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View Full Version : Alright - What;s the official word on Copper Spray for head gaskets?



DrFishbone
08-28-2007, 01:16 PM
I'm getting ready to put plain ole Felpro head gaskets on my car - the ones that come with the "upper engine gasket kit". I haven't been able to find a straight answer on whether or not using copper spray (such as that offered by Permatex) on these headgaskets is a good or bad idea.

This engine should be in the 300-350hp range, and I will be using ARP head studs. Not thinking of power adders, but maybe an alky injection system in the future.

David Neibert
08-28-2007, 01:25 PM
If using the composite gaskets, I would put two coats of Permatex copper spray on each side of the gasket and allow it to dry enough to become tacky before installing.

David

PS: Why aren't you using the MLS Permatorque gaskets ?

XxSlowpokexX
08-28-2007, 01:30 PM
I only used copper spray on copper gaskets to help seal them. What is the reasoning behind using it on standard felpros..Not saying ist wrong I;ve just never doen it before

rzimmerl
08-28-2007, 01:50 PM
I used copper spray when I did mine last month, on standard composite Fel Pros. Followed the same instructions given by Dave, also did the torque sequence he has posted also.

DrFishbone
08-28-2007, 07:19 PM
I'm not planning on using MLS gaskets because:

1) Additional price
2) I've already got the crank, pistons, camshaft, etc in the block. I read that you're supposed to have an ultra-smooth deck - the block I'm using has already had the deck milled from a previous rebuild- not that it should matter. Is this true? Certainly that finish cannot be attained with the pistons, etc. already in.
3) I've already got the standard ones.

Now...if I had it to do over again, I probably would... and I probably should. I don't plan on racing the car and revving it like crazy. Mainly just daily-driving and possibly the occasional shoot-out race. :D

Is it a totally bad idea?

Mike8675309
08-28-2007, 07:50 PM
I sprayed the copper on the head and deck and set the gaskets in while it was still tacky. The theory being the copper spray will allow sealing any rough surfaces in the deck or head, as well as give some flexibility to head movements.

Stock gaskets are fine if you are just gonna drive the car like it was a stock car. You'll likely have to replace the gaskets again down the road, but you'll get another 80k or so miles out before you need to again. Keep on top the the cooling system and you may even go longer.

David Neibert
08-28-2007, 10:12 PM
I'm not planning on using MLS gaskets because:

1) Additional price
2) I've already got the crank, pistons, camshaft, etc in the block. I read that you're supposed to have an ultra-smooth deck - the block I'm using has already had the deck milled from a previous rebuild- not that it should matter. Is this true? Certainly that finish cannot be attained with the pistons, etc. already in.
3) I've already got the standard ones.

Now...if I had it to do over again, I probably would... and I probably should. I don't plan on racing the car and revving it like crazy. Mainly just daily-driving and possibly the occasional shoot-out race. :D

Is it a totally bad idea?

I'm using the late model F-150 4.2 MLS gaskets (uncoated) on my motor and haven't had any problems keeping them sealed against a block that was resurfaced for use with conventional composite gaskets (visable milling serations) when rebuilt back in 2001. I use a couple coats of copper spray on the block side of the gaskets to help them seal. But if using the Mustang 3.8 Permatorque gaskets with the rubber like coating, I would install them dry and wouldn't be worried about them leaking.

The good thing about the MLS gaskets is they don't get weak over time from heat and corrosion like the conventional gaskets do. It's not a bad idea to use the composite gaskets, but I think the MLS gaskets would be a lot better.

David

DrFishbone
08-29-2007, 06:19 AM
The 4.2 MLS gaskets are the ones that need coolant holes cut out to fit our cars, right? Are they as expensive as the rubber coated Mustang MLS gaskets?

Well, I'm probably just going to give the plain ole composite gaskets with some copper spray a try. Maybe I'll have a definitive answer on whether or not it was a good idea in a few years. :rolleyes:

superbirdx
08-29-2007, 06:27 AM
I'm using the late model F-150 4.2 MLS gaskets (uncoated) on my motor and haven't had any problems keeping them sealed against a block that was resurfaced for use with conventional composite gaskets (visable milling serations) when rebuilt back in 2001. I use a couple coats of copper spray on the block side of the gaskets to help them seal. But if using the Mustang 3.8 Permatorque gaskets with the rubber like coating, I would install them dry and wouldn't be worried about them leaking.

