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Flathead Help Needed!

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by haroldd1963, Apr 1, 2008.

  1. haroldd1963
    Joined: Oct 15, 2007
    Posts: 1,154

    haroldd1963
    Member
    from Peru, IL

    My dad and I are rebuilding the engine in our roadster. It is a 59AB 24 stud with Edmund Heads. The heads had some severe corrosion around the water ports in the center. We had them welded and a machine shop machined the head surfaces. Now we have a problem with piston clearance.

    It has been over 50 years since dad rebuilt the engine the first time and he doesn't remeber everything he did, but he did use 2 head gaskets to gain the extra clearance then. The gaskets we pulled off looked like they were glued together with some sort of shellac.

    Can anyone tell me the procedure for installing heads using 2 gaskets? What type gasket to use, etc. Or does any body know of a company that makes thicker head gaskets or spacers for this type of application?

    Since the heads have allready had some work done to them prior to this rebuild, we are very nervous about doing any grinding on them to gain the clearance needed.
     
  2. Straightpipes
    Joined: Jan 25, 2006
    Posts: 1,084

    Straightpipes
    Member

    Thereis a company that sells thicker head gaskets. I forget the name but someone will know. Expensive however. You may just look for another set of heads that have not been milled and go from there. Also, be sure to clay the heads for clearance. A lot on this in the archives and other sources.
     
  3. J'st Wandering
    Joined: Jan 28, 2004
    Posts: 1,772

    J'st Wandering
    Member

    I have never ran 2 gaskets but heard of it being done. I read on Red's Headers' site that he had a line on spacers but that was back when Red still owned the business. Not too sure that the present owner will be much help.

    Neal
     
  4. Pinstriper40
    Joined: Sep 24, 2007
    Posts: 3,454

    Pinstriper40
    Member

    If you use two head gaskets use FelPro copper cores. There's a special kind of silver paint that you use on the mating surfaces, but I can't seem to remember what it's called.
     

  5. Flat Ernie
    Joined: Jun 5, 2002
    Posts: 8,406

    Flat Ernie
    Tech Editor

    A lot of machine shops can remachine the dome in the heads so you pistons won't hit - this is probably a much better way to go than using two gaskets...
     
  6. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 17,445

    alchemy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    If you don't trust your neighborhood machine shop to re-dome the heads, there's a guy here on the HAMB that does it. Is it FlatDog?

    Probably ought to check the valve clearance too.
     
  7. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 21,682

    Bruce Lancaster
    Member Emeritus

    I believe someone still makes flathead shims, essentially single-sheet copper cutouts; probably more stable than multiple gaskets and more likely to avoid excess clearance.
    I would measure and think a lot here...what is actual clearance?? Has milling cut away a lot of dome, leaving dome much smaller than bore?? If so, how bad is mismatch of curvature...will adding enough clearance in tightest spot leave too much elsewhere?
    The tight clearance, maybe .050, over dome in quench area is just as important on a flathead as on a SBC. Get too much clearance and all turbulence/squish goes away and engine can't tolerate nearly as much compression, needs excess advance, becomes unresponsive...As FE says, redoming might be necessary to restore a functional chamber. Better to risk discovering heads are too thin to be made usable than to use them in a form that hurts performance. Maybe these are wall hangers, or E-bay items for an ignorant or optimistic buyer.
     
  8. Straightpipes
    Joined: Jan 25, 2006
    Posts: 1,084

    Straightpipes
    Member

    Google SCE gaskets. They make thick copper head gaskets but bring your billfold.
     
  9. haroldd1963
    Joined: Oct 15, 2007
    Posts: 1,154

    haroldd1963
    Member
    from Peru, IL

    I checked SCE Gaskets' web site and online catalog - nothing there for flatheads, so I emailed the. No reply yet.
     
  10. haroldd1963
    Joined: Oct 15, 2007
    Posts: 1,154

    haroldd1963
    Member
    from Peru, IL

  11. Yep had the same problem on a SBC I had built a while ago. The machine shop ordered in pistons with wrong pin height, then assemble rods and pistons before error was caught. The shop and I just purchased a set of ANNEALED COPPER spacers the thickness required to avoid the interferance. The key is to get the ANNEALED copper. It is work hardened and much more stable than the standard copper sheets or doubled up head gaskets.
     
  12. haroldd1963
    Joined: Oct 15, 2007
    Posts: 1,154

    haroldd1963
    Member
    from Peru, IL


    Where can I get some of these gaskets?
     
  13. gashog
    Joined: Dec 9, 2005
    Posts: 978

    gashog
    Member

    50 years since the rebuild with double head gaskets; that's quite a data point :)

    Here's the contact info for SCE Gaskets:
    800-427-5380
    www.SCEGaskets.com

    Per Paul, #90837 0.072", 0.080” and 0.093” copper shim gaskets are $152.28 a pair. SCE recommends that you install them with CopperCoat (KW), Hylomar (PermaTex) or Hi-tack (LockTite).

    If you need something for a SBC, they probably have them in stock, but they pretty much make their oddball gaskets up to order. They CNC water jet the shim stock and then anneal it.

    After TWO months and still no gaskets, I gave up on SCE and had Ol Ron redome my heads. He had them back to me in less than a week. Ol Ron machined the chambers to clear the pistons, unshrouded the valves for better breathing AND I can use standard gaskets I can pick up at the local auto parts store. I should have just had the heads machined from the get go instead of trying to work around the problem with a custom gasket.
     

