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Thread: Headgasket Recomendation For S/C

  1. #1
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    Headgasket Recomendation For S/C

    Good Evening All,

    As some of you may remember a few months ago I started experiencing some serious blow-by on my supercharged E36. I debated on whether I wanted to build a stroker motor out of the engine I already had or if I wanted to wait and find an engine to build and throw in there. As life has it I had some unexpected family issues come up including the passing of one of my family members, ironically enough it was the relative who owned the car before it came into my hands. Even with the blow-by getting worse I was able to drive it to the funeral home for the service as a sort of tribute drive, very special to me that the car was bale to make it there and back. After that I decided that the car was not in good running shape anymore so I parked iit for a few months and it took a backseat as I had so many other things going on in my life. However it looks as though thinks are starting to turn in my favor as I recently acquired an E36 M3 for parts, got it for a great price and I will be parting it once I am done yanking the engine and anything else I need from it so be on the lookout for that.

    The engine spins over but has been sitting for a while the gas smells terrible but I was able to get it to kick over and run for a few seconds before it choked out. Also looks like it overheated, not sure if the head gasket blew or not. Either way its not a big issue because when I have it out I am planning on pulling the head and putting an ARP stud kit in along with getting some head work done at the machine shop. It is an S52 3.2 engine, that will be running no more than 15psi on a Vortech V2 unit, 42lb injectors, and 903 MAF. Headwork won't be anything major, might throw bigger valves in there depending on availability. I will be doing a full reseal on the engine. Planning on leaving the stock pistons and rods since I'm not going above 15psi but I will probably change the piston rings and bearings while I am in there. My goal is to build a S/C E36 and not have any issues when I put this engine back in my car. Supercharger is also going to be sent out and rebuilt, possible impeller upgrade as well.

    I've started ordering parts I will need but am unsure of what headgasket I should go with in terms of thickness and brand, I've read mixed things about Cometic but most of those posts were from several years ago, wondering if they've gotten better. I know I should run something a little thicker and that thickness will be dependent on how much material is removed form the head but wanted to know what a tried and true combination was. I will be starting a build thread once I start getting underway. My goal is to have this car back on the road before winter hits so I can break it in gradually during the winter months so that I can open it up next spring/summer season.

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  2. #2
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    Cutring /thread.
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  3. #3
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    I would not run 15 psi supercharged Vortech on 42lb injectors. Or on a stock head gasket. And if the car has further mods like exhaust or cams or headwork I would be even more concerned. I would decide how much power you want and build accordingly. You might want a 60 lb tune and a worked head and V2-Si Trim and 15 psi and a copper spacer and cutring for 93 octane and water/meth injection. Or you might want less.

  4. #4
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    15 psi was a max figure so that I wouldn't have people just telling me to stay with a stock HG and bolts, I am an engineer so I tend to estimate on the high side to have a factor of safety whenever I am planning a project of any sorts. I much rather over estimate and be safe than underestimate and have problems downs the road. then Right now I am currently running 10 psi and possibly going up to 12 psi. I definitely wasn't going to be running a stock headgasket either way.

    Butters Stoch I was looking at the cutring a couple hours before I started this thread. Not going to be running anywhere close to 30psi but nice to know that I can with the cutring gasket and copper spacer.
    Last edited by maharaj1; 09-09-2017 at 11:55 PM.

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    ARP2000 period . <-----

    STOCK Elring gasket - for stock compression, daily fun + some track days
    CUTring - high boost
    CUTring - spacer - dropping compression + higher boost

    I used stock Elring gasket and the old ARP undercut 8470 head studs and they held 11-12 lbs of TWINSCREW boost for years.
    Twinscrew cylinder pressure MUCH "different" than a Vortech.

    TUNE IS KEY.
    This components can fail, if the tune is not right.
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  6. #6
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    Right, the boost curve between a centrifugal like a Vortech and a positive displacement twinscrew type. For tuning I am planning on going with Mike @TRM Tuning. Was able to sit down with him a couple months ago and get some great insight, very knowledgeable when it comes to custom tuning and builds. I will be running OBD1 management. I've used his tunes in the past and was always pleased. My old tune is actually powering a N/A S52 build that we did a few months ago and the customer couldn't be happier. Definitely going with ARP no questions asked. Not sure if I would be comfortable using a stock headgasket on a FI application.

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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by maharaj1 View Post
    Right, the boost curve between a centrifugal like a Vortech and a positive displacement twinscrew type. For tuning I am planning on going with Mike @TRM Tuning. Was able to sit down with him a couple months ago and get some great insight, very knowledgeable when it comes to custom tuning and builds. I will be running OBD1 management. I've used his tunes in the past and was always pleased. My old tune is actually powering a N/A S52 build that we did a few months ago and the customer couldn't be happier. Definitely going with ARP no questions asked. Not sure if I would be comfortable using a stock headgasket on a FI application.
    I've been to his facilities twice.

