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Thread: CES Motorsport Cut Ring Head Gasket / Copper spacer combo install guide

  1. #1
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    CES Motorsport Cut Ring Head Gasket / Copper spacer combo install guide

    RECENTLY UPDATED INFORMATION IS POSTED ON PAGE 2 AS WELL...

    We've have had a bunch of calls to post something up on the forums to help with proper installation and prepping of our cut ring / copper spacer headgasket combo... Thought I'd post a little guide on what we recommend on how to install the gasket... so here it is...

    Prepping the block...

    Alot of people overlook this step, but it is just as important as the cylinder head in our opinion. We actually recommend this step for any headgasket install.
    We prep the block using sanding stones. Mcmasters has these stones etc.. and Dcvee or Sniz posted a great write up on bimmerforums about this exact procedure... The copper spacer will allow for more imperfections in the block surface, but the smoother the better, so it is highly recommended to do this procedure for best sealing

    Prepping the Cylinder head...

    Cylinder head should be milled to a 50/ra or better for a smooth and flat surface and again for the best sealing possible.

    Installing the cut ring/spacer combo...

    First off, before we start, make sure to rtv/hondabond/ or whatever preference silicone sealant you have.. the entire timing cover area that is prone to leaking on our cars, and the seams where it connects to the block... That should do it for using the sealant to prevent any leaks before you begin laying down the hg combo...

    Copper spacer goes down first, then the hg, then the cut rings....

    When you are ready to install the cut ring spacer combo, just make sure that the copper spacer is cleaned of all debris (brake cleaner is your friend) and then blow off with compressed air. Then you will need to get some permatex copper spray... Autozone Napa etc... carry this... and spray just a light coating evenly on both sides of the copper spacer. You can let it dry for a little and then lay the copper spacer down on the block. Make sure the block is completely cleaned of debris, dry and clean of all coolant and oil, and be absolutely sure all the head stud passages have been thoroughly cleaned with brake cleaner and blown out with compressed air to insure there is nothing in the threads or holes. This is critical to make sure the head studs and lube do not have any contamination and torque properly... After you lay the copper spacer down, take the cut ring head gasket out and just lay it on top of the copper spacer. No prep work needs to be done to the gasket. Just blow it off with air to make sure there is no dust or debris on it. Lastly, take the cut rings out one by one and place them on each cylinder with the cutting surface facing UPWARD, so it will cut into the cylinder head when you lay it down. The cutring will lay on the copper spacer. The tolerances will be tight but they should lay into place in the headgasket for each cylinder. Make sure they are all positioned correctly before you lay the cylinder head down, and make sure that none move before the cylinder head goes completely down. It is alot easier for the rings to move out of place if the you are doing the install with the motor in the car since the block is at an angle, so please make sure to be very careful during this step. The new cutrings have a triple cutting groove surface, as opposed to the single cut groove ones we have used in the past, so they really do the job when cutting into the head surface and creating a very tight and secure seal...

    ARP 2000 head studs install

    You are now ready to lay the cylinder head down.. Our recommendation is to take the motor out and do it on and engine stand like we do here at the shop to make the entire process easier and no chance the rings can move, but I know many people don't have that option... Either way, before you lay the head down, you should install 2 of the studs where the dowel pins are located on the block to help guide the cylinder head down and seat properly in the exact location. Keep checking as you are putting the head down to make sure none of the cut rings have moved or are out of place... Once the cylinder head is down, you are ready to torque your head studs following the instructions provided with the arp2000 head studs with the new ultralube they use where you torque the studs to 85 ft/lbs... It is highly recommend that you do this in a three step process, waiting a complete day each time for each torque sequence to make sure the gasket compresses completely each time. We usually do the initial 35 ft/lbs the first day. Check them a few times once they have been torqued to make sure there is no more movement at 35 and then leave overnight. Check them again the next day... If there is movement, the gasket is still compressing and you should torque them to 35 again before torquing to the next stage. Once they are ready, then do a 65 ft/lb torque sequence and check them a couple times, then wait overnite again. The next day, break each stud loose one at a time and retorque back to 65 lbs again. This will release any air or debris that might have been caught up in the threads or excess lubricant. Once you have done this step one by one with each stud broken loose and retorqued to 65, then you can continue with the final 85 ft lb sequence. Check the studs at 85 a few times again and make sure there is no movement. The gasket is now fully compressed and seated, and you can continue the rest of the installation... It is good to try and do the torquing around the same temp or around the same time of day where temps are similar to be as accurate as possible. Once you have the car back together with all fluids etc... Crank the car and heat cycle the motor completely and then let it cool back down preferably over night again so it is completely cold again... We recommend checking the torque on the studs one last time at this point to make sure everything is nice and tight. I know it's a pain, but it's worth the last effort... Then you are done, and can start boosting the car with confidence.

