3 Reasons You Know That it is Time to Replace Your Head Gasket

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?Corseal product comparison

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? Maybe you’re still in the design stage and are merely asking the question, or you may be experiencing test failures and you’re wondering if a ring is going to be a solution for you. Beyoncé once famously told us “If you liked it then you should have put a ring on it”. Fortunately, your decision is going to be based on data and not emotion, and it’s also comparatively much less expensive and (hopefully) not a life changing decision for you.

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.

Why You May Need A Flange Ring

1. There is internal pressure (such as combustion pressure) that needs to be contained.

2. The gasket material needs to be protected from the internal fluid or pressure or high temp exposure that might degrade it over time.

3. There are loading issues with the bolting such that a metal-to-metal loading will better retain bolt torque values.

4. A burn path needs to be avoided. The ring will provide a barrier to this potential for a burn path to work its way through the gasket body to create a leak path.

In case you’re now wondering, here are a few examples of gaskets that use rings: cylinder head gaskets, turbo system exhaust gaskets, high pressure fluid port gaskets, etc.

It’s Pretty Simple

The data doesn’t lie. If you are seeing (or believe you will see) any of these factors in your design, your best bet is to redesign/design your gasket with a ring. Although it will add cost to your design, it is going to ensure performance – and that is what we all want. Don’t be afraid of added cost up front…think of all the money you’re going to save later when your application doesn’t fail.

If you have any questions about your design and what you might be seeing, please don’t hesitate to ask!

For those of you familiar with Beyoncé’s song “Single Ladies”, we apologize for putting that song into your head the rest of the day. We’ve been singing it to ourselves since we wrote this!Request a Call