PRI Magazine February 2014 : Page 102

to secure a steady new source of sales? Leak-proofing your customers’ vehi-cles with race-grade gaskets and seals can not only provide profits, but also the winning solution that competitors crave. “New technologies are being released faster and faster and are putting engine builders and racers in a much better position to succeed,” said Micky Hale from Cometic Gasket, Concord Township, Ohio. “Gasket manufacturers now have to evalu-ate each engine build as a case-by-case scenario; something Cometic Gasket, Inc. has done since day one. Gone are the days where the over-the-counter, one-size-fits-all gasket is suit-able for each unique engine build. Each gasket or seal has to be perfect for the environment it is going to be used in.” “The best performing product will be the one designed by the manufacturer for the specific application,” said Ryan Hunter from SCE Gaskets, with plants in Valencia, California, and Spencer, Iowa. “Effective mating-surface sealing is subject to several variables; among these are bolt spacing, flange rigid-ity, surface finish, harmonics, operating temperature and pres-sure dynamics. Consult (aka study) your manufacturers’ product catalogs, tech tips and use recommendations to learn about which gasket or gasket type is right for the job.” Discussing ways to ensure effective, leak-free sealing, Mark Adelizzi from Flatout Gaskets, Mundelein, Illinois, believes surface preparation and gasket type/choice are the most impor-tant factors. “Auxiliary sealers are band aids in a lot of cases and do not improve the sealing ability of a well-engineered gasket.” Keeping everything as clean as possible is an important requirement of engine building. “This applies to gaskets and gasket mating surfaces also,” said Dave Muzic from Cleveland, Ohio-based Mr. Gasket. “Every surface a gasket comes in contact with must be free of dirt, water, oil, grease, etc. The surface must also be flat. Warpage should not exceed .0025 inches in any direction.” To achieve leak-free sealing, Trick Flow Engineering, Trick Flow, Tallmadge, Ohio, suggested the following: Perform pres-sure testing, vacuum testing, or smoke machine testing prior to firing a new engine; clean mating sealing surfaces with a solvent to remove oil and/or grease; and check flatness of engine block and cylinder heads. Also do not use a rotary metal wire brush to clean aluminum, which creates a rough/pitted surface that may be difficult to seal. Trick Flow’s offerings include MLS exhaust gaskets for Trick Flow cylinder heads as well as MLS head gaskets for GM LS3. Secured Sales Muzic believes one industry trend includes using different types of polymer coatings to enhance gasket sealing capabil-ities for MLS cylinder head and composite intake manifold, oil pan, timing cover, carburetor base, and throttle body gaskets. “Also using anti-stick coatings on composite gasket materials used to make intake manifold, valve cover, oil pan, timing cover, carburetor base, and throttle body base gaskets,” he said. Evolving technology offers new solutions to race engine builders and merchandising opportunities for racing retailers. 102 Performance Racing Industry | February 2014

Secure Sales Of Race-Grade Gaskets, Seals & Sealants

Ilona French

Evolving technology offers new solutions to race engine builders and merchandising opportunities for racing retailers.

Eager to secure a steady new source of sales? Leak-proofing your customers’ vehicles with race-grade gaskets and seals can not only provide profits, but also the winning solution that competitors crave. “New technologies are being released faster and faster and are putting engine builders and racers in a much better position to succeed,” said Micky Hale from Cometic Gasket, Concord Township, Ohio. “Gasket manufacturers now have to evaluate each engine build as a case-by-case scenario; something Cometic Gasket, Inc. has done since day one. Gone are the days where the over-the-counter, one-size-fits-all gasket is suitable for each unique engine build. Each gasket or seal has to be perfect for the environment it is going to be used in.”

“The best performing product will be the one designed by the manufacturer for the specific application,” said Ryan Hunter from SCE Gaskets, with plants in Valencia, California, and Spencer, Iowa. “Effective mating-surface sealing is subject to several variables; among these are bolt spacing, flange rigidity, surface finish, harmonics, operating temperature and pressure dynamics. Consult (aka study) your manufacturers’ product catalogs, tech tips and use recommendations to learn about which gasket or gasket type is right for the job.”

