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  • Re-torquing the head

    As with most all topics, there has been considerable debate on re-torquing of the Model A cylinder head. Hot or cold? It may not matter, different users have different preferences, and both seem to work. BUT the important thing is to indeed re-torque. Several times. Many times. Blown head gaskets are all too common. Keep re-torquing until you cannot take up any more! You can't hurt anything!

    When we break in a motor, it goes on the test stand and generally accepted practice is to run the engine at 1/2 max RPM for 30 min. For us, that is 1200 RPM. This helps to break in the cam/lifters. Rings take longer, at least 1000 miles. Avoid chrome/moly rings; they take way longer than that. So, we have the head torqued at final assembly, then again after 15 min on the stand, then again at 30 min. At each of these 2 times we are able to take up a considerable amount on the fasteners. Then we will re-torque at 25 miles, 50 miles, and 100 miles. Then at 500 miles. Miles' engine just cleared its first 1000 miles and I just re-torqued again. And I was able to get 1/8th turn from # 3,6, and 11. I will check again in another 1000 miles.

    Pearls:
    1) Avoid comparison to methods used on modern engines, such as small block Fords and Chevies. Our Model As are 90 yr old blocks, with 90 yr old alloys. And the original block/head only had to hold back compression of 4.2. Things change when we increase our compression ratio to 5.5 and 6.0 such as the heads we can get from Snyder's. I also feel the gaskets were different/better back then.
    2) many feel using synthetic oil at break-in is counter productive, because it is too slippery. We feel this way, also. You want the rings to break in as quickly as possible. Do not baby the car when driving during break-in. Get out there, and accelerate through the gears, and make those rings work. They will seat faster.
    3) the Felpro gasket in our opinion only fits the stock 4.2 head properly. It does not properly fit around the valves when using higher compression heads. Best is a gasket manufacturer. We prefer the Best '32-'34 copper gasket for the 5.5 and 6.0 heads. We do not prefer the composite type gasket because in the event of a head gasket change, it is brutal to scrape off the bits and pieces. We use a copper coat spray by Permatex, PN 80697. Lay your gasket carefully on the head and check to see there is no overhang into the combustion chamber. The higher compression heads have unshrouded the valves, ie scalloped out around the valves, for better breathing, and the Felpro will overhang in this area. Check your supplier; not all carry the Best brand.
    4. There is a gasket out there with silicone around the water holes. There have been many reports of failure of this type. We avoid it.
    5. There are those that prefer to loosen the head nuts before they re-torque. We do not prefer that method. Also, be aware that loosening any Model A head nut invites coolant seepage into the combustion chamber

    Last edited by tbirdtbird; 05-02-2017, 10:39 AM.

  • #2
    Tbird, You helped me with a timing gear noise in my engine, it was the noise caused by the timing gears that now hang on your wall of shame. As they were installed by someone before me I will never really know who or how that damage was done. But, back to the subject, I have a Brumfield 5.9 head that seeped until I used a new Fel Pro and torque procedure as recommended by Larry Brumfield. If I remember it is a slightly different torquing sequence. It has been months ago and so far so good.

    Comment


    • #3
      Glad you joined!! Glad the Felpro is working for you. Art, I remember the timing gear incident well. They are still here in the shop to show people what NOT to do. The crank gear was ovalled out by .020 because the person who removed the gear laid an O/A torch on one corner of the gear in order to remove it. You can see the characteristic color changes on the steel to this day.
      Since the crank gear was ovalled out, it chewed up the bronze timing gear, then you got a load of racket. The gears were then carelessly sold to you as take offs. I guess the moral is be wary of used parts.
      This link explains the color changes and has a chart, very interesting reading
      http://www.smex.net.au/reference/SteelColours02.php
      Last edited by tbirdtbird; 05-04-2017, 09:38 AM.

      Comment


      • #4
        HOT or COLD re-torqueing???
        Take it for what it's worth, I retorqued HOT & ONLY stud #1 took tightening. Next morning when COLD, they ALL took tightening. I DON'T loosen the nuts, when re-torqueing.
        Bill W.

