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Discussion Starter #1
Not to open a lengthy debate but there seems to be a lot of disagreement on whether to use any sealer on a new headgasket....in my 30 years of expereience, i have always installed head gaskets dry but have never installed one on an alfa engine before so what is the current thought....

Also what torque setting do you guys run on the head bolts? stick with stock recommendation or some other preference??
 

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put sealent on the rear of the gasket, around the oil return passagways... and to get a good tq value.. get a sheet of glass and some 800-1000 grit wet/dry paper,, wet it with dishwashing soap and water.. sand both sied of the washer down, so they look nice and shiney, do the same with the accorn nut( just the bottom side..) this will get a very smooth tq value( you will be not removing a whole lot of washer off nor the nut, just a good surface) and to top it off, before you put the washer on, go to ace hardware, and get 8 'o' rings that will slip over the stud, and just ever so larger than the stud hole in the head, this will assure you of a leak free head.
 

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... and go to your local gun shop, and get one of those brass brushes that clean the barrel of a rifle,, size to your fit,,, stuff one in a drill and have at it on the stud holes in the head,, get them clean.. this way if you must remove the head in the future( you will:):) ) it will come off easyer..
 

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Partially depending on the engine and gasket used, some sealer may be useful. The back oil drain holes (3) at the very back of the block is a source of oil ooze. Also, the chain chamber at the very front. Third in my list of troublemakers are the oil passages from the block to the head. I prefer the Reinz headgaskets. I use the John Norman, brass block to head oil passage connectors, with the viton "O" rings. The drain passage at the back of the block is coated with Permetex Ultra grey, as is the chain chamber in front. Gasket in place and connectors installed, be sure the 6 viton "O" rings lay flat, not pinched by the gasket or between the lip of the connector. Then coat the upper surface of the same areas on the gasket with the Permetex, and replace the head. Some experience coolant leaks from underneath the head acorn nut washers. It is critical all surfaces, block and head be very clean and dry (lacquer thinner used here). The washers must have no pitting, and the same is true for the Acorn nuts. The acorn nuts are not hard, and can be lapped flat on glass with finer grades of wet & dri paper, but the washers are hardened. Replacement hardened washers can be had from Mc Master Carr, or MSC. They may be decimal rather than metric, that's Ok, just be sure they are hardened, and close to the metric size. I use thick engine assembly grease on the bottom and top of the washer, some use the Permetex. Either will work. Acorn nut torque should be for your particular engine, and has been discussed in other threads, as well as tightening patterns and re-torquing intervals.
 

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I used ultimate grey or 3-Bond or Yamabondnd on the edges of my gasket job. Can't hurt if you use a thin line of sealant all around.



If you place it close to the outer edge, it will mostly squeeze outwards.

Follow the factory guidelines and lubrication instruction for the torque values. Use a good torque wrence and set it to the high-side of the values. Do the passed in 3 steps and then do 1-2 passes around the clock to make sure they are all touched up.

If you have a die, run it down the studs and a tap thru into the nuts. Remember to lube the threads and the nut face! There is more friction between the nut face (~10% more) and the washer then the threads and the nut.
 

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I also run a 1/2" drill through the stud holes in the head for cleaning and easier future removal. I re-used a head gasket lately on my 1750. It had came off without losing any chunks from the material, so a light smear of rvt blue silicon and Bob's ya uncle.
 

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I am about to do a head gasket for my 84 alfa spider. I have never used any extra sealer on the gaskets nor put orings on the studs. That's all new to me. But what I do remember my alfa mechanic saying to me (Dan, at foreign auto mendors in poway, ca)was to torque the head 5 or 10 more footpounds than what book says.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for all input...I have the later block [no rear oil return passages]..block face is pristine clean now--head is being completely overhauled and surfaced. I am not crazy about putting a sealant on the gasket...may install dry [mechanic doing the head uses a light film of motor oil when he does them]...will torque to 58lb/ft initially the 61 hot, drive 1000 miles or so and re-torque. I have dressed the washers and acorn nuts and will lube them upon installation. currently looking for right size Viton o rings without having to purchase an assortment of them i do not need.
 

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holly. go to any machine shop that works on chevys get a set of valve guide seals form a small block, these are square cut, and make wonderfull oil passageway seals.. and some time they will give a set for free..
 

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On the torque, I'd do a retorque way sooner than 1000 miles. After your first 30 minute drive retorque hot. Then do a cold retorque a couple of drives later.
do your first drive with the rad cap loose so no pressure builds up in the system, then the hot retorque.
I'm with Gordon on the ultra grey although my procedure is a little different, I put the ultra grey on the block around the rear and chain area, not much just a thin coating, it's going to get thin anyway, then I put the grey on the head, you can see the passages and areas a little better and where the sealant needs to go but either way is good. I use anti sieze on the head studs and lapping the washers and acorn nuts is a very good thing to do, the last thing you want to feel is a snap when torquing down a head.
 

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I have to re-do mine

Wish I had seen this before I re[lace the head on my GTV :mad:. I replaced the head on my 74 and now have a leak on the left side where the head meets the chain cover. Can't stand to have a dirty engine so I will take heed of all of the good advice and use some sealant around the front and back and polish out the acorn nuts and washers to boot. Hopefuly this time I will get a clean engine bay ( the rest of the car is rusty and faded; the only pretty and shiny part in the engine compartment :D; and a pretty engine it is!
Luis
 

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I use anti sieze on the head studs and lapping the washers and acorn nuts is a very good thing to do, the last thing you want to feel is a snap when torquing down a head.
I would follow the factory reccomendation for lubrication of the threads and the nut to washer face. If you use too slippery of a lube/anti-sieze you can over-stretch the stud or worst case pull it out of the block.

Just my .002
 
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