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Thread: Head Gasket

  1. #1
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    Head Gasket

    Hello,

    This is the first time I put a question at this fantastic forum, I have read a lot of threads about the quality of head gaskets and my question is as following: I have a original head gasket nr 1210163420, can I use this for a 190sl 1959? and secondly is it adviseble using new headbolts?
    Thanks in advance,

    Jacob from the Netherlands

  2. #2
    of the West Walter's Avatar
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    Since there are so many variants on head gaskets, I will not comment on whether that part number is right or wrong.

    BUT, you do NOT need new head bolts. They are not stretch bolts and hence need to be re-tightened from time to time.

    Only replace a head bolt if it is obviously damaged in some significant way. It is rare though.
    Walt in the West says: Don't ask: "Use the SEARCH Luke"
    1959 190SL DB050 with 333 leather blue ("It's Alive!" - 653 miles) Chassis 14445
    1961 300SL Roadster DB608 with red - fresh brakes and rebuilt engine hung in - more work coming!

  3. #3
    Administrator JimVillers's Avatar
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    Jacob ..... If you have an old head gasket, you might want to buy a new one. The newer head gaskets have a sealing compound around the water passages that seals these spaces better than the original head gaskets. The basic answer to your question is that all 190SL head gaskets will fit all 190SLs, even those with the 928 head.
    Jim Villers
    1961 190SL, 230SL 5-speed, MGB 5-speed, Boxster 'S'; Porsche 356C; 1967 Porsche 911

  4. #4
    Registered User Ed Rivkin's Avatar
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    There is some "religious" debate about the newer head gaskets. After my engine was recently assembled, I discovered what I though was a leak between the head and block. After picking myself off the garage floor (the engine, carbs, etc. were totally assembled on the now leaking, rebuilt engine), I did a bunch of research regarding the newer generation head gasket.

    Here are my conclusions.

    a) The newer head gasket material is more suitable for later MB engines than the 190SL; i.e. those that have head bolts more tightly spaced together and use stretch bolts. Several people I talked to have had leakage issues with the newer head gaskets despite periodically retorquing them.
    b) One person I conferred with recommended this approach to overcoming the newer head gasket leakage issue.

    1) Moisten a rag with carb cleaner and blot both sides of the head gasket to remove the shine. Don't soak the gasket; just blot it.
    2) Use a head gasket sealer. I cannot recall the type suggested but the type I used takes 4-5 minutes to set. It's kind of soft and rubbery on the gasket.
    3) Install the head and torque as usual.

    Based on numerous threads on the forum, I decided to slightly overtorque the head. Mine is at 70 ft/lbs. Normal is 58 ft/lbs.

    I haven't started the engine yet so the above hasn't been to practice yet. The blot and use sealer source races these engines. He is stressing them well beyond what most of us will ever do and hasn't had a leaking gasket since changing to the above mentioned method.
    Ed Rivkin
    1959 190SL

  5. #5
    Registered User PeteS's Avatar
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    Ed,

    When you refer to the newer head gaskets, which are they? I have an engine gasket set I purchased recently form SL Auto Haus which includes the head gasket that has raised red seals. Is that included in the "newer head gaskets" you mention?

    Your comment raises some concern on my part, I would prefer not to have a leak right after rebuilding the engine...


    Pete S.
    Pete Schmid
    '61 190SL
    Tucson, AZ

  6. #6
    Administrator wpuryear's Avatar
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    My engine also had a leak issue during the last rebuilt. Forutunately it was on a test stand so I could easily determine the leak was between the gasket and block. The block deck was fairly slick, so .005" was removed to provide a good sealing surface. On reassembly, she seeped water on first startup until the engine reached operating temperature and has never leaked since.

    Shaving the deck should be approached with as much caution as shaving the head because of the valve clearance issues. In my case, the head was new and the block was on third oversize pistons.

    Walt

  7. #7
    Registered User Ed Rivkin's Avatar
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    Pete,
    You have the newer head gasket that I reference. It's black, slightly shiny and has the red stripe. The older ones were a silver color and had the copper rings where the coolant passed between head and block.

    You may want to research our site as well as the Ponton site to confirm what I wrote. There are some slightly different opinions of what to use to clean the gasket. I actually used brake cleaner because I believe it leaves less residue.
    Ed Rivkin
    1959 190SL

  8. #8
    of the West Walter's Avatar
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    Think Berrymans B-12 Chemtool and Permatex Aviation Form-A-Gasket for all this, please...

    Also ruffing up and cleaning off the rust on the top of the block with a 3M Roloc (sp?) disk helps too.

    Sanding the surface of the head with a long flat board works well, too. You might want to either blue it or spray a guide coat of cheap spray paint on like when you sand the body too, so you can see how you are doing.

    BUT you have to be EXTREMELY careful not tot round the edges!!!!!!

