[TR] Solid Copper Head Gasket for TR3

Randall tr3driver at ca.rr.com
Mon Mar 15 21:42:11 MST 2010

> I have blown a number of head gaskets (at least 5) and have discussed 
> this on the list over the last couple of years. The last one blew 
> outside Eureka coming back from Triumphest .. this was on an engine 
> rebuilt completely professionally.

My first thought is that even professionals sometimes make mistakes, like
not checking liner protrusion on BOTH sides.

I went through very much the same thing, before I finally twigged to the
fact that the cylinder block I was using was apparently cut wrong by the
factory.  The liner bores were not perpendicular to the cylinder head
surface; with the result that the liner protrusion was fine on one side, and
less than .001" on the other.

> A well trusted source has suggested that the new gaskets are 
> built for 
> 83 - 87 mm pistons and can easily burn out, especially with 87 mm 
> pistons, which I have.

Not sure I follow this argument.  If they are built for 87mm pistons, they
should work fine with them.  There were some gaskets years ago that had
smaller openings (for 83mm pistons only), and they can be a problem with the
larger liners.  But this is one of those things that should be checked
during a rebuild.

As long as the gasket does not hang out in the combustion chamber, it should
be fine.  Using an 87mm gasket with 83mm liners works too, the small gap
quickly fills with carbon.

> What are the list's opinions on solid copper head gaskets? ..

They sound great for racing engines that get torn down every few hundred
miles; sometimes two or three times in a single day.  But I haven't heard or
seen anything that convinces me they are easier to keep sealed for a long
time than the stock composition gaskets are.  Lots of folks seem to have
trouble with them leaking, especially if everything else isn't "just so".
When I discussed my head gasket problem with Ken Gillanders at BFE, he felt
the solid copper gaskets would just make it worse.

> also on installing the o-rings? ..

I'm not sure what Mordy has on his web site re: O-rings; but adding rings to
a stock gasket is how I got my engine to live.  That must've been around
1995 or so ... It never blew a headgasket again and was still running great
when the car got wrecked a few years ago.


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