        Comment


        • #5
          I've used tbirds method every time and haven't had one leak.
          Stock and a 6:1 head. I believe having the head, and if possible, deck surfaced has a lot to do with success.
          Hugh

          Comment


          • #6
            Bill that is very interesting. When I have tried that I did not get that result. However, I am gonna try it again. I just re-torqued Miles' head hot last week. I'll try again this week, cold, and let you know, Dave. ps what happened to the dog.....

            Hugh, welcome aboard!
            Last edited by tbirdtbird; 05-04-2017, 10:30 AM.

            Comment


            • #7
              I also like to torque cold.

              Comment


              • #8
                I am confused. I purchased the Snyder 5.5 head to put on my Town Sedan during the engine rebuild. I was told to purchase the "Premium Head Gasket B-6051-M" and I think this came from Bert's where I purchased the higher compression head. Are you stating that I should not use this and there is another gasket that is better. I think this one is what they call for the Model B engine and it says it should be used for any Snyder or Model B head. It also says on the packaging, NOT to use any gasket sealer on the gasket. I will be assembling in the next couple weeks so I need to make sure I am using the proper parts.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Another question. I purchased gland rings, and a new exhaust and intake manifold. I have both 2 sets of the plain gaskets and also purchased the copper gaskets for the manifold assembly. I notice the copper states not to use them if you are using gland rings. My block is machined for the gland rings and I would like an opinion of what is the best way to assemble the new manifolds. Thanks

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    "Premium Head Gasket B-6051-M" That is the supplier's part number. The original PN for the head gasket was 6051. Letters have been added by various suppliers to account for the new choices. I am holding in my hand a B-6051-X which I think came from Snyder. It is stamped in the copper, BEST 573. If yours says it is good for a B head or a Snyder head it has to be the correct gasket. You could always call the supplier to cross reference it to the BEST number. That is what I would do

                    We have always used Permatex copper spray; cannot comment on not using it. Can't see any harm to it. I do not use it on modern engines; they are a whole different ball game.
                    As far as gland rings, we don't use them. We have very good results with the copper manifold gaskets. Do not over tighten. Bratton's torque chart calls for 25-30 ft lbs. The manifolds heat up quite a bit in use, meaning they expand in all dimensions, especially length, and they need to be able to move around over the gasket. Too tight, and they could crack. Have seen it. Too lose, and you can get a weird vibration from the motor. Have seen that too

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by tbirdtbird View Post
                      Bill that is very interesting. When I have tried that I did not get that result. However, I am gonna try it again. I just re-torqued Miles' head hot last week. I'll try again this week, cold, and let you know, Dave. ps what happened to the dog.....

                      Hugh, welcome aboard!
                      TBird,
                      Buster T, the Dog is fine, he's laying here in the sun, watchin' EVERYTHING I do & eavesdropping on ALL my phone calls!!!
                      Bill W.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by BILL WILLIAMSON View Post
                        TBird,
                        Buster T, the Dog is fine, he's laying here in the sun, watchin' EVERYTHING I do & eavesdropping on ALL my phone calls!!!
                        Bill W.
                        I torque hot and cold, this way I'm on both sides of the debate..

                        do we have the proper dog smiley face here? if not we'll have to upload a special one
                        3 ~ Tudor's
                        Henry Ford said
                        "It's all nuts and bolts"


                        Mitch's Auto Service ctr

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          TBird, when you torque do you back off the nut a bit and then start the torque or do you just start tightning the nut from where it sits.

                          The reason I ask is that I will be getting a overhauled engine back next week with a Snyders 5.5 HC head and want to do it correctly.

                          You also mentioned its preferred not to use synthetic on a new build. When is it ok to start using? After the first oil change, second, fifth?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            in our shop we prefer to not do the loosen-first method. We do not feel it is necessary, having NOT done this for nearly 50 yrs. Also, loosening any head nuts on an A motor or B motor invites coolant to leak into the combustion chamber.

                            Your rings are still breaking in at 1000 miles or more. So, definitely not before 1000 miles on the synthetic. We feel that since modern traditional oils are of very high quality, we stay with that product and have not seen a need to go to synthetic at all. When we think synthetic, we think of modern cars with all new casting and alloy technology, and way tighter clearances, and way better cranks than what we have on an A, even an A with inserts. An A motor, no matter how it is built, should not be compared to current automotive technology of the past 20 yrs or so.

