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Old 05-28-2018, 12:45 AM   #1
Stormin
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Default Shovel head gasket

I have been looking on the board for head gasket information, but can't find the specific answer I am looking for so I am seeking thoughts on this.


I have a shovel with a leaking head gasket. The dark spot on the head surface is where the leak was. I have sanded it with 320 grit using a mirror, and it is going to take a while longer to remove the spot and get a good sealing surface.


My question is, is this enough if I get a similar gasket with a metal ring or can I leave the head sanding where it is and use the blue paper and metal material gasket. Or should I keep sanding? Using a straight edge and 0.0015" feeler gauge, it won't slip through, so it's close. I want to get it back together tonight, so if I can use the blue gasket I will.
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Old 05-28-2018, 03:15 AM   #2
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Default Re: Shovel head gasket

i'd just replace the gasket , heat cycle, cool down overnight, re torque and ride.

then if it blows again consider having skim job.
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Old 05-28-2018, 10:16 AM   #3
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Not the funnest job to do twice. I’d get it flat, if it wasnt for the damn exhaust port it would only take a few seconds.
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Old 05-28-2018, 11:17 AM   #4
JasonMcElroy
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Default Re: Shovel head gasket

To my thinking, the spot you're trying to remove with abrasive was might already have been a low spot. It leaked there because either it was a low spot or the nearest head bolt(s) were not fully torqued.

As was mentioned, you MUST check for flatness before reinstalling. No point wasting your time.

And since I'm like a Jehovah's Witness at your door every Saturday asking "have you looked at everything as long as you're in there", why not . . .

* check flatness of head surface and cylinder surface

* check the head bolt thread inserts in the head for shifting/rotation/stripping

* wire wheel your head bolts and look for thread damage

* run the head bolts by hand into every thread insert. No binding. Make sure they go deep enough. You can grind them down if they are too long. (THIS ONE IS A FREQUENT MISSED STEP AND CAUSE FOR PROBLEMS)

* make sure nothing is keeping the head from seating fully such as exhaust port casting on head or frame seat tube hitting the head

I like the copper head gaskets the best although their are plenty of other quality types.

Make sure to incrementally torque in sequence using a torque wrench.

Re-torque after a few heat cycles.

Have fun.

Jason
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Old 05-28-2018, 02:15 PM   #5
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Default Re: Shovel head gasket

Get out of my head Jason.....

No, wait...you are smart. Stay in there I need all the help I can get.
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Old 05-28-2018, 04:21 PM   #6
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Default Re: Shovel head gasket

Quote:
Originally Posted by JasonMcElroy View Post
To my thinking, the spot you're trying to remove with abrasive was might already have been a low spot. It leaked there because either it was a low spot or the nearest head bolt(s) were not fully torqued.

As was mentioned, you MUST check for flatness before reinstalling. No point wasting your time.

And since I'm like a Jehovah's Witness at your door every Saturday asking "have you looked at everything as long as you're in there", why not . . .

* check flatness of head surface and cylinder surface

* check the head bolt thread inserts in the head for shifting/rotation/stripping

* wire wheel your head bolts and look for thread damage

* run the head bolts by hand into every thread insert. No binding. Make sure they go deep enough. You can grind them down if they are too long. (THIS ONE IS A FREQUENT MISSED STEP AND CAUSE FOR PROBLEMS)

* make sure nothing is keeping the head from seating fully such as exhaust port casting on head or frame seat tube hitting the head

I like the copper head gaskets the best although their are plenty of other quality types.

Make sure to incrementally torque in sequence using a torque wrench.

Re-torque after a few heat cycles.

Have fun.

Jason

Thank you Jason for the suggestions and ideas.


I definitely will check the bolts and inserts.


I'm going to head out to the shop and put it back together using the blue gasket and see if if works now. I got the head surface mostly sanded flat.


And I got the religion. (two wheeled).


Cheers
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Old 05-28-2018, 05:15 PM   #7
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Default Re: Shovel head gasket

I'm with McElroy.