    Best Regards,

    The CES Motorsport Team
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by jgcm3; 03-08-2016 at 09:41 AM.

  2. #2
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    Nice writeup. Thanks John! I'm looking forward to putting this gasket to the test, with ~30k miles in the next 2-3yrs.
    97 M3 formerly AASC now Technique Tuning Stage II (thanks to Got PSI, Shuasha, BMWPerson, M3 Madbimmer and 99MPower)
    Cut Ring HG | Eboost2 | Aquamist HFS-6 | 6-speed | EVO3+DSSR | 3" Vibrant Exhaust by LukeG | FX-R Retrofit | AST 4100 | TMS Sway Bars | Dynaudio Set 360 | Arc Audio | Pioneer DEH-80PRS


  3. #3
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    Should rtv or a sealer still be used in the timing case area if you have low compression pistons and are not using the spacer? The gasket looks to have a nice bead of silicon to seal it.
    one lap of america s52/gt35r 318ti..500whp 533wtq 19psi via rk-tunes....
    follow me on instagram @whitecord1

  4. #4
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    What thicknesses are available?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by uconnr View Post
    What thicknesses are available?
    .70 for both the gasket and spacer.

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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmzwirner View Post
    .70 for both the gasket and spacer.
    So .140" is the only option for this gasket? No other spacer sizes available?

  7. #7
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    I believe so. When i ordered mine, i didnt get to specify the thickness i wanted.

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  8. #8
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    I hope everyone has good luck with this gasket. My biggest gripe about the MLS is the terrible seal of oil and coolant. Compression has been kept in check w the oring and MLS but oil seepage is constant despite my best efforts. Coolant has been fine but that damned oil!!!

  9. #9
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    I love the write up. Now I know for sure what to do when I have to replace my MLS. If you use the cut ring gasket, is it a one time use on the cylinder head?

  10. #10
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    Glad this was posted as I plan on buying/installing the cutring setup in about a month!
    E92 M3-1 by Arlen Liverman, on Flickr

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by peapodf50
    I love the write up. Now I know for sure what to do when I have to replace my MLS. If you use the cut ring gasket, is it a one time use on the cylinder head?
    +1
    Although I need this for an M62 this is a question of mine also

  12. #12
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    John told me that the rings dont cut far enough into the head to permanently damage it. All it takes is a resurface by the machine shop and its as good as new.

    PT6262 - SPA Mani- NickG Tuning - TiAl - CES Cut-Ring - Blood Sweat & Tears
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sniz View Post
    I hope everyone has good luck with this gasket. My biggest gripe about the MLS is the terrible seal of oil and coolant. Compression has been kept in check w the oring and MLS but oil seepage is constant despite my best efforts. Coolant has been fine but that damned oil!!!
    Looks like only O-ringed MLS could be worse than MLS

  14. #14
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    Should rtv or a sealer still be used in the timing case area if you have low compression pistons and are not using the spacer? The gasket looks to have a nice bead of silicon to seal it.
    Yes, the actual preparations we go through to do this headgasket are pretty much the same for any headgasket we do.