    Once for him to dyno tune my EuroSport TS kit in 2009
    and once to dyno tune my GT40r turbo set up in 2014.

    McCoy will also likely suggest a stock HG.
    Timing and clamping.
    __________________________///milKt.org


  8. #8
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    It honestly wouldn't surprise me if he did. I'd still be hesitant to run a stock one but who knows this is my first FI build on the E36 platform. With that being said the man really is brilliant when it comes to tuning. I was in his facility fora couple hours and he was tremendously insightful and very easy to talk to. Not at all arrogant or conceited like some people in the tuning scene tend to be. I can get an OEM head gasket for incredibly cheap Elring gasket through one of our suppliers for a very good price. My main concern is how it will hold up long term.
    Last edited by maharaj1; 09-10-2017 at 03:39 PM.

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  9. #9
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    The gasket that seals the best under boost is the JE cutring. But as noted, you probably don't need one for 10-12 psi from a centrifugal.

  10. #10
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    That is what I have been reading. I'm leaning more towards the cutring because it seems like once I clamp it down I should have no issues so long as my block and head are properly prepared, I will be sending them to a machine shop that does all our machine work for that and they always do a great job. This is a strict street/weekend car, and I have no intention of ever taking this car on the track. Goal is to have a powerful, robust, but still reliable setup. I want to build it with the best components (without getting to crazy) so that once I put everything together I wont have to worry about pulling it out again for a long time. Like I mentioned earlier in the thread I will be going through the entire engine and drivetrain and will be installing an upgraded clutch setup. My E36 has almost always been ready to go across the street or across the state, just jump in and drive so I am going to give it a thorough once over to make sure everything is in proper order. When i first put the S/C in I had some small hiccups and eventually ran into the blowby issues, learned from those mistakes it and want to prevent things like that from happening again. This is my first true FI build on this platform and I am learning a lot of new things as I continue to delve deeper into it.
    Last edited by maharaj1; 09-10-2017 at 05:24 PM.

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  11. #11
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    Put money as side. I don't know why anyone would choose a stock HG over a cutring in a FI application. <---- period.
    Needed or not.
    Either way, the head will need to be decked if it comes off anyway. What's another couple hundred bucks ?
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  12. #12
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    My thoughts exactly. A cut ring setup is about twice as much as a stock headgasket. I'm not planning to waste money on this build but I don't want to cut corners hence why I am probably going with the cutring, although I probably will skip the copper spacer.

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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by maharaj1 View Post
    My thoughts exactly. A cut ring setup is about twice as much as a stock headgasket. I'm not planning to waste money on this build but I don't want to cut corners hence why I am probably going with the cutring, although I probably will skip the copper spacer.
    Cutring can be had for $259 shipped if you need.
    1996 332IS
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  14. #14
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    Just installed a cutring on my Twinscrew running 10.5lbs...or at least it will be when its put back together. Im a little bias but yes, cutring and some ARP's...call it a day.
    1995 M3...Screwed

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    The cost of the head gasket isn't the deciding factor by a long shot. I just want to install the best gasket in terms of performance, reliability, and longevity.
    Last edited by maharaj1; 09-11-2017 at 08:21 PM.

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  16. #16
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    I has a new OEM HG on original rebuild with ARP headstuds, running 14psi twinscrew s/c'ed with meth and stock c/r. Held out fine for a hundred miles. Then I ran low on coolant and slightly overheated track lap. HG failed about 10 miles later.

    I measured my arp studs and found they were beyond yield (not sure if builder mixed them up or was a bad batch). New ARP studs and a cutring HG, so far a few thousand miles trouble free (with improved cooling system!), including some hard track events, drift events (banging off the rev limiter all day), and Michigan Summer aka Woodward Drag Fest a few times a week.

    So basically, make sure your ARPs are new or unstretched, and go ahead with the cut ring. It makes no sense at all to NOT use a cut ring HG if you are in there already. Butter's is right.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by jlb85 View Post
    I has a new OEM HG on original rebuild with ARP headstuds, running 14psi twinscrew s/c'ed with meth and stock c/r. Held out fine for a hundred miles. Then I ran low on coolant and slightly overheated track lap. HG failed about 10 miles later.

    I measured my arp studs and found they were beyond yield (not sure if builder mixed them up or was a bad batch). New ARP studs and a cutring HG, so far a few thousand miles trouble free (with improved cooling system!), including some hard track events, drift events (banging off the rev limiter all day), and Michigan Summer aka Woodward Drag Fest a few times a week.

    So basically, make sure your ARPs are new or unstretched, and go ahead with the cut ring. It makes no sense at all to NOT use a cut ring HG if you are in there already. Butter's is right.
    Point taken. Even though I'm not twinscrew it makes sense. Like I said from the beginning I wasn't really concerned about the cost between the different HG options. I think I will be purchasing my gasket through CES unless anyone has any other recommendations on where to get one.

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  18. #18
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    I highly recommend CES, they are great people. I purchased my cutring/spacer combo from them.