The good thing about the MLS gaskets is they don't get weak over time from heat and corrosion like the conventional gaskets do. It's not a bad idea to use the composite gaskets, but I think the MLS gaskets would be a lot better.

David

I also have the late model f-150 4.2 gaskets and wouldn't think of using composites again.I have the complete magnum powers setup and have had it for 4 yrs and no trouble.I'm putting the MPX setup on when it arrives.They cost more but the peace of mind is worth it.

superbirdx
08-29-2007, 06:30 AM
The 4.2 MLS gaskets are the ones that need coolant holes cut out to fit our cars, right? Are they as expensive as the rubber coated Mustang MLS gaskets?

Well, I'm probably just going to give the plain ole composite gaskets with some copper spray a try. Maybe I'll have a definitive answer on whether or not it was a good idea in a few years. :rolleyes:

I bought the right and left side for a 97 f-150 and they were identical to the ones for my 90 SC except for what they are made of,of course.Didn't have to cut anything.For the 100.00+- that it cost it's worth it.
I still have the composites that came with the kit I bought before I knew MLS gaskets were available.I threw them away.

David Neibert
08-29-2007, 08:04 AM
The only rework required to the F-150 4.2 gaskets was the removal of one of the brass rivets for one side of the motor. Several of the coolant ports are differint sizes, but don't need to be changed.

David

seawalkersee
08-29-2007, 11:48 AM
NettlesD used the black duct tape on just the head instead of head gaskets. He cut out the holes for his coolant. To cover the lines between the strips of tape, he used scotch tape short ways across the head. It did not work...he was sad:(

Chris

DrFishbone
08-29-2007, 03:16 PM
He should have used white cloth tape instead of Scotch. Scotch tape will snap when a small amount of force is applied. :)

seawalkersee
08-29-2007, 06:34 PM
Well...the funny thing is that we ended up popping the clear tape when we were trying to do this...http://www.sccoa.com/forums/showthread.php?t=49991 and when it was all said and done, we ended up with this...http://www.sccoa.com/forums/showthread.php?t=82176&highlight=shot+peen. All I can say is that I am glad that Duane is made of solid gold. You would think he would be mad and all. But, we just pushed it up on the trailer and moved it to the shop down the street. I think they are putting some kind of big block in it now. The numbers 4, 5, and 4 come to mind.

Chris

Jacob_Royer
08-30-2007, 02:17 AM
Matt i'd just get the perma-tourque's... I picked the whole perma tourque uper gasket set up from Orielly for $90! everybody else wants $120+ for the same thing! I can get you a part # if you want.. Let me know if you need an extra set of hands when you go to put that motor in! Mine was a ~~~~ with 2 people...

XR7 Dave
08-30-2007, 09:22 AM
Matt i'd just get the perma-tourque's... I picked the whole perma tourque uper gasket set up from Orielly for $90! everybody else wants $120+ for the same thing! I can get you a part # if you want.. Let me know if you need an extra set of hands when you go to put that motor in! Mine was a ~~~~ with 2 people...

Just to be clear, "Perma-Torque" doesn't mean "MLS". That $90 kit was just the standard SC gasket set. MLS gaskets do not come in sets.

I don't know why anyone would use copper spray on a composite gasket. That makes no sense at all. On an MLS gasket if you are putting them on a non-machined block then it should be beneficial but I would not use spray on a block that has been properly machined.

But everyone has an opinion so take that for what it's worth.

Mike8675309
08-30-2007, 10:17 AM
Just to be clear, "Perma-Torque" doesn't mean "MLS". That $90 kit was just the standard SC gasket set. MLS gaskets do not come in sets.


That is very correct. Perma-Torque has become Federal-Mogul speak for any gasket that is effectively reusable due to their expanded use of a special thermoplastic substance to either coat, or place compression rings on gasket surfaces. The advantage being that once the torque is set, it effectively is unnecessary to re-torque it as the gaskets don't compress over time like a standard gasket does.

XR7 Dave
08-30-2007, 11:12 AM
That is very correct. Perma-Torque has become Federal-Mogul speak for any gasket that is effectively reusable due to their expanded use of a special thermoplastic substance to either coat, or place compression rings on gasket surfaces. The advantage being that once the torque is set, it effectively is unnecessary to re-torque it as the gaskets don't compress over time like a standard gasket does.


Not quite. Perma Torque gaskets are not re-useable. It just means they don't need re-torquing.

