L-series engine gaskets

Engine, Transmission and related drivetrain.
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abisel
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L-series engine gaskets

Postby abisel » 08 Apr 2016 14:55

I have looked around and can't find quality gaskets.

On my stock lower end L20B, I have a FelPro head gasket that has failed even though the deck and head are flat. It leaked water around the spark plug side. No water in the oil or down the cylinders though. So I looked to Nissan for 11044-U0804 and it is discontinued. I called around and was told FelPro is the problem. Spray on some Copper Coat and it should work. Then I read that that may not be a good idea.

For the valve cover gasket, I currently have a metal-core rubberized valve cover gasket that is reusable, but I need a new one. Where can I get it? And the oil pan gasket I have is a cork/rubber FelPro that squishes out when you torque the bolts, and would also like to get a metal-core rubber gasket that is reusable.

Can anyone help?

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two_68_510s
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Re: L-series engine gaskets

Postby two_68_510s » 08 Apr 2016 15:27

I have a few semi-hard valve cover gaskets:

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James
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Re: L-series engine gaskets

Postby James » 08 Apr 2016 16:07

abisel wrote:I have looked around and can't find quality gaskets.

On my stock lower end L20B, I have a FelPro head gasket that has failed even though the deck and head are flat. It leaked water around the spark plug side. No water in the oil or down the cylinders though. So I looked to Nissan for 11044-U0804 and it is discontinued. I called around and was told FelPro is the problem. Spray on some Copper Coat and it should work. Then I read that that may not be a good idea.

For the valve cover gasket, I currently have a metal-core rubberized valve cover gasket that is reusable, but I need a new one. Where can I get it? And the oil pan gasket I have is a cork/rubber FelPro that squishes out when you torque the bolts, and would also like to get a metal-core rubber gasket that is reusable.

Can anyone help?


I have used felpro head gaskets for years and have never had an issue. My motors are not super high compression (l18 with closed chambered head).
I have head experience with the copper coat. The guy who originally built one of my engines used some copper based coating, and in combination with antifreeze -created some nice electrolysis (alum head/copper/iron) and I didn't know it until one of the water passages had been compromised to the point of head gasket failure - which meant welding up the head etc....

Did you torque your head bolts from middle to each end?
Finished is better than perfect......

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abisel
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Re: L-series engine gaskets

Postby abisel » 08 Apr 2016 16:25

Joel, thanks but I am looking for the metal core rubber valve cover and oil pan gaskets.

James, what you have said about alum/copper/iron is what I heard too. Yes, I did torque and re-torque from the middle outward. For the L20B, 62 ft-lbs.

When I took off the head and inspected the gasket, I could see where the gasket didn't crush down around the water passages completely. Usually there would be a slight imprint around the water passage hole left on the gasket. Some of the passage holes did not leave an imprint.

What are the thoughts of using a thin film of Permetex #2 around the water passages? Or any of the other Permatex products?
http://www.permatex.com/product-category/gasketing/gasket-sealants/

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Re: L-series engine gaskets

Postby two_68_510s » 08 Apr 2016 17:02

abisel wrote:Joel, thanks but I am looking for the metal core rubber valve cover and oil pan gaskets.



I live a sheltered life, never seen the rubber ones. Are they Datsun?
Joel

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“We will either find a way, or make one.” – Hannibal

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abisel
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Re: L-series engine gaskets

Postby abisel » 08 Apr 2016 17:32

Don't know who made the metal/rubberized gasket. I just know it is reusable. Just have to clean it with lacquer thinner and back it goes. I had one for the oil pan, but it got damaged so I used the cork/rubber from FelPro and it squeezes out when bolts are torqued. Doesn't leak but still.

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Re: L-series engine gaskets

Postby okayfine » 08 Apr 2016 18:28

LOTS of happy FelPro PermaTorque customers. I'd take a few looks at your head and block surfaces, especially if you saw some uncrushed gasket at the leak site. Had the head bolt holes in the block bottom-tapped and cleaned out? Didn't get a false torque reading on the bolts?
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Re: L-series engine gaskets

Postby James » 08 Apr 2016 21:34

The permetorque gaskets I've dealt with have a ring of sealer around some of the water passages.

