head gasket problem

Please see (Houston we have a problem, I should have called it “Houston I am a problem”) a number of weeks ago I decided that I had a head gasket problem with my '26 touring, so I pulled the head out. I still have not tried to install another head gasket for fear that I will fill the engine with water again. That is because I have been trying to place the head back on the block, dry with no gasket and still have to keep having to moving it ever so slightly in order to align the head bolts up with their holes. Anyone who has ever tried doing this job, your suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance for your thoughtful answers,


I have been told that the whole in the head, between #2 & #3 that does not line up with any corresponding whole in the block is a part of the casting problem. I believe that the leak from this whole into #3 was created when I move the head in order line up the bolt holes.
37. 1926 Model T Foed touring engine Monday, ‎August ‎07, ‎2017 - Copy.jpg

If I were concerned about the cylinder head I would take it to be magnuflux inspected. Then have it checked for straightness. If all is good, make sure everything is clean and dry. Wipe down all the surfaces with lacquer thinner or MEK until the rag comes away clean. Hang that gasket by a wire and spray both sides with KW Copper Coat or Krylon Flat Aluminum paint before installing it.

When the paint or KW is dry to the touch install the gasket big hole to the rear and tighten the bolts evenly from the center out. Fill with water (not anti freeze / coolant mix) and then start the engine. Run it for 20 minutes or so, get the engine warm. Then call it a night.

The next day retighten all the head bolts, again from the center out. Drain the water and refill with a mix of ethylene glycol / water that is appropriate for where you live. In your case Warren it would be 50 / 50 because it gets darn cold in New Hampshire from what I hear.

Auto Inn, thank you for taking the time to offer that advise. All those steps are what I did the 1st time when installing the gasket. I think the problem was caused when I placed the head on the block I had to slide it around slightly to get the bolt holes to line up. I think this may have caused the gasket to to move between the head and block.


For what it is worth, I cut the heads off of 4 old high head bolts and slotted them for a screw driver. I thread them into the block a bit to use as a guide when putting the head in place and remove them once I have a few head bolts in place.

Thank you, Russ, for that advise. This morning I put the head back on, I had tried to use something as a guide, but because the block is still in the car and I have to tip it back to fit the head in the firewall, I had no luck doing that. I almost got it in place the 1st time, but still had to slide it slightly. I managed to get all the bolts back in the block all the way just using my fingers. After that I tightened them with a box end wrench and the finally I used a torque wrench to tighten them all to 55psi. Hopefully when I add water it will not flood the engine again. I am thinking about starting it and run it for a short while, than re-torquing the head bolts before I add any water.

Happy motoring,