Small engine head gasket material?

Hi folks. I am trying to replace the head gasket on an old marine gasoline engine. (Palmer PW-27) The old gasket (which i made of unspecified
gasket material I had on hand) has blown out between the combustion chamber and one of the head bolts after approximately 10 hours of use.
The engine is a one cylinder, 8ish HP, flat head-type, raw water cooled engine, which I have been told has some internal parts made by Wisconsin.
I have been unable to locate a factory gasket, and plan on making one. Any suggestions for a suitable material would be helpful.
One thought I had was to try to incorporate a piece of flattened copper wire around the perimeter of the combustion chamber with some gasket material sealing up around the bolt holes and coolant passages. Any one have any luck with this "hybrid" approach?
Thanks for any and all advice. Andy Hall Lynn, MA
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I've read of, but never tried, using sheet copper of the appropriate thickness (0.30"? 0.50"?), and cutting it to be the new gasket. Anneal before installing.

Sealant on a head gasket sounds like your next point of failure. Lots of differential expansion/contraction going on right around there, due to all the temperature differences.
Dave Hinz
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wrote:

Some small engine aftermarket suppliers sell the metal clad asbestos cored head gasket material to make these. You might try the local small engine shop and see if they have some in there catalog. I forget if Oregon (used to be Silver Streak) has it. I'm pretty sure that Stens used to carry it but I've not got a recent catalog to check.
Wayne Cook Shamrock, TX http://members.dslextreme.com/users/waynecook/index.htm
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andy wrote:

Here are some web sites of gasket makes. http://www.cometic.com / http://www.corteco-usa.com / http://www.flatoutgroup.com / http://www.scegaskets.com / Contact them, some times they are very helpful. Stan
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I would use Loctite 5205. That stuff is astonishing. I have used it as a head gasket too.
Nick
--
Motor Modelle // Engine Models
http://www.motor-manufaktur.de
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Make sure that your head and cylinder mating surfaces are flat. You can lap the head on a flat plate or glass plate using wet/dry sandpaper, ditto the cylinder. My old timer friend used to lap the head to the cylinder of his Indian flathead twin, use aluminum paint, and then go hill climbing. (Won too!!)
andy wrote:

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Well, Idunno as I'd be super-trusting of the concept on a marine engine, but I used to fix blown head gaskets on lawn mowers with a box of Cap'n Crunch, rubber cement, and a piece of a roll of Reynold's Wrap tinfoil, and for the big ones (10HP and up), a suitable length of copper wire pulled out of 12/3 ROMEX cable and stripped.
Cut down the box to give you two chunks a bit larger than the head, rubber-cement them together with the "cap'n artwork" to the inside, coat the flats on both sides with rubber cement, wrap smoothly in tinfoil, lay it on the top of the cylinder (was usually more stable than trying to do it on the head) and use a ball-pien hammer to cut the gasket. Once cut out, I'd rubber-cement the tinfoil and re-wrap with more tinfoil to put metal over the cardboard edge anywher it's likely to encounter "fire". Once done with that, for the big guys, I'd rubber-cement the wire in place around the openings as needed, lapping the ends tightly over each other, and then torque it down. For the smaller ones, the tinfoil wrap was all that was needed.
Never had one needing a new head gasket afterwards (had reports of more than a couple of them where the deck rusted away with the engine still in "runs good" condition, though) so it must have worked fairly well :)
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andy wrote:

Your choice of copper is the best "blow proof" material and Daves' reminder to fully anneal it (each time you reuse it) is smart advice. Depending on the final thickness you might want to try O-rings sized to fit into clearance holes in the copper gasket. When you say raw water-cooled does that mean fresh or salt water will be flowing thru it? It so you should be aware of the possible galvanic action.
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This guy makes gaskets for just about anything. Diesels included. Antique caterpillars are his specialty. Send him a paper pattern and tell him how thick you want it. He suprised me by already having the one I needed made up already. Guys will send him the pattern telling him what it's for and he files the information away. So the next guy gets off real easy with the hard part already done.
http://www.olsonsgaskets.com /
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Thanks for all the replys! Since the engine is currently installed in a small sailboat, I wanted to minimze the time that the head was off the engine. I checked the head for flatness, and it looked ok. The engine was reassembled using more "automotive type" gasket material with high-tack on both sides, hopefully this will hold up for the remaining few weeks of the season here in Lynn. Once the boat is in the driveway, I will check the block for flatness, and investigate sheet copper gaskets. I will also check out the olson fellow for a replacement.
Thanks again for all the replys from copper to locktite to asbestos to cap'n crunch +foil.
Best regards, Andy Hall
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A material called clinger 1000 is supposed to work really well, and you can cut one out in a few minutes.
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