I agree with Julian - maybe you have something/crud in the holes that aren't allowing the bolts to really torque the head down. Do you have washers on all of the bolts? Something is amiss here - and I'm sure it will work once you get it figured out.....
Finished is better than perfect......

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Re: L-series engine gaskets

Postby two_68_510s » 08 Apr 2016 23:09

I am curious about the pile of gaskets I have, they seem to be asbestos or some other compressed fiber.

Anyone familiar with them? Do they seal? Are they reusable? Pics above and here, they are all valve cover gaskets:
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gasket2.jpg
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Joel

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'95 240SX
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Re: L-series engine gaskets

Postby Byron510 » 08 Apr 2016 23:10

I've even used the standard Felpro gaskets on my 10.5:1 motor that I run in the Bronze - and it's on it's 11 year. Half of that time it was running in the red until I finally did a rad upgrade - never been re torqued.

The Felpro gaskets have been pretty much standard on all my motors. I have had one head gasket failure in something like 15 LZ motor builds over the years. So my vote is that they do work. I'm with James, something is amiss here, and it's likely so simple that you'll kick yourself for not finding it sooner - like threaded holes that need to be tapped out, and are too gummed up to give you correct clamping of the head to the block.

One thing I do is that I'm surgically clean when installing head gaskets, using acetone (not brake clean) on both surfaces until it wipes absolutely clean on a white lint free rag. And I do this right before installing the gasket. I also never even touch the gasket or the block/head surfaces with my fingers.

Keep us posted, I'm sure more tips will roll in form the collective peanut gallery.

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Re: L-series engine gaskets

Postby James » 08 Apr 2016 23:17

I have gotten closer to the IBM clean room level that Byron describes in more of my recent trips down head gasket lane. I can say that in years past the fell-pro gaskets will work well when things aren't totally clean/degreased etc. (oh to be young again...).

One thing I was thinking of - check the locating dowel(s) and their respective holes - as that is another potential area for hang ups.
Last edited by James on 09 Apr 2016 09:37, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: L-series engine gaskets

Postby 510rob » 08 Apr 2016 23:35

Who checked the surfaces for straightness and with what straightedge?

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Re: L-series engine gaskets

Postby Chickenman » 09 Apr 2016 07:17

two_68_510s wrote:I am curious about the pile of gaskets I have, they seem to be asbestos or some other compressed fiber.

Anyone familiar with them? Do they seal? Are they reusable? Pics above and here, they are all valve cover gaskets:
gasket1.jpg
gasket2.jpg


Those appear to be OEM Nissan gaskets. We usually call them a hard composite design. They seal very well. I use a light coating of Permatex Aviation cement on the VC side. They should not be re-used after they've been on for a while. They do need a re-torque after taking a " set ".

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abisel
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Re: L-series engine gaskets

Postby abisel » 09 Apr 2016 16:09

To answer some questions:
The head had been rebuilt at the machine shop and the surfaces were decked. only .005 removed from the block side.
I did clean out the head bolt holes and chased the threads prior to installation.
Oil was applied to both the head bolt threads and under the washer during installation, and head bolts torqued from the middle outward in 3 stages. 40-50-60.
I checked the deck with a Starrett straight edge and could not get a .004 (max limit) feeler gauge under the straight edge anywhere.

I just did apply some layout blue to the deck and took a course file and slowly, with no pressure, filed off the blue to find any high/low spots. none were found. The desk looks nice and clean. The layout blue came off evenly with only some blue left at the water passage holes since there is very slight pitting around a couple of these holes where the previous gasket(s) didn't cover. The deck has never been machined from what I can tell.

The locating dowels do look suspicious so I am getting new ones.

I am also gonna get some new head bolts. Don't know now many times they had been used before I got the car. Need to find a supplier for the later turbo head bolts with the circle on the head.

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Re: L-series engine gaskets

Postby 2DoorJim » 09 Apr 2016 16:33

How deep are the machining grooves left behind from decking the block? Is this the source of the coolant leaking or do you have a gusher on your hands?

My remedy to machining grooves (inattention from machine shop employees) is the fabled copper coat. Worked every time for me. Oddly, in all the years I've dealt with copper crush washers up against alum and steel I've never encountered corrosion under them, therefore I don't support copper coat being the root cause of corrosion.

Doesn't need to be thick coat, just a single coat on the gasket did the job for me.

I'm going to bow out now before getting scorched...


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