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Old 01-14-2004, 04:03 PM
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Clearance/head gasket questions

I searched through posts and the knowledge base but couldn't find the specific type of head gasket I'm looking for.

Here's the situation: I took my passenger side head off to try and repair the leak. There was coolant and oil leaking at idle on the passenger side at the back of the block. I couldn't tell where it was coming from. From underneath it was coming down on the starter (near the gear) and dripping on my headers. There are no heater hoses connected and it wasn't coming from the intake manifold.

Specs: 67 Camaro, engine from 74' bored .040 over rebuilt professionally 5000 miles ago, block was done at a machine shop. Edelbrock heads and intake.

I first thought head gasket, but it looked fine when the head came off. I sent the head to the mechanic and came back fine. Today I thoroughly cleaned head/block surfaces and laid the head on the block with no gasket to see if I could get a feeler gauge in between. I thought even though they check out ok individually with a straight edge, maybe there is enough variation to cause a leak. On the back exhaust side between the head and block, I could get a .017 feeler gauge between them but nowhere else on the head. I'm not sure if that is enough to cause the problem though. The mechanic says he's almost 100% sure the leak isn't coming from the block, he said the machine shop would have picked up a problem.

The head gasket that was originally used was a plain fel-pro. Does anyone have a recommendation of what type of head gasket to use? I've seen one of Two Guys Garage that had small beads of silicone already on the gasket for hard to seal engines but I'm not sure if this is appropriate. The Fel Pro site isn't much help, it just has alot of part numbers.

Sorry for the long post. Any help is appreciated.
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Old 01-14-2004, 04:07 PM
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.017 is a lot of gap between the head and the block. Are you sure the head was pushed all the way down on the dowel pins? If so, I'd take the head back to the machine shop and have them double ck it for flatness. If it is infact flat, then you will need to ck the deck for flatness too.

Mark
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Old 01-14-2004, 04:58 PM
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The head seemed to seat, I even used a plastic mallet to give a coule of whacks. I guess it could have been held up by a dowel pin.

I just read an article that stated there should be no more than .004 inch variation lengthwise, so if my clearance truly is .017 then that's the problem. I'm wondering now if the old head gasket would have shown any signs if there was a leak there.
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Old 01-14-2004, 05:51 PM
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I guess its possible that the head just decided to tweek one corner and start leaking? Has it been over heated recently?
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Old 01-14-2004, 07:34 PM
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No, it hasn't overheated. The only recent engine problem was replacing a few plugs that is due to the carb running too rich.
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Old 01-15-2004, 11:38 AM
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Spoke with a ROL rep and he recommended a graphite head gasket with "pozi-seal" (small silicone beads). He also said to order new head bolts as my problem to him sounded like a potential torque problem. Anyone use these gaskets or have anything positive or negative to say about them?

I did a search on "Rol" but the only thing that came up was 2 posts about Quench.
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Old 01-15-2004, 01:02 PM
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I like to use Fel-Pro 1010 head gaskets with aluminum heads. They do not mark the head and seal well.

Did it just start leaking out of the blue or has it always leaked? If the car is parked outside in sub-freezing temps, you might want to have the block checked for cracks (doubtful).

Did you re-torque the heads after a few heat cycles?

Did you use sealer on the head bolts?

If you didn't use thread sealer on the head bolts, this could very well be your problem.

When you set that head on did you torque it down and then check with the feeler gauge? If you did and had that much clearance there is a problem. If you didn't bolt it down I don't thiink it was fully seated.

Check to make sure your dowels are not too long and that the hole (that the dowel fits into) is deep enough or not clogged.

Royce
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Old 01-15-2004, 02:27 PM
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Royce, thx for all the suggestions.

To answer your questions;
Yes, the car just started leaking out of the blue. It was a little frustrating b/c I just finished fixing the other pesky leaks (power steering pump, shift shaft seal, speedo seal)

I did not retorque the heads since rebuild. The mechanic who did the rebuild did not mention this to me.

I'm not sure if he used sealer on the head bolts.

I also didn't torque the head down before I checked the gap, I merely wacked it with a plastic mallet.
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Old 01-15-2004, 05:28 PM
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Since you didn't over heat the engine and it just started leaking out of the blue. I would doubt the head is hurt. The 1010 gasket I mentioned has blue silicone embossed onto it (fel-pro perma-torque). I have run these and never had a problem. They do not "require" a retorque (still not a bad idea to double check). If the mechanic used a different type of gasket it may have required a re-torque. I don't know what he used so I can't say for sure. With aluminum heads it probably would have been a good idea to retorque the heads.

Make sure you use a good thread sealer, I prefer Permatex thread sealer (I wasn't thrilled with the ARP stuff). When you pulled the head off you should have seen evidence of thread sealer (in the threads or on the bolts) white substance. If you didn't I would bet he didn't use sealer, if this is the case you might want to check your other head as well. The bolts go directly into a water jacket, no sealer equals a leak. Check your oil and see if you have water in it. Pull the other valve cover and see if there are any droplets of water. If so pull the bolts, put sealer on them and reinstall them. If you change to a different type of gasket on the passenger side then you might as well pull the driver side head as well (you want to keep the compression the same on both banks). I hope this helps, let us know how it goes and what you find.

Oh yeah the old head gasket should have told a story (if it was the culprit).

Royce
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Old 01-30-2004, 08:45 AM
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I'm bumping this thread as I just spoke to a patient of mine about the leak (coolant from the rear passenger side of the block). He thought it might be coming from a freeze plug as he had the same problem before.

Is this a possibility? The freeze plugs were done at the machine shop, along with the cleaning, honing, and cam bearings about 3000 miles ago. The engine has not overheated.

Thx
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Old 01-30-2004, 09:02 AM
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I use ROL head gaskets exclusively. Never had a problem.

As long as the bolts are torqued in the proper stages and sequence, ROL does not recommend retorqueing after run in.

The graphite facing seals itself to the head and block during the initial startup/warmup. Retorque can disturb this seal.
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Old 01-30-2004, 09:06 AM
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I was about to say, the first thing i suspect when a leak arises in this area of the block is a freeze plug. I`ve seen many SBC`s leak in this area, and 97% of the time it was right after a rebuild. one case I seen it was a cracked bore in the number 6 cylinder, so check your bores very carefully while the head is off. I wouldn`t likely think the head stuck on a dowel pin, had this happened nothing on that side of the engine would have lined up in the rear, the valve train would have been out of line as would the headers and the intake.
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Old 01-30-2004, 10:56 AM
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to get the best compression for your motor i would eliminate the headgasket all together and use a little rtv
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Old 01-30-2004, 11:22 AM
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uh.... not
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Old 01-30-2004, 12:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by raisin dick
to get the best compression for your motor i would eliminate the headgasket all together and use a little rtv

Great, things were just getting back to normal, then up pops another numb nuts (troll) to add to my ignore list!

It's easy to do, just click on profile, then at the bottom of the page. Click on "add to my ignore list" No Problem!
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