I received my new Electra head gasket today from NOC Spares and was surprised at its thickness and weight. It is solid copper and weighs nearly four times my old one (210kg vs. 60 kg) and is about four times thicker. (see attached pics) It also comes with a note to anneal it immediately before use and fit within 20-30 minutes of it being annealed.
I'm concerned about a gasket so thick being able to compress with the somewhat light torque required for the head installation Also, the accompanying note says to re-anneal it if I can't install both heads, attach the head steady, align the heads with the help of lightly tightening on the inlet manifold, and then torquing everything down with 20-30 minutes.
Is there anyone who has used this type of gasket and is willing to share their experiences?
(By the way, I feel Peter Hollands Roadholder article on rebuilding the Navigator/Electra motor should be mandatory reading for any of us tinkering with them in any way.)
First I had a one piece composite head gasket installed which wrinkled and I had some blowby on the left cylinder. Then I changed to the solid gasket which I cut in two halves. No problems so far. but I havent ridden the bike for a longer distance. No TÜV (MOT) so not road legal so far.
But your must be a different one with a hefty weight of 210 kilogrammes..LOL
Jack, a thicker gasket don't need more torque to seal. Think about what happens to a bed mattress. A thick one adjusts better to irregularities in the surfaces with the same load. Because it compresses more.
I'm not much concerned about the torque, I'm just wondering if anyone has had any problem with one of these solid gaskets (unlike the thinner sandwich type) compressing enough to create a good seal, especially with the note included with it's receipt calling for it to be torqued in place so quickly.
Don't know why they think annealed copper age hardens. Unless it has some bizarre alloying elements that precipitate out with time. I think it's nonsense.
If it is as thick as you say, it will need a lot of heat to anneal it. It doesn't have to all be red hot at the same time, but all of it must be taken to red hot and back again. Makes no difference if you let it cool, or drop it in a bucket of water.
I'm sure you'll need a MAP torch on some kind of brick hearth. A domestic type butane gas blowlamp probably won't do the job. And you probably won't see the red glow in bright sunlight.
If it's like the other engines, you might be more likely to get some slight oil leaks, but less likely to suffer a fully blown gasket.
A wise old member of the NOC gave me some advice which I'd like to pass on.
Electra head gaskets were originally composite one piece with bores to match the 66mm bore and allowance for rebore sizes. As you know, all Electra have un-spigotted barrel/head joint.
To my knowledge these Electra gaskets are unobtainable.
Jubilee head gaskets are separate and fit round the spigot of a Jubilee barrel. This gasket is just right for the un-spigotted Electra.
Use Jubilee composite gaskets on an Electra head/barrel joint and all should be well. An additional advantage is that you can renew left or right gasket separately.
I agree with Dave Cooper that you will need at least a MAP hearth or oxy/acetylene to get your solid copper item up to cherry red heat, the minimum for annealing.
Most Navigators have a sigotted head joint so can't use the smaller bore Jubilee gaskets. Hence the club made solid copper gaskets to suit Navigator spigot size. Yes, the bore hole is big enough for unspigotted Electra, but the Jubilee composite gasket works well.
If you have a choice, try to get an old Jubilee de-coke set. My observation is that the composite head gaskets made years ago seem to be better made than the modern remanufactured where the edges are folded around the edges of the bore and the pushrod tunnel holes.
Hope this is not too late to have been some help.
Sorry I missed your post a couple days ago Peter. I thought folks were through discussing my problem. But actually I had already decided to try to find one of the composite gaskets and located one in a partial gasket kit on Ebay for $10. I have installed it and have put the heads back on the bike but haven't finished getting the supports back in place and putting everything back on that I removed to get the heads off and on. I also bought some new valve covers and will follow your double gasket suggestion to hopefully solve the major oil leak I had that started this whole discussion.