Makers of Custom Solid Copper Head Gaskets Tel.No. (626) 358-1616 Voice

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

10. What are the advantages of copper head gaskets?


Q). My engine has offset bores can a gasket be made for this?

A). Yes. We often make these gaskets for racers. We don't know how offset your bores are unless you give us a dimensioned drawing. It is cheaper however, to make the bores on the copper gasket smaller than actual size and allow you or your mechanic to "open" up the bores to suit your exact needs. This can be done by laying the gasket on top of the block and scribing a mark from the inside of the bores. Once this is done turn the gasket around and use a coarse drum sander on a drill press or oscillating drum sander to hog out as much material as needed. Finish the job with a finer 120 grit .

Q). Do Copper head gaskets compress like regular "sandwich" types gaskets?

A). No. The advantage of copper is that it will not compress. The final installed height is the thickness of the gasket.

Q). I have an overhead cam engine with an aluminum head that has been milled. The mechanic says that I need to buy a new head because the timing is off. Can a thicker gasket be used to "shim" the head to original specification?

A). Yes, we can make a thicker gasket and depending on your "shim" requirements we can attempt to get as close as possible to the original deck height.

Q). Will copper withstand the heat of the combustion chamber?

A). Yes. Copper will not "burn" through. Even with the very high temperatures and pressures seen in diesel engines copper will maintain its integrity.

Q). Will copper hold up to the extra pressures seen when aftermarket turbochargers are installed?

A). Yes.

Q). Will copper head gaskets "take-up" imperfections in the head or deck?

A). Not really, the best headgasket will not work if the deck-head interface is not in good/nominal shape. Make sure the mating surfaces are flat and true.

Q). Can the head gasket be reused?

A). Maybe, depending on how the gasket looks after disassembly. If it was "kinked" or bent severely upon removal from the engine it would not be a good idea to straighten and reuse. If the engine was "o" ringed do not reuse the gasket.

Q). How do I "O" ring the head gasket?

A). This is a good question. Some mechanics have placed thin copper wire around the bore and glued it in place with "super glue". This is not easy to and takes a lot of time. Other mechanics believe that annealed stainless steel wire or piano wire is the wire that out to be used. Other mechanics do not recommend "O" ringing at all.

 If you do plan to O ring make sure the O ring does not stand too proud above the deck.  So, if  you are using a .032" gasket and have a wire standing tall at .015" above the deck you will not seal the motor properly.  Don't forget that even though copper is soft the material that the O ring displaces has to go somewhere.  A general rule of thumb is to have the wire no more proud above the deck  than 10% of the gasket thickness.

Q). How do I "O" ring the deck of the block?

A). This is more common installation. Iskendarian Racing produces a tool that allows an individual to "O" ring the engine. They indicate that the tool comes in two sizes one for small bore and one for larger bore engines. The tool is not cheap but is advertised to make a small grooved ring around the bore and will accommodate the copper wire that they supply.  Recently, Gasket Works has made flat Stainless Steel O rings that require no Machining to install...  We can custom make such rings for you.

Q). What are the advantages of copper head gaskets?

A). Copper is a good heat conductor. It is very strong yet can be made soft by annealing. Different thickness can be utilized for numerous applications. Head gaskets can be individually customized if the bores are offset from stock.

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