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#2009433 - 09/06/10 07:38 PM Reusing Head Gaskets
WagonBoss Offline


Registered: 01/24/09
Posts: 192
Loc: Northern Virginia
I'm working through a compression issue on a single cylinder Kawasaki. I pulled the head and it is not warped. Can I reuse the head gasket or is a new one required?
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#2009436 - 09/06/10 07:42 PM Re: Reusing Head Gaskets [Re: WagonBoss]
Panzerman Offline


Registered: 12/16/06
Posts: 2470
Loc: Daytona, Florida
I was always under the assumption to use a new head gasket, but the last time I re-used the old head gasket and had no issues. It was copper and a single cylinder air cooled two stroke. With water cooled, I would probably opt to get a new gasket. It all depends on how hard it is to replace later, if there is a issue.

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#2009440 - 09/06/10 07:44 PM Re: Reusing Head Gaskets [Re: Panzerman]
xxch4osxx Offline


Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1526
Loc: Cedarbrae, Ontario
Id get a new gasket.
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#2009496 - 09/06/10 08:27 PM Re: Reusing Head Gaskets [Re: xxch4osxx]
greenaccord02 Offline


Registered: 04/22/07
Posts: 5215
Loc: Houston, Tx, USA
Briggs always says you can reuse the gaskets if they don't come apart and I've done that without issue many times, but if there's any question about it or if you just want to follow best practices, get yourself a new one.
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#2009518 - 09/06/10 08:41 PM Re: Reusing Head Gaskets [Re: greenaccord02]
Brett Miller Offline


Registered: 09/09/03
Posts: 2636
Loc: Arizona
Originally Posted By: greenaccord02
Briggs always says you can reuse the gaskets if they don't come apart and I've done that without issue many times, but if there's any question about it or if you just want to follow best practices, get yourself a new one.


No worries when recycling the head gasket, I'd run the same head gasket for a couple years when I built and raced 5hp WKA.

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#2009530 - 09/06/10 08:49 PM Re: Reusing Head Gaskets [Re: Brett Miller]
Eddie Offline


Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 6602
Loc: Florida, Cape Coral
Just make absolutely sure the head and cyl mating surfaces are flat and an eye ball estimate is not good enough in my opinion. Use a machinist straight edge and 0.0005 feeler gages
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#2009588 - 09/06/10 09:41 PM Re: Reusing Head Gaskets [Re: Eddie]
hardcore302 Offline


Registered: 11/23/09
Posts: 2396
Loc: Suffolk County, NY
If the surfaces are even minutely uneven, you could have problems. I would use a new one.
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#2009636 - 09/06/10 10:39 PM Re: Reusing Head Gaskets [Re: hardcore302]
dwendt44 Offline


Registered: 05/17/06
Posts: 3571
Loc: Central Wisconsin
I do recall an old article about using a 'used' head gasket on british cycles that said to 'cook' the head gasket at 250 for 20 minutes, and then spray with a copper base spray made for gaskets.(time and temp are guesses)
It was supposed to work but 'expanding' the gasket. The spray helped seal the surface.
Newer gaskets are made different so I don't know it that would work anymore.
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#2009732 - 09/07/10 02:40 AM Re: Reusing Head Gaskets [Re: WagonBoss]
JTK Offline


Registered: 08/14/03
Posts: 7176
Loc: Buffalo, NY
Is this an OHV Kawi or an old flat head? With flat heads I would'nt sweat reusing the HG at all. If it's OHV where there's lots more steps to removing/replacing the head, I'd use a new gasket for sure.

Joel


Edited by JTK (09/07/10 02:41 AM)
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#2009779 - 09/07/10 06:32 AM Re: Reusing Head Gaskets [Re: WagonBoss]
WagonBoss Offline


Registered: 01/24/09
Posts: 192
Loc: Northern Virginia
Thanks. It's a flat head. This project is becoming more involved and costly than I had wanted it to. I'll reuse the old gasket for now, unless I can find one locally today. If I can get any compression at all I'll be ahead of where I was. It's relatively easy to go back later with a new gasket. I just want to see if I'm making progress or not. Probably time for the junk yard.
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L14476/Formula Shell 5w-30
2012 Chrysler 300
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#2009878 - 09/07/10 09:24 AM Re: Reusing Head Gaskets [Re: dwendt44]
boraticus Offline


Registered: 04/19/09
Posts: 2533
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: dwendt44
I do recall an old article about using a 'used' head gasket on british cycles that said to 'cook' the head gasket at 250 for 20 minutes, and then spray with a copper base spray made for gaskets.(time and temp are guesses)
It was supposed to work but 'expanding' the gasket. The spray helped seal the surface.
Newer gaskets are made different so I don't know it that would work anymore.


Good advice dw.

The heating process you've mentioned is known as annealing.

Definition: Heating steel to, and holding at a suitable temperature, followed by relatively slow cooling. The purpose of annealing may be to remove stresses, to soften the steel, to improve machinability, to improve cold working properties, to obtain a desired structure. The annealing process usually involves allowing the steel to cool slowly in the furnace.

Many people use this process to "recondition" copper head gaskets on vintage two cycle motorcycles. We generally use a butane/propane torch to heat the gasket then let it cool. If the gasket is not showing any signs of fracture, I'd anneal it and re-use it without hesitation.

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#2010212 - 09/07/10 03:06 PM Re: Reusing Head Gaskets [Re: boraticus]
Kestas Offline



Registered: 06/04/02
Posts: 10771
Loc: The Motor City
Copper anneals at 750F (400C).

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#2010661 - 09/08/10 12:18 AM Re: Reusing Head Gaskets [Re: Kestas]
dwendt44 Offline


Registered: 05/17/06
Posts: 3571
Loc: Central Wisconsin
I think the idea was that the copper sheet would expand a bit after being compressed for years/miles.
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There's no such thing as:
Too big of a battery,
Too large of a gas tank,
or too loud of a horn,
or too bright headlights.

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#2010889 - 09/08/10 09:23 AM Re: Reusing Head Gaskets [Re: dwendt44]
Kestas Offline



Registered: 06/04/02
Posts: 10771
Loc: The Motor City
Don't expect copper to "relax" the same way elastomers do. It'll only relax (instantaneously) as much as its elastic properties allow. Heat will not expand the metal. Heat just anneals the hardened metal so it can be further compressed without excessive strain hardening.

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