Head Gaskets and Head Bolts

2Jay

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Hey,

I'm new to the site and club. I have a '94 with 16,000 miles that needs head gaskets. I realise that these inquiries have been made before but I would like to ask again.

1) Where can I get head gaskets for a Gen 1 car?

2) Is there any preference as to which are the best quality head gaskets?

3) Can the head bolts be re-used on these cars (assuming that this is the first time the heads have been pulled)?

Thanks in advance for any help.

-Jon
 

RT/ED

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Give Chuck Tator a call (Tator's Garage). He can help you with supplies and answer your questions. He was a tremendous help to me when I changed my gaskets.
 

ront/10

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I had Dan at Viper Specialties do mine, he supplied the head gaskets. Chuck Tator supplied the rest of the gaskets. Yes you can reuse the head bolts.
 

jdeft1

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It'a a pretty easy DIY job. The viper has a very simple, back to basics push rod engine design. Just take off the heads. No overhead cams or timing stuff to worry about with this beast!
 

Dan Aseere

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Did mine with Chuck Tators help. He walked me thru it and made the job fun. Only thing I did not do was soak the lifters in oil. If not the first start up will sound like you left bolts in your engine. Scared the h... out of me!
 

Jack B

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Did mine with Chuck Tators help. He walked me thru it and made the job fun. Only thing I did not do was soak the lifters in oil. If not the first start up will sound like you left bolts in your engine. Scared the h... out of me!

You can also turn the engine over with the plugs out, that will pump up the lifters.
 

klamathpro

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Talk to Chuck like everyone said, and make sure to get the updated torque specs and procedure from him over the phone. The books are wrong!
The new torque numbers are crazy high, but I did mine exactly like he said and have not had any problems.
 

scottmarston

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I had Dan at Viper Specialties do mine, he supplied the head gaskets. Chuck Tator supplied the rest of the gaskets. Yes you can reuse the head bolts.

Same here. Also, if you're in the market for a thermostat, now's the time to swap it...even if it’s for the purpose of the new gasket replacement. I found a LOT of loose bolts when I did my head gasket job on the '95. But you have to keep in mind that it's a stone's throw away from being a few decades old. Chuck also hooked me up with new plug wires. Might not be a bad idea while you're messing around back there...the coil packs can be a bear to get to with all the gear still attached. I was told not to drain the coolant via the radiator plug drain because if you wrench on it too hard, you'll break it off...then you're *******. I did the swap in one weekend with two other guys if you're looking for a timeline. OH! When you start it up after you are finished, it may sound like someone threw a handful of bolts under your valve covers. That sound was my lifters pressurizing...or so I’m told. The sound went away after a bit of idling. Give Chuck a call and he’ll get you squared away on the basics.

More advice, buy a battery tender...it will likely be one of the first things that gives you fits.
 

banton

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I had Dan at Viper Specialties do mine, he supplied the head gaskets. Chuck Tator supplied the rest of the gaskets. Yes you can reuse the head bolts.

Perhaps Gen I head bolts are different, but Gen II head bolts are single use, so I would recommend the OP double check. I am sure the Wizard can confirm either way. I learned that during my head/cam build a couple years ago.
 

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Perhaps Gen I head bolts are different, but Gen II head bolts are single use, so I would recommend the OP double check. I am sure the Wizard can confirm either way. I learned that during my head/cam build a couple years ago.

All Viper Head bolts except for Gen-4 can be reused at least once. None of the Gen-1, 2 or 3 bolts are torque to yield.
 

jdeft1

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The original gen 1 head bolts can be reused because the original torque spec. was only around 35-40 ft/lbs. (can't remember the exact figure but not much) These are big heavy duty bolts and they likely didn't stretch with such low torque. The new MLS gasket requires 125 ft/lbs so if if you ever need to do it again...new bolts will be in order. I got my gaskets from JonB who probably got them from Dan...
 

Viper Specialty

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The original gen 1 head bolts can be reused because the original torque spec. was only around 35-40 ft/lbs. (can't remember the exact figure but not much) These are big heavy duty bolts and they likely didn't stretch with such low torque. The new MLS gasket requires 125 ft/lbs so if if you ever need to do it again...new bolts will be in order. I got my gaskets from JonB who probably got them from Dan...

Original bolts used a torque angle method for tightening, but they were still nowhere near tight enough to be yielded as you pointed out.
 
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2Jay

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Thanks for all of the help, I appreciate it. It sounds like Tator's Garage comes highly recommended so I'll be following up with them. Thanks again!
 

jdeft1

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That's a interesting hardtop you have there..... Sorry, couldn't help myself.

There should be single, combined thread here about each viper generation when it comes to engine work and tips!

While it seems like all the gen 1 headgaskets would have been replaced by now, there still seems to be plenty out there that still ned to be done! Any home grown, DIY mechanic should be able to do the gasket swap in a weekend so I doubt you'll have any problems. I've done mine and three others over the last several years with no issues however twice the loud lifters when complete had me concerned so be aware!

