.
I'm impinging on copyrights bad as I push these keys.

The Ford Speedster

no gasket


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Brent C Leblanc on Saturday, March 25, 2017 - 04:32 am:

Air-cooled Vw's don't use a head gasket


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Constantine on Saturday, March 25, 2017 - 05:31 am:

"Australian overlander Francis Birtles had been working on his car's engine in appalling sandstorm conditions. Reassembling the engine he had to use his last spare head gasket. At sunrise I cranked up once more - and heard a swish of water sounding in the sump. The gasket had blown again!' Two spare gaskets were following by post but they did not catch up with him for months. Using shellac to repair the damaged gasket didn't work. A gasket cut from the heavy sailcloth hood blew out before he had gone a hundred yards. He tried again, cutting up a leather suitcase, but there was another blowout before he had gone a quarter of a mile.

Eventually I cut up a fibrolite suit-case to get another gasket. I soaked it in hot oil, and I smeared a tin of apple jelly over the head and block in the hope of making all secure. After screwing the head back into place I put the last of the water into the radiator - keeping back only sufficient for a quart-pot of tea.

This makeshift repair lasted for several thousand miles of careful driving. But, trying to escape a bushfire, the car had to be driven harder and 'there was a spurt of water from the radiator cap and a horrible rattle from, the engine'. A piston had been smashed, the connecting rod bent and the gudgeon pin scored the cylinder walls.

Although he had spares, the wet season was coming, and without a new gasket Birtles doubted repairs would be effective. Leaving the car on high ground a group of aboriginals helped him move his gear to a cave in some hilly country where he camped for three months. His mail - including the two spare gaskets - arrived at the end of the wet season.

'I went back to the car and overhauled it. The magneto was shorted, the battery was flat, everything rusty, and grass ten feet high covered all. It took me a couple of weeks to get it in going order. I lived on young sand palm tops and black bream from the creek.'

The purpose of this trip was to explore for gold, but Birtles was not successful and he decided to head back to Melbourne, travelling on three cylinders.

There was no compression in number one, water and grit having cut out the white-metal connecting-rod bearings. It took me six months to travel two thousand miles, then one day, while going down a steep grade in desert country, the gasket blew again. Water jammed on the compression stroke and a big piece blew out of the wall of number three cylinder.

In a howling sand-storm I walked to the railway. I camped there and, after a few weeks of waiting, managed to get an old model T Ford engine. I bolted this to the chassis and threw the other engine away. This carried me back to Melbourne."


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Constantine on Saturday, March 25, 2017 - 05:55 am:

By the way, the old suitcase trick mentioned above only works when combined with apple jelly as described. And must be Aussie made apple jelly.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dan Hatch on Saturday, March 25, 2017 - 06:55 am:

Robert: I have head gaskets in stock. Dan


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By James G Fisher III Peachtree City, GA on Saturday, March 25, 2017 - 06:59 am:

Ive done it on an old tractor engine using cereal box cardboard. Wouldnt drive to far but it works.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Pat Clark-Deer Lodge, Tn on Saturday, March 25, 2017 - 07:07 am:

I grew up making many head gaskets from sears & wards catalog covers. I never had a leaker! I still find single layer cardboard to make gaskets. Hell that's all they are anyways, higher compression motors have a metal ring added to them.

Pat


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Herb Iffrig on Saturday, March 25, 2017 - 07:33 am:

One solution can be found here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ae4NDjHr4Y


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By tommy coffey on Saturday, March 25, 2017 - 07:56 am:

I've never tried running an engine without a head gasket, but I have reused head gaskets by smearing grease on them.
Not that we would ever need it on a Model T, with head gaskets being easy to get, but on other engines, FelPro # 2499 is available at NAPA stores and is 12" x 28" head gasket material. I don't know how one would cut the necessary holes, but it could be done.
Also, in the early to mid seventies Mark Donohue drove a car sponsored by Permatex and they advertised that the only gaskets, not made from Permatex , on the whole car were the head gaskets. The car was an AMC product, Matador I believe. Just some gasket related trivia.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By John Warren on Saturday, March 25, 2017 - 08:25 am:

Thanks Herb, I am still laughing, I use to watch
Green Acres and loved it, It is amazing what comes out of the wood work over the discussion of a head gasket. Constantine, Where is the rest of that story WOW. Thanks Robert, If you must try it,spray the block and head with a metal base paint like silver,gold,copper,or my favorite cold galvanize spray, let them mostly dry then bolt the head on. This is what I use to seal my head gaskets. I have re-used many head gaskets this way. Desperate times calls for desperate measures. :-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim Eubanks, Powell, TN on Saturday, March 25, 2017 - 09:07 am:

There was a Indy car that ran with out gaskets, believe it was the Bowles Seal Fast Special.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By bob middleton on Saturday, March 25, 2017 - 11:21 am:

Get home one time with a badly blown gasket we removed the head and used gasket maker and rebooted the head what a mess but no stinker trailer
Last resort


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Robert Brough on Saturday, March 25, 2017 - 11:25 am:

I'm driving over to AL this afternoon to get one and the one I have on order will be in stock for next project.

So a gasket it is. Cleaning up threads for head bolts while I'm waiting.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Charlie B actually in Toms River N.J. on Saturday, March 25, 2017 - 11:28 am:

Agreed that a removed/re-used gasket is better than none. Can't believe that some guys are suggesting that no gasket would work because he'll probably do more damage trying it and it will tell him absolutely nothing as to engine condition. If he had asked just a bit sooner he might have taken the correct advice which is get the valves moving thru the valve cover and take a compression test.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Charlie B actually in Toms River N.J. on Saturday, March 25, 2017 - 12:47 pm:

Further more I submit this: While I'm not knocking Robert's post/question I do question his diagnostic/mechanical abilities simply because of the question he asked. It brings up a few "supposins". For instance: suppose he doesn't know about cleaning out the head bolt holes and re-installs the head without the gasket and tears out a few head bolt threads because the bolts are bottoming out without the added space taken up by the gasket? Suppose he adds coolant and it fills or is blown into a cylinder and ruins what might be a perfectly good rod by bending it should it start? Or blowing compression into the coolant system and possibly ruining a good radiator? Guys there's nothing good about trying this. Period. He could do some real damage plus it isn't necessary plus you'll find out nothing. Please guys don't give a person advice about trying something you might never do to your own car because it's not helping the guy.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Constantine on Saturday, March 25, 2017 - 01:48 pm:



John, from this must read book:



A rare and expensive book, but these libraries have a copy:

http://www.worldcat.org/title/battle-fronts-of-outback/oclc/14576386


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Doug Keppler, Fredon NJ on Saturday, March 25, 2017 - 01:54 pm:

Charlie, AMEN!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ken Todd, ............Red Deer, Alberta on Sunday, March 26, 2017 - 11:39 am:

Don't discount running w/out a head gasket. Back in '56 a friend worked for a Dodge dealer, a customer came back w/his new Dodge car and complained it wasn't running properly. Upon examination they found that the LH head gasket was missing. On the then new V-8s they were using a pressed steel head gasket. But this one had been assembled, test run, shipped to the dealer, sold and driven for a while before it was discovered that one gasket was missing.
Anyone else remember them pressed steel head gaskets? Just a sheet of thin steel w/raised parts pressed in for sealing.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Robert Brough on Sunday, March 26, 2017 - 02:33 pm:

So, perhaps a more appropriate response to the initial question would be to suggest that if the no head gasket method were to be tried, some precautions should be observed about the bolt length, thread stripping, etc.

But the crazy talke responses were cute.

I consider the source.

Oh, by the way . . . we got it started this morning. Drove to AL and picked up a head gasket from Dan Hatch and welded nut to our two broken bolts and cleaned up all threads and blew out all holes torqued down in the proper sequence to 45 to start and when we get radiator and hoses running, we'll take it up to temp and tighten to 50 and go from there.

Thanks to all for all the great help. And, the entertainment.


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