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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 3.1L engine.

As many of you know the bore of this engine is 89mm. So I need to use the HKS metal Headgasket...right?.....wrong?
I had been told by everyone that this was the only headgasket I could use because the bore of it is 91mm and that the bore of all other comercially available gaskets is 88mm.

The question often appears, "Is the HKS gasket reusable?"
My answer would be NO....it's not reusable, in fact it's not usable at all.
After 5 attempts (and many cans of copper coat) I have given up on the HKS gasket. Yes my block and head are flat, I checked on Sunday.

I simply could not get the HKS gasket to seal completely. If I could get the combustion chambers to seal, then I'd get some oil seepage. If I'd get the oil passages sealed, I'd get some blowby from the combustion chambers. Further the HKS gasket blocks one of the water passages (rear drivers side). This passage is quite large and I think that this was contributing to my inability to get a proper seal.

The most noticeable feature was the fact that my cooling system would pressurize in about 1 minute of idle.

So what does one do..
On the advice of Kjones (poster on this forum) I decided to try some of the more commercially available gaskets.
...I got a HG from both Napa (brand unknown) and Auto-Zone (fel-pro)

I got out my dial caliper and lo-and-behold the fel-pro had an 89mm bore. The Napa gasket had a 90mm bore (more on this later).

After feeling good about this for a second, I realized that the napa gasket was missing 3/4 of the water passage holes. The fel-pro had all of the appropriate holes but was a slightly smaller bore.

I decided to use the Napa gasket, so after some drilling (and chamfering with a Uni-bit) I had a gasket I thought I could live with.

So I put it on the clean block and notice that there is NO room for error on the bore.....my caliper must be off. The gasket cannot move during assembly or it will be in the combustion chamber. This doesn't concern me as much since my pistons were fly cut to not protrude...but dammit I'm not doing this again. In order to make sure that the gasket stayed in place I used a LITTLE bit of super glue right on the metal to block.....my buddy does this all the time on rotary engines during assembly.

Long story short...this gasket worked.....I'm not seeping and I'm not building pressure in my cooling system....I haven;t done a compression test yet...but the reason for that is something else....

During this whole process I apparently did something to the timing chain as the slack side now slaps.....WONDERFUL.....so now the engine has to come out and the front cover removed.......just another day in this never ending saga

In conclusion, you do not have to use the HKS gasket on a 3.1L.....in fact after my ordeal I wouldn't recommend it. It is expensive and often takes a week or more to get. fel-pro or napa takes only a day in Austin, TX.


-Wayne
 

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NAPA gasket is a Victor...

NAPA gasket is a made by Victor. Looked like a quality gasket, aside from the missing passages.
 

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HKS gasket,

This gasket is reusable as I have reused my 1mm with no problem. I also used a 2mm gasket and had no problems with it sealing. It is true that some folks have problems sealing the water passages, but there is no reason the combustion chambers should not seal properly. A straight edge may not be the best indicator of whether the block/head are flat. You may need to have the block lapped to ensure that it is completely flat. FelPro makes a blue sealant that can be used on the head gasket around water passages.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
240ZTT...Just for clarifiaction

Agreed on most points...

I have had the combustion chambers sealed, but could not get the water passages to properly seal. I did not try any additional sealant other than the copper coat. This may work, but I was understandably frustrated after the 5th time.

As for the block being flat. It was decked 600 miles ago.
The head was shaved (on top and bottom) at the same time.
The straight edge route was tried Suday to make sure that warpage had not happened in these 600 miles due to inproper cooling (seepage).

I may have just had a bad gasket, but I'll never try it again if there is ANY other option......again IMO.

-Wayne
 

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I used the steel gasket myself nad had no problems with it. The head sealed first time. One thing I did do tho is use ARP studs on my engine and you get a much better torque with those studs then you will ever get with the stock head bolts. I used copper coat on the gasket also. Sorry to hear you were having problems, but if you are going to be running high boost levels you will have problems with the gaskets you have selected.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
no boost

NA engine.

I also have the ARP studs...at least 13 of them I have...one of them snapped...go figure.
 
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