Jacob_Royer
08-30-2007, 11:36 AM
I had a set of dana gaskets and they were crap graphite gaskets.. The perma tourque set was ALOT nicer than the other set that Orielly had from felpro... They had another felpro set for SC's and it quality wise was not alot better than the dana graphite ones...

XR7 Dave
08-30-2007, 12:08 PM
I had a set of dana gaskets and they were crap graphite gaskets.. The perma tourque set was ALOT nicer than the other set that Orielly had from felpro... They had another felpro set for SC's and it quality wise was not alot better than the dana graphite ones...

All Felpro gaskets for the SC are either graphite or MLS. There is no confusing the two as the graphite ones have a soft gasket like layer on top with visible stainless steel fire rings and the MLS gaskets are simply 4 layer embossed stainless steel held together with brass rivets. Graphite is actually the BEST composite material for aluminum head motors. There are other 3.8 V6 gaskets but the good ones are all graphite.

DrFishbone
08-30-2007, 12:16 PM
Alright, let me see if I have this straight (I doubt that I do :o)

Felpro Permatorque = composite = standard SC gaskets
MLS = Multi-Layered-Steel

However, there are other brands of standard gaskets, such as: Dana, etc.

The more I've read about this since MLS gaskets started becoming popular, the less I've understood the differences and what the ups and downs of each are. :confused:

ricardoa1
08-30-2007, 12:31 PM
Alright, let me see if I have this straight (I doubt that I do :o)

Felpro Permatorque = composite = standard SC gaskets
MLS = Multi-Layered-Steel

However, there are other brands of standard gaskets, such as: Dana, etc.

The more I've read about this since MLS gaskets started becoming popular, the less I've understood the differences and what the ups and downs of each are. :confused:

Not quite.
Composite=standard SC gaskets=Graphite
Felpro Permatorque=Multi-Layered-Steel with a rubberized coating on it=Mustang gaskets and now discontinued SC gaskets.
MLS=Multi-Layered-Steel no coating on it, maybe use the copper spray if surfaced not machined right=F150 4.2l gaskets
All of the above fit the SC

DrFishbone
08-30-2007, 01:05 PM
Not quite.
Composite=standard SC gaskets=Graphite
Felpro Permatorque=Multi-Layered-Steel with a rubberized coating on it=Mustang gaskets and now discontinued SC gaskets.
MLS=Multi-Layered-Steel no coating on it, maybe use the copper spray if surfaced not machined right=F150 4.2l gaskets
All of the above fit the SC

Sorry about putting you on the spot ricardoa1...just want to know if the mud-puddle is clearing up on this subject....

Will anyone "second" this statement? There's obviously ALOT of confusion on the subject - even among those who are technically-minded enough to build an engine! If we can all agree on this, I think I'll print it out and hang it on the refridgerator.

Jacob, thanks for the offer to help, I may take you up on that - my dad usually likes to jump in when I'm doing anything major like this. He wants my car done too. You know, we need to have a pre-shootout Kentuckiana SC meeting soon. Maybe that will light a fire under some of our butts as far as getting ready for the shootout goes. I'm not going to make the whole thing, but I may drop in on Friday or Sunday.

Thanks for the replies thus far everyone.

David Neibert
08-30-2007, 02:19 PM
Alright, let me see if I have this straight (I doubt that I do :o)

Felpro Permatorque = composite = standard SC gaskets
MLS = Multi-Layered-Steel

However, there are other brands of standard gaskets, such as: Dana, etc.

The more I've read about this since MLS gaskets started becoming popular, the less I've understood the differences and what the ups and downs of each are. :confused:

This is what the 4.2 F-150 MLS gaskets I'm using look like.

http://members.tccoa.com/dneibert/headgasket110102.jpg

David

Jacob_Royer
08-30-2007, 02:56 PM
Ok... my perma tourque's were blue... The graphite gaskets looked like somthing made out of a cerial box...

Jacob_Royer
08-30-2007, 02:58 PM
Sounds like a plan matt! I'd love to get down to US-60 (1/8th mile) before the shootout and make a few runs see what it will do!..Why don't us kentuckiana SC'rs get together down there for test and tune ($15 run as much as you want) I think they have test and tune saturday night and sunday afternoon this weekend.. Be some good OSCA cars running saturday make are SC's look really slow but I'm curious what it will do...

seawalkersee
08-30-2007, 04:02 PM
Dont forget to remove the rivit(s?) on the MLS Gaskets. Dave or David can better show you on that since they both have done it to my understanding.

