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Annealing head gaskets #342942
11/12/10 8:47 pm
11/12/10 8:47 pm
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 536
Folsom, CA
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yellow_cad Offline OP
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I have plenty of experience heat treating tool steel but virtually none when it comes to nonferous. If it is steel and it is to be annealed, it should be heated to its critical temperature and allowed to slow cool all the way down because if it is quenched it will not be dead soft. On head gaskets (and I'm using a thicker one to make up for missing head material) I have seen that lots of people say to quench the gasket in water after heating it to red. A good source (Rabers) just said to me that if I didn't quench the gasket, it would become hard again. Metal heat treatment is not a something where everything goes so it seems to me that the gasket should either be quenched or not. Anybody have any ideas on the process?


Jim

1970 Triumph Bonneville
1973 Commando Interstate
1971 OSSA MAR
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Re: Annealing head gaskets [Re: yellow_cad] #342946
11/12/10 8:54 pm
11/12/10 8:54 pm
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 10,057
Boston, Massachusetts
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John Healy Online content

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The copper head gasket just needs to be heated until it is bright cherry red and left to cool. It doesn't need to be quenched, but if you do it clean it up and leave a nice clean finish.


Re: Annealing head gaskets [Re: yellow_cad] #342960
11/12/10 10:24 pm
11/12/10 10:24 pm
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 210
Corning N.Y.
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choppadude Offline
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I also have a bit of experience heat treating metals and alloys having done it for over a dozen years and it never made sense to me to quench a copper head gasket after annealing.
Once the copper gasket is evenly heated to a point where you can see a pattern of blue, green colors spreading across the surface,the molecules of the copper have become aligned. Quenching will only interrupt this process and in my opinion put you right back to where you began.

Re: Annealing head gaskets [Re: yellow_cad] #342962
11/12/10 10:45 pm
11/12/10 10:45 pm
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 10,057
Boston, Massachusetts
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John Healy Online content

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While I have done it both ways, I have been part of the quench school for nearly 50 years. I just like how the gasket looks when you do it. But I can attest, that for whatever reason, it doesn't re-harden the copper.


Re: Annealing head gaskets [Re: John Healy] #342971
11/12/10 11:23 pm
11/12/10 11:23 pm
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 63
Glendale AZ USA
Norri Robertson Offline
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That's my experience too.
In my youth I was taught to quench so that's what I've always done, I don't know if cooling or quenching is better but quenching certainly results in a softened gasket.

Re: Annealing head gaskets [Re: yellow_cad] #342981
11/13/10 12:32 am
11/13/10 12:32 am
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 3,491
Norfolk, UK
L.A.B. Online content
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Originally Posted By: yellow_cad
On head gaskets (and I'm using a thicker one to make up for missing head material) I have seen that lots of people say to quench the gasket in water after heating it to red. A good source (Rabers) just said to me that if I didn't quench the gasket, it would become hard again.



A lot of people will tell you that "you must quench copper" and even some factory manuals say that (and Rabers should know better) but copper does not need to be quenched although it does no harm if you do.

Re: Annealing head gaskets [Re: yellow_cad] #342998
11/13/10 3:30 am
11/13/10 3:30 am
Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 7,275
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JubeePrince Offline

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I'm always in a hurry to get back on the road, so I quench!! Of course, I could have a cuppa and let the gasket cool....

And yes, the gasket does look nice after the scale is removed with a scotch-brite pad! bigt

Steve


'77 T140J
"Vintage Bike". What's in your garage?

"The paying customer is always right."

Fitting round pegs into square holes since 1961...
Re: Annealing head gaskets [Re: yellow_cad] #343019
11/13/10 10:13 am
11/13/10 10:13 am
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 9,150
Scotland
kommando Online content
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Not only does copper not need to be quenched you do not need to heat it all to cherry red at the same time to anneal, you can do it in sections and as long as you do every section to cherry red it will all be annealled. Good to know if you are stuck with access only to a small torch.

Re: Annealing head gaskets [Re: kommando] #343022
11/13/10 11:49 am
11/13/10 11:49 am
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 2,000
Sunny South Carolina, (US)
T140V-Rich Offline

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Originally Posted By: kommando
Good to know if you are stuck with access only to a small torch.


Which was a question I had about the process. So cherry red in sections still works to anneal, and then quench?

Richard


1977 T-140V
1973 T-140V
2011 Bonneville SE
Author of "Relics and Reminiscing."
Re: Annealing head gaskets [Re: yellow_cad] #343025
11/13/10 12:12 pm
11/13/10 12:12 pm
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 5,963
NL
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Ger B Offline
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If you have a small torch, let the cherry red area under the flame travel over the surface of the gasket untill all area of the gasket has been red.
It does not matter that one part is still warming up from dark to red while another part is cooling down from red to dark.


Ger B

Re: Annealing head gaskets [Re: yellow_cad] #343120
11/13/10 11:57 pm
11/13/10 11:57 pm
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 1,094
Westminster, MD, USA
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J. Charles Smith Offline
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Just put the gasket on an electric stove burner, turn it up to high, and when the burner and gasket turn red, turn the burner off and have a cuppa until it cools.

