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Discussion Starter #1
Just throwing this out to some of the experts out here. I have an old MF 135 diesel, that I keep loosing the head gasket about every other year. I use it quite a bit, but don't over rev it or run it hot. I have straight edged the head and deck and torqued it properly each time and in the proper sequence. When I tear it down, the head bolts are still tight. I am blowing in the thin spot where a head bolt "splits" two cylinders. There doesn't appear to be a lot of "meat" there. No water in the oil or anything, I just cross connect two cylinders and loose compression. So far, I have used the copper gaskets available in local auto part stores. Is there a better gasket out there? Am I doing something wrong? There's thousands of these old things still out there, and the gaskets are in stock at NAPA, so I can't be the only one having this problem. Any tips or pointers would be appreciated
Never had the head resurfaced, but I put a machinist scale side to side, end to end, and diagonal; and never could see any daylight. Never tried new head bolts, but may do it this time. FWIW, it doesn't actually have bolts, but studs, with nuts on them. Never tried any gasket coating, I was always taught to keep it clean. I looks to me like the hole in the gasket where the studs go are way bigger than they need to be. There's only a gnat's *** between the bolt hole and the cylinder bore. First it blows through to the hole, then on to the other cylinder. First time, it blew between cylinder 2 and 3; then the next time it was 1 and 2. Haven't tore it down this time yet, but I'm confident about what I'm gonna find. Haven't re-torqued it hot yet, as it would involve removing the tank after I run it a while, and these diesels are a PITA to get primed again. Anyone know where I can get a super-gasket, guaranteed not to blow between cylinders.
 

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I'm not sure about anything on these but it sounds like you need to re-torque after the initial running. Yes they may be tight but the heating up and cooling down will mush the gasket and require re-torquing.

I would put new ones in "clean" no sealer, run to operating temp, let it cool and re-torque the head. You should be able to pull the fuel tank and keep the fuel in the lines not needing to re-prime the fuel system.
 

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That's a start Dodge dude. This sounds a lot more doable than some of the other advice I've had. A lot of folks say to "retorque it hot" However, by the time I remove the hood, tank and valve rocker shaft, everything will be cold again. BTW, I just acquired a factory service manual and it says to apply a "non-hardening" sealer on both sides of the gasket. No word as to what brand this 1970's vintage book is referring to. It also doesn't say anything about retorqueing? I was hoping maybe gasket technology has improved in the past 50 years
 

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I have to agree, anytime I replaced a head gasket on ANYTHING I always put sealer on them. Of course my sealer of choice was either plain ole #2 grease or a thin coat of Rust-O-leum paint. Run engine to operating temp and re-torque and since this has been an issue for you I would probably do it twice.

Another thing, re run the torque sequence as many times as necessary until there is NO movement on any fastener. A lot of people will only run though it once or twice and call it good. I have run the sequence on some heads nearly a dozen times until not a one of them moved.
 

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Are you sure the head isn’t cracked? We had a tractor with a D4.203 Perkins, and it kept blowing the gasket between cylinders 3 and four, exactly how you describe.
Good luck!
 
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