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Head Gasket and sealants ?

Fri Sep 26, 2014 12:30 pm

Blew a head gasket at NJMP this past WkEnd.
Of course didint come prepared with backup /spare.
Had hell of time replacing it (1968-71 Tr.Spitfire 1300)
My question is not having access to a copper replacement
head gasket can I spray This gasket with Copper Gasket Sealant ?
Any input is appreciated Thanks- Ed

Re: Head Gasket and sealants ?

Sat Sep 27, 2014 4:37 pm


Always a good idea to keep a spare head gasket in your parts box. I am not familiar with Spitfire gaskets per se, but the ones I use on my Mini come with some kind of coating. It is recommended that one NOT use additional sealant. You should check with your gasket manufacturer. Of course, the cleaner you can make the surfaces the better.

I am going to assume that you are not planning to re-use the old gasket with gasket sealant, right?

If you have trouble finding gaskets check with Russ Moore, who knows all things Spitfire.

Re: Head Gasket and sealants ?

Sun Sep 28, 2014 6:45 am

Thanks Mack The only headgasket ive ever reused were the copper ones for my bugeye sprite .How do i get in touch mith Mr Moore ? Thanks Ed

Re: Head Gasket and sealants ?

Mon Sep 29, 2014 7:07 am

Try this: rem9@twcny.rr.com

Re: Head Gasket and sealants ?

Mon Sep 29, 2014 9:50 am

Hi Ed,
I'm the guy with the blue Spit at NJMP, I came over to introduce myself when you were heading home. I wish I would have known you needed a head gasket, I had one with me and you would have been more than welcome to it. As for using a non-copper gasket I have always used Copper Gasket Sealant without issues, but you may want to get in touch with Russ as Mack suggested he’s the expert. Anyway, for parts Russ and I both use Spitbits.com (800-201-0494) Nigel is very knowledgeable and helpful. Hope all goes well and maybe will meet at a future event.



Re: Head Gasket and sealants ?

Tue Sep 30, 2014 12:10 pm

Hey Rick : Likewise nice meeting someone with similar toys(spits) .
Really thought the Head was cracked the way water was coming
back thru the carbs. Never had that happen always water n oil or the reverse but that didn't happen . Would like to make it down to Summit
Point for "Turkey Bowl" . Like to keep in touch have lots of ???
Thanks Ed at exit48racing@aol.com

Re: Head Gasket and sealants ?

Tue Sep 30, 2014 2:50 pm

I'm planning to make Summit point, not sure If Russ will make it he's the expert. Anyway, let's keep intouch.



Re: Head Gasket and sealants ?

Fri Oct 03, 2014 7:28 am

I have always had very good luck using Payen head gaskets. The most used source is SpitBits on the left coast. They do have a web site. Nigel is the contact out there and he is pretty aware of any issues you may ask. Avoid some of the “house” brands out there carried by the big three.

I presume you’re running an FE prefix engine (1296cc/small crank). That really is the best option in terms of engines produced for the Spitfire. There are a couple of things I have done to make it more durable. My outlook is a little unique after racing a Spit for the past 27 years, I am more concerned with durability than being able to lead the pack for only part of a weekend. In any case I have machined my block so I use the 1500 gasket with the compression ring and also increased the size of the head studs. For the first 18 years I ran a stock FE head gasket but then started seeing minor failures when I was approaching 12:1 compression rates. I have had no failures to date using this modification and the later style head gasket, again Payen is all I will use.. and I never use any sealant in addition to the gasket. I also balance everything that rotates or reciprocates down to .10 grams. Extreme but these will run all day long between 7 and 8K rpm.

I always carry a few spare headgaskets, both styles so if you’re ever in need chase me down if I’m at the event.

In terms of reusing a headgasket………don’t! It’s a waste of time. There are a couple of solid copper head gaskets on the market, one made by a good friend on the west coast but I have never seen those seal effectively, even when annealed as per the instructions. An engine I recently rebuilt had one and it was miserable and the owner had tried everything short of human sacrifice with no success. Doing the modification above it successfully ran 14:1 compression and developed 117HP at the rear wheels on a chassis dyno. Not too bad for an old lump of British iron.

I’m glad to assist you any way I can and don’t hesitate to call me.

I will definitely be at the Jefferson 500 in May and also at Mosport in June. If you’ve never been to Mosport it is the most amazing place and my favorite track. Despite being only 30 minutes from Watkins Glen, I would rather drive 5 hours to Mosport; it's THAT GOOD!. Bob Tullius will be joining us again for the second installment of the Triumph/MG Challenge and will be awarding the Group 44Inc. cup to a worthy Triumph.
More information in the near future.

Russ Moore
Spitfire #49
(607) 539-7442
Brooktondale, NY 14817

Re: Head Gasket and sealants ?

Fri Oct 03, 2014 7:37 am

Just to supplement what I said earlier: I always use a razor blade to clean both the deck surface and the head surface. I then use some lacquer thinner to completely remove any grease or oil contamination. I never use any sealants or sprays. I also pretty much ignore the ARP suggested torque figures and go with factory on stock size or more on the oversize studs I use. The oversize studs do require opening the stud holes on the gasket and I have found a 5 flute tapered reamer perfect for the task. I does take 30 minutes of trial and fit work so when the engine is apart I make up two. One for the immediate need and one for the race trailer spares. Never a failure. Always go with Payen!


Re: Head Gasket and sealants ?

Fri Oct 03, 2014 9:45 am

Great stuff Russ. Thanks for contributing and sharing some of your tips & tricks learned over the years!
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