Replace head gasket? - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old Jan 9th, 05, 11:46 AM Thread Starter
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Kevin
 
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Location: Kansas
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Hello all - I have looked through the archives but nothing addresses my specific situation.

I just rebuilt my original 350. Due to the fact that it is the numbers matching engine I did not have the block decked as it did not need it. Also, did not shave the heads. I spent a lot of time cleaning and prepping and smoothing the headi surface using an air tool with with a mildly abrasive pad to make sure I got all of the materials off of the block.

The pistons were 40 in the hole so I used a steel shim head gasket to up the compression a little. I had the motor running on the stand to make sure everything ran correctly prior to painting and putting in my car.

After letting it sit awhile I am noticing what appears to be some seepage between the head and block, right between each cylinder but not necessarily directly under the cylinder.

One important note. It is ONLY occuring on the passenger side. Also, on this same side I attempted to set the valves while running so things got REAL messy. But, again, I cleaned it VERY well with brake cleaner and wax and grease remover several times afterward. But, it still appears to be seeping.

Within the next week or so I will be taking it to the body shop to have painted and I want to be sure all issues are dealt with prior to this.

My question: Should I pull the heads and replace with composition gaskets and ditch the steel ones? I am not to excited about pulling it apart but now is the time if I am going to. Any thoughts? Thanks in advance. The advice I have received from this site has ALWAYS been RIGHT ON.

1968 SS 350 Camaro, 4-speed, California car, restoration complete. Brought back to life after almost 27 years of silence!

Built: 3rd week of July, 1968
Silenced: 12/12/1978
Resurrected: 05/01/2005
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old Jan 9th, 05, 04:27 PM
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IMHO heads should be milled before putting them back on. It's typical for a stock head with several thousand miles on it to be more than 0.010 out from heat warpage and corrosion around the water passages. You want your head to be less than 0.003" - especially with a steel shim gasket.

Dave
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68 Coupe, 350 w/ Edelbrock Performer RPM heads, cam, intake, 700R4, Dave's small body HEI
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old Jan 10th, 05, 02:47 AM
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Bill
 
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68,
What exactly is seeping ? Oil ? Water ? If it is oil, I would bet it is coming from the valve covers and running down. If it is coolant, then it is probably the head gasket.
Have you tried retorquing the head bolts ... its usually a good idea with steel shim gaskets. Try loosening one bolt at a time in the proper torque sequence and re-tightening it to the correct torque all in one pull. Do that for all the bolts and see what happens. If you want to see if it is doing any good, mark each bolt with a dot of white out before you loosen it and see how far it turns when you retorque it.
By the way ... personally I think it is much more accurate to adjust the valves with the engine NOT running.

Bill Koustenis
Owner
Advanced Automotive Machine
Waldorf Md
1971 Chevelle "Heavy Chevy" original owner


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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old Jan 10th, 05, 04:47 AM Thread Starter
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Kevin
 
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I am sure that it is oil. It could be from the valve covers, but after I sandblasted I noticed that there was some seepage right between the head and block. Looked like it was bleeding up the head and down the block. Not much, only a 1/16 of an inch or so but this was only 1 hour after blasting.

I did re-torque after the initial run but I will try that again. I TOTALLY agree about setting the valves cold. I did the passenger side, realized they weren't even off, and then kicked myself while cleaning up my mess.

It just seemed odd that it is showing up ONLY on the side I adjusted the valves hot. I just want to make sure I didn't screw up somewhere.

1968 SS 350 Camaro, 4-speed, California car, restoration complete. Brought back to life after almost 27 years of silence!

Built: 3rd week of July, 1968
Silenced: 12/12/1978
Resurrected: 05/01/2005
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old Jan 10th, 05, 07:16 AM
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If by following BillK's suggestion, the leak does not stop and you've made the decision to replace the head gaskets, I suggest this technique.

Pull the heads, remove the dowel pins from the block deck. Buy and solely use a Norton honing stone. Get a can of WD40 and use this stone and WD40 on both the head and block deck in a circular motion. Clean up using Brakleen or lacquer thinner and "lint-free" rags.

This will remove alot of the surface irregularities and provide a "flatter" sealing surface. Also, have the dowel pins trimmed alittle in their diameter for easier install into the deck.

Get two new steel shim head gaskets, spray them with alum spray paint. Then install and torque down the head. Torque the head again while its still hot, if cast iron head.

I've done this to my rebuilt engines and have had no problems with leakage, knock on wood [img]graemlins/clonk.gif[/img] You could also use some Martha White flour and sprinkle about the engine to find the leak.

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