Hints and Tips - Copper Head Gaskets

From: Charles Ping
Sent: 09 June 2000
To: British-Cars-Pre-War
Subject: copper head gaskets

Does anybody know of a manufacturer/ stockist of solid copper head gaskets for Austin Sevens (in the UK) ?

Somebody must make them at the moment....

Thanks

Charles


From: Richard Brown
Sent: 09 June 2000
To: British-Cars-Pre-War
Subject: Copper head gaskets

M.Blake advertises in the VSCC newsletter as being able to supply any head gasket in solid copper to pattern. I don't know any more about him. Can anyone tell me the pros and cons of solid copper over copper/asbestos or composition gaskets?

Richard Brown.


From: Barry Lovelock
Sent: 10 June 2000
To: Charles Ping
Subject: Re: copper head gaskets

I bought mine, albeit three years ago from Brian Harfield, of 3, Woodland View, Bromley Cross, Bolton, Lancashire, BL7 9NS. 'phone (01204) 305051. I hope he is still there.

I had to suppy an accurate rubbing of the cylinder head and the gasket was about 50. Advantages are almost indefinite life if re-annealed after use and bullet-proof performance. Harfield made the gasket for "Side-valve" in recent years. Having said all this, the problems I had were caused by using the C/A type gasket and the water branch gasket too - this is a stupid design fault. If one uses high compression modded engines, then just lap in the top manifold or it will blow due to the two front head studs being impossible to torque down as well as the others (two gaskets compressed under water branch). Both gaskets obviously ok for a cooking Ruby, but two head gaskets in 500 miles was two too many!

My supercharged Ulster has a late Ruby head, planed so ratio is about 7:1+ and a large geared-up blower thats blows at up to 15 psig. It does not blow head gaskets and has a standard C/A type (NOT asbestos nowadays!) head gasket, but not the silly little water branch gasket. This may prove that copper gaskets are not really necessary. The copper is best in 16 gauge material - suggested by Brian and this will lower the compression ratio slightly compared to a standard C/A type which is 25 thou when compressed.

Barry Lovelock.


From: David Cochrane
Sent: 09 June 2000
To: Charles Ping
Subject: Re: copper head gaskets

Charles,
Somebody does. M Blake is advertising in today's VSCC newsletter. 01584 711112. He needs an original or drawing to work from.

Regards,

David Cochrane


From: Maggie Shapland
Sent: 16 June 2000
To: British-Cars-Pre-War
Subject: Re: copper head gaskets

For the Talbot, I had quotes from Johnson Gaskets (01274-682298) 44 copper asbestos, solid copper 54 1mm. Copper & Automative washer co (01922-743951) 1mm copper 75, 1.5mm 80. In the end I bought a piece of copper 1.5mm thick and a friend made me one.

The Talbot head is very thin at back where the water jacket is, and I found that copper asbestos gaskets lasted no time at all (record was 10 miles- though admittedly it was an old one) because they wouldn't seal at the back, though the rest of the head and block were perfectly flat. My previous copper gasket lasted 20 years before it finally blew so I have been well pleased. It is totally impossible to torque down all the nuts on the head due to there being 3 nuts inside the exhaust manifold!

----------------------
Maggie Shapland, Computing Service, University of Bristol
Web page: http://www.cse.bris.ac.uk/~ccmjs/
1925 Lanchester 21, 1925 Talbot 10/23, 1929 Peugeot 190S, 1986 Moss Monaco


From: Charles Ping
Sent: 21 June 2000
To: British-Cars-Pre-War
Subject: copper head gaskets - the results

Thanks to everyone who replied and I'd thought that a summary of my findings may be useful. I followed two leads:

Matthew Blake did have an advert in the VSCC newsletter saying that he could make them - The cost depends upon volume because there are set up charges for writing the computer program to control the water jet that cuts the gasket! ( and I imagined a man with a rusty chisel carving one out of copper sheet). However once that's written it's simple process. For one gasket it's about 70 and a run of 6 or more about 40.

G R Johnson in Bradford will make me a one off for about 30.

For background information it's worth looking at is the US website (discovered thru' www.vintageknowledge.co.uk)

http://www.headgasket.com/

since they have a good FAQ section.

For my part I have looked at my head ('37 with 18mm plugs) and found a very slight depression around the area where the gasket blew (despite being machined last summer). What really surprised me was that I nobody kept solid copper head gaskets in stock. With Austin Sevens you get used to everything from cranks up to bodyshells being available off the shelf! The reason that I wanted solid copper was to have a stronger gasket (solid is better than copper/asbestos in this respect) and to help the rather poor heat transfer that is the life of a hard pressed side valve! (Barry, maybe the water pump on your real blown seven helps in this respect).

So whilst Mr Johnson in Bradford is making me a gasket I'm lapping the head on plate glass!

Charles


From: Barry Lovelock
Sent: 21 June 2000
To: Charles Ping
Subject: Re: copper head gaskets - the results

>.....and to help the rather poor heat transfer that is the life
>of a hard pressed side valve! (Barry, maybe the water
>pump on your real blown seven helps in this respect).

Yes, you could be right and I hadn't thought about the heat transfer aspect - a bonus I would think. However and here is a controversial one, I am told an alloy head can in fact loose about 15% power over an identical cast-iron one due to too efficient cooling which effectively "puts the flame out"

Barry.


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