    I love the write up. Now I know for sure what to do when I have to replace my MLS. If you use the cut ring gasket, is it a one time use on the cylinder head?
    John told me that the rings dont cut far enough into the head to permanently damage it. All it takes is a resurface by the machine shop and its as good as new.
    That is correct The cutrings do not cut into the head enough to damage it permanently. Redecking the head again is all it takes, which we recommend you do any time you re-do a headgasket. The cut rings themselves are also re-usable as long as the cutting surfaces are still sharp. We will also very soon have the option for customers to purchase the headgaskets without the cut rings as well just in case

    Quote Originally Posted by uconnr View Post
    So .140" is the only option for this gasket? No other spacer sizes available?
    Currently this is the only thickness available for the spacer.

    +1
    Although I need this for an M62 this is a question of mine also
    There are other cut ring gasket types available... a few new models as well, M60, M62 and M54 coming up very soon. Should be availabe in the next few weeks or so. We would have to order them however, as we only stock the cutring gaskets for the M50/52 and S50/52 motors.
    Last edited by jgcm3; 05-18-2012 at 12:53 PM.

  15. #15
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    I think this should become a sticky.
    This is my signature....

  16. #16
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    I think we need an updated sticky with good information. When i first started my build, it was very hard to find good information. The current stickies are filled with outdated information/misinformation from 2009 and earlier. Im not saying ALL older info is bad, but other procedures have developed that yield higher success rates.

    If my gasket holds, id gladly turn my build thread into a DIY or create one. This information is good, but there many details that are missing. There are a few problems with this 8 piece gasket that you normally wouldnt encounter with a riveted together MLS, or an OEM headgasket. I developed a few tricks to overcome them though.

    I say a new useful links/FAQ should be created. The community has moved a long way in the past 3 years. We need to keep things up to date.
    Last edited by cmzwirner; 05-22-2012 at 06:53 PM.

    PT6262 - SPA Mani- NickG Tuning - TiAl - CES Cut-Ring - Blood Sweat & Tears
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  17. #17
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    Pointers

    Quote Originally Posted by cmzwirner View Post
    I think we need an updated sticky with good information. When i first started my build, it was very hard to find good information. The current stickies are filled with outdated information/misinformation from 2009 and earlier. Im not saying ALL older info is bad, but other procedures have developed that yield higher success rates.

    If my gasket holds, id gladly turn my build thread into a DIY or create one. This information is good, but there many details that are missing. There are a few problems with this 8 piece gasket that you normally wouldnt encounter with a riveted together MLS, or an OEM headgasket. I developed a few tricks to overcome them though.

    I say a new useful links/FAQ should be created. The community has moved a long way in the past 3 years. We need to keep things up to date.
    I guess one thing we should have added when lowering the cylinder head onto the hg, it that it's much more difficult to try dropping your cylinder head down with the complete manifold and turbo attached to it when trying to do this particular hg install in the car Colin. It just makes it that much harder to bring the head down and seat it properly, or even keep the head in the proper position while lowering it when you have so much weight on one side, and very little clearance by the side of the car frame to lower it at the proper angle with the turbo/manifold installed. I didn't really feel like we should get into too much detail on what to do when installing the cylinder head since there are a few diff techniques out there. We have our own method, and I'm sure there are other methods people are comfortable with. but it's probably one thing we should have touched on a bit more for the DIY'rs based on our own experiences to make the install a bit easier... The other thing we should have given a little more info on is that since the block sits at an angle, the rings can slip easier than if you are doing the hg install with the motor out of the car, where the block surface is straight up and down on an engine stand which makes this a non-issue. We as a shop prefer to take the motor out when surfacing the block anyway, since we feel it's the best way to make sure it is done properly, and also the easiest method when doing a hg install. We understand many DIY customers don't have that option, so that's why we did put in the instructions to take care when laying the head down bc the rings can slip or move due to the block sitting at such an angle. But I do agree that any additional information that can aid others with the installation is helpful and we would be happy to include tips and pointers from you or other customers' experiences that make the install easier for everyone.

  18. #18
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    Yep. Taking the manifold off made dropping the head on gently very very easy. The extra maneuverability you get with the manifold off is much more valuable than the time you save from already having the manifold attached.

