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favorite methods for cleaning head gasket surfaces?

hey guys whats the preferred method for cleaning the gasket surfaces on the cylinder head and block prior to installing the head gasket ?...I am thinking of just putting on a new head-gasket then plopping on the donor head any words of wisdom?
putty knife and gummout?

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Old 07-12-2009, 02:50 PM
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Aluminum is so easy to scratch, I'd worry about a putty knife. Gotta be really careful.

We did my kid's cam tower gasket a few weeks ago (on his 951) and what really worked great was a wire brush attachment for my drill. It really did a great job - made it look like new.

The downside is that it flings gasket crap all over the place. I s'pose with a head gasket, that might be less a problem.
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Old 07-12-2009, 02:58 PM
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ooh ...maybe a good job for the DREMEL
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Old 07-12-2009, 03:02 PM
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If they have a wire brush attachment, yeah, that'd be great. My drill is big and it was kinda difficult to maneuver around in there. A dremmel would be much easier.
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Old 07-12-2009, 03:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vital-transform View Post
hey guys whats the preferred method for cleaning the gasket surfaces on the cylinder head and block prior to installing the head gasket ?...I am thinking of just putting on a new head-gasket then plopping on the donor head any words of wisdom?
putty knife and gummout?
Wisdom?
Wisdom? six years on the board and you expect new advice?

I will expect your "donor head" to be fresh and ready to go from the machine shop.
Use SeaFoam before you drain the oil and filter for a few miles.

Cleaning surfaces properly is 4 to 6 hours.
Do not remove the carbon ring at the top of the cylinders.
Depending on the amount of carbon on top of the pistons, you may NOT want to touch the top. You may cause more chunks of carbon to fall between the piston and the walls----causing scratches. YMMV

Clean out the deep rear galleys at the back between the cyl wall and block. You may find antifreeze/coolant deposits-use a LED lamp to check.

Razor blades and acetone done very carefully will get the last of the dried on stuff.

MORE WYAIT

Have the ICV rubber mounts. With the intake off, best time to replace.
Replace AOS "O" rings
Hoses--hoses--hoses
New heater control valve and short top hose
New cam gear bolt
Check the lifters properly---- http://www.benms.com/944lifter.html

on and on and on.......

GL
John_AZ
1988 924S + 1987 924S
Old 07-12-2009, 04:13 PM
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s&*%$#@... I am going to soak my lifters right now

Who's got the SEAFOAM? Advance AUto Parts or West Marine?
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Old 07-12-2009, 04:45 PM
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I use these for cleaning any surface:

They're 3M brand and you can buy them at any parts store. I forget what they're called. They're very soft but they are excellent at cleaning gasket surfaces. I've always used them with a pneumatic die grinder like pictured, but now that I have a dremel I might give that a shot.

Old 07-12-2009, 04:46 PM
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s&*%$#@... I am going to soak my lifters right now

Who's got the SEAFOAM? Advance AUto Parts or West Marine?
Pep Boys, maybe AutoZone

Your frustration level "s&*%$#@..."is just about right

By the time you finish you may need a blood pressure monitor

John_AZ
Old 07-12-2009, 04:57 PM
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Acetone. Plastic ice scraper.
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Old 07-13-2009, 11:11 AM
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I used one of those green pads from the kitchen. Did a good job, but took close to 2 hrs!
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Old 07-13-2009, 11:50 AM
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thin, flexible razor blades and some rubbing alcohol. replace the blade often. take your time.
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Old 07-13-2009, 03:13 PM
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Thin razor blade is about all we use at the shop here.
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Old 07-13-2009, 03:17 PM
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x2 on the razor-blade, just keep it perpendicular to the surface
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Old 07-13-2009, 05:34 PM
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Don't you mean parallel to the surface?
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Old 07-14-2009, 06:49 AM
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I have never used the Seafoam... anybody have experience with it?
Stabilizes fuel cleans injecters etc... also cleans oil?
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Old 07-14-2009, 07:48 AM
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I would never use a flexible wheel to clean critical mating surfaces like a head or cam tower, even water pump. Since they are flexible, they do not create a flat surface. They round over the edges and create high/low spots on the surface.

Machine shops use a fly-cutter when resurfacing, but of course that's out of the realm of possibilities when doing most jobs. I simply scrape with a razor blade, then use 120-grit paper on a hard (small) sanding block, then finish with 400-grit. You don't want a mirror like finish on the surfaces, it needs to have a satin look for the surfaces to be pressed into the gasket material.

There's an art to making things flat, some believe in it and some do not.
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Old 07-14-2009, 09:28 AM
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Quote:
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Don't you mean parallel to the surface?
nope, nearly perpendicular. i hold the razor blade at about a 70 degree angle, roughly, and take a lot of time. i buy the big box of blades and go through at least 20 of them.
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Old 07-14-2009, 01:10 PM
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I just did a whole top-end gasket job on a marine Chevy 350. We used the scotch-brite pads that a picture is posted of above. They are plastic and minimally abrasive. Still, be careful to keep them perpendicular to the mating surfaces.

It took my father-in-law and I 11 hours to clean up the engine (so 22 hours of labor). I'd expect a 4-cylinder engine to take roughly half the time. We did everything though, cylinder head, top of block, intake and exhaust manifolds.

I've been known to use a plastic putty knife on aluminum motorcycle engines...
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Old 07-14-2009, 06:16 PM
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hey, I'm posting this here rather than on my thread about head gasket change as need more help!

I am leaving the main block and pistons in the car and the block surfaces and piston heads (to me) appear very dirty.

What is the best method to clean things, how can I avoid getting crap down between the wall and piston? Or is this not critical and if I clean the piston at the top of its stroke and then draw it down any dirt on the cylinder wall could be cleaned off with a suitable soft cloth / pad???

scotchb pads sound good will get some of them though!
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Old 08-07-2009, 07:56 AM
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I used a gasket scraping tool and did it carefully. Head has been on for 12 years now. After scraping it clean I used 3M cleaner to remove any oily residue. Acetone would also work well.

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Old 08-07-2009, 08:12 AM
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