Ram Head Gasket Notes
Last Update: Feb 26, 1998

 Subject:     [RAM] Re: head gaskets
Date:          Fri, 6 Feb 1998 20:05:16 EST
From:         Drdonnelly@aol.com
To:             RTML

I've been through head gaskets before,  and hope the following helps a bit:

It's pretty hard to find anything except the Fel Pro Perma Torque with Teflon, so that is what I have used.

Use a fine machined finish on the surfaces, not rough.  Up to a point, the finer the better. Be sure to resurface the heads.  Check the block with a true steel straightedge.

Clean off all stuff on the block with aluminum oxide paper--120 grit is good--and don't get any into the cylinders, of course :)

use lacquer thinner afterwards and make sure no lint remains on the surfaces.

put the gaskets on dry.  No sealer, no slime.

oil the head bolts--threads and shoulders and let them drain before use so they don't soak the gasket.

If any head bolts are bent or don't jump up to torque right away, throw them away.  Used bolts are fine, as long as they torque properly.  The best bolts are the ones that are reduced diameter between the shoulder area and the threads.  They stretch a little and hold their clamping power better.  torque the long ones to about 105, and the short ones to 100.  Re-torque after running 1/2 hour and letting the truck cool.  Release the radiator cap so the gaskets can't leak as the engine cools but radiator pressure remains high.

Re-torque again after a couple days, and repeat until the bolts have not lost any torque.  Not the breakaway torque, but the turning torque after the bolt starts to turn.

It can be hard to keep head gaskets in a 360 because they use only 4 bolts per cylinder and many of the bolts are full diameter (1/2" from shoulder to threads) so they don't stretch hardly any at all.  The above procedures have worked for me.