Re: Annealing head gaskets [Re: choppadude] #463269
11/14/12 3:21 pm
11/14/12 3:21 pm
Joined: May 2010
Posts: 2,562
Illinois, USA
TR6Ray Online content

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Illinois, USA
Originally Posted By: choppadude
. . .Once the copper gasket is evenly heated to a point where you can see a pattern of blue, green colors spreading across the surface,the molecules of the copper have become aligned. Quenching will only interrupt this process and in my opinion put you right back to where you began.


So, the manual says "cherry red". Like choppadude, I heated a copper head gasket till I could see the blue, green colors, and could move them around the surface. When I annealed a smaller copper washer, it actually did flash cherry red. I'm wondering if I got the head gasket hot enough with my propane torch?


'64 TR6R Plus some Twins from other countries (U.S., Germany, Japan)
Re: Annealing head gaskets [Re: yellow_cad] #463273
11/14/12 3:54 pm
11/14/12 3:54 pm
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 9,150
Scotland
kommando Online content
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Scotland
I have always worked to cherry red and it works even if you do it in sections, never tried just to do the phycedelic version. All refernces I have seen say Cherry Red.

Re: Annealing head gaskets [Re: kommando] #463291
11/14/12 6:32 pm
11/14/12 6:32 pm
Joined: May 2010
Posts: 2,562
Illinois, USA
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Yep! I'm thinking you are correct. I'll go see my buddy with the oxy-acetylene torch and a rosebud tip. I'd like to get this right.


'64 TR6R Plus some Twins from other countries (U.S., Germany, Japan)
Re: Annealing head gaskets [Re: J. Charles Smith] #463297
11/14/12 7:10 pm
11/14/12 7:10 pm
Joined: Nov 2010
Posts: 332
UK and michigan
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malla1962 Offline
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UK and michigan
Originally Posted By: J. Charles Smith
Just put the gasket on an electric stove burner, turn it up to high, and when the burner and gasket turn red, turn the burner off and have a cuppa until it cools.
works every time for me.

Re: Annealing head gaskets [Re: malla1962] #463368
11/15/12 5:16 am
11/15/12 5:16 am
Joined: May 2010
Posts: 2,562
Illinois, USA
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Thanks, Malla. I'll have a go at that first. It sounds easier.


'64 TR6R Plus some Twins from other countries (U.S., Germany, Japan)
Re: Annealing head gaskets [Re: malla1962] #463371
11/15/12 6:19 am
11/15/12 6:19 am
Joined: Sep 2011
Posts: 949
New Zealand
Excalibur Online content
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New Zealand
+1 for the electric stove method. I have been known to invert a large pot over the element/gasket to get the heat in. More recently I've acquired a LPG/propane type of torch so have been using that.

Re: Annealing head gaskets [Re: Excalibur] #463408
11/15/12 2:33 pm
11/15/12 2:33 pm
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 14
Okeechobee, FL
T
Tri74x Offline
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Okeechobee, FL
Wife says -1 on stove... I use the gas grill outside. Cleans the grill at the same time!

Re: Annealing head gaskets [Re: Tri74x] #463421
11/15/12 4:23 pm
11/15/12 4:23 pm
Joined: May 2010
Posts: 2,562
Illinois, USA
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Illinois, USA
Originally Posted By: Tri74x
Wife says -1 on stove... I use the gas grill outside. Cleans the grill at the same time!

Well, yeah! But my wife has a gas stove, so I was planning to use my step-son's electric one. He's a bachelor -- should be no problemo.


'64 TR6R Plus some Twins from other countries (U.S., Germany, Japan)
Re: Annealing head gaskets [Re: yellow_cad] #463426
11/15/12 6:20 pm
11/15/12 6:20 pm
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,280
Nanaimo, B.C. Canada
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Wilfred Online content
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Nanaimo, B.C. Canada
I just went to the local second hand store and got a single burner electric heater upper. Good for hot washing in detergent as well as annealing gaskets.....even heating water for tea or coffee and no -1 from the Mrs....now, if I could just find a little plug in oven for valve guides and bearings....Cheers, Wilf


"It's about the ride..."
It does not matter if you quench [Re: Wilfred] #463503
11/16/12 3:07 am
11/16/12 3:07 am
Joined: Jun 2012
Posts: 32
Georgia
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TR5T_Mark Offline
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Georgia
Just adding my weight to the it-does-not-matter-if-you-quench copper as part of the annealing process or not. Captain Obvious says it is quicker if you do quench.


Mark
Re: Annealing head gaskets [Re: yellow_cad] #463541
11/16/12 1:29 pm
11/16/12 1:29 pm
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Posts: 5,963
NL
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Ger B Offline
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NL
This thread is like a wild fire. It was supposed to have stopped on november 14th 2010 but lights up again on the same day in 2012...

laughing


Ger B

Re: Annealing head gaskets [Re: yellow_cad] #463559
11/16/12 4:22 pm
11/16/12 4:22 pm
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 3,601
ca, us
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DMadigan Online content
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ca, us
I recently softened copper head seal rings (2x2x90mm) for a Pegasso ('56 Spanish DOHC V8). Heat the copper with a carbon flame and soot the surface then heat it with a neutral flame until the soot burns off and let air cool. Mind, as soon as you bend the copper it will harden.


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