    I did this for an inexpensive (read I recycled a LOT of parts) rebuild of a ponton sedan engine. It runs like a champ. Point to that is you have to check all the parts for wear real well. It won't seal well if things are not straight.
    Walt in the West says: Don't ask: "Use the SEARCH Luke"
    1959 190SL DB050 with 333 leather blue ("It's Alive!" - 653 miles) Chassis 14445
    1961 300SL Roadster DB608 with red - fresh brakes and rebuilt engine hung in - more work coming!

  9. #9
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    When I rebuilt my engine, I had the head surfaced (careful here), and the block "decked" (as described above this is simply to assure true flat and add a toothed, milled surface; careful here too). I used the elring brand gasket set, sprayed both sides of the gasket with Permatex "Copper Coat" per instructions on the can, installed, torqued to provided (with gasket set) instructions, and had no problems at all with leaks. I did not "overtorque," but I guess within reason it might not hurt. It is clear that others swear by a few extra pounds. We have discussed the issue of head gaskets at length in other threads, and I am still of the opinion that given a careful inspection revealing a "good" gasket before installation, and installation according to my comments above, the source of most leaks is bad mating surfaces (head and/or block deck), not early gasket failure. I think that Bruce Adams wrote in a newsletter that he uses the copper spray also on his installations -- I could be wrong.

  10. #10
    of the West Walter's Avatar
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    I have used aluminum spray paint before the advent of the copper spray but using the old style gasket.

    It sure is sad we have to do this, though.

    I wonder what the current take on the issue is from Mercedes? Guess I need to ask.
    Walt in the West says: Don't ask: "Use the SEARCH Luke"
    1959 190SL DB050 with 333 leather blue ("It's Alive!" - 653 miles) Chassis 14445
    1961 300SL Roadster DB608 with red - fresh brakes and rebuilt engine hung in - more work coming!

  11. #11
    Registered User Ed Rivkin's Avatar
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    Walt,
    Please press this with them. Steve Marx is doing the same. If enough of the folks that have communication with them do it, maybe they'll understand the problem and...

    a) document the best way to use the newer gasket or, better yet,
    b) reproduce the original gasket which always worked for me.
    Ed Rivkin
    1959 190SL

  12. #12
    of the West Walter's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Ed Rivkin
    Walt,
    Please press this with them. Steve Marx is doing the same. If enough of the folks that have communication with them do it, maybe they'll understand the problem and...

    a) document the best way to use the newer gasket or, better yet,
    b) reproduce the original gasket which always worked for me.
    We'll have to see. If they are doing the 300 gaskets this way, it is a disaster. Got to find out what they are doing for all the old head gaskets. If they are, then we have an issue. I bet it has something to do with the clamping forces and the surface prep. But, that is an engineering issue that revolves around the specs of the original head gasket, if any!

    It is right up there with the windshields. Works for some and not others. Sigh.....

    I will be in the area again, next week most likely. Perhaps when I go to Germany again, I can check it too. Double sigh.....
    Walt in the West says: Don't ask: "Use the SEARCH Luke"
    1959 190SL DB050 with 333 leather blue ("It's Alive!" - 653 miles) Chassis 14445
    1961 300SL Roadster DB608 with red - fresh brakes and rebuilt engine hung in - more work coming!

  13. #13
    bstreep
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    Yup, I'm facing ANOTHER head gasket replacement. Water leak between 2 & 3, same spot as before. Very slight, it's been that way for over a year, but now getting worse. I used the Permatex recommended by Porsche for the last one. Still didn't hold.

  14. #14
    Administrator JimVillers's Avatar
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    Bill ...... It would be nice if it was a simple head gasket verses aluminum corrosion.
    Jim Villers
    1961 190SL, 230SL 5-speed, MGB 5-speed, Boxster 'S'; Porsche 356C; 1967 Porsche 911

  15. #15
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    At the risk of antagonizing my colleagues (which I truly don't want to do), consider the suggestive evidence in the case Bill Streep is experiencing. Why would head gaskets continue to fail, ON A GIVEN ENGINE, in EXACTLY the same place? Isn't it more likely that the problem lies with the mating surfaces in that area of that particular engine, than with a production run of gaskets that fail in that particular spot on that particular engine because of defective gasket manufacture? After what number of different head gaskets, all of which fail at exactly the same location on a given engine, does one entertain the hypothesis that perhaps there is a problem between the mating surfaces of head and block on the given engine? In view of the grief involved in the tear down to replace a head gasket on these cars, when there has been a chronic problem in the same area, it just seems to make sense, when the head and block surfaces are exposed, to scrupulously rule out that untrue surfaces, grooves, or pitting could be the cause of water migration. Blaming things on a third or fourth gasket failure, leads us to continue replacing gaskets. Checking the mating surfaces might lead us to a (more or less permanent) solution.

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