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TristaredPosted - 14 Apr 2014 : 16:16:29
Does anyone have advice for fitting copper head gaskets?

I have had enough of buying inlet manifold gaskets.


15   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
TristaredPosted - 13 Oct 2014 : 16:49:13

Yes - I have, now they are very good.
mellePosted - 13 Oct 2014 : 15:02:46
I see what you mean, there's indeed not much that can be done there in terms of adding material apart from decreasing the bore. But a bigger bore is usually one of the reasons for applying copper gaskets...

Have you used the exhaust gaskets as well? I'm using them on my 96 and I'm very satisfied with the result.
Originally posted by StefanM
They hare to hard to compress
I believe you can't compress copper, only displace it.

1970 96V4 "The Devil's Own V4"
1977 95V4 van conversion project
1988 900i 8V
TristaredPosted - 13 Oct 2014 : 14:42:40
Well, this very well maybe the case though short of having the mating faces mirror finished Im not sure how much better I could have made them.

StefanM if you have any experience and more importantly photos of fitting copper gaskets then I for one am all ears (and eyes).

Here is an image that references what I mean. On a standard gasket I assume that the flame ring must compress creating a gas tight seal whilst still allow the surrounding material to do the same to seal the coolant path ways.

This isnt a fault with the design of the gasket. I just believe that there isnt enough material between the water gallery and the chamber for a seal to work with copper.

StefanMPosted - 10 Oct 2014 : 07:40:25
Copper gaskets works fine if you skim the head and block to a very superior finish. It will more than likely fail if you just use them as replacement gaskets on a engine in situ.
They hare to hard to compress and there is no room for iregularitys in the surface and it does not matter how hard you tighten the bolts. They are to few to make any difference.
mellePosted - 09 Oct 2014 : 20:21:08
Thanks for sharing your experience. I for me can't say what's gone wrong as I don't have any hands on experience with fitting the gaskets. I've had 25 sets produced, but I have the impression very few have been used yet. I'm looking forward to hearing more knowledgeable people's opinions on this matter.

I can't really see how there could be more material 'between the combustion chamber and the crescent shaped water ports', but I might not understand correctly which water ports you mean. The basic shape was copied from an original gasket, this was laser cut in board for test fitting, unnecessary holes were removed and finally the outline of the gasket has been optimised for fit and for cutting.

1970 96V4 "The Devil's Own V4"
1977 95V4 van conversion project
1988 900i 8V
TristaredPosted - 09 Oct 2014 : 18:59:03
First attempt at fitting the gaskets was dry - without sealant, this worked on first engine start up. On the second start up the left bank failed to achieve compression, even after checking and taking the head bolts up to 90lbs.

Second attempt was after the gaskets had been annealed - taken to cherry red around 650c. All the surfaces were scratch finished and coated in 4 layers of Hylomar blue spray on gasket sealant - mounted whilst the outer layers were still wet, as advised from a number of sources. Head bolts were taken up to 70lbs. Same result - start up was at first successful but then sudden compression of the cooling system, again the left head and no change after checking head bolt torque.

From what I gather the design simply doesn't like them, or at least not on a 93mm piston. I think there isn't enough material between the combustion chamber and the crescent shaped water ports.

It is my belief that the engine requires a gasket with a high level of compressibility, which of course the standard design is.

WoodyPosted - 21 Apr 2014 : 19:56:46
Saab do not recommend machining the inlet manifold if the heads are skimmed, but advise that the top of the block under the manifold is machined.
Granted if you only have taken the heads off that isn't practical but you have to be sure the manifold is trued properly before machining.

When you put the heads on originally, did they torque down evenly? No grabbing on the threads? As the heads are off, wind the head bolts in until they bottom and check the distance between the face of the block and the underside of the bolt head. This measurement needs to be 2mm less than the depth of the head. Cut the bolt if too long. If they dont wind down evenly clean up the threads on the bolts and the block.
TristaredPosted - 21 Apr 2014 : 13:03:59
The cooling system becomes pressurised when the engine turns over. I've detected coolant on the number 3 cylinder spark plug. This doesn't happen with all the others pugs are in, so by powers of deduction the issue lies somewhere around there...

There isn't much more to report at this time as I've yet to strip the engine down.

I suspect that the problem is that the heads were milled to correct flatness when the larger valves were fitted, and not ground flat (the inlet manifold was also dealt with accordingly).

As stated - I'll know more next weekend when I take a look.

It's all a learning curve...
mellePosted - 17 Apr 2014 : 17:21:52
What's the exact problem Ed, did you fit them and don't they work as they're supposed to do? I still haven't installed mine.

1970 96V4 "The Devil's Own V4"
1977 95V4 van conversion project
1988 900i 8V
DerekPosted - 17 Apr 2014 : 11:33:12
Originally posted by Tristared have to take the inlet manifold off to get to the heads?

Gaskets can't be used twice?

With a V engine, if you skim the heads to get a higher CR, the inlet manifold should be machined to match up, as the inlet ports will be further down into the V. Not much lee way with a paper gasket.
rsimpsPosted - 16 Apr 2014 : 13:18:39
Thats right Malbrads had some 94 flame ring gaskets made. I think Swedepeed were looking at using more std type gaskets as they were finding the old copper rings get so hot at high compression that they cause pre-ignition. Personally Wills rings all the way for me, if they can cope with a imp engine at 9000+ rpm they can cope with a Saab unit. You can also get away with reusing them a few times long as you dont disturb them. If anyone needs a head ringing, give my friend Andy a call at Shringley Engineering, he has the race proven tooling to groove the head
TristaredPosted - 16 Apr 2014 : 12:20:46 have to take the inlet manifold off to get to the heads?

Gaskets can't be used twice?
WoodyPosted - 15 Apr 2014 : 22:11:32
Wills Rings info:-

Very informative !!

"Does anyone have advice for fitting copper head gaskets?
I have had enough of buying inlet manifold gaskets."

Not sure why you have made the second comment??

TristaredPosted - 15 Apr 2014 : 17:54:01
....hmmm - I see.

Is it Malbrads that do standard gasket opening to 94mm?

Many, many thanks as always.
rsimpsPosted - 15 Apr 2014 : 09:23:17

I think it was DemonTweeks or Burtons that I got the Hylomar spray from. Its not easy to get and it turns to carbon monoxide in the body, so use outside and follow the safety data.

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