Discussing ways to ensure effective, leak-free sealing, Mark Adelizzi from Flatout Gaskets, Mundelein, Illinois, believes surface preparation and gasket type/choice are the most important factors. “Auxiliary sealers are band aids in a lot of cases and do not improve the sealing ability of a well-engineered gasket.”

Keeping everything as clean as possible is an important requirement of engine building. “This applies to gaskets and gasket mating surfaces also,” said Dave Muzic from Cleveland, Ohio-based Mr. Gasket. “Every surface a gasket comes in contact with must be free of dirt, water, oil, grease, etc. The surface must also be flat. Warpage should not exceed .0025 inches in any direction.”

To achieve leak-free sealing, Trick Flow Engineering, Trick Flow, Tallmadge, Ohio, suggested the following: Perform pressure testing, vacuum testing, or smoke machine testing prior to firing a new engine; clean mating sealing surfaces with a solvent to remove oil and/or grease; and check flatness of engine block and cylinder heads. Also do not use a rotary metal wire brush to clean aluminum, which creates a rough/pitted surface that may be difficult to seal. Trick Flow’s offerings include MLS exhaust gaskets for Trick Flow cylinder heads as well as MLS head gaskets for GM LS3.

Secured Sales

Muzic believes one industry trend includes using different types of polymer coatings to enhance gasket sealing capabilities for MLS cylinder head and composite intake manifold, oil pan, timing cover, carburetor base, and throttle body gaskets.“Also using anti-stick coatings on composite gasket materials used to make intake manifold, valve cover, oil pan, timing cover, carburetor base, and throttle body base gaskets,” he said.

“These anti-stick coatings allow engine gaskets to release easy, and alleviate gasket scraping to remove existing gasket material from the engine block, cylinder head or intake manifold. This provides a time savings regarding engine disassembly and reassembly.”

The company’s newest offering includes its MLS cylinder head gaskets for Chevrolet and GM LS, Ford Modular and Chrysler Hemi engine platforms 1991 and up as well as Ultra-Seal exhaust gaskets for Chevrolet and GM LS, Ford Modular and Chrysler Hemi engine platforms 1991 and up.

“Copper, composite and MLS gaskets have all been around a long time now and all have their pluses and minuses, depending on their application and power levels,” said Adelizzi. “Flatout Gaskets has used one-piece steel wire rings for quite some time on diesel applications and we are now starting to use them on more automotive engines. Typically, the combustion seal is trapped within a receiver groove in both the head and block. All types of body materials can and have been used; the key is getting the load balance between the ring and body correct for the application. Flatout offers steel wire rings in any bore size. It usually takes some simple engineering development and trials to get the load balance correct, but after that the builder will have a very good head gasket.”

Flatout now offers new copper head gaskets for Top Fuel racing. “This gasket already has a preconditioned combustion seal in it from the factory,” said Adelizzi.“We found that most professional teams actually torque their copper head gaskets on a fixture or in an engine before they ever go on the race trailer for use at the track. This actually pushes the copper at the combustion seal into the receiver groove in the cylinder liner. In doing so, the second time the copper head gasket is torqued up in the engine, there is a much more balanced clamp load across the whole body of the gasket. We now offer our Top Fuel head gasket in every thickness, pre-embossed to save the technicians the hassle of having to do that with every set of head gaskets they receive.”

“Our Victor Reinz brand gasket line with over 10,000 SKUs is primarily an OE replacement driven line; however, we do supply the bulk of the diesel performance head gaskets for the Duramax, the 5.9L and 6.7L Cummins and the 6.0L Power Stroke Ford engines,” explained Bill McKnight from Victor Reinz Gaskets, MAHLE Clevite, Farmington Hills, Michigan. “It is also good to note that ancillary gaskets are needed for most performance engines and we supply OE quality parts for all those critical applications.Those ancillary parts, once being paper, are now almost all some style of synthetic rubber requiring sophisticated tooling and deep knowledge of materials—all things we excel at.

