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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Can someone recommend a good exhaust manifold gasket? I have a 302 with bbk shorty headers.

I've seen the cheap ones that look like card board and some that look like thin metal. I assume I don't want the cheapest. Should just ask for the best?

Thanks
 

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I know people that swear by cheap paper ones coated with the copper gasket stuff.
The big thing I think is to re-torque the bolts after the first drive then check them again after a few more without over muscling them.
 

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Definitely check the bolts after initial use, and use hex heads for the tight ones.
 

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Making sure both mounting surfaces are true and smooth is the biggest factor in preventing leaks.
 

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One of our major contributors has said he uses the cardboard/paper ones. He soaks them overnight in water and then applies. Never a leak he said. This question just came up the other day with a lot of responses.
Major contributor..... to juvenile delinquency? Yes, the thick white paper ones, lay 'em in the bathtub overnight and install them WET. Start the engine and run it up good and hot. The paper will stick to the hot metal and won't let go. Kinda like sticking your tongue on a lamp post when it's 20 below... only hotter.
 

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woodchuck is right about the paper gaskets. we would use that trick back in the late 70s on our race car to get the gaskets to seal. there are also gaskets made from copper and aluminum. both are reusable and seal nicely, but they need a coat of copper sealer on them for best results.we used the spray on stuff.
 

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It's less about the gaskets and more about the surface of the head and header/manifold. If you have a warped surface, it'll never seal for long. Cast iron manifolds should never have gaskets anyway. Use a 16" long board and sand it flat. Really bad manifolds will need some work with a belt sander. I do the same thing to header flanges and will get a nice, flush surface all around the port.

The header and collector gaskets on my '71 were installed in 2003 and still don't leak.
 
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