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I have a 1929 Model A coupe. My copper manifold gaskets blew and needs to be replaced. It was brought to my attention that I didn't do it right the first time so I am doing this again and want to do it right this time. I am getting conflicting things to do. I had a friend tell me not to use the Indian Head shellac on the manifold gaskets because it gets too hot and will blow plus you don't use shellac on copper gaskets but in my Model A for the restorer book says that I should use shellac on the manifold gaskets. I also can't find if there is a certain torque to use when tightening the manifold down. I really need to know what is the best method before I mess up again. All thoughts are welcome

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There are two types of manifold gaskets on the market-flat asbestos type which are aftermarket and the correct copper/asbestos/copper "sandwich" style gaskets. I would use the correct sandwich style as they will last longer. The important part is the glands. These are steel rings that fit into the ports on the block and into the ports on the manifolds. These keep the manifolds in alignment and also keep the gaskets in place. Many people leave these out (they can be a bit of a pain to install) but these are absolutely essential in proper manifold fit and help the gaskets seal properly. It you use the copper gaskets and the glands as per original, you do not need any type of sealant, although sometimes I use a dab or two just to keep things sticking to each other while I bolt things together.

Of course, there are other things to watch out for. If your manifolds are warped, the glands will not line up. Typically, it is the exhaust manifold that is warped. If your exhaust manifold is warped, the new replacements are great and a very worthwhile purchase for about 100.00. Also, on a Model A, the intake and exhaust are bolted together. It is best to bolt them together and make sure all of the 6 port holes are flat with each other, if they are not, you can use some very thin shims between the intake and exhaust manifold, or better yet, have them machined evenly while bolted together so all the ports are flat. Don't forget the conical washers that go on the mounting studs in between the manifold and the proper brass manifold nuts.

By installing the manifolds correctly, your car will run better and quieter. Good luck.

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Edited by motoringicons (see edit history)
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I tighten middle out to each end alternately, about 35# and retighten after it has been run up to temperature a couple of times. Make sure the gland rings depth is smaller than the recesses in the block and manifold. Measure the parts and do the math or eye ball it with out the gasket to see.

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The copper gaskets work in conjunction with the gland rings. The lack of gland rings is why the copper gaskets blow out. I have put 10s of thousands of miles on my Model As (and Ts which use the same arrangements). If you replace it this way, you won't have to replace them again as long as you own the vehicle!

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I went without the gland rings. I did have both of my manifolds milled together and used just the copper gaskets. I tightened the bolts starting at 2,3,1, and 4. I tightened it at 10 ft/lbs and slowly worked it up to 35 ft/lbs. I started it up and it sounds better than ever.

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