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digdoug

I tore my head gasket

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Hi,

Tonight I took off the upper and lower timing belt covers for a full gasket replacement.  I don't know what I was thinking but I mangled the portion of the head gasket that sits between upper and lower.  Noob mistake I guess.

 

My first instinct is to cut a section from an extra head gasket I have, use it for the upper/lower timing belt cover gasket, combined with some Permatex black to fill any gaps.

 

Anyone done this and have advice?

 

Thanks!

DW

Edited by digdoug

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Really not best practice but it falls into the 'give it a go, what's to lose?' category. Might work temporarily. Probably be back shortly for a new head gasket.

(fast forward to this thread dragged up again in 5 years time with a report of it going strong.)

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I took off the upper and lower timing belt covers for a full gasket replacement.  I don't know what I was thinking but I mangled the portion of the head gasket that sits between upper and lower. 

 

 

 

A lot depends on what you mean by "mangled."  Your heading says "tore,"  If you bent the gasket, rather than tore it, I would consider applying some old school permatex form-a-gasket or rtv at the joint and reinstall the covers.  Sealant is ordinarily recommended for that joint anyway.  The gasket at that forward end of the head does not have to perform the same significant function as the rest of the gasket,  i.e., sealing combustion gases and segregating oil and coolant.  Remember, at the forward end of the head, that gasket's primary function is to contain the oil slung from the timing chain and nearby valve gear.  The worst that could happen is you would have an oil leak not unlike the all-too-common leaky valve cover.  With any luck, you will not have any leak or a dribble that may be slight enough to control with an occasional wipe..

If you actually severed the gasket, then the better practice would, of course, be to replace the entire gasket.  I suppose that under the right circumstances you can probably butt a "perfectly" cut replacement, but unless you are very lucky or extremely good with a knife, your results are not apt to be too good.  As has been suggested, there is probably no harm in trying, other than cleaning up a mess.  If you choose to give this a go, you might also consider venting the crankcase (via the valve cover) to a catch can, thereby reducing any crankcase pressure, and in turn, mitigating the pressure behind any potential leak. 

 

Hint:  A picture may be worth a 1000 words and 10,000 words of advice.

 

Good luck.

Edited by percy

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How much will it cost to replace the head gasket six weeks from now vs. buying a new one tomorrow and doing it correctly?

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Whut?  Of course you can seal that up. 

Reinstall the lower cover (pay a lot of attention to the

seal to the oil pan, mind you- that can be really hard to get right)

and get it torqued (carefully) to spec.

Clean the remains of your head gasket really well, and use

oil- resistant RTV  (Permatex Ultra- Black, in my case).

Goop it nice and thoroughly (a lot but not an absurd amount) and make sure it's as tightly aligned as you can.

 

Now install the upper cover, with all the bolts 'almost' snug, snug the bottom center bolt,

then the 2 other lower bolts, then lightly snug the bolts that go into the head.  Torque (carefully)

the lower bolts, torque (carefully) the head bolts, wait a day, and have success.

 

That said, tearing a head gasket usually takes 2 donkeys headed in opposite directions.  That sucker is

steel- reinforced for your sealing enjoyment.  Sure you tore it?  Pictures are worth 500 words, in this case.

 

We promise not to laugh.

 

Too much.

 

But seriously, the science of RTV has advanced to the point where this will seal up without

much concern at all. 

 

In my experience,

 

t

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Yeah, seal that front part with some RTV.  It just keeps splashes of oil from getting out, not the voodoo involved in sealing the combustion chamber, higher pressure oil passageways, and coolant passages involved in the real part of the headgasket.  Even if it did leak a little oil there, it'd probably just be a real slow one.

It would've been real nice if BMW used a separate gasket there, but I'm sure it saves a few minutes on the assembly line, 

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All,

Thanks as always for the responses.  So this engine is a good-running motor from a donor car that i'm going to use until my original motor is rebuilt.  So it's kind of "temporary".   I'm also using this one as a platform for a little experimentation, so it'll be useful to see how well my ad-hoc gasket performs.  If it dribbles a drop or 2, i'm not going to be heartbroken.

 

I'll be sure to report back (with pics next time)

DW

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I can't entirely remember what I did, but I'm pretty sure at some point I was messing with changing the timing chain, and that stupid gasket was getting in the way. I just snipped it off with a pair of wire cutters, and when I put it back together used a blob of black rtv there, as you're supposed to do anyways. This may or may not have been on my good well built engine, that still doesn't leak any oil.

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