Houston, we have a problem!!!!

2 weeks ago I decided that I had a head gasket problem with my '26 touring, so I pulled the head out. I took it to a machine shop, had it cleaned, magniflexed and milled (.007) which I thought was not back for a 90 year old head. Then last week I reinstalled it, but when I tried to start it wouldn’t start. Next I found a small pool of water on the floor under my muffler, I took out the spark plugs and the tips were all wet. Next I pulled the head off and this is what I found. I’m just guessing, but that extra hole should not be there.

Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated,

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Looks like the head gasket is leaking water in one cylinder. I would not use that type of head gasket, you are better off with either of the other commonly available types.

Also it looks like you sprayed KW copper cat on the engine block and valves. That is bad technique. You should clean all that off with lacquer thinner. Make sure both the block and head are spotlessly clean and free of grease.

The new head gasket should be hung by a piece of wire and sprayed with KW CopperCoat on both sides. Wait until it is dry to the touch and install, making sure the large water port is at the rear.

Head bolts need to be clean and dry. Tighten them from the center out, with the end head bolts tightened last.

I have tried the mls gasket ( multi layer steel) I believed that the silicone seal around the gasket would help. It did not. I have found that any copper gasket that is sold if properly installed works best. I clean block and head. Use scotch pad to gently polish away any old gasket material. I chase bolt holes and flush with solvent. I then blow them out with shop air. Clean and dry block and head with solvent. I personally do two coats of copper coat and then install. New bolts are not expensive and when I worked in the auto dealerships we always just used new head bolts as precaution. I also use a little thread lube to make sure bolts to not bind and give false torque readings. I had to do alot of head gaskets. Remember how many blew out 15-20 years ago!

Listen to David Mazza. I recently replaced a head gasket and could not believe the amount build up I cleaned from the bottom of the bolt holes. The rust and whatever that accumulates in the bottom of the bolt holes, plus probably some of the copper spray, can keep the head bolts from tightening properly. Also, I use anti-seize when I install headbolts.

Thank you to Auto Inn, Dave Mazza & Tom Hicks, for taking to time to reply to my question. It was wonderful to see you answers this morning and I will follow your advice. Bill Harper also called me last night and we had a great discussion about what to do. As all of you have said cleaning the bolt holes is a major part of getting it right. I also asked my good friend Dick Welch about it last Friday and Dick gave me some excellent advice as well.

Thank you again to everybody,


PS: on a positive note I did get Sambuca my '17 Canopy Express Delivery running a showed him in the Dunbarton Old Home Day Parade!!!

Here’s where I stand at the end of today. After fixing, eating and kitchen clean-up of Sunday dinner, I when out to the garage. 1st. I torqued the head bolts on Sambuca and Seabiscuit. I was a little surprised that almost all needed some added torquing. Next I started cleaning Taurus’s block, head, bolts and bolts holes. Then I placed the head on the block with no head gasket and hand threaded all the bolts down tight as has been suggested. Everything seems to have worked out fine. So I guess that I can think about putting in the new head gasket.

Happy day’s are here again,


PS: I also think I found the reason for the lack of power going up hills with Sambuca. While tightening his head bolts I notice the my wolf whistle was loose, in fact it was broken and can not be tightened. That must be why I had to keep adjusting the carburetor all day yesterday. I also checked all the spark plugs, they all were as clean as a whistle. I checked the gap and they all were right on .030, so I’m go with that.
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Sounds good, thanks for the update! Please let us know how the new head gasket works out, and your installation method…

It’s going to be fine with a better quality head gasket and good technique.

In the free time I had today, I worked Sambuca my '17. After Saturdays parade I had drained the oil and I needed to adjust the brakes and I tightened all the bolts on the oil pan inspection cover, most if not all required some tightening, some I could turn with my fingers. Which is what I did this morning. This afternoon I took him out for a drive and found that I had over tightened the brake and low bands. A quick shady stop on the side of the road and I had everything back to ship shape. Saturday I had noticed a lack of power on the hills. While checking things out I found that a wolf whistle had come apart, I have removed it and for now have duck tape covering the opening. I did get to the hardware store and bought a 7/16 x 14 tap and die. Hopefully tomorrow I can get back on the touring.

Thank you for your interest,

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Here’s the latest: I have clean the head, block, head bolts (ran over them with a die), valves and head bolt holes ( run a 7/16 x 14, tap down each one, to clean the threads). I am now ready to install another new copper head gasket. However I am not sure what went wrong the last time. Please examine the photos taken when I removed the head after last time. I can not see any problem with it. In the other photo of the head it does look like there is a crack by #3 like was mention, but when I re-cleaned the head I found nothing.

Thanks again for your helpful advice,


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Not sure if it’s already mentioned above…

After torqueing down the head the last time, did you run the car, allow it to cool down, then re-torque the head bolts? It’s pretty important to do so. Also, before re-tapping the head bolt holes, did you run a drill down to the bottom to clear the junk out of the bottom of the holes? After tapping, did you blow out the holes to remove the products of your re-tapping?

As to what went wrong the last time, I’m assuming that the head had not been resurfaced yet? Maybe that’s what was wrong.