Chris

XR7 Dave
08-30-2007, 04:45 PM
There is no need to remove any rivets.

David Neibert
08-30-2007, 04:52 PM
There is no need to remove any rivets.

There is on the 4.2 F-150 MLS gaskets. There is one on the lower middle of the (drivers side I think) that has to be removed or it pinches between the block and head.

David

Micahdogg
08-30-2007, 04:52 PM
Looks like a removed rivet which would have sat between the head and block in david's picture.

XR7 Dave
08-30-2007, 05:10 PM
There is no need to remove the rivet. It does not affect anything.

Micahdogg
08-30-2007, 05:14 PM
Might want to tell Chris Wise that the gouge between his head and block wasn't anything worth removing a rivet over. :)

David Neibert
08-30-2007, 05:15 PM
There is no need to remove the rivet. It does not affect anything.

Are you saying it doesn't get pinched between the block and head, or it doesn't matter if it gets pinched because it's made of brass and will crush ?

David

ricardoa1
08-30-2007, 05:16 PM
There is on the 4.2 F-150 MLS gaskets. There is one on the lower middle of the (drivers side I think) that has to be removed or it pinches between the block and head.

David


Agreed I removed one revit when I was using these. You will see it once you place in in the engine. But why would you use the F150 gaskets anymore unless you had some laying around. The mustang ones do the same job with more forgivness to imperfections on the deck.

Mike8675309
08-30-2007, 07:09 PM
The rivets in the way on my set were only being captured by the head, not by the block. I took them off simply because I didn't feel like deforming the MLS gasket as the head pushing on the rivet was doing that. this was the section of the head that overlapped the deck.

Roadhawg
08-30-2007, 07:23 PM
I'm using 4.2 F-150 MLS gaskets, with copper spray, and ARP studs, with heads torqued to 90ft/lbs.

superbirdx
08-30-2007, 09:27 PM
There is no need to remove any rivets.

I put 97 f-150 4.2 gaskets on my engine on advice from Brian Herron about 4 yrs ago and he also said just put them on as you get them.I haven't had issues.

XR7 Dave
08-30-2007, 10:30 PM
I put 97 f-150 4.2 gaskets on my engine on advice from Brian Herron about 4 yrs ago and he also said just put them on as you get them.I haven't had issues.Nor has anyone else.

lilredstang
08-30-2007, 11:34 PM
There is no need to remove any rivets.

I'm running the mustang MLS gaskets with copper spray and I am pretty sure I had to remove atleast 1 rivet.:confused:

David Neibert
08-31-2007, 12:05 AM
I didn't remove the rivet on the first set I had on my car. They didn't leak because of it, but I didn't think it helped with evenly distributing the clamping force either. That portion of the rivet was crushed...next time I just drilled it out.

David

DrFishbone
08-31-2007, 06:27 AM
I'm running the mustang MLS gaskets with copper spray and I am pretty sure I had to remove atleast 1 rivet.:confused:

Don't the mustang ones have a rubberized coating?

Let's dig up some pictures and show everyone what each looks like. We've got the 4.2L MLS gaskets...now how about the mustang ones....

rzimmerl
08-31-2007, 07:16 AM
heres a good thread on MLS from a while back

http://www.sccoa.com/forums/showthread.php?t=72873

lilredstang
08-31-2007, 12:30 PM
I don't recall seeing any rubberized coating. For what its worth I got mine from the dealer. Removed the rivet. I sprayed both sides with the copper stuff and pulled them down with ARPs. No problems yet.

Jacob_Royer
08-31-2007, 03:23 PM
http://www.sccoa.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=18347&d=1139467308

This looks like the gaskets i got for $90 at Orielly... (other than being used)

Mike8675309
08-31-2007, 04:17 PM
Permatorque Mustang gaskets that XR7Dave recommends look like this (before rivet removal):

http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a23/tcw_fort/EngineRebuild/passengerhead.jpg

DrFishbone
09-03-2007, 09:29 AM
OOOhhh...that's purdy.

DrFishbone
09-03-2007, 09:42 AM
http://www.sccoa.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=18347&d=1139467308

This looks like the gaskets i got for $90 at Orielly... (other than being used)

Jacob, did the reading material or label say anything about yours being "Permatorque" gaskets? From the reading I've done, I think the Permatorque gaskets have the black, sticky coating.

