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Does anyone know if you can run copper head gaskets wiht iron heads and an iron block even though neither has been o-ringed?

I need more valve to piston clearance than just changing rocker arms will get me and I was thinking about putting a copper head gasket on it.
 

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I am running them on my 351C 4V currently (been on for about two years) with no problems ... as you describe, Iron heads and block ... No "O"-rings
 

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Kid, I checked into the copper head gaskets to get my quench better. I called one of the manufactureers(can't remember which one). The tech told me that they don't recommend it because the combustion chamber needs more sealing than the flat gasket can provide. The flat copper disperses the force over the deck instead of containing it close the the cylinders. That's why they recommend the o-ring. Does this make sense? Anyway, He wouldn't tell me this, but he implied that some people do it anyway as MonsterMach said.
I chickened out and didn't do it.


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Grabber Green '70 Mach I 351C 4V
Robin Egg Blue '79 Fairmont 351C 4V



<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: clevelandstyle on 5/4/02 11:47am ]</font>
 

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My research indicated that in most instances where copper head gaskets are use, it is "Race" applications and most of these engines are "O"-ringed just for general purposes.

I was infact told that I shouldn't use copper head gaskets on my "Hot Rod - Street Car" for so many reasons I couldn't begin to count them, but I can tell you that ZERO of the reasons made one bit of sense to me.

My primary purpose for using them was to improve heat transfer form the heads to the block for improved cooling capacity of the engine in general ...

Secondarily I used them to get a tighter piston to head clearancece ... I used .032 thickness.

The positive info I found was ... copper seals better, so it's less likely to leak ... copper is solid so it's less likely to "blow" ... copper doesn't compress, so there is less need for re-torquing ... copper is reuseable.

To me ... the "Good stuff" ... ALL MADE SENSE

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<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: MonsterMach on 5/4/02 12:11pm ]</font>
 

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as MonsterMach has said its being done. the only problems i have seen with them leaking or blowing out is if the gasket is left in the combustion chamber, so just make sure you lay the gasket on the head and scribe a line matching chamber and grind or file excess material and keep gaskets with head its been matched to, torque specs might be differant also maybe Monster can address that for you. good luck sorry to hear about more problems with the cam pin
 

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The problem with solid copper is the load between the head and deck is distributed evenly. If you have a 'compressible' gasket, then put a less compressible ring in it, the pressure around that ring is increased. It's like putting a small rock in your shoe... If it gets under your heel, it provided a LOT of pressure and hurts your foot!

Modern gaskets have stainless steel 'fire rings' around the cylinders to help seal them... and 'build-ups' around the water ports to help seal those. Solid copper gaskets have a reputation of leaking water, and if no O-rings are used around the cylinders, they are likely to leak cylinder pressure as well. O-ringing the cylinders (with out without copper gaskets) will help hold cylinder pressure.

If you aren't running killer compression and/or nitrous, you might get away with plain copper gaskets and no O-rings, but it's going to be a gamble... especially on a Ford 302 with it measly 10 7/16" head bolts. A 351C or 351W might have better luck with their larger 1/2" bolts.

Back in the day before modern gaskets were developed the old flatheads used around 24 1/2" studs PER HEAD to seal combustion pressures, and they only ran around 7 to 1 compression.


Moral of the story, O-rings (which may be run with copper gaskets) WILL help seal the combustion chamber. But if you are using copper, (regardless if you're using O-rings or not) pay special attention to getting the water ports to seal. Spraying the gaskets with copper 'Spray a Gasket' is supposed to help... but it's still going to be a pain on a 302. (I converted my 302 to 1/2" head bolts, which cured ALL head gasket problems) The next engine will have Felpro 'Loc-Wire' gaskets.


Good Luck!
 
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