    Another thing i learned.. Keep the copper spacer very flat. Any bend/bow in the copper spacer will lead to a bend in the actual gasket. Any bend in the gasket may cause rings to pop out as if they were spring loaded. There is quite a bit of potential energy in those rings because of the tight tolerances. I put the copper spacer on a flat surface and covered it in paper towels. I then put 2 steel plates on it, and hammered it with a dead blow hammer. It flattened it out alot.

    I also secured the left timing chain guide to the right timing chain guide with a large ziptie. This moved the timing chain guide away from the edge of the block, and eliminated the need for a third person to fiddle with the timing chain/guide. It was a straight shot to the block. After the head was installed, i just took some long pliers and pulled the zip tie off. It worked perfectly!

    I also applied some pressure to the gasket/copper spacer once the rings were installed. This allowed it to stick to the copper spacer with the copper spray.

    Hopefully these tips will help someone in the future. Thanks john for bringing such an awesome gasket set to the US!

    PT6262 - SPA Mani- NickG Tuning - TiAl - CES Cut-Ring - Blood Sweat & Tears
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  19. #19
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    Just wanted to add that I just now finished letting the motor cool for 4hrs and puled the VC off to retorque. Glad I did as each ARP nut moved between 1/8th and 1/4th turn.

    This is even with the new ARP ultra lube which many have reported retorquing isn't necessary, and the motor has 0 miles since the HG was installed. (some wait 500 miles) I just warmed it until coolant temps reached normal operating temp, and then shut it off and let it cool.

    John, should I let it sit overnight and check again tomorrow, or can I button it up at this point?
    97 M3 formerly AASC now Technique Tuning Stage II (thanks to Got PSI, Shuasha, BMWPerson, M3 Madbimmer and 99MPower)
    Cut Ring HG | Eboost2 | Aquamist HFS-6 | 6-speed | EVO3+DSSR | 3" Vibrant Exhaust by LukeG | FX-R Retrofit | AST 4100 | TMS Sway Bars | Dynaudio Set 360 | Arc Audio | Pioneer DEH-80PRS


  20. #20
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    John. Any reason why DIY'ers can't use a few dabs of super glue of some light adhesive that is copper compatible to hold the rings in place during the head install. I'm not talking about gluing the rings down fully, but just three dabs or so.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by cragg56 View Post
    John. Any reason why DIY'ers can't use a few dabs of super glue of some light adhesive that is copper compatible to hold the rings in place during the head install. I'm not talking about gluing the rings down fully, but just three dabs or so.
    Glue the rings is your best friend if you can't keep them in place.
    Old set up: 520RWHP & 500RWTQ @ 20PSI 1/4 mile as of 7/26/15 12.5 @ 125MPH - 19PSI
    New set up: Steedspeed Twinscroll, Wiseco Pistons 8.8:1 CR, K1 Rods, Blueprinted and Balanced, ARP Main Studs, o-ring block, GTR 12mm head studs, GT35R with 86mm HTA billet compressor wheel (GT3586RHTA) TwinScrol 1.06 exhaust housing, Nick G custom tuning, 6 Speed Transmission, UUC Twin Disc Clutch, UUC EVO III, UUC DSSR 109mm, EVO 6 Speed Driveshaft, HFS-6 W/M injection, Zeitronix data logger, 3" SS full exhaust, Rallyroad strut bar, X brace, Race coilovers.

  22. #22
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    I know this has been sitting idle for a while but what is the most you can deck a block and head total clearence with out valve and piston clearence issues without useing a spacer. Mine was at .011 5 on the block and 6 on the head thats why I used a MLS and it leaked coolant in the back from day one.

    Jimmie

  23. #23
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    .079 MLS will fill some of that gap given that stock is .071. Mine is cut more than yours, in total.

  24. #24
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    I will be installing a cutring with the motor in the car im going to remove the right engine mout and jack up that side to try and get it leveled but wouldn't the super glue crazy glue be fine ??

    - - - Updated - - -

    Coming from a .140 mls to this spacer my current compression ratio on a stock m52 2.8 block would be 9.1 ???

  25. #25
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    No info ??

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