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More on head gasket replacement - cleaning #780126 07/31/19 3:28 am
Joined: Aug 2001
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Mark Z Offline OP
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I'm changing the head gasket because the old one was passing oil. The engine was otherwise running fine, and I figure it has no more than two or three thousand miles on the last rebuild. So I'm not inclined to disassemble the head, not so much because of the work involved, but according to the principle, if it ain't broke, well you know...

However, there are some fairly heavy deposits on the piston crowns and combustion chambers, so I figured I should do some cleaning, not to make things immaculate, but just to remove the heavy stuff. I've already cleaned the piston crowns to my satisfaction with a brass brush and compressed air. The head is a little more difficult to clean, so what I did was to put the spark plugs back in, turn the head upside-down, and fill the combustion chambers with kerosene. After sitting for a day (the kerosene did not leak past the valves!), I brushed the combustion chambers. Some stuff came loose but there's more to come, so I re-filled the combustion chambers with kerosene to soak some more. I will blow it out with compressed air when done.

This technique seems to be working, so unless someone makes a case for taking the head apart, I won't.


Mark Z

'65(lower)/'66(upper, wheels, front end, controls)/'67(seat, exhaust, fuel tank, headlamp)/'70(frame) A65 Bitsa.
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Re: More on head gasket replacement - cleaning [Re: Mark Z] #780130 07/31/19 6:54 am
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Allan Gill Online Happy
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You can get fine wire rotary mops for a drill or a dremel. I’d use these. I’d also do it with the valves in that way I’m not scratching the seats up in the process.


beerchug
Re: More on head gasket replacement - cleaning [Re: Mark Z] #780336 08/02/19 5:53 am
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Ginge Offline
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I wouldn’t strip the head. Valves aren’t leaking. Bike running okay.

Nylon scraper won’t scratch alloy. Use an old credit card or tooth brush handle.

New head gasket will keep the carbon at bay until you go in next time.

Anneal the gasket, torque back down, set valves, heat cycle and retorque.


'51 C11 in a '54 C10L frame..."The Bantam Eater"
'70 Triumph Trophy 500. Bottom end rumble awaiting diagnosis
'72 Triumph Tiger 650. Boyer wired back in, proper coils replaced, working on single point ground..
Re: More on head gasket replacement - cleaning [Re: Mark Z] #780365 08/02/19 3:33 pm
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Allan Gill Online Happy
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I don't re-torque, How many cylinder heads get fitted at a garage are then taken apart and re-torqued? its quite possibly close to none.

If you torque them all down, then in turn back one off then re-torque it will actually turn further as everything would have settled. you could even mark the head of the bolt and the head with a marker before you slacken the bolt/re-torque.


beerchug
Re: More on head gasket replacement - cleaning [Re: Allan Gill] #780440 08/03/19 5:16 pm
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bill50cal Online Content
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you have never worked on a norton with a flame ring head gasket. one heat cycle and the head bolts have lost over 50% of the initial torque. it is a must do on these along with valve reset. my builds is one heat cycle and retorque and run the valves, 100 miles and repete ant once more at 500 miles and i don't have head gasket issues.

Originally Posted by Allan Gill
I don't re-torque, How many cylinder heads get fitted at a garage are then taken apart and re-torqued? its quite possibly close to none.

If you torque them all down, then in turn back one off then re-torque it will actually turn further as everything would have settled. you could even mark the head of the bolt and the head with a marker before you slacken the bolt/re-torque.


windy
72 combat
switchbackcreek.com
Re: More on head gasket replacement - cleaning [Re: Mark Z] #780505 08/04/19 7:13 am
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Allan Gill Online Happy
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My 400/4 is a composite gasket with flame ring. The process mentioned works on the too. But nope, never done a Norton.


beerchug
Re: More on head gasket replacement - cleaning [Re: Mark Z] #780563 08/04/19 10:48 pm
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NickL Offline
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Each to his own i suppose but if i have always pulled heads down/done tappets after a little use when rebuilding engines.
Failing to do that on my race bike would always lead to problems, normally leaks at the exhaust side.
It was always standard practice years ago and it's how i was taught. Things change but i won't.

Last edited by NickL; 08/04/19 10:50 pm.
Re: More on head gasket replacement - cleaning [Re: Mark Z] #780590 08/05/19 3:24 am
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Mark Z Offline OP
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I will claim that it's less of an issue on an A65 than on a Triumph, presumably because of the more massive head, the cast-in rocker stanchions, and the much higher torque specifications. It's also a bigger PITA to do, since you have to remove the entire exhaust rocker assembly to get at the center bolt. I thereby confess that I've sometimes skipped re-torqueing my A65, including the last go-round. Consequences? I don't know, this head gasket lasted 2-3 years before it started passing oil. Maybe it would have lasted longer?


Mark Z

'65(lower)/'66(upper, wheels, front end, controls)/'67(seat, exhaust, fuel tank, headlamp)/'70(frame) A65 Bitsa.
Re: More on head gasket replacement - cleaning [Re: Mark Z] #780888 08/08/19 5:56 am
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DavidP Offline
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You're probably correct, Mark. I only tested the bolts I could get to on my A65 and they were correct after 100 miles.
Triples are quite another animal, retorque after the first short ride, and again after 100 miles. Doesn't matter what head gasket you use.


Stepping on others doesn't make you stand tall.

71 A65L "Zelda"
92 BMW K100rs "Gustav"
72 T120V cafe project "Mr. Jim"
72 T150V "Wotan"

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