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  1. #1
    Hurst01's Avatar
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    Head gasket help

     



    I am rebuilding two Chevrolet marine engines. I have the heads on but found a problem that causes me to have to remove the heads. The engines are in the building phase and have not been started.
    What is the opinion on reusing the head gaskets? They would be installed in the exact side they came from with the same head for each side. I am afraid to trust them to hold up but they cost $45 each and I will need 4 of them to complete what I need to do. That is a lot of money for someone that doesn't have it to spare.
    They are FelPro 17030. They look perfect but have already been crushed.

    Thanks for any information.
    Ed in Jeffersonville, IN
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hurst01 View Post
    What is the opinion on reusing the head gaskets? They would be installed in the exact side they came from with the same head for each side. I am afraid to trust them to hold up but they cost $45 each and I will need 4 of them to complete what I need to do. That is a lot of money for someone that doesn't have it to spare.
    Thanks for any information.
    2 thoughts.. first regarding the headgaskets.. in a boat or a plane? never.

    Second - you know that boat means , bust out another thousand right?

    Sorry..

  3. #3
    Hurst01's Avatar
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    I have built over 400 engines and have never used a head gasket after it was crushed. This is tearing my rear up to have to remove the heads. I don't care about the labor, rather the cost of 4 new gaskets at $45 each. What the heck! guess I will order 4 new gaskets and get it over with. This is the first time I have had to remove & reinstall the heads on an engine but there is no getting around it. Thanks anyway.
    Ed in Jeffersonville, IN
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  4. #4
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    Make yourself a checklist next time. I don't mean for that to sound smart-@@@.......and thank you very much for your service Ed.

    I learned my lesson using a checklist several years ago. I had bought a new Mitsubishi pickup, the first year that they were marketed as a Mitsubishi, 1983. I used it in my courier service and ran the living poop out of it. Well, with 160,000 on the clock, she was gettin' tired, so I decided to freshen her up a little. I pulled the carb off and took it down to the Mitsubishi dealer to have a bench rebuild done on it. They said $230 and I just about flipped. I decided after thinking it over that I would just do an engine swap, so I located a Ford granada with a 302 and C4 and hooked up and dragged it home, where I relieved the car of its motor and trans. I tore all of it down and rebuilt with some warmed over hot rod parts (Isky 270 solid flat tappet cam, 0.030" hyper pistons, aluminum Streetmaster intake and 600 CFM Edelbrock). I made the motor mounts and transmission mount, dual exhaust system and P.S. pump mount to use the Mitsubishi pump on the Ford motor. I got the whole mess rebuilt, mated the motor to the trans, slipped her in, hooked up all the fuel and wiring and exhaust, driveshaft and hopped into the driver's seat to fire her off and break in the cam. I looked over at my toolbox and there on the shelf was the driveshaft that connects the torque converter to the transmission pump.

    The trans wouldn't come out alone, so I had to pull the whole mess out again. But, I got it done and drove the little truck several more years. I finally gave it to my son and a drunk T-boned it, making a total of it.
    Last edited by techinspector1; 06-04-2018 at 10:42 PM.
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  5. #5
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    Some shortcuts are way too expensive.

    But I do understand the temptation.

    I vaguely recall re using a head gasket once, don't remember why, but undoubtedly I forgot something. When I put it back on, I re-torqued with a little extra.

    I got away with it, but it was by no means a performance motor, and it was my car so if it had failed only myself would be inconvenienced.
    .
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  6. #6
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    Thanks for your service! I know it stinks, but I never reuse a crushed head gasket either. $45ea is still cheap. The ones I usually put on are $150ea. But either way, those gasket costs are cheaper than a hurt/damaged engine when they start leaking and cause other issues.
    Ryan
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  7. #7
    Hurst01's Avatar
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    I ordered new gaskets for both engines. I might have been able to get by with it but I have never taken a chance on
    re-using a head gasket before but thing are tight and temptation great. I am doing this for my son but I will use the boat until ha gets in a position that I can take it to him.
    These are 1996 SBC engines that were previously rebuilt by Mercruiser Marine. They did a sorry job by any standards. I was in the process of building the engines and where I made my mistake was installing the pistons on the wrong side. I was paying attention to the direction the pistons were facing but failed to pay attention to the rods. The damn things were marked wrong. I flipped the second engine over and noticed the rods were offset on the wrist pins. No one has ever accused me of being smart but I know what the will do in the long run.
    SO, I am going to pull the heads and change the pistons and rods facing the right way. I am sure the first engine is the same way, so I ordered 4 new head gaskets. On top of that I am having to build these engines outside and between rain storms because I have a 29 Buick torn down in my garage and can't get in it to build an engine. I have built enough engines to know better but things are complicated with the circumstances of how I am having to do this with a lot of missing parts.
    I was in the hospital and my neighbor thought he was doing me a favor and had the bot towed to a local marine repair shop and had the engines pulled for me. A lot of the parts are missing. I have been searching for the intake manifold of one engine that I had pulled the heads on earlier to determine if the needed to be rebuilt or not. I finally found the intake today at the place the pulled the engines were pulled. The guy that pulled the engines had it laying to the side. He told me he thought I was going to buy new engines to install in the boat. At least he didn't deny having it. Been really sweating it because it was a Bow Tie cast iron intake and they are not cheap.
    I forgot I have to order another set of intake gaskets because the manifold is already on the first engine. CRAP!!!
    I appreciate all the replies. I basically wanted to find out if anyone had any success with re-using head gaskets but I. knew better before I asked. I would not have been able to bring myself to use Tham again anyway, guess I was wanting some sympathy
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    Ed in Jeffersonville, IN
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  8. #8
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    That really stinks about the mixups. And sorry to hear about the hospital trip, hope things are better now.

