Summershandy

Indian Head Gasket Shellac

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Just sharing some info for our fellow Canadians regarding Indian Head. I just got my bottle today. I checked with auto parts stores and industrial suppliers and no where could I find it locally. My auto parts store found it in their catalogue but it showed it discontinued. I got it off Amazon.ca. So much for shopping local. 

 

 

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That is powerful stuff!  I keep some on hand ONLY for securing a new radiator hose to a corroded water pump neck, and next time it will be necessary to cut the hose off to replace it.

 

Had a heck of a time removing the cylinder head on my 1922 Paige--it wouldn't budge.  So with my usual eye bolts installed through the bases of take-apart spark plugs in cylinders #2 and #5, attached to a tilting lift device hanging from a cherry picker engine hoist, the hoist lifted the front of the car almost off the floor while I attacked the asbestos center of the old gasket with hardwood wedges.  No joy.  I let the front wheels hang an inch off the floor for about two days while I did something else.  I was indeed doing something else when all of a sudden the front of the car dropped to the floor, with the now-free head loose but captive on its studs.  It took me four hours to remove the copper gasket remnants from the head and deck.  Yes, the Previous Owner, lacking a new head gasket, had used Indian Head shellac on both copper sides of the old head gasket.  It did its intended job well, but presented a significant problem for the Next Custodian--ME! 

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Ugh I hear ya! I'm using it for my crank seal made of cork. It spins against the timing chain cover and I need reassurance it won't come loose. I had the joy of removing the old seal and could tell it was like Indian Head. I have no plans to ever change it out again. Good story, good advice!

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OMG What will we use for sealing core (freeze) plugs? Seriously good stuff.Maybe to be PC they are just changing its name.

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I use Indian Head almost exclusively on my restorations. I only apply it to one surface so I don’t have the disassembly problems described above. I use it on the most uneven or porous of the two surfaces but usually try and put it on the sheetmetal rather than the cast. The other side of the gasket gets good old thick grease. Never have a leak nor do I have a stuck cover. Another good thing is often the cover can be removed for adjustments with the gasket staying in place on the cover, like a stovebolt Chevy rocker cover, then put back on with another coat of grease. No leaks and no new gasket needed.

 

another note: the supplied cover mounted dauber makes a mess. I often cut it off and use the cheap flux brushes from Harbor Freight to apply the shellac.

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How do you get the gasket off if you want to change it? I do the same trick, gluing gaskets to valve covers with silicone then oiling or greasing the other side, the valve cover comes off easy and can often be reused. But when it gets old and hard it is not hard to scrape off because the silicone is soft.

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35 minutes ago, chistech said:

another note: the supplied cover mounted dauber makes a mess.

 

Thanks for the tip!

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2 hours ago, Rusty_OToole said:

How do you get the gasket off if you want to change it? I do the same trick, gluing gaskets to valve covers with silicone then oiling or greasing the other side, the valve cover comes off easy and can often be reused. But when it gets old and hard it is not hard to scrape off because the silicone is soft.

I will scrape off as much as I can then use a wire wheel to totally clean the surface. The wire wheel makes quick work of removing the gasket. What I don’t like about silicone is it will sometimes not adhere well on smooth metal of if any oil is present. Indian Head on the other hand, doesn’t seem to mind and sticks clean or oily. Also, when was the last time you’ve seen any clumps of Indian Head stuck to the oil pump screen or in any oil galleys? We’ve all seen globs of silicone in those places though. I would say that’s the main reason I’m not a fan of it. Yes it can be put on lightly but for some reason people just squeeze the he’ll out of those tubes and load it on.

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You won't see gobs of silicone on any car I work on. For valve cover gaskets I clean the cover surface, apply a small bead of silicone, put the gasket on and press it down on a flat surface. Then let it dry while I adjust valves. When I put it on the motor, smear a thin film of oil or grease on the gasket. They don't leak and they come right off when you want them to. For VWs which require regular valve adjustments it is possible to reuse the gasket at least once.

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I learned Rusty's trick when I had my first Model T Ford, it was recommended as a way to reuse gaskets on the band s cover. On and of many times and never replace the gasket unless you damage or over tighten it. Never a mess either.

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19 hours ago, chistech said:

Yes it can be put on lightly but for some reason people just squeeze the he’ll out of those tubes and load it on.

 

I find that all those permatex sealants are way overused! They must think more is better. I have to admit, in the past I've probably been guilty. But that's how you learn. Indian head sounds killer and has it's use. I've never tried Rusty's method but have read quite a bit of using grease or oil on the block side. If I had told one of my buddies this 30 years ago they would have laughed at me.  Makes so much sense to clean covers on the bench instead of under the car. Once again, knowledge is a powerful tool.

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I've used Indian Head for years too.

My rule is always apply it to removable part.

I sealed a toilet tank leak with Indian Head.......under water.

That stuff is remarkable.

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