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Copper Gasket Tech

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The Benefits of Using Copper Gaskets:

1.  Conductivity.  Copper is the standard by which all other conductors are measured, therefore a copper gasket provides superior thermal conductivity, acting to stabilize head and block temperatures which makes tuning easier.

25% coefficient of elasticity.  One of the properties of copper is that it stretches before a catastrophic failure, thereby providing an extra measure of safety in case of severe detonation.

Strength.  Copper (in the form we use) has a tensile strength of approximately 32,000psi, compare this to the 1200 to 1800psi tensile of most facing materials used on conventional performance head gaskets.

How to Install Copper Head Gaskets:
  • Copper head gaskets are the superior choice for blown, nitrous, turbo-charged and high compression engines.
  • If a change in compression ratio is desired, a thicker or thinner gasket can be used. However, reason must be used when adjusting compression ratio with gasket thickness as every .010" change in thickness, nets approximately 2.5cc in volume. This method will never raise an 8.5 to 1 street engine to a 12.5 to 1 race engine.
  • The use of o-rings is highly recommended to seal combustion pressure, most notably when there are only 4 head bolts per cylinder. O-ring grooves can be cut into the block or cylinder head. The proper dimensions for .041 stainless wire are: .040 groove width; .030 to .032 groove depth. When cutting/installing stainless o-ring wire, file the ends square to provide a tight joint for the best seal possible.
  • When using copper head gaskets thinner than .050, o-ring height should be 25% of gasket thickness.
  • Copper head gaskets require the use of a sealant for oil and coolant passages (when applicable). SCE recommends Hylomar. It is available in spray cans or tubes. Always allow Hylomar to tack-up for 5 to 10 minutes before assembly. (Can be purchased at most Auto Parts stores)
  • Head gaskets on racing engines should be re-torqued after initial run- in, regardless of type (solid copper or composition). Factory torque specs and sequences are usually adequate. Allow the engine to cool for accurate readings.
  • Always use a torque wrench and have it calibrated often.
  • Clean, flat surfaces are essential to seal a racing engine. Premium grade head bolts with hardened washers are recommended and studs are preferred.

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