  14. I am almost positive the ones I used were Fel-Pro. But keep in mind that was for SBC. I would measure for the thickness required and contact Fel-Pro to se if they have anything close.

    Good Luck with it, hope it works out for ya.
     
  15. gashog
    Joined: Dec 9, 2005
    Posts: 978

    gashog
    Member

    I just went through all of this with FelPro for my 8BA. The water passages may be different for a 59A but the gaskets thickness are probably the same. Their standard rebuild kit comes with #7525/7526 gaskets, compressed thickness 0.058-0.060" (measure 0.065" uncompressed). The #1055/1056 Wire Ring head gaskets are essentially the same at 0.062". FelPro tech support is (800) 325-8886.

    If you decide to get the heads redomed, be sure to have them resurfaced first to take care of the warping Bruce mentioned above.
     
  16. Who is Ol Ron, Contact info? I have a set of old edelbrock heads I need worked up.

    Jim
     
  17. gashog
    Joined: Dec 9, 2005
    Posts: 978

    gashog
    Member

    Ol Ron Holleran. He's a flathead guru and posts alot on Ford Barn.
     
  18. the silver paint you are talkin of is:

    aluminum high heat paint.....the stuff used for painting boilers and steam pipes......it contains aluminum powder .....sold at industrial suppliers.....

    years ago before , it was used a lot for gasket sealing....sticky stuff...high heat resist...sets up quick....
     
  19. Haroldd........for EXPERT flathead advice try to find:

    MOTOR CITY FLATHEAD in DUNDEE, MICHIGAN....(Mike Kirby)

    back in the 90's they were the number one engine shop in USA dedicated to building up performance flatheads.....according to streetrodder magazine.
     
  20. also, the very best sealant for head gaskets in my experience is:

    Koppercoat aerosal.....contains copper powder...very tacky....can be built up to whatever thickness you want.....(might be spelt 'coppercoat')

    google it up...you will find it...

    thats the only stuff to use....the copper flakes fill imperfections and gaps....

    works like the dickens....specially for flathead aluminums!!!
     
  21. Flat Ernie
    Joined: Jun 5, 2002
    Posts: 8,406

    Flat Ernie
    Tech Editor

    Harley didn't even use head gaskets on the KRs - just lapped the head to the cylinder & used aluminum paint!
     

  22. I believe it! Alu paint used to be used for sealing all kinds of stuff.....

    all us old mechanix likely know just how good the stuff works...
     
  23. 296 V8
    Joined: Sep 17, 2003
    Posts: 4,666

    296 V8
    BANNED
    from Nor~Cal

    What a guy
     
  24. gashog
    Joined: Dec 9, 2005
    Posts: 978

    gashog
    Member

    SCE recommends that you install them with CopperCoat (KW), Hylomar (PermaTex) or Hi-tack (LockTite). See post above.
     
  25. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 21,682

    Bruce Lancaster
    Member Emeritus

    He's out there...the flathead world is FILLED with people who firmly believe that a cheap part needing insane amounts of work is a bargain, or who just cannot recognize a problem explained to them. I mean with full disclosure, too, not a blurry photo on Ebay...
    I sold a set of 8BA heads once that had had the entire dome welded and milled flush, as for non-existant flattop pistons. A guy picked them up, thrust the asking price towards me...
    I pointed out the modification. I explained that they would not only not work as is, but that they would break his engine if installed. I explained that redoming was required, and it would be hard to find someone to do that and that it would cost money. I pointed out AGAIN that current setup would break parts and that no off the shelf pistons would work... he continued to hold the money toward me, listening patiently to my lecture with a goldfish-studying-a-motorcycle expression, and as soon as he could politely shut me up he paid and trotted off with the heads, which were going on a mild custon convertible which surely had stock pistons...and no, he was NOT a mad machinest capable of fixing anything himself.
    Flatheaders are all a bit flaky, but the looser edge will bu ANYTHING while thinking "I'll just fixxit up a bit..."
    Maybe HE used the heads by putting on 2 or three gaskets, and now has a flathead pinging itself to death on a 3 to one compression ratio.
     
  26. Flat Ernie
    Joined: Jun 5, 2002
    Posts: 8,406

    Flat Ernie
    Tech Editor

    Bruce - I think you just described me! ;)
     
  27. haroldd1963
    Joined: Oct 15, 2007
    Posts: 1,154

    haroldd1963
    Member
    from Peru, IL

    Thanks for all the great advice. Thsi is what makes this the best place on the internet.

    I'm checking into having the heads re-domed. Sounds like this may be he best route to go. I hope I can find someone to do it for a reasonable price in a timely fashion.
     
  28. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 21,682

    Bruce Lancaster
    Member Emeritus

    I really think moving the head up without redoming would give you too great a clearance in some areas in order to get enough clearance in the tightest area...I'm assuming this is a heavily milled head with a large flat area and tiny dome left by the milling.
     
  29. haroldd1963
    Joined: Oct 15, 2007
    Posts: 1,154

    haroldd1963
    Member
    from Peru, IL

    If I have the heads re-domed, is there a chance that they will break through into a water jacket?
     
  30. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 21,682

    Bruce Lancaster
    Member Emeritus

    Yes...hard to say how much metal was there originally or how much was milled off.
     

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