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Old 12-07-2012, 03:12 PM
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how do you pick header gaskets for SBC

I have a motor i built with doug thorley tri-y headers (vortec edelbrock e-tec aluminum heads) and the gaskets that the thorley's came with are already blown? Not even broken in yet. there is no noted torque spec. on the header paperwork. Does anybody have a gasket they can recommend? This build has been going on for far too long!! I would love to be done with it. It is in a 96 chevy express hi top conversion van.
thanks,
Chuck

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Old 12-07-2012, 05:18 PM
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FWIW,
I have some Thorley 375y's, and Edelbrock RPM heads that I plan on using Felpro 1406 gaskets. They seem to be a decent fit and finish to me, although I can't say from experience.
ssmonty
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Old 12-07-2012, 05:52 PM
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The trick with any header gaskets is to keep the bolts tight. They get blown out when they get loose....Keep checking them every day for a while after installing them
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Old 12-07-2012, 06:00 PM
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I like copper with stage8 bolts/locks
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Old 12-07-2012, 06:17 PM
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what poncho said. you can buy gaskets from copper and composite both work well if bolts are kept tight. make sure your flanges are straight. Also make sure the exhaust system is properly slung and not putting stress on headers.
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Old 12-08-2012, 06:48 AM
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I have locking header bolts. i will try to find a copper set. Any brand better than the rest?
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Old 12-08-2012, 12:04 PM
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how do you pick header gaskets for SBC

Looking at the E-tec head it has standard size exhaust ports. Edelbrock recommends 1.500 x 1.500 square port gaskets. They are composite with steel core. Edelbrock Replacement Gaskets for Edelbrock Headers 7204 - SummitRacing.com. Percy's has header gaskets made from multi-layered "dead soft" aluminum. They're virtually blowout and burnout-proof and totally reusable. Percy's Seal-4-Good Header Gaskets 66012 - SummitRacing.com Check your headers to make sure the exhaust ports line up.
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Old 12-08-2012, 03:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chucksrt View Post
I have a motor i built with doug thorley tri-y headers (vortec edelbrock e-tec aluminum heads) and the gaskets that the thorley's came with are already blown? Not even broken in yet. there is no noted torque spec. on the header paperwork. Does anybody have a gasket they can recommend? This build has been going on for far too long!! I would love to be done with it. It is in a 96 chevy express hi top conversion van.
thanks,
Chuck
These guys are pricey but really, really work. GM (Buick, Cad., Chev., Geo, Olds., Pontiac) - Remflex Exhaust Header / Manifold Gasket - Gaskets

Bogie
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Old 12-08-2012, 04:33 PM
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Thanks for all of the help guys! I ordered the remflex gaskets. I hope to be able to set it and forget it!!

I bought a set of proform steel roller tip rockers and I had pretty bad valvetrain noise (they were all adjusted properly) and then one decided it wanted a to take a break and cracked in half. so I ordered a replacement and found that others do not sound that good either. Now I was forced to buy another set of rockers but I went with comp cams (cost more but but should be manufactured to a higher standard I hope!!). I don't think it is worth it to try to save a buck when your building an engine! I only ever get this van running long enough to find more problems!! Most of which were due to manufacturing. I can't believe how many bad parts I got while building this.

Sorry for the rant I just was thinking about how I even got to hear the exhaust leak in the first place.
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Old 12-08-2012, 04:44 PM
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Keeping the bolts tight is the major thing.

If/when the gaskets take another dump, try a set of the foil backed composite gaskets that come in most rebuild gasket sets, if they'll fit your ports- they will work as good as most any more expensive composite gasket if the bolts are kept tight.

Regardless of what gasket you use, trim the ID to fit the largest port, be it the header or the head port so there's no overhang into the port. After trimming, start all the bolts and just drop the gaskets into place. Other header gaskets can have the bolt holes slotted in the same way for easier installation.


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Old 12-08-2012, 04:52 PM
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A buddy of mine just mentioned the same gaskets. I will most likely pick up a set to have as a spare.
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Old 12-08-2012, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by chucksrt View Post
Thanks for all of the help guys! I ordered the remflex gaskets. I hope to be able to set it and forget it!!

I bought a set of proform steel roller tip rockers and I had pretty bad valvetrain noise (they were all adjusted properly) and then one decided it wanted a to take a break and cracked in half. so I ordered a replacement and found that others do not sound that good either. Now I was forced to buy another set of rockers but I went with comp cams (cost more but but should be manufactured to a higher standard I hope!!). I don't think it is worth it to try to save a buck when your building an engine! I only ever get this van running long enough to find more problems!! Most of which were due to manufacturing. I can't believe how many bad parts I got while building this.

Sorry for the rant I just was thinking about how I even got to hear the exhaust leak in the first place.
You can't set headers and forget them; headers are thermally unstable, also, subject to the effects of engine and chassis movement. The latter is a reason that header systems on the OEMs often include a flex coupling.

Preventative maintenance requires retorqueing their fasteners and or using locking devices. This settles down as they age which tells you that a lot of the problem is internal stress from their fabrication process that the heating and cooling cycles of use eventually works out. The super duty gaskets are there only to prevent gasket burn out when you get behind in your retorqueing schedule. This never totally goes away but it settles down a lot probably to the point you'll forget to make perodic checks and adjustments till you hear them leaking again.

Bogie
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Old 12-08-2012, 05:40 PM
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how often would you recommend checking them?
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Old 12-08-2012, 05:47 PM
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I would do it every time the engine is run, at least for the first few times. No longer than every three or four times the engine heat cycles. Check and tighten cold.
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Old 12-08-2012, 06:38 PM
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I tried about every gasket known when I first started my current car. Most lasted a day or so..... maybe 100 miles. I even tried the aluminum ones suggested....they are still too hard.

Even the composit style failed as the bolts would never stay tight very long.

I finally got a set of solid copper ones with the embossed o-ring. It took a number of startup and cool downs to stabilize them but they now have well over 20k miles on them. The bolts stay reasonably tight. I do keep after them however. The collector gaskets are the only problem now and that is only because I have opened the pipes up a number of times to replace the starter and once to replace an oil filter.

I have had the main header gaskets off but I anneal them each time I do. Gradually the embossed o-ring will flatten out so you need to replace them if you keep removing them. Do not mix them up side for side or in and out.

I use SS bolts on the heads with lots of never-seize and standard gr 8 bolts ont he collectors ...again with never-seize. I don't like using the SS bolts but rust is more of a problem than strength.

It is a muct to have the gasket surface on the headers flat. I carefully filed mine as I did not have a large enough belt sander to do the job. I took a while and a new sharp file but it was worth it.

I have seen a stack of bellville washers under the bolt heads used as a spring but I have not tried this. I think the heat would get to the washers after a while. The idea here is to get a little compliance in the bolt tension to allow for the expansion and contraction of the bolt and head. You have to hold the bolt from turning however.
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