“Virtually all later model engines use a MLS head gasket and material quality here is very important,” he continued. “Tempered stainless steel, polymer sealing materials and knowledge of sealing engines is our forte.”

McKnight also noted that the company offers its Wavestopper technology in the optional head gasket for the Duramax diesel engine. “This is a very sophisticated design developed for the Bugatti Veyron utilizing multiple, concentric sealing rings for a stopper, versus the industry common practice of a single bead,” he said.

Cometic now offers its MLX head gasket design with an integrated stopper layer for an advanced combustion chamber seal.“The stopper layer virtually eliminates the escape of cylinder pressure during cylinder head lift off that can occur on today’s lightweight, high-performance engines,” said Hale. “Applications are available for the Cummins 5.9L, Ford Power Stroke, Ford Modular engines, GM LS Series V8s, and much more, with new applications being added each month.” Cometic has also recently released its line of molded rubber valve cover gaskets for common GM, Ford, and Chrysler applications.

Nickolaus DiBlasi from Irvine, California-based JE Pistons/JE ProSeal Gaskets believes the latest trends in gaskets are full layers of stainless steel with multi-stage embossing processes. “Our JE ProSeal gasket features all layers of stainless steel to insure the product is corrosion free and expands and contracts at the same rates,” he said. “We take raw stainless steel and cut each layer out. Then there is an embossment process, which is a multi-step process that provides an extremely strong seal and smooth radius to reduce stress risers on the gasket material.The layers are then heat-treated to create a memory in the embossment for long service life under extreme conditions.
Lastly, a proprietary coating is applied for maximum sealing and resistance to the elements.”

The company has expanded its catalog to over 200 of its most popular multilayer, stainless steel, high-performance gaskets. “All products feature full stainless steel with multi-step embossment and heat-treating,” said DiBlasi. “Coatings are applied for long service life for high-performance applications.”

Fel-Pro Gaskets brand of Federal-Mogul, Skokie, Illinois, develops its own materials in-house, according to Ron Rotunno. “Fel-Pro products are typically four layers of full, hard stainless steel,” he said. “Three of those layers are going to have what we call emboss beads.The emboss bead actually reacts like a spring, and when you tighten the head down, you load the spring. And when that head lifts during engine operation, you’re unloading that spring; but as you unload it, that spring is still maintaining the contact stress to seal the engine. So, typically, you want to have a very specific layout for these emboss beads, because [for example] a small block Ford has more head lift than some stuff, than a Chevy does, and vice versa. You need to design the gasket and the emboss beads to work with that…. I mentioned the full, hard stainless steel. It’s got a very thin rubber coating on each layer, and the rubber coating is what creates what we call the micro-seal. That’s sealing between the gasket and the head, or the gasket and the block. It’ll also seal the layers in between each layer. It’s really important that you have some sort of rubber medium on there. There are different types of rubbers that people can use. We use what we call a Viton or FKM rubber coating for the performance line; that is the highest temp rubber material we know of to use in that environment.”

Fel-Pro offers molded rubber products for valve cover gaskets and oil pan gaskets. “The nice thing about molded rubber products, say, for a valve cover gasket, for instance, is if the engine builder or whoever maintains the car at a race weekend needs to adjust the valve—say he pulls the valve cover off to do some inspection or adjustment— the molded rubber parts are essentially reusable, so you pull the valve cover off, do whatever adjustments you’re doing, and then put the valve cover back on, with the gasket in place, and that’s very convenient,” said Rotunno.

“We have Engine Pro Fel-Pro gaskets, which are co-branded with Fel-Pro,” said Don Weber from Wheat Ridge, Colorado-based Engine Pro (Engine Parts Group).“They’re designed for the convenience of the machine shop, the installer. They have the parts in them at a good price that will work in the moderate-priced performance engines. These are our, again, performance gasket sets that we have for small block Chevys, big block Chevys, small block Fords, and also for LS Chevys. There’s convenience and price savings in these products. We also offer our valve cover gaskets, which we think are an excellent value. They’re made in the United States; they’re silicone rubber with a steel core. Being with the steel core, the gasket, if it’s smashed, will not break.So, if there’s an installation problem, if the gasket gets bent, it doesn’t destroy the gasket, as in many cases with gaskets that have nylon or plastic center cores to them. So, these are just ways to make installation a little easier.”