One thing I'll add: for torque or retorque, please loosen your top motor mount before torquing the head bolts, then retighten it when finished. It isn't immediately obvious, and it should be done. Great way to pull your inserts.
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Old 05-29-2018, 07:36 AM   #8
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Default Re: Shovel head gasket

I can't see the picture so am not certain where this leak is, but I would add my $0.02 from experience with my Shovelhead that head bolts stretch over time and can bottom out in their sockets, meaning you think they're holding the head tight when they're bottomed out tight, but not necessarily holding the head.
If you don't know how old the head bolts are, get a new set. They aren't expensive.
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Old 05-29-2018, 12:47 PM   #9
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Default Re: Shovel head gasket

This is an old trick for "machining" heads, manifolds, and such. Go to the auto body section at Napa get some stick on long board sandpaper. Choose your desired grit and stick a few sheets down to a nice flat steel table. Work your piece back and forth until flat. I did this with a Harley head with good results, and if you stick your pieces of sand paper at the edge of the table you can hang your exhaust port to the side of the table. Backyard...yes but I have done it a hundred times with exhaust manifolds back when I had a cheap boss and it worked every time.
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Old 05-29-2018, 01:43 PM   #10
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Default Re: Shovel head gasket

Quote:
Originally Posted by govmule84 View Post
I'm with McElroy.

One thing I'll add: for torque or retorque, please loosen your top motor mount before torquing the head bolts, then retighten it when finished. It isn't immediately obvious, and it should be done. Great way to pull your inserts.
Great piece of info dude! I didn't do this last time and resulted in my failing on the pan!
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Old 05-30-2018, 01:50 AM   #11
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Default Re: Shovel head gasket

Quote:
Originally Posted by mandrew View Post
This is an old trick for "machining" heads, manifolds, and such. Go to the auto body section at Napa get some stick on long board sandpaper. Choose your desired grit and stick a few sheets down to a nice flat steel table. Work your piece back and forth until flat. I did this with a Harley head with good results, and if you stick your pieces of sand paper at the edge of the table you can hang your exhaust port to the side of the table. Backyard...yes but I have done it a hundred times with exhaust manifolds back when I had a cheap boss and it worked every time.

I used a thick old mirror and a large sheet of sand paper. The paper was 320 grit, probably a little fine but that was all I had around. I inverted the head and went in kind of a circular motion to keep the deck very flat. Seems to have worked. And yes the exhaust port is a pain.

Thanks for your input.
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Old 05-31-2018, 01:25 AM   #12
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Default Re: Shovel head gasket

I agree with Jason.
I'm a big fan of S&S copper head gaskets. And nit pick the hell out of the surface. Gotta be good and flat, square edges, no burrs coming out of the bolt holes. Check the threads close, make sure they aren't pulling out.
I always torque starting and finishing with the two bolts one each side of the oil passage.
Also, lube the threads with just a dab of light machine oil.
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Old 05-31-2018, 07:14 PM   #13
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Default Re: Shovel head gasket

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Originally Posted by govmule84 View Post
I'm with McElroy.

One thing I'll add: for torque or retorque, please loosen your top motor mount before torquing the head bolts, then retighten it when finished. It isn't immediately obvious, and it should be done. Great way to pull your inserts.
Good fuckin' point.
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Old 06-01-2018, 01:24 AM   #14
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Default Re: Shovel head gasket

Yup, good flat surface, no pulled inserts, cylinder deck cleaned, and surfaces checked for flat with straight edge and used the blue gasket.
Everything went back together well and stuck a flesh set of plugs in. Good for the 1500 mile road trip I am going to take next week. Oh yeah, I re-torqued the head, might check it again before I go.
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Old 06-01-2018, 02:55 AM   #15
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Default Re: Shovel head gasket

can the mod's add a 'thanks' button to posts, govmule84's comment good example of where it would be useful.
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Old 06-02-2018, 03:08 PM   #16
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Default Re: Shovel head gasket

Quote:
Originally Posted by govmule84 View Post
I'm with McElroy.

One thing I'll add: for torque or retorque, please loosen your top motor mount before torquing the head bolts, then retighten it when finished. It isn't immediately obvious, and it should be done. Great way to pull your inserts.
Thanks, you just saved my ass!
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