Thanks to rzimmerl for the post of the thread - I seemed to have missed that when I was searching before.

So, back to the copper spray. Here's what I think I understand so far -

Standard Felpro replacment head gaskets - no copper spray (or maybe so?)

Uncoated F-150 MLS headgaskets - copper spray good idea if the block's deck is not "baby's bottom finished"

Permatorque Coated Mustang MLS gaskets - no copper spray, since they're already coated with a tacky sealant.

Does this make sense? And my last question for today - is using copper spray on standard Felpro's a bad idea?

Jacob_Royer
09-03-2007, 11:23 AM
Yes the box said perma-tourque and i'm pretty sure the part # ended in PT i'll have to dig out my recept and see what it says..

ricardoa1
09-03-2007, 11:28 AM
Standard felpro does not need the copper spray.

Mike8675309
09-03-2007, 01:08 PM
Standard felpro does not need the copper spray.

Doesn't need it but I use it with the stock graphite head gaskets. I'd use it with a standard MLS (just steel, no coating) gasket as well. I used the copper spray on both my 90 and 93 for the intake manifold gaskets. (Sprayed the head and let it get tacky then set the intake gasket on there. Sprayed the intake manifold and let it dry past tacky so it wouldn't pull on the gasket. Set it down, torque with new bolts.)

Is the copper spray ever necessary? If everything is a-o.k., then no. Does it hurt anything? The only time I would think it could hurt something is on the Permatorqe head gaskets, as they have a special tacky coating that even the instructions say install dry, as well as you have to get the head on their fairly quick as they say not to let the coating loose it's tackiness before assembly. On that gasket, I would go dry until someone's experience shows otherwise.

XR7 Dave
09-03-2007, 02:38 PM
What people do, what seems to work, and what is best are often all very different things. I do not believe that anyone here has enough experience with gasket failure to be able to make clear statements about the value or detriment of using copper spray on any headgasket.

There are no uncoated steel (MLS) gaskets for the 3.8, only rubber coated and rubber + adhesive coated. They were all sold under the same part numbers and merely reflect a running change made by Felpro to the same gasket part numbers.

Standard composite graphite gaskets that come in the Felpro head sets do not require nor do they benefit from any coating. The only time a gasket may benefit from copper spray coating is when the block surface is not the required finish for the gasket being used. In no case would any manufacturer recommend using their product in a non-suitable application (improperly machined surfaces). To do so puts owness for the results into the hands of the installer. If you decide to use the gaskets in such a manner then it will be up to you to "engineer" the right solution. If that means using a copper spray to make you feel better about the results, then by all means go ahead. It has not been proven (that I'm aware of) that copper spray is harmful when applied properly.

When installed properly neither the graphite nor the MLS gaskets benefit from copper spray adhesive.

DrFishbone
09-03-2007, 03:29 PM
Thanks for the detailed answers.

Jacob, let me know what you find out about those gaskets. :)

Jacob_Royer
09-04-2007, 02:16 AM
I will if i can ever figure out where the stupid recept is at! I'm still trying to get my garage back in order :)

DrFishbone
09-04-2007, 07:36 AM
I just opened my Felpro "upper engine gasket set" last night... I remember what confused me last time about what head gaskets I actually got - There is an advertisement for Permatorque MLS gaskets on top of everything else in the box. When I read that (last time and this time!) I thought for a second there that the kit came with Permatorque MLS headgaskets. :rolleyes: It does make it look like you got the PMLS gaskets at a glance, when you open the box.

sizemoremk
09-05-2007, 10:36 AM
I used the spray on both sides of the felpro gsaskets I had, I beleive they were stripped blue, been a couple or three years ago...
I'm still on my stock shortblock with no machineing on the block, and have not had any issues. I drove it on quite a few 100+ degree days this summer, for 30 miles each way including a pretty good sized mountain; even in some occasional heavy traffic.

I do have a separate, isolated tranny cooler though.

It may not help, but I don't beleive it hurts anything.

I usually spray that crap on all my gaskets, the tackiness helps keep em from movin on me.

DrFishbone
09-05-2007, 11:41 AM
Well, I went ahead and put the graphite Felpros on the engine on Monday. I didn't use copper spray though. Since the documentation that came with the gaskets said to install dry, and that's how I've done it on my other two stock motors, I figured that I'd give it a try on my not-so-stock motor. the 2.8L Chevy ARP studs went on perfectly too - I thought that was pretty neat how well they fit!