Here's a couple ideas:

The search function here

I'd suggest you might want to trace the replacement intake and crossover gaskets on good quality paper and store them. Just in case you decide you want to pull the intake again sometime.. Gasket material is cheap and available.

Be patient when removing the old gasket and keep everything clean. Don't let a bunch of junk fall into the cylinders, engine etc. I stuff rags into the cylinders and use a vacuum to remove anything that falls in when cleaning the old mating surfaces. Try not to scratch the surfaces.

Drain the coolant by removing the bottom hose (as stated above) then use a wet-vac (if you have one handy) connected to the removed bottom hose to **** out the rest... and keep the mess off the floor if necessary.

Have a few like-minded buddies come by to assist. It's a big job and goes better with good company.

Cheers!
 

bluesrt

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for a few bucks- there is no way i would re-use those head bolts, especially that they are prone for headgaskets- why take that chance- they stretch.....
 

klamathpro

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2Jay

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jdeft1: I'm just working to dispel the myth that these cars are impractical!

Thank you for your advice though. I have contacted Chuck Tator and will be purchasing the gaskets soon. The car is sitting disassembled in my garage, but I won't be able to get back at it for a couple weeks now.
 

scottmarston

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jdeft1: I'm just working to dispel the myth that these cars are impractical!

Thank you for your advice though. I have contacted Chuck Tator and will be purchasing the gaskets soon. The car is sitting disassembled in my garage, but I won't be able to get back at it for a couple weeks now.

How disassembled? You haven’t taken the heads off yet, have you? Need to take the heads off, swap the gaskets, and put the heads back on the same day or things you don’t want to move start moving.
 

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How disassembled? You haven’t taken the heads off yet, have you? Need to take the heads off, swap the gaskets, and put the heads back on the same day or things you don’t want to move start moving.

Don't worry about that, its a myth. These things don't just start moving on their own, especially when cemented in place with old coolant silicates.
 

jdeft1

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^ Do no allow the engine to turn at all if the heads are off! If the cylinder liners shift you'll have a major job... If the heads are off you might consider bolting a piece of angle stock across the top of the block, across each cylinder to keep the liners in place while you wait on parts.


Good luck dispelling the myth that these cars are impratical! .. They most certainly are and that's exactly why I like mine so much! But then, almost any car is impratical when it come to moving your canoe...

Cheers
 
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Viper Specialty

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^ Do no allow the engine to turn at all if the heads are off! If the cylinder liners shift you'll have a major job... If the heads are off you might consider bolting a piece of angle stock across the top of the block, across each cylinder to keep the liners in place while you wait on parts.

I cannot stress enough how over-blown this topic is- it is like the scenario in school where you tell one person something, and by the time it gets to the other side of the bench, it is dramatic and bares little resemblance to the original comment.

Take it from someone who was directly involved in the production of these head gaskets and the reason they even exist, who has rebuilt more Gen-1's than I care to remember, and who is a mechanical engineer on top of all that: Unless you have a crate engine that has never had coolant in it or a block with rings frozen in the cylinders, you have just about zero chance of a sleeve shifting. The silicates in the coolant literally cement in in place- we need PULLERS to remove these sleeves, and they still fight to the death every time. For the sake of common sense, watch the sleeves for movement if rotating the engine, but there is no need to be afraid of them. If the pistons are holding the liners tightly enough to pop a liner free- you have bigger issues to worry about than a couple o-rings, haha
 

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Original final torque was angular and only amounted to like 45ft-lbs, not enough to stretch these massive bolts. I believe the gaskets failed more because the torque settings were too low.

Incorrect. The Torque Angle method equates to much higher than 45 pounds. The method is 45 pounds PLUS an angular measurement. The initial torquing to 45 is simply to seat the gaskets.

The new sequence is:

-From Center and spiraling outward: 40, then 80, then 120, then 120 again. Though 45/90/120 will do the job just the same.
 

jdeft1

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Thanks and point taken Final. Just for kicks, I will continue to avoid cranking the engine without the heads in place...
 

scottmarston

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I cannot stress enough how over-blown this topic is- it is like the scenario in school where you tell one person something, and by the time it gets to the other side of the bench, it is dramatic and bares little resemblance to the original comment.

Take it from someone who was directly involved in the production of these head gaskets and the reason they even exist, who has rebuilt more Gen-1's than I care to remember, and who is a mechanical engineer on top of all that: Unless you have a crate engine that has never had coolant in it or a block with rings frozen in the cylinders, you have just about zero chance of a sleeve shifting. The silicates in the coolant literally cement in in place- we need PULLERS to remove these sleeves, and they still fight to the death every time. For the sake of common sense, watch the sleeves for movement if rotating the engine, but there is no need to be afraid of them. If the pistons are holding the liners tightly enough to pop a liner free- you have bigger issues to worry about than a couple o-rings, haha

Fair enough, I just do what I'm told because I'm not a mechanic. :dunno: Chuck recommended doing the swap the same day because of the possibility of the sleeves moving. I think my buddy and I just bolted some fender washers down on either side of the sleeves to keep them from thinking about moving while we scrubbed the gasket goo off. I think we were more concerned with not knowing the expansion and contraction properties of the aluminum block…we started tearing it down when it was about 160F.

