The Benefits of Using Copper Gaskets:
Conductivity. Copper is the standard by which all other conductors are
measured, therefore a copper gasket provides superior thermal conductivity,
acting to stabilize head and block temperatures which makes tuning easier.
How to Install Copper Head Gaskets:
25% coefficient of elasticity. One
of the properties of copper is that it stretches before a catastrophic failure,
thereby providing an extra measure of safety in case of severe detonation.
Strength. Copper (in the form we use) has a tensile
strength of approximately 32,000psi, compare this to the 1200 to 1800psi
tensile of most facing materials used on conventional performance head gaskets.
- Copper head gaskets are the superior choice for blown, nitrous,
turbo-charged and high compression engines.
- If a change in compression ratio is desired, a thicker or thinner gasket
can be used. However, reason must be used when adjusting compression ratio
with gasket thickness as every .010" change in thickness, nets
approximately 2.5cc in volume. This method will never raise an 8.5 to 1
street engine to a 12.5 to 1 race engine.
- The use of o-rings is highly recommended to seal combustion pressure, most
notably when there are only 4 head bolts per cylinder. O-ring grooves can be
cut into the block or cylinder head. The proper dimensions for .041
stainless wire are: .040 groove width; .030 to .032 groove depth. When
cutting/installing stainless o-ring wire, file the ends square to provide a
tight joint for the best seal possible.
- When using copper head gaskets thinner than .050, o-ring height should be
25% of gasket thickness.
- Copper head gaskets require the use of a sealant for oil and coolant
passages (when applicable). SCE recommends Hylomar. It is available
in spray cans or tubes. Always allow Hylomar to tack-up for 5 to 10 minutes
before assembly. (Can be purchased at most Auto Parts
- Head gaskets on racing engines should be re-torqued after initial run- in,
regardless of type (solid copper or composition). Factory torque specs and
sequences are usually adequate. Allow the engine to cool for accurate
- Always use a torque wrench and have it calibrated often.
- Clean, flat surfaces are essential to seal a racing engine. Premium grade
head bolts with hardened washers are recommended and studs are preferred.