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headers gasket vs no gasket...

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by lotus, Sep 15, 2007.

  1. lotus
    Joined: Sep 7, 2002
    Posts: 1,119

    from Taft, CA

    I have heard people say do not run headers with gaskets and some say you have to run with gaskets.

    what is the real deal on this?

    I am asking because I have a pair of Doug Thorley TRI Y headers that are not made for my setup but they fit. The problem is the passenger side is about 1/2" or little less from the frame. That may be too close as it is (how much will the engine roll to the passenger side with stock 1975 camaro mounts). But if I run a gasket I will be even closer.

    I imagine I will just have to buy some 75 camaro headers to fit the clip in my truck but I was hoping to avoid that.

  2. Notorious
    Joined: Jul 18, 2007
    Posts: 393


    I can't say that I've ever heard of anyone running tube headers w/o gaskets. No doubt some have but I wouldn't. If you have 1/2" of frame clearance now, that should be enough and gaskets won't change that significantly. If you're worried about it, put a limiting chain on the driver's side.
    I'd recommend a copper or aluminum gasket. They cost a bit more but are more reliable and reusable.
  3. Yup. My Sanderson headers came with directions to just use high temp RTV...first headers I've ever had that DIDN'T leak.
  4. Sanderson headers do not use gaskets , they recogmend you use just black silicone. i have never had one leak , but the inside of the flanges are precision ground flat. i'm not sure if i would suggest that with your headers..maybe the maker could tell you

    as notorious said , the thickness of a gasket shouldn't be a big factor. maybe you could heat the tubes and bend them down a bit?

  5. randydupree
    Joined: May 19, 2005
    Posts: 666

    from archer fl

    i use silicone. have not used a gasket in years.
  6. Or, order a set of Patriot Clipster headers.
  7. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 51,458


    looks like a bunch of clearance, as headers go.....

    Generally iron manifolds do not need gaskets (except on long inline engines), and headers do.

    Usually engine movement is upward on the driver side, not side-to-side, so I wouldn't worry about it.
  8. I do not use them on headers or manifolds.....just an opinion I guess ,but if they're not there, how can they blow out.....
  9. 40Tudor
    Joined: Jan 1, 2002
    Posts: 635


    Your clearance doesn't look that bad to me. I'd run it and see. I had been using gaskets with my S&S headers and they seemed to be OK, but everytime I took them off i could see signs of leakage (soot on the gasket out to the edge). Switched to copper RTV and have been having better luck.
  10. Salty
    Joined: Jul 24, 2006
    Posts: 2,259

    from Florida

    1/2" is a luxury....

    Shoot, I wish I had a 1/2" on my drivers side...

    I didnt have any problems with the stock clamshell motormounts and hitting on my clipped truck until a broke the motormount...put PST poly mounts in and still have no problems...
  11. Tony
    Joined: Dec 3, 2002
    Posts: 7,350


    I have a friend who builds hot rod's for a living, and he never uses gaskets either. He make's sure the header flange is fairly true with a file, then used RTV High Temp Black as the gasket.
    Put's the RTV on, tighten's the bolt's and let's it sit for about an hour. Then fire's it up to bring it to temp before, then shut's it down and re torque's the bolt's.
    He swear's by this, i've seen it work, and done it myself.
  12. Notorious
    Joined: Jul 18, 2007
    Posts: 393


    What I'm curious about is the repeated mention of black silicone. It has neither the highest temp rates nor is it the strongest. Ultra Gray is the strongest due to having ceramic particles in it's make up. The red/orange silicones that are recommended for such applications have the highest temp ratings.
    Personally I can't see using silicone in an exhaust application period. And I only use it in other applications sparingly.
    I consider the overuse of silicone so common these days to be "hack" work. And while not such a concern with exhaust use, I've seen many engines damaged or ruined by the misuse or overuse of silicone.
    And while I don't mean to come off as a know-it-all, because I'm certainly not, my info and opinions on sealers of this type come from not only experience but also from conversations with a technical rep/consultant for Permatex.
    My engine building experience spans over 3 decades and includes both light and heavy vehicles, gas, diesel, stock and high performance engines. And I'd pit my reliability record against anyone as far as putting together stuff that works and lives.
    Apologies for a long-winded and slightly OT reply. Admittedly, I have definite opinions about the overuse and dependence on of RTV products.
  13. Notorious...i understand your concerns. the first time i used a set of Sanderson headers and read their instructions (it even gives you part # , which is not even the highest temperature stuff made) i thought they were nuts . i tried it anyway and it works fine on THEIR headers

    i've used at least a dozen sets of Sandersons and have never had a leak
  14. lotus
    Joined: Sep 7, 2002
    Posts: 1,119

    from Taft, CA

    I have sanderson headers on my 52 chevy and love them. The ones I have for the 55 i got for 50 bucks though so I am going to give them a try.
  15. Drive Em
    Joined: Aug 25, 2006
    Posts: 1,748

    Drive Em

    In all of my 23 years of circle track racing, I have only used silicone instead of gaskets. I use the regular ole black silicone because the copper stuff looks like crap. I've nver had a problem with the black stuff.
  16. redlinetoys
    Joined: May 18, 2004
    Posts: 4,300

    from Midwest

    Hmmmm. Never heard of this before. Might have to try it as I only have about a 1/16 of an inch clearance to my steering box. Of course, the engine torques away from the box rather than towards it, but still I have to agree that 1/2 inch is not a problem and is in fact a luxury. Interesting...
  17. Most "El Cheapo" aftermarket headers are not stiff and flat enough to be used without gaskets, but these higher quality ones definately are sealing fine with RTV
  18. zman
    Joined: Apr 2, 2001
    Posts: 16,633

    from Garner, NC

    I like the copper header gaskets that are out. I've used them with great luck on ones that leaked and wouldn't cooperate. The big thing is tighten them evenly starting from the center bolts out.
  19. KernCountyKid
    Joined: Jul 11, 2006
    Posts: 376

    from Arkansas

    Don Stringfellow, an old Bonneville guy lives in my hometown. I stopped to talk to him about headers and he showed me a set he built. He was running them with no gasketts and when I asked he said he builds his headers with an extra thick flange and never has any problems.
  20. If torque roll is a problem, we used to chain the opposite side of the block to the frame.....

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