Sometimes bad things can happen to good engines. This can be the case with a head gasket failure. Depending on the design requirements and the suitability of your gasket material for the application, the useful service life will vary. However, any application that is in use long enough may require a replacement of the head gasket.
Head gaskets are one of the more difficult repairs on an engine. They require substantial removal of parts, careful cleaning and preparation of surfaces, and methodical replacement and reassembly of the engine components. Nobody really WANTS to replace a head gasket, but sometimes, it’s just necessary.
How do you know when this is needed? Here are a few warning signs:
It’s time to replace your head gasket when there is…
1. Loss of compression
Failure of the combustion seal results in a loss of compression in the engine and loss of power. This is normally obvious when it occurs and requires a replacement of the head gasket right away.
2. Coolant in the oil (internal loss of fluid)
If the body of the gasket loses load and leaks coolant into the oil ports, bad things happen. The oil will be compromised in its lubricity, resulting in possible damage to the internal engine parts. It may also result in excessive heat and other failures. This requires replacement of the head gasket immediately.
3. Leakage down the block (exterior loss of fluid)
The body can also fail to seal the fluid ports resulting in external leakage of the fluid (either oil or coolant) down the side of the block. This can be a more gradual failure of the head gasket and often not noticed until much later.
Replacing a Head Gasket
If you have arrived at the decision that a head gasket needs to be replaced, you need to be aware of a few things.
1. Know that you may not be able to replace it with a similar gasket material without significant repair cost also put into the flanges.
Why? If the original gasket was a MLS (multi-layer steel) construction, this will require extremely smooth surface finish preparation (which equals repair costs). There are other gasket material technologies out there that will save you from this cost.
2. There are various types of replacement head gaskets available.
Graphite products are an excellent choice and can be made to the required thickness and density to meet your needs.
3. It is a complicated repair and replace operation, but not impossible.
Once completed, the engine will have a new lease on life for many more happy miles.
If you have any questions about what you’re seeing with your gasket material, or are looking for suggestions on the types of gasket materials that will work best when a head gasket is being replaced, talk to your trusted gasket material supplier. They will be able to get you going in the right direction.
Is there anything you would add to the warning signs list? If you are interested in subscribing to Sealed-In’s blog posts, email email@example.com.
The Great Gasket Debate: To Reuse or Not To Reuse
As a trusted gasket material supplier, our recommendation is that you never reuse a gasket. (Ok, ok, we know you are probably thinking “of course they would say that…they just want to sell more material” – but hang with us on this one.) As an expert resource that knows gasket material inside and out, we’re going to break down some of the arguments for and against reusing, and what you need to consider when making that decision for your application. And maybe…there is a time or two that it really might be ok to reuse one.
How Do I Know How Much Gasket Compression is Too Much?
In some cases, over-compression can happen, and that can lead to problems. What are some of the warning signs of a gasket that is or has ever been compressed beyond what is recommended?
5 Questions You Should Ask Your Supplier of Gasket Material
Your supplier of gasket material can be your best friend in the business or unfortunately, sometimes, your biggest headache. Deciding on a gasket material supplier is a big decision that will affect YOUR business – whether you are an OEM or a fabricator. Learning about the questions you should be asking may make that decision a little easier. As an experienced supplier of gasket material that has been asked a few questions over our 25 years, we thought it might be beneficial to list out some of the more important questions you may want to ask (and why you want to ask them).
Do I Need an O-ring or a Gasket?
How well do you understand the differences between O-rings and gaskets? Can you readily identify situations where each type of seal should be used? There are specific situations where each technology is needed because they are designed for completely different conditions. Today, we thought we’d dig a little deeper into gasket vs. O-ring.
Should I Put A Ring On It? (Your Gasket, That Is)
Have you ever been faced with the decision of whether your gaskets are going to need a ring or not? Don’t worry…we’re here to help guide you in your decision making process. Here is a list of reasons why you might find a need to put a flange ring on your gasket.