In any event, I’m sure you’ll do just fine jdeft1. I’m done…it’s Friday and that means it’s time for beer and women. :2tu:
 

jdeft1

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In any event, I’m sure you’ll do just fine jdeft1. I’m done…it’s Friday and that means it’s time for beer and women. :2tu:

Haha, for the record, I did mine a long time ago!..... I am not a professional mechanic either but I've done several headgasket jobs on these cars. In any event, I'm sure you'll do just fine 2Jay. I'm done too, ^ What Scott said.
 

klamathpro

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Incorrect. The Torque Angle method equates to much higher than 45 pounds. The method is 45 pounds PLUS an angular measurement. The initial torquing to 45 is simply to seat the gaskets.

The new sequence is:

-From Center and spiraling outward: 40, then 80, then 120, then 120 again. Though 45/90/120 will do the job just the same.

No, initial torque settings according to my 93 and my 95 manual in front of me was 30ft-lbs then a 90 degree torque angle. When I reverse torqued mine during teardown, it was darn near 45ft-lbs to loosen each bolt with my torque wrench. I know it sounds rediculous, that's why I posted the question back in 07' because the manual and Archer Racing both told me 30ft-lbs and a 1/4 turn was all I needed. That's why simply re-torquing the old gasket to a slightly higher torque setting seemed to delay the leaks according to Chuck. I believe that the gasket failures are more due to someone dropping the ball in determining the proper torque specs. I know they were paper/fiber, but the angualar spec was aweful to begin with. Even GEN2's initally in the early manuals had a torque spec of 35 plus 1/4 turn before it was revised with an adendum shortly after.

40/80/120 for new bolts, Chuck said 45/90/120 for old bolts, but I agree, the difference won't matter much.
What I actually did, to make me feel better, I torqued 30/45/90/120 with Chuck's permission, and the difference between 30 and 45 was, guess what, a 1/4 turn on each bolt, solidifying how wrong Chrysler's original method was.
 
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No, initial torque settings according to my 93 and my 95 manual in front of me was 30ft-lbs then a 90 degree torque angle. When I reverse torqued mine during teardown, it was darn near 45ft-lbs to loosen each bolt with my torque wrench. I know it sounds rediculous, that's why I posted the question back in 07' because the manual and Archer Racing both told me 30ft-lbs and a 1/4 turn was all I needed. That's why simply re-torquing the old gasket to a slightly higher torque setting seemed to delay the leaks according to Chuck. I believe that the gasket failures are more due to someone dropping the ball in determining the proper torque specs. I know they were paper/fiber, but the angualar spec was aweful to begin with. Even GEN2's initally in the early manuals had a torque spec of 35 plus 1/4 turn before it was revised with an adendum shortly after.

40/80/120 for new bolts, Chuck said 45/90/120 for old bolts, but I agree, the difference won't matter much.
What I actually did, to make me feel better, I torqued 30/45/90/120 with Chuck's permission, and the difference between 30 and 45 was, guess what, a 1/4 turn on each bolt, solidifying how wrong Chrysler's original method was.


I am sorry to keep dragging this up, since it is pointless afterall:

-Of every Gen-1 HG job I have done, there is no way any of them were near 45 pounds prevail. 75-85 is the norm. However, 75-85 reverse-prevail is about 90-100 forward torque. It does not take as much to break a bolt out than to torque it down. Also keep in mind, those old gaskets seat and loosen over time as they compress- MLS does not do this. Of course, this is tainted because it is a static condition, so any torque readings are meaningless as the bolts have been in place for so long.

-The original head gaskets as well as the coolant was to blame for failure, not as much the torque. The old coolant when left in breaks down the metal matrix fiber, and the gasket starts to seep through the gasket material itself. Re-torquing can slow this, but the gaskets are already compromised. No matter what, that gasket design will continue to losen over time because of the expansion of the aluminum block. MLS cannot compress beyond the embossing, so they are safe to use in an aluminum block without torquing multiple times.

-You cannot compare a torque-angle method of a metal-matrix gasket to an MLS gasket. MLS uses an embossed section, and those low torque numbers would never seat the embossing, ultimately ******** up the torque angle method. Torque angle is based on a seated gasket and a certain amount of bolt stretch. Unless the pre-torque is enough to collapse the embossing, the torque angle will always be wrong, and 30-35 is nowhere near enough to collapse an MLS completely on that gasket design. In short, the angle torque method would be "tighter" on the matrix version than it is on an MLS that isn't correctly seated.

-Assuming a collapsed gasket, 1/4 turn is a decent amount of stretch on that bolt size actually. 1/4 turn on a 9/16-12 = .021", which is about 2.5x more than that bolt size would normally be stretched to tighten. Sure that doesn't take into account deflection of materials, but with that bolt size of course, there wouldn't be a ton. What I am getting at, is that 1/4 turn even on an MLS that is properly seated first WOULD actually work. The problem always comes back to the gaskets, and their use in an aluminum engine.
 
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