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Old 05-27-2010, 07:38 AM
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Aluminum heads leaking on 454

Ok, I thought I was going to be ok here but I've got a problem. I just put a new set of Edelbrock performer heads on my 454, used fel-pro gaskets and had no problems. I followed the torque specs and the directions that came with the heads and they said I would need to re-torque the heads in 2-3 hours of running time. They're leaking now and I probably only have 1 hr on them. My question is can I just re-torque the heads and have no problems or do I have to get new gaskets? I've never ran aluminum before so I'm not sure what to do, also I don't want to pull the motor if I don't have to. Please help.

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Old 05-27-2010, 07:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skidderking
My question is can I just re-torque the heads and have no problems or do I have to get new gaskets?
A couple questions:

Leaking from where TO where?

What p/n head gaskets did you use? Was the block resurfaced, or checked before hand?

If they're leaking compression between cylinders or from a combustion chamber into the cooling system, there's a chance the gasket will have been damaged by the flame cutting effect that can happen. The less time the engine ran w/this the better because an aluminum head will deteriorate quickly if exposed to this flame cutting.

If the leak is from a coolant passage, you may get by w/retorquing, and would be worth a try.

If you can, give some details of what's going on...
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Old 05-27-2010, 08:15 AM
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aluminum heads

Ok, the engine had cast iron on them for about 1000 miles but was resurfaced before that. I don't have the part no. of the gaskets I'll have to get them from my summit order. It looks like they're leaking from the back of the heads by the back and bottom of the block and head surface. I was just told that aluminum heads need special gaskets is that true, the summit tech guys never said anything to me when I purchased them? Thanks for the help by the way.
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Old 05-27-2010, 08:22 AM
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aluminum heads

Ok just found the part number for the head gaskets, Felpro-fpp1037 hope that helps.
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Old 05-27-2010, 09:17 AM
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That gasket is for a parallel flow block. If the block is a pre 1974 Mk IV, those gaskets might be a problem unless the block's cooling ports in the deck are altered to "parallel flow" by drilling two holes and opening a third up that's partially there already. But this wouldn't cause the gasket to leak. The leakage is a separate problem, but may have been a blessing in disguise.

Here's a photo (from HERE) that shows what that 1037 gasket looks like on a series flow block:



Here's what a series flow gasket looks like on a series flow block:

A gasket like the 1017 will work if the block is series, the 1037 will cause overheating if the block isn't parallel.

I'm guessing you're using bolts- did you use sealer on them to keep coolant from seeping out?
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Old 05-27-2010, 11:37 AM
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aluminum heads

Hello again, thanks for the pictures. The block is a 1975 passenger car Hi- Performance block. At least that's what's cast on the block. I ran the cast numbers and the information I got said it was out of a pick-up. And yes I chased the threads used sealer on the new ARP bolts. I think I'm going to try re-torquing the bolts but if it does need new gaskets what kind would you recommend? I've read that copper may be good? I just want to do what's right so I can drive this thing summer goes by to quick to be working on it all the time.
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Old 05-27-2010, 12:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skidderking
if it does need new gaskets what kind would you recommend?
Edelbrock recommends their p/n 7302 for oval port Performer heads.

Edelbrock gasket set part #7363 includes the intake, exhaust, head, waterneck, distributor and valve cover gaskets.

The Felpro p/n 1027 will work, too.
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Old 05-27-2010, 12:48 PM
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probably a moot point but did you use the ARP part number for the Edelbrock RPM heads? They're a different length than stock BBC head bolts.
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Old 05-27-2010, 06:23 PM
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aluminum heads

Thanks again for the help with the gaskets. I tried to re-torque the bolts but all it did was slow it down. I even re-torqued the intake, some of those bolts we're almost finger loose. I'm going to get those gaskets and try again. Engineczar, as far as the bolt question I ordered them with the heads and I thought they were edelbrock bolts( I was trying to stay with all Edelbrock parts). I did use the right bolts though, edelbrock instructions are pretty good. Just so I can try to stop this from happening again do you guys recommend using any kind of spray sealant on the gaskets? I've seen this copper spray gasket sealant for head gaskets made by permatex, any opinions?

