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OK to re-use Head Gaskets???

1206 Views 11 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  RCastle
I've heard alot of debate about this, I always thought it was a major no-no, but there are people who insist on arguing and saying if I'm putting the same heads back on the same block and you have a metal gasket in good condition (cause that is my current situation) that you can do it.

I'm curious to see what alot of you have to say about this.
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You might be able to get away with, then you might not. Question is, why? Many many years ago when Henry Ford's model "A's" & "T's" were running the roads this was a common thing to do. With todays higher performance engines, it's penny wise and pound foolish IMO. Even though you will be going back with the same head on the same block, you can never get the gasket back in the very same position.

I do not think I would attempt that.If it is a racing motor,set up to come apart easily,yeah,using reuseable gaskets are ok.On a street motor,where there is considerable time to remove and install,set all adjustments,refill the cooling system,not to mention the wear on your back.The money saved just would not be reasonable.Just my opinion though.
Head Gaskets

Vince and RCastle are correct. I would not even think about it. For what gaskets cost I would not take the chance of having to tear it back down again. Racing engine's maybe, street engines no.

IMO, i would get new gaskets. We have re-used them on dyno tests but i have never done it on a engine that was run for any amount of time....

Some gaskets are re-usable and some aren't. For instance my Cometic head gaskets are re-usable but, that is stated by the manufacturer and they are ~$150 a set. Personally I wouldn't re-use most heads gaskets. I know people do, especially copper and steel shim gaskets. They hit them with copper-kote or similar gasket sealer and bolt it back together. Usually on race type engines.

NOW, Why would you want to try this anyways on a street engine? There is no real benefit and the few dollars you save can come back to haunt you. Is it worth saving ~$30-80 and have to tear it back down? How much did you actually save in the end? You save nothing and actually end up paying more because, now you have to buy the new head gaskets along with all the other gaskets (intake, etc..), new fluids, not to mention all the time and energy. It's just not worth the risk in my opinion.

One other point most/some people don't know. Heads and blocks don't just sit in one place. As they heat and cool the head and block moves quite a bit. Even more so if using aluminum heads. This means the head gasket does get some wear as well.
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I have always put a thin layer of grease on my head gaskets (both sides) before assembly. Never had any problems due to that and after three to four months I could still remove and re-use them without further problems. Usually I would do this twice before replacing it.
has the engine been run?

if it's just been assembled and taken back apart, go for it.
if it has been run, throw new ones on. unless you like changing head gaskets.
Yeah, the engine was run before... For a long time too, they're pretty old gaskets, but looked to be in good shape.

It's not my 383 I'm doing this on... I would never re-use a headgasket on that...

It's on my wifes truck, Chevy 350, and it's the metal type gasket.

I was only asking because I asked my father in law to go online and see if our auto parts store had them in stock and how much they were.

He started arguing about re-using them if they're metal. I have always thrown away ANY gasket that I pulled off of anything, so I was just wondering if maybe I was wasting alot of time and money by always going down and getting new gaskets.

Thanks alot guys.

Now I know not to do it, but it can be done in a pinch.

Good info to know.
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It's on my wifes truck,

Best to fix that right the first time.
If I work on my wifes van and it doesn't get fixed quick and correctly,whew I get that "eye".
screw the eye

i just dont want to jeapordize getting laid
At this time for me dinner is more important.But I know where you are coming from.Hahahaha
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