    At least you know the hurdles and have the experience to fix them. Now about that "29"?!?!?! LOL..

  9. #9
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    I think we've all been in a similar situation and can understand the thoughts you had going on. I'm glad they that intake for you. Those boats with 2 engines definitely aren't cheap. Good luck with it all!
    Ryan
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  10. #10
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    Great thread, Ed:

    Let me also add a big "Thank You" for your service.

    I can certainly associate with a lot of the things being said - leaving things off or not documenting correctly and having to tear back into a project because I didn't hook-up/install a part that is now not accessible. I've done a lot of engines on everything from little weed-eaters to go-karts to dirt bike (lot and lots of very high performance two-stroke motors) and probably the most would be SBC. I once got all done, buttoned up and just about ready to fire one and found a wrist pin clip on the engine stand. Needless to say, I bought a new gasket set for that build!

    Like Tech, I have been making check lists for a long time - it add far more peace-of-mind than extra time. I take pictures as well - lots of them as cell phone cameras do a real good job and it can save a lot of, "hmmm, I wonder where that goes?" - especially when working a new build.

    Best All,
    Glenn
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  11. #11
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    You certainly have my sympathies.

    At least your mistake is justifiable, pistons mis-marked. The time I mentioned when I reused the gasket, i had gotten ahead of myself and bolted on a head, only to notice the liftets sitting there on the bench, silently mocking me.
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    Education is expensive. Keep that in mind, and you'll never be terribly upset when a project goes awry.
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  12. #12
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    Well, in spite of everything, at one time or another we all will do what normally would be really embarrassing stupid stuff. I was hesitant to even mention it but if you don't screw up every now and then you aren't doing anything.
    All is well now, at least for the time being. One engine is complete and the other will be finished today. Then for all the accessories.
    My Son wanted a large boat and I found this one and made a deal on it. Then I found that my Son had decided to renovate his condo and could no longer afford the boat. (At what time is life and anyone afford a boat?). Since I had already obligated myself to take the boat, I did, with the idea of when my Son got better situated he could take it.
    I felt like I had stolen to boat. It is a beautiful 31' 10" and I got it for $2K. It cost me almost $3K to have it shipped to me and another $3K to rebuild the engines, both drives, alternators, starters and other stuff. So for about $10K and a lot of work I have a $35,000 boat.
    My '29 Buick has been sitting begging for attention but it has taken a back seat to everything else. I am building a 1937 Cadillac 70 Series for my neighbor and helping another friend build a '38 Chevy PU street rod and another '46 Chevy PU street rod. My health has gone to crap and I doubt I will ever seem my '29 Buick progress at all.
    Well, what the heck? I could have told everyone no but I got a lot of enjoyment out of it all. I have often thought I would like to have a couple friends like me but they would be a lot of punishment to put on anyone. I like helping others with their projects but seems no one likes to help me with mine. Such is life, I guess. Take care, guys.
    Ed in Jeffersonville, IN
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  13. #13
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    Hurst01,
    Had to laugh at the "...at what point in life can anyone afford a boat?" A hole in the water that you try to fill with money, right? Sounds like you're off to a good start on the one you got, though! A $35K ride for a $10K investment is pretty good, and who knows you may run into someone at the marina who falls in love with it, and forces you to take their money!
    Sounds like you're a pretty self reliant guy with a wide range of talents, and I expect that your buddies see you as the guy who's always there to help them, but not as a guy who welcomes helpers. Some times you've got to just put out the word, "Hey, it's payback time, guys! I'm going to be working on my car Saturday and I could really use some help!" Your buddies may be leery, thinking that you might be offended by them thinking you can't do it all by yourself.
    Got any pictures of the boat?
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  14. #14
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    If you really need to take the high road, sell it and split the profits.
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    Education is expensive. Keep that in mind, and you'll never be terribly upset when a project goes awry.
    EG

  15. #15
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    Sorry to hear of your bad health and I agree with Roger. You might be surprised what your friends will do for ya especially if you have been their go to guy for years!
    Ryan
    1940 Ford Deluxe Tudor 354 Hemi 46RH Electric Blue w/multi-color flames, Ford 9" Residing in multiple pieces
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    1972 Chevy K30 Longhorn P-pumped 24v Compound Turbos 47RH Just another money pit
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