cometic, felpro or gm oem! Head gasket survey.
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Northstar Engines and System Technical Discussion Discussion, cometic, felpro or gm oem! Head gasket survey. in Cadillac Engine Technical Discussion; Looking for some advice on which head gaskets to purchase for my N* repair. I plan on keeping this car ...
  1. #1
    mikelawson is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    cometic, felpro or gm oem! Head gasket survey.

    Looking for some advice on which head gaskets to purchase for my N* repair. I plan on keeping this car for a while so I want the best, not just the most expensive. I like the idea of the MLS gasket, but can only find them from cometic. I've read both good and bad, so I thought I would ask the experts here. I am one of the few to do this in the car vs pulling the engine so if anyone wants pics let me know. I am using norms inserts vs time serts since he was nice enough to modify the drill bit so it would fit in a 3/8" chuck for my 90 degree drill. Thanks for any input offered. Mike.

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    ejguillot's Avatar
    ejguillot is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: cometic, felpro or gm oem! Head gasket survey.

    Do a search! Quick answer: Cometic apparently has a well deserved reputation for being the best.

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    tateos's Avatar
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    Re: cometic, felpro or gm oem! Head gasket survey.

    I used FelPro - no problems so far

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    Submariner409's Avatar
    Submariner409 is online now If it won't run, stick on fender vents
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    Re: cometic, felpro or gm oem! Head gasket survey.

    Normally aspirated: FelPro or GM. Different car, different engine work, supercharged, Cometic.

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    tateos's Avatar
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    Re: cometic, felpro or gm oem! Head gasket survey.

    I read an article in HOT ROD magazine that the Northstar V-8 SC 4.4L Engine (LC3) has MLS head gaskets - I wonder if they can be used on other N* engines?

  7. #6
    mikelawson is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: cometic, felpro or gm oem! Head gasket survey.

    The cometic gaskets are mls, but I read on some honda() forums they had trouble getting an initial seal. The last thing I want is that. I'd like to hear from more people who have repaired these and what gaskets they chose to use.

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    IXSLR8 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: cometic, felpro or gm oem! Head gasket survey.

    I decided to go with the Cometic gaskets. I ordered them and got them 2 weeks later. They look like decent quality similar to other stuff I've seen and used on VW diesel 1.9TD's. I couldn't find any other brands making metal gaskets for the 1996-99 N*. That's probably because Allen told me that the headgaskets were developed by Cadillac Hotrod Fabricators with Cometic for his high HP applications in California.

    I have Norms inserts and have the block all drilled and tapped. I have ARP head studs for a VW 16 valve that I am using to strap the heads on. Just got my heads back from the machine shop all redone just in case.

    Now I'm recovering from all the money I've spent and the looks I'm getting from my wife from doing that! It might be go back to work double time! LOL!

    I'm planning to have it all back together by this coming Monday. I'll also be using Hylomar gasket material on the block side of the gaskets as my head side is beautiful and has a new baby smooth mating surface. The block mating surface is not so pretty though the aluminum is good.

  9. #8
    mikelawson is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: cometic, felpro or gm oem! Head gasket survey.

    Sounds like what I was planning. Where did you order your gaskets from? Where did you find the coolant crossover gaskets gmpd? I'll be installing norms inserts this weekend. Did you have any problems with them or was it straightforward? Are you replacing the intake and exhaust manifold gaskets or reusing the old ones? Mine look fine but will probably replace.
    Mike

  10. #9
    RICOMRD is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: cometic, felpro or gm oem! Head gasket survey.

    I used Fel-pro and Time Serted, also did mine in car. I ordered the gasket kit from Rock Auto.

    If was to do this project again, I would time the cams before I would install the heads, on the work bench and mark the position so I could see the marking from above, and made sure piston # 1 was at TDC before installing the heads. I found it very difficult to time the rear cams in with the heads installed in the car.