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    Awesome. Now I am trying to decide whether or not I want to lower compression or not. I am thinking that I should be good with stock compression seeing as how I am not planning on running more than 12 psi on a centrifugal. According to my research it looks like a spacer and lower C/R is more necessary when going over the 15 psi range.
    Last edited by maharaj1; 09-12-2017 at 11:18 PM.

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  20. #20
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    What about for when you change to a turbo? A bunch of us here went down the centrifugal road before going turbo. The centrifugal power is great until you drive a turbo M3 and experience real power that you will never get with the centrifugal. I had all the mods including cams and a T Trim and slightly lowered CR with 0.098 MLS and made 463/368 SAE on a Dynojet and I still got used to it and then bored and wanted more. I lowered CR with a 0.140 MLS and went turbo and made more power and much more entertaining power, and surprisingly, also more reliable power.

    If you are 100% certain you will never want more than about 12 psi on 93 pump gas from a centrifugal, leave the CR alone. If you will want more later, lower the CR.

  21. #21
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    Well, there you have it.
    We come from the land of plenty.
    Overspending is ALWAYS right.
    AMURICA!!! yuh

    I agree that a cutring is better, but won't save your engine from failure.

    I base my stocky HG comments on Perry's (someguy2800) build running 9 sec / 150 trap speeds on STOCK HG with proper clamping. STOCK $30 ghasket? ghost?
    hrrrm

    So using the best/expensive of everything is "KorreCT", sure
    but doing things (machining and proper tune) RIGHT performs BETTER?
    maybe Perry is tricking us?

    NOPE

    jlb85 TwinScrew story disclosed his obvious issues with overheating
    ... and with his tech overtorquing his ARP2000's as a CHERRY ON TOP.
    Instant failure.

    CUTRING would have never saved it. Ever.

    What is important, is that the OP is taking on FORCED INDUCTION
    and that real knowledge is here, ready to rock his world.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by milKt View Post
    I agree that a cutring is better, but won't save your engine from failure.

    True. The cut rings seal very well. A stock HG will act as a fuse to help protect the ring lands and head from cracking if you loose boost control or WI fails or run out or bad gas or any other random thing that tries to wreck your engine.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by pbonsalb View Post
    What about for when you change to a turbo? A bunch of us here went down the centrifugal road before going turbo. The centrifugal power is great until you drive a turbo M3 and experience real power that you will never get with the centrifugal. I had all the mods including cams and a T Trim and slightly lowered CR with 0.098 MLS and made 463/368 SAE on a Dynojet and I still got used to it and then bored and wanted more. I lowered CR with a 0.140 MLS and went turbo and made more power and much more entertaining power, and surprisingly, also more reliable power.

    If you are 100% certain you will never want more than about 12 psi on 93 pump gas from a centrifugal, leave the CR alone. If you will want more later, lower the CR.
    I'm almost 100% positive that i won't be going turbo in this motor. Maybe on another build in the future but not this one. I have driven a few turbo S52 engines in E36 and E30 platforms and they were very fun to drive, when the boost kicks its like a bomb going off but I do like the linear curve of a S/C. I can neither confirm nor deny the reliability of a turbo E36 because I've never owned one. The stories that the owners of turbo E36s told me weren't exactly terrible but I do feel that assuming cetaris paribus a S/C setup is more reliable than a turbo setup.

    Quote Originally Posted by milKt View Post
    Well, there you have it.
    We come from the land of plenty.
    Overspending is ALWAYS right.
    AMURICA!!! yuh

    I agree that a cutring is better, but won't save your engine from failure.

    I base my stocky HG comments on Perry's (someguy2800) build running 9 sec / 150 trap speeds on STOCK HG with proper clamping. STOCK $30 ghasket? ghost?
    hrrrm

    So using the best/expensive of everything is "KorreCT", sure
    but doing things (machining and proper tune) RIGHT performs BETTER?
    maybe Perry is tricking us?

    NOPE

    jlb85 TwinScrew story disclosed his obvious issues with overheating
    ... and with his tech overtorquing his ARP2000's as a CHERRY ON TOP.
    Instant failure.

    CUTRING would have never saved it. Ever.

    What is important, is that the OP is taking on FORCED INDUCTION
    and that real knowledge is here, ready to rock his world.
    I wouldn't call it overspending, simply a more expensive product that is designed to stand up to higher operating parameters. I'm not looking for a cutring to "save" my engine I just want something that is going to last when subjected to increased pressure and load that forced induction places on an engine. Trust me I know that I can have the best components in the world but failure to prep and tune properly is going to result in a failure. As mentioned earlier I am an engineer so my tendency is to over-engineer things and have redundancies in pace in the event that something does fail.

    Quote Originally Posted by chikinhed View Post
    True. The cut rings seal very well. A stock HG will act as a fuse to help protect the ring lands and head from cracking if you loose boost control or WI fails or run out or bad gas or any other random thing that tries to wreck your engine.
    I continue to hear that the cutring has impeccable sealing when compared to