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Antique Engine Archives All archived posts from 1999 to 2004 when SmokStak was on EnginAds. This is a read-only board.

Antique Engine Archives

Head Gasket Won't Seal

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Old 10-15-2001, 08:04:43 PM
C. Props
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Default Head Gasket Won't Seal

I have two Waterloo style engines, a Gault and a Majestic. They both make the water in the water hopper bubble when on compression. I have put a new head gasket on the Gault and it still leaks when it is running, but I have not done anything to the Majestic. Neither of them have any cracks in the heads that I can see. The old head gasket on the Gault showed a bad spot that was causing the leak. Now I can not get the new gasket to seal completely. How can I get the head gasket to seal or is there a proper procedure for this?
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Old 10-15-2001, 08:27:17 PM
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Default Re: Head Gasket Won't Seal

Old 10-15-2001, 08:42:03 PM
Ed Kinch
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Default Re: Head Gasket Won't Seal

Hello C. Props;Be sure you are not running out of good clean threads on your head bolts before you are getting full clamping force on the gasket.Be sure the gasket mating surfaces are not severely pitted or warped.If the head bolt threads in the block open into the water jacket they need to have a sealer on the threads.If the head bolts have not been out recently and do not come out easily they are probably sealed with rust.If there is heavy rust build-up on the studs at the block it may be preventing good crush on the gasket.lubricate the threads and the nut mating surface to the head so you do not get a false torque.Ed
Old 10-15-2001, 10:22:12 PM
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Default Re: Head Gasket Won't Seal

I always coat head gaskets with gun grease and let it soak in a while. It softens them up a little and keeps them from sticking if you have to remove the head. Never had any to leak.
Old 10-15-2001, 10:29:13 PM
Steven in ND
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Default highly unorthodox method

I had a couple of head gaskets leak on old stationary engines. Know what I used? High temp silicone sealer on the gasket. I have been running it for 3 years now with no problem. And yes, I do run it until the water steams so it is as hot as it can be. I used the blue silicone on one and the orange high temp on the other. Works great.

Old 10-16-2001, 07:44:52 AM
Bob Kern
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Default Re: Head Gasket Won't Seal

I had a small Jaeger that had sealing problems. It had some pits that were significant. I cleaned the heck out of things and brightened them up with emery cloth and then used a high temp epoxy to fill the pits. As I recall, Chuck Bayleat (sp?) that is one of Harry's sponsors used to carry it and may still. JB weld and other epoxys don't seem to work too well in a high temp. application but this stuff is bullet proof. I got it dead flat with a straight edge after application and no problems since.
Old 10-16-2001, 12:39:26 PM
RBackus RBackus is offline
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Default Re: Head Gasket Won't Seal

I've never used silicone, but I've had great luck with Copper Coat. There are probably a couple different manufacturers of the stuff. It's a spray-on sealant with a high copper content. As others have said, make sure everything's absolutely clean so you're getting full clamping force. I've never had it fail. Richard
Old 10-16-2001, 02:25:36 PM
Tom Winland
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Default Re: highly unorthodox method

I've also used the blue silicone on many engines including large oil field engines and it has never failed me yet. I have one engine that it has been in for over 10 years now and still no problems.

Tom Winland
Old 10-16-2001, 06:19:50 PM
John Hammink
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Default Re: Head Gasket Won't Seal

In my early days when I had just a few dimes, I used soft soap on both sides of the gasket and it never leaks again. Now in my better days I use a rattle can with aluminium spray that stands for 1800 degrees F. and I haven't had any leaks either. It's worth to try it ones.
Old 10-16-2001, 07:47:09 PM
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Default Re: Head Gasket Won't Seal

An old timer also said paint both sides with Aluminum or silver paint. It is also supposed to work to seal stains from bleeding through paint. Another thing is to note if the new gasket is too tight to the stud bolts. It can crush and bind at the bolt creating a lump or tight spot. A slight chamfer on the head bolt holes will relieve that tendency and actually allow the pressure to spread out wider from the bolts.
Old 10-16-2001, 09:59:16 PM
Scott D
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Default Re: Head Gasket Won't Seal

I just use thirty weight oil on my gaskets. Rub it in and let it sit for a few hours before you assemble. Don't forget to re-tighten after the first time the engine runs.
Old 10-17-2001, 09:02:59 AM
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Default Re: Head Gasket Won't Seal

I soak mine in boiled linseed oil overnight, never had a problem yet. Read in an old engine manual somewhere that soaking in water will do the same. NICK
Old 10-18-2001, 07:45:32 PM
C. Props
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Default Re: Head Gasket Won't Seal

Thanks to everyone who replied. I soaked the gasket in oil overnight. I put it on today. When I ran it some small bubbles game up through the water hopper. The more I ran it the less bubbles. After it was hot I tightened the head bolts. Now it doesn't bubble at all. Again thanks for all the great ideas.
Old 10-30-2001, 10:23:52 PM
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Default Re: Head Gasket Won't Seal

From a 1907 textbook:

113. As the material employed for gaskets is usually asbestos alone, or asbestos, wire gauze and graphite or similar filler, a knife or pair of scissors makes very little impression on it; but it can be cut out very readily if laid on the cylinder head and carefully cut around on the outside with a light, flat-faced, round-peen hammer. The holes can then also be cut with the round peen. Great care should be exercised not to pull out any wires from gaskets in which wire gauze is used. The wires should be cut off very carefully.

If the material used is ordinary asbestos paper 1/100, 1/64, 1/32, or even 1/16 inch thick, it should be thoroughly soaked with linseed oil, either raw or boiled, and dusted carefully with powdered or flaked graphite, or with graphite foundry facing that contains talc, etc., which is a very good substitute. It is a good plan to let this dry a little while in the air, when it becomes much tougher. It should not, however, be allowed to get too dry. When put in place, the holding nuts should be screwed down carefully, going over them several times and screwing down opposite nuts instead of adjoining ones. The engine should then be started and run a few minutes, with the compression relieved and the circulating water turned off, in order to heat up the engine and assist in drying out the oil or any dampness in the gasket. The nuts should then be tightened carefully, when the water may safely be turned on. If these directions are followed closely, and the gasket is not defective, it should last a long time. The oxidation of the linseed oil will make the gasket tough, and if it is dusted with graphite every time the cylinder head is removed it should be very durable.

In using a gasket of asbestos and wire gauze having material on one side to make it adhere to the cylinder top, the opposite side being treated with graphite, there is no need of treating the gasket with linseed oil. A gasket of this sort is almost indestructible when care is exercised in tightening the holding nuts when the gasket is new.


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