Weber noted that racers these days look for value. “They’re looking for ways to build a good, reliable, high-horsepower engine for less,” he said. “That’s why we offer the sets we have, and also, we have these gaskets which are steel core, silicone rubber gaskets, which are literally reusable. You can take them off. They won’t bend; they won’t break. They can be reinstalled.”

For performance businesses seeking a broad line of gasket products, Magnum Gaskets, Bannockburn, Illinois, offers 386 of the most popular valve cover, oil pan and manifold sets. Every Magnum Gasket set is packed in a professional, industrial grade carton with comprehensive tri-lingual labeling that includes set contents, detailed application information and an interchange with other gasket brands.

Remflex, Mineral, Washington, offers gaskets designed to solve two main problems with sealing an exhaust flange: warping and gasket failure. The company’s exhaust gaskets are made from flexible graphite and can withstand 3000 degrees F. According to Remflex, the company’s exhaust gaskets rebound 30 percent, creating a seal that eliminates the need to re-torque. Remflex also offers custom configurations.

Hussey Performance in Ambridge, Pennsylvania, specializes in copper head and exhaust gaskets. “Our primary market is NHRA drag racing, tractor pulls, mud bogs, and high performance street cars,” noted David Allen.

“Our copper gaskets are compatible with high-compression, high-horsepower motors, including nitro methane engines—motors that require exact tolerances,” he continued. “We have the ability to make any custom or standard gaskets in .001- inch increments.”

One of the ways Hussey Performance prevents leaking is by making the copper “soft.” “Having soft copper allows proper sealing from the head to the block without the need for torching,” Allen said.

Panning for Profits

“Sometimes the task of getting the race car to the track is more taxing than it should be,” explained Thor Schroeder from Moroso Performance Products, Guilford, Connecticut. “Until now there has not been an oil pan gasket for the Ford 7.3 Power Stroke 1994–2003 and International T444E engines; even from the factory the oil pans for these engines were installed with silicone sealant. Moroso Performance Products came out with this patent-pending oil pan gasket (part # 27293) that is re-useable and makes life easier for the professional and backyard mechanic.The gasket is constructed out of high-temperature/ oil-resistant material with a rigid core and built-in steel inserts at each bolt hole so that the gasket cannot be over tightened. Already this oil pan gasket has proven itself by cutting down on oil pan installation time and vehicle down time for one of the largest fleets of delivery vehicles in the world.”

Moroso’s full line of oil pan gaskets have been verified to work with the company’s oil pans.

Simi Valley, California-based Milodon has expanded its oil pan gasket line. “One of the new pieces we just came out with is the Generation 4, big block Chevrolet one piece that has the crush limiters in it, but it doesn’t have the full carrier in it,” said Ken Sink. “The carrier is a piece of steel that’s actually—they put the rubber on top and bottom of it. So ours, it shifts easier when you put it on; it falls right in place, and ours fits a 4 1/2-inch stroke right out of the box. It’s part number 41011.

“We now, basically, have a complete line of one-piece gaskets for domestic V8 engines,” Sink explained. “We have all the popular small block Chevrolets, the early, the mid, and the late year; we have for the Dart SHP, with the four-inch stroker notches, and for the early motors, we’ve got the Gen 5 and 6 one-piece and now the Gen 4. We’ve got the 302, 351, 429, 460, and 360 Chrysler rubber gaskets.”

“A continuing trend in engine gaskets is increased reliability and toughness, which is why there is such a proliferation of high-tech elastomers in gaskets and seals, from SCE’s precision injection molded carburetor gaskets to our silicone over-mold gaskets for valve covers and oil pans, these advanced technology plastics outperform their predecessors,” said Hunter. “Manufacturing these molded elastomer gaskets is an expensive process requiring 3D modeling and multi-cavity molds, not to mention the cost of the machines they run on. Fortunately for retailers, even though the new technology in gaskets is more expensive, these parts add a nice profit to your sales while benefiting your customers.”