Regardless of how this works out just want to say thanks to everybody for your knowledge here this is a great resource. Cobalt 327 you've helped me on more than one occasion, my hats off to you.
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Old 05-27-2010, 07:13 PM
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Thanks for those words. This has been one of "those" weeks (not so much here , I mean in the 'real' world) and I do appreciate it.

As to the sprays and all, I always do exactly as the gasket manufacturer instructs. Usually this means installing the gaskets dry w/no sealers.

Oh, and be sure your torque wrench isn't off calibration and is tightening as it should be. About the only way you can check it is against another one to see that they "agree" unless you have it professionally checked/calibrated.

HERE'S a WIKI article that may be of some use to you.
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Old 05-27-2010, 08:51 PM
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I'll add one tip to help you - Torque up the head bolts and then leave them alone overnight, don't fire the engine. Come back the next day and crack them loose and retorque them, one at a time following the torque sequence. You will find the bolts and gaskets "relax" a little after setting torqued up and the bolts will all turn an additional 1/16-1/8 turn each to reach full torque again.

Do a second retorque just to check things after an hour run time, don't wait for 200-300 miles to do it.
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Old 05-28-2010, 06:44 AM
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I'm kind of wondering if some relaxing of the bolts would even allow for leaking unless there was a bigger issue involved. If both surfaces were good you really don't need the 80 or so ft/lbs just to prevent coolant seepage. Before re-torqueing what would you say the torque is, 50, 60, 70 ft/lbs? That should be enough just to prevent seepage........unless there's something else going on. Are you sure the leak is at the gasket and not making its way from someplace else like the intake?
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Old 05-28-2010, 01:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by engineczar
I'm kind of wondering if some relaxing of the bolts would even allow for leaking unless there was a bigger issue involved. If both surfaces were good you really don't need the 80 or so ft/lbs just to prevent coolant seepage. Before re-torqueing what would you say the torque is, 50, 60, 70 ft/lbs? That should be enough just to prevent seepage........unless there's something else going on. Are you sure the leak is at the gasket and not making its way from someplace else like the intake?
I agree with this, I would definately regasket the intake before just pulling the heads, leaks at the corner water passages will run down and look very much like head gasket leaks.

You have already stated that the intake bolts were very loose when you checked them, so that would be the first place to look.

If you do have to get into the head gaskets, doing an overnight retorque is an insurance policy, the old boy that clue'd me to this I at first didn't believe him that the bolts would rotate further to reach torque the next day, but after trying it , it is always true, even with ARP hardware, I personally think it is the gasket settling and aluminum indenting at the fire ring far more than it is the bolts relaxing any.
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Old 05-28-2010, 02:32 PM
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Sounds like some good advice to at least try. I 'm pretty sure that the intake isn't leaking but it's pretty hard to see the back of it though. I will definately try to find it again. Anything is worth a try instead of pulling the heads. I'll let you fella's know how it turns out. My worry is if it's the head gaskets how do I stop it from happening again?
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Old 05-28-2010, 02:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skidderking
Sounds like some good advice to at least try. I 'm pretty sure that the intake isn't leaking but it's pretty hard to see the back of it though. I will definately try to find it again. Anything is worth a try instead of pulling the heads. I'll let you fella's know how it turns out. My worry is if it's the head gaskets how do I stop it from happening again?
After the gasket replacement, be sure the torque wrench has at least been checked against another one to verify it's correct.

If the heads and/or block have been excessively decked, there may be a mismatch at the head/intake that could allow both vacuum and water leaks very easily. Even if no milling were done, a leak here is fairly easy to have.

Intake gaskets that I install will get a small bead of sealer on both sides (head and intake) around the water ports- even though those gaskets often say to install dry, depending on the maker. Did you use anything to seal yours?

As far as a recurrence and how to prevent it, etc., worst case scenario is the block or heads are cracked.

Next would be that the block and/or heads would need to be milled flat. Or the intake manifold needing milled to correct for the block/heads being milled. But lets see what you have now before getting too far down that road.

Good luck!

Last edited by cobalt327; 05-29-2010 at 09:41 AM.
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