                            And of course at the risk of various opinions otherwise, we feel that it is a crime to use non-detergent oil in any car at this point in time. There have been alleged pros and cons stated about this. The situation lines up like this, tho: we do not guide ourselves in our shop by myth and old tales. We have worked on countless motors for seemingly countless years, and with that amount of experience you can see the terrible buildup of sludge inside a motor that has Non-D in it. In this case, one experience with one motor will not give the perspective needed to make the right choice. Mitch or Tom or someone here has a pic of the sludge you can get and it is not pretty. Worst I ever saw was a 1950 Jeepster with 20K miles on it. Owner wanted us to drop the pan to check it out. What a horrible mess; no word of a lie, a full inch of nasty sludge in the bottom. Yanked the side cover, cleaned that up, and now she runs modern detergent oil. If you are still using non-D then you have not torn down enough engines.........
                            Last edited by tbirdtbird; 05-05-2017, 11:24 PM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Thanks Tbird, that is good info.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                old31, I should add that we always never-seize the threads on the stud that go into the block, and we coat the stud shanks with never seize. Someday, that head will have to come off again, and the favor you may be doing the next mechanic may turn out to be you.
                                Although we have heard of changing torque values when using never-seize, we do not feel that is needed, and we simply use the stated torque values at all times. We use a thin coating on the nut threads also. Perhaps you could say that our experience is that not everything you read in an engineering book works out in the real world of hands-on mechanics. We use 55 lbs for stock head and 65 lbs for hi-comp heads like Snyder 5.5 and 6.0.

                                For clarity, the Permatex PN for the never-seize is 765-1674, called Anti-Seize Lubricant

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by tbirdtbird View Post
                                  I am holding in my hand a B-6051-X which I think came from Snyder. It is stamped in the copper, BEST 573. If yours says it is good for a B head or a Snyder head it has to be the correct gasket. You could always call the supplier to cross reference it to the BEST number. That is what I would do
                                  Tbird: Regarding that B-6051-X head gasket: the Snyder's catalog describes that one as copper. They also sell one in graphite (B-6051-C). A couple of questions:

                                  (1) what are the pros/cons of each; does each have a preferred application? The reason I ask is that when I called Snyder's with the question, "What's the best gasket for my 5.5:1 Snyder head?", the graphite one was recommended.

                                  (2) It is installed with the imprinted, "BEST 573" up toward the head, correct?

                                  Thanks for this informative thread.

                                  Mike in Oregon

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I am sure that diff mechanics have diff. preferences. My problem with the graphite (composite) gaskets is that if you have to pull the head for any reason, which includes changing out a leaky or blown head gasket, it is brutal to scrape off the bits and pieces of the composite material. Should you be unlucky enough to be doing this by the side of the road on a tour you will have a really bad day; it is hard enough to do in a controlled environment like a shop. I like copper, it is easily compressible/conformable; easy to remove when needed. I have no trouble getting them to seal, using the copper spray as I have mentioned (which may or may not do a thing, but my assembly methods have yet to fail me), and especially re-torquing multiple times as mentioned.

                                    "It is installed with the imprinted, "BEST 573" up toward the head, correct?"
                                    I agree totally with this method. There are 2 sides to a head gasket. One side is totally smooth, and the other side shows the crimp of the fire ring. The smooth side goes to the block. The crimp side goes to the head. In this particular case yes the 573 number is stamped on the crimp side. But, check the crimp anyway, since it is not known to me how consistently Best marks their gaskets. I learned a LONG time ago to check and re-check everything twice. The reason you want the crimp up, is because it will cause a very slight indentation into the casting of the head, believe it or not. If this indentation becomes too much, it is way easier to have a machine shop cut a skim layer off the head, than the block.

                                    Having said this I am sure someone somewhere out there does it the other way around, for whatever reason. I write stuff up that has worked for us for 50 yrs. We have never had a failure and we have worked on many many motors of many different brands (marques) of cars, from Model Ts, to a '32 GMC 1.5 ton grain truck, to a '50 Willys Jeepster, to many Model As, heavy construction equipment, '28 Chevy, etc the list goes on. I try to post methods that the backyard occasional mechanic can be successful at. Thanks for the thumbs up.

