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Reuse A Head Gasket?

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I thought my progress was moving along nicely. Engine is out for rebuild. I put the cylinder head on a few weeks ago. Today I started to put the exhaust manifold on, and found out that you cant get the bolts on or a wrench in there to tighten the 8 lower bolts with the head on.

So, I pulled the head off, and put the manifold on. It did not fit! Funny thing is, that when I originally took it off, it was loose and missing 2 bolts and studs. I had head and manifold machined a few months ago prior to reassembly. I guess the manifold was warped. I had to elongate most of the bolt holes on the manifold 1/16th of an inch or more to make it fit. It was REALLY off.

Well now it is on. I used new aerotite studs, nuts, and retainer locks.

Can I REUSE the head gasket?

Edited by markd
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I would say you could re-use the gasket without any worries. As long as you haven't run the engine and heat-cycled the head the gasket won't have had full crush applied to it. (When the engine is run at full-chat, the head heats up and expands, stretching the bolts which are are very stiff springs so the gasket get squeezed.) Also, without the engine having run, there will have been no shuffling between the head and gasket so all the sealing surfaces will be fine.

S4 Elan, Elan +2S, Federal-spec, World Championship Edition S2 Esprit #42, S1 Elise, Excel SE


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I'd agre with trevor, as long as it hasn't been really stressed by running the engine (as the aluminium head will expand more than the steel bolts), it shoud be fine.

If you want piece of mind, then the cost of one head gasket isn't too much, when compared to a rebuild.

But, consider this. Did you use brand new head bolts? I'm sure they're supposed to be replaced, and how many of us don't bother? If we were really cautious we would.


Edited by andydclements
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Dont re use the headgasket :thumbup: its a very bad idea, they are only designed

to be squashed once! re using it i would say would almost certainly lead to a leak, or

oil contamination.

regards danny


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I would have thought that the gasket would be compressed now and would loose some of its

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I would get a new Head Gasket, What you have to consider is you may get away with it, but it will always be in the back of your mind, Will the head gasket be ok! , esp consideriing this is a weakness with these cars, Turbos more so.

& think of how much work would be involved in taking the head off again.


The need for speed can be found with a Lotus

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