Steve Henry, from Iowa Falls, Iowabased Metal Tech Industries, noted that racing gaskets notoriously require metal reinforcement for strength and stability. “Recent versions include valve cover and oil pan gaskets from engineered fiber materials with steel cores for strength to resist pulling in during vacuum conditions,” he said.

Metal Tech now offers its SB582, SB643, and SB643-AL all-new solid core laminates for engine fluid sealing applications, such as covers and pans. “Our HT514 is also newly available for extreme heat; this product seals exhaust joints to over 1900 degrees Fahrenheit,” Henry said. “Gaskets are a necessary component to seal your engine components. Choose performance materials and a performance design to assure success in your performance engine. Researching the material choices can help achieve a long-term performance result.”

Sealing the Deal

Concord, North Carolina-based GST Racing Seals offers products that impact race-day performance. Randy Edwards.Described the company’s crankshaft seals. “We have found many of the dry sump race engines are being run with high vacuum (25.0-inch Hg) to maximize power output and with the continuous running at high rpm many of the standard oil seals are compromised and even the more modern PTFE lip seals do not provide a complete answer,” he said. “The problem as seen on the dyno was loss of power at various points on the rpm scale. The cause of this was due to the combination of crankshaft vibration/harmonics and rpm coinciding in some cases with harmonic frequencies of the seal lips. At these points, the seal lips are losing sealing contact with the crankshaft and allowing air to pass into the block, thus affecting windage and reducing power and torque.”

GST’s solution to this was with its low-friction Duplex PLS Seals, designed to have inherent flexibility in the seal lip, enabling the seals to maintain full sealing contact throughout the rpm range.

“Our most successful product for BBC and SBC engines is with our unique ‘F-Type Seals,’ which incorporate sufficient flexibility to enable the seal to be stretched around the crankshaft after cutting radially in one place,” explained Edwards. Regarding supercharger seals, he added, “The continuous high rpm used in superchargers is a challenge to many seal types and we have introduced our low-friction PLS Seal technology as a ‘problem solver’ in many applications.”

Ellington, Connecticut-based Seals-it has designed a seal for nerf bars. “On an ultra-fast track, a racer tries to fit the body panel to the nerf bar as closely as possible for aerodynamics, but contact usually bends the nerf bar and the body panel, causing extra work repairing and painting the panel,” said Skip Matczak. “Our new nerf bar seal is six inches in diameter with a 1/14 diameter hole. It may be attached using the pre-drilled holes and pop rivets. The nerf bar may be bent, but it will not bend or damage the body panel.The seal also aids in aerodynamics as it allows a tight fit with no gaps to trap air.”

The newest market for Signal Seals & Fasteners in Mooresville, North Carolina, has been in dynamic engine seals that traditionally have not used a dry sump system, according to Don Gray. “We have recently done projects for Ford, Mazda and Honda programs. These small volume niche programs have been a good market for us. In some of the larger series like NASCAR, we have seen a growth in transmission and pinion seals,” he said.

Gray also suggested that seals be included early in the design process to ensure a leak-proof seal. “None of us like to compromise a seal design because of lack of room,” he concluded.

Regarding oil seals, Rotunno, of Fel-Pro, said, “You have a crankshaft front seal; you have a crankshaft rear seal. In the performance line, we use, typically, FKM or Viton rubber, which is very abrasion- resistant. It’s also very high-temp material, so if you’re in a pretty difficult environment there, you want to make sure that the crankshaft seals are going to last season after season.”

Valco Cincinnati CP, Cincinnati, Ohio, offers high-performance engine builders a complete line of sealants, adhesives and support products for their assembly work. Its Engine Builder Introductory Pack comes with Tube-Grip All-In-One Aluminum Silcone; Gellube; Epoxi-Putty; Torco Assembly Oil; Cam Lube; Hylomar and Threadlocker.

Read the full article at http://epub.performanceracing.com/article/Secure+Sales+Of+Race-Grade+Gaskets%2C+Seals+%26+Sealants/1623181/193541/article.html.

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