                                    Comment


                                    • Mitch
                                      Mitch commented
                                      Editing a comment
                                      great information in this thread... I use the Best gasket brand also..
                                      thanks tbirdtbird

                                  • #19
                                    Funny thing about re-torquing, you can find manufacturers recommendations for either hot or cold.

                                    Comment


                                    • #20
                                      Originally posted by tbirdtbird View Post
                                      old31, I should add that we always never-seize the threads on the stud that go into the block, and we coat the stud shanks with never seize. Someday, that head will have to come off again, and the favor you may be doing the next mechanic may turn out to be you.
                                      Although we have heard of changing torque values when using never-seize, we do not feel that is needed, and we simply use the stated torque values at all times. We use a thin coating on the nut threads also. Perhaps you could say that our experience is that not everything you read in an engineering book works out in the real world of hands-on mechanics. We use 55 lbs for stock head and 65 lbs for hi-comp heads like Snyder 5.5 and 6.0.

                                      For clarity, the Permatex PN for the never-seize is 765-1674, called Anti-Seize Lubricant
                                      Thanks again Tbird.

                                      Comment


                                      • #21
                                        Originally posted by tbirdtbird View Post
                                        4. There is a gasket out there with silicone around the water holes. There have been many reports of failure of this type. We avoid it.
                                        5. There are those that prefer to loosen the head nuts before they re-torque. We do not prefer that method. Also, be aware that loosening any Model A head nut invites coolant seepage into the combustion chamber
                                        Well, after doing what Bratton’s recommends by the book, it seems we have a small problem with their recommended gasket for the 6.1 head.

                                        I am resurrecting this thread because I want everyone to learn from this mistake.

                                        First let me preface this with a wee bit of background info. When I removed the stock head for the installation of the new 6.1 HC head from Bratton's, I noticed that the stud between 3&4 has a bit of rust around it at the base. I also noted that the gasket used is the same one Bratton's recommends to use with the 6.1 head. Now, I took not of this and also showed it to the owner of this car.

                                        Ok, now using the gasket Bratton’s sold to the owner over the phone when he made the full order of all the parts we would need, which is their composite impregnated gasket, the block was checked to be flat as well as the new head. So still using their recommendations, made sure it was all clean and dry, installed the new head and new gasket dry, as per their instructions printed on the gasket wrapper. Torqued to 55# using the 3 step program, and in the order by Ford, which was also printed on the gasket wrapper.

                                        Now to the reason for this post. Today the owner came back for his first retorque after driving it about 150mi this last week. What do we find but water filling the top area of the same head bolt at the head. Now, I don't use RTV on the stud threads, but I do use Never Seize, which shouldn't affect anything. When replacing the studs, none of them threaded into the water jacket, I do check for that. So, the only conclusion I can come to is that the gasket is leaking between the water port and the stud in the same place that the last gasket was leaking. Now today I torqued the head down to 60# and he is due back in a week to check and retorque and we thought of possibly using Barr's Block Sealer to see if that would stop the seepage. The leak was enough that after removing the leaked water it took less than a minute to refill the top of the bolt. The pictures below try to show the leak. More to come as time progresses.

                                        See comment 1.2
                                        You do not have permission to view this gallery.
                                        This gallery has 2 photos.
                                        You wana look waaay far up da road and plan yer route because the brakes are far more of a suggestion than a command!

                                        Comment


                                        • Mitch
                                          Mitch commented
                                          Editing a comment
                                          If that is the only problem you get with the composite style gasket consider yourself lucky. You may find that it will seal itself up from corroding itself over time. I know HL and a few others has had good luck with those, but I avoid them like the plague

                                        • DaWizard
                                          DaWizard commented
                                          Editing a comment
                                          Ok, addendum. It has come to my attention that the 6.1 head and gasket was NOT purchased from Snyder's, it was in fact purchased by phone from Bratton's who recommended the gasket to fit the head!

                                          I would like to apologize to the folk at Snyder's if I caused any undue stress. (All text has been changed to Bratton's) The silicone gasket was sold as part of the package with the head from Bratton's.

                                      • #22
                                        Agree with Mitch totally.
                                        We also don't wait 150 miles to re-torque. The distance between head bolts on an A is enormous, and it is hard to get a good clamp... the clamping force is spread way out too far
                                        We re-torque at about 20 min, 1 hr, 25 miles, 50 miles, and 100 miles, then about every 250 miles until we reach 1000. More than needed? Maybe but it works. Worried about breaking a stud? Well the newsflash I have is that it was gonna happen anyway.

                                        I also do not think that Snyders carries the Best gasket brand, which to me is a way better made product than the Felpro line. I know Bert's and possibly Brattons carries the Best, and we use the copper clad only, never a problem.

                                        Re-torque hot or cold? That debate will never end. But bear in mind 2 things: the Service Bulletins state hot (I have previously posted which page #) , and nowhere does it state to loosen first. secondly, hot is the normal operating condition of the engine, is it not?
                                        So why set a parameter up to a cold condition which is not the normal operating scenario.
                                        I have actually compared hot vs cold, and I am always able to take up a bit more hot than cold. Try it yourself, and find out
                                        Last edited by tbirdtbird; 01-05-2019, 06:04 PM.

                                        Comment


                                        • #23
                                          All ya wanted to know and NOT know about torquing is in this tech thread inlcd the service bulletin fact mentioned by Dave
                                          https://www.vintagefordforum.com/for...nd-gasket-info
                                          3 ~ Tudor's
                                          Henry Ford said
                                          "It's all nuts and bolts"


                                          Mitch's Auto Service ctr

                                          Comment


                                          • #24
                                            Dave, I too do not use those gaskets and Snyder's does indeed carry the Best gasket as that is what I ordered with my 6.1 head. It was in fact the gasket that was recommended with the head on the same page upper right corner. See, when Jim ordered the head, he CALLED and speaking to only one person, ordered ALL the necessary components at once. This was the purpose of his call, to be sure he got what they recommended. Well, this is what they sent him. NOT Snyder's, Bratton's

                                            Now, all I did was go by THEIR directions, not only to cover my ass, but to insure that what they are selling works as directed. This was done by the directions on the gasket from Bratton's!

                                            Well, we will know and have testimonial as to the quality and craftsmanship of this particular product that they are selling as "the recommended" gasket head combination.

                                            Just so you understand, I also torque at operating temperature, and several times to begin with, although not quite as many as you, but then, this is not a fresh build.
                                            You wana look waaay far up da road and plan yer route because the brakes are far more of a suggestion than a command!

                                            Comment


                                            • tbirdtbird
                                              tbirdtbird commented
                                              Editing a comment
                                              Super Duper, Wiz, I knew I could count on you!

                                          • #25
                                            Right on, Mr. Mitch. I still haven't found a USE for a Composite gasket. Most won't fit in a stool, unless you crunch them.

                                            I use Anti-Seize on some things, but not on head bolts. I use Indian Head Gasket Cement, on the threads, that go into either water, or oil, and you can always get them out when you need to, and there will be no rust, from water.

                                            I also use it on the copper head gasket, Pan gasket, and the rest.

                                            Last thing, We always do, after the head bolts are secured, take the Copper Head Gasket, and fit to the head bolts, for Alignment. Check, and line up the two long bolts first, and then, try the tops of the rest of the bolts, buy using the Gasket.

                                            Always fix the worst out of line ones first. To tweak them, I use a lead hammer, and hit the top of the bolt on its side. Do 10 to 20 small hits, Opposed to, one, or two, Big-A-Boys !!!!!!!!!

                                            When you are done, the gasket, hung over the top of the head bolts, will drop clear to the block surface!

                                            The best part, the head also slides on, and off with NO Resistance.

                                            Also when having to take the Head off, Much-O better. You don't have to beat it on, or off.

                                            Also, our Torque Pattern, for 55 years.

                                            Herm.
                                            You do not have permission to view this gallery.
                                            This gallery has 27 photos.

                                            Comment


                                            • Mitch
                                              Mitch commented
                                              Editing a comment
                                              That Indian Head Shellac is good stuff. I use it also on certain applications

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