head gasket

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Apr 15, 2004
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To goop or not to goop, that is the question.

I bought one of those flame ring gaskets that everyone says is the hot setup. It's funny - for the Bullet a solid copper head gasket is considered the way to go. But for the Norton, not so good or at least that's what I read.

Anyway, should I slop some gasket dressing on the head gasket or install it dry? The Tech Digest says to use Gasgacinch (is that stuff still available?), other people say to install it dry.

What sayeth the group?

Be it right or be it wrong...I always installed dry, one time a blown gasket, but long after installation. Never would use a copper gasket again...that blew in a day.
Hi Deb
I use a flame ring ( dry) on my MKIII and have no leaks.

If during your rebuild the cylinder and head have been skimmed to ensure flatness you should have years of success with this installation. From my experience any leak i ever had was due to the studs in the head coming loose. The remedy was to heli-coil the head which added to the assurance that i could wrench it up without pulling the studs loose.
Have always used the flame ring type and even on my 10:1 Combat with pulling studs I only ever had minor oil leaks with the pushrod area. I never had leaking combustion gases. Keep the main gasket area dry, make sure you've got no big scratches or nicks in the flame ring area and for extra oil leak security just thinly smear RTV around both sides of the pushrod tunnel bores, either on the gasket or on the head and barrel. Can be messy if you're assembling the head in the frame and the gasket moves around courtesy of errant pushrods (especially when they're strapped together) but let the silicone go off for a few minutes first. Best way is to hold the gasket up against the head and then let it drop once all the rods are in place. Of course if the engine is out of the frame it's easy.
If you do it dry and it leaks it's time for a new gasket. I have found that a light spray of copper cote around the push rod tunnel on both sides helps the 750's keep oil in. 850's had a little more surface in this area and many stay dry with nothing.
Too late. I installed the head last night and did it up dry. If it leaks, I guess I'll have to replace the gasket and put something around the tunnel area. So that's good to know about.

With the engine already in the frame, it was a bit of a struggle. Actually slipping the head into place wasn't difficult but getting all the pushrods engaged was. I struggled with that for over an hour. I'd get three in place and one would slip out. Do you guys have any tricks for making that easier?

Tonight: assembly continues! My goal is to ride the bike to our club meeting on Sunday. It's getting close...

Debbie, (if memory serves) after installing the cylinders, stick the pushrods in place (temporary) and rotate motor until you find a spot where the cam lobes are showing little or no lift. Back off the rocker adjusters as far as possible. Don't forget to swap the pushrods back into the head before assembly!

Just put the head back on a metes 750 and dang it all! one errant pushrod, was uncoupled from the inlet. We used a pinch bar, levering gently on the roof of the hed and the valve collar we managed to re-engage the pushrod, saved lifting the head.

Good luck with the new motor

P.S. I couldn't help putting a thin smear of 515 around the push rod tunnels and the oil drain hole.

Regards Richard
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