  11. #10
    mikelawson is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: cometic, felpro or gm oem! Head gasket survey.

    Before I disassembled I put the engine TDC on cylinder 1. I also used touch-up paint and marked the chain and cams so I could align it all when I put it back together. I drilled and inserted a few holes today. How hard was it to drill the rear holes with the engine in the car. I know everyone says to pull it, but so far it's been only moderately difficult. Does the coolant crossover gaskets come with the fel-pro head set? For anyone interested, Norms inserts are the way to go. I couldn't imagine these would ever pull out of the block. Mike.

  12. #11
    IXSLR8 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: cometic, felpro or gm oem! Head gasket survey.

    Mike,

    I got the metal gaskets from cometic: http://www.cometic.com.

    I got the coolant crossover gaskets(Felpro brand) from my local autoparts supplier.

    I've found that Norms inserts work great and its very strait forward but you have to be very careful drilling. Because you don't have a jig to make everything square for drilling with his bits. I found that predrilling with a 1/2 inch bit before you use his special bit makes it more error free and easier to make it more accurate. I found that the beginning of my head bolt holes in my 96 N* were not the same circumference at the surface as they were 3/8 of an inch below it. The hole was tapered and larger at the top. Just be careful not to go too deep with the 1/2 inch bit. I you do that, I found it easier to drill spot on by predrilling.

    Using new intake gaskets and reusing the exhast gaskets.

    -dave

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    Thomas Carey's Avatar
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    Re: cometic, felpro or gm oem! Head gasket survey.

    I would go with the OE or FelPro based on my expierence working in my uncles auto shop and my own cars when I was a few years younger. Most of the time I prefer OE gaskets.

    Best Regards,

    Thomas Carey
    Thomas Carey

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    IMSAnorthstar is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: cometic, felpro or gm oem! Head gasket survey.

    Quote Originally Posted by IXSLR8 View Post
    Mike,

    I got the metal gaskets from cometic: http://www.cometic.com.

    I got the coolant crossover gaskets(Felpro brand) from my local autoparts supplier.

    I've found that Norms inserts work great and its very strait forward but you have to be very careful drilling. Because you don't have a jig to make everything square for drilling with his bits. I found that predrilling with a 1/2 inch bit before you use his special bit makes it more error free and easier to make it more accurate. I found that the beginning of my head bolt holes in my 96 N* were not the same circumference at the surface as they were 3/8 of an inch below it. The hole was tapered and larger at the top. Just be careful not to go too deep with the 1/2 inch bit. I you do that, I found it easier to drill spot on by predrilling.

    Using new intake gaskets and reusing the exhast gaskets.

    -dave
    I agree. Norms inserts are a great product.... except for the lack of a drill jig. I modified the tapping jig, which he supplies, to double as a drill jig. I also added a piece of angle iron to the side and drilled it so you can bolt it down to an adjacent head bolt hole for stability. workes very well now.


    I

  15. #14
    IXSLR8 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: cometic, felpro or gm oem! Head gasket survey.

    OK, got the Cometic gaskets and my heads all studded, torqued and timed. Nothing pulled out using Norms inserts and ARP studs at 70 ft. lbs.

    It will be interesting to see how they work with the exposure to the antifreeze over time and to see how the Cometic gaskets seal over the long term. I used Hylomar gasket sealer on both sides so that should help too. I hope it lasts for a long time after throwing all that money at the block.

  16. #15
    tateos's Avatar
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    Re: cometic, felpro or gm oem! Head gasket survey.

    Quote Originally Posted by IMSAnorthstar View Post
    I agree. Norms inserts are a great product.... except for the lack of a drill jig. I modified the tapping jig, which he supplies, to double as a drill jig. I also added a piece of angle iron to the side and drilled it so you can bolt it down to an adjacent head bolt hole for stability. workes very well now.


    I
    I like that idea - I thought of it after I was done, but sure - why doesn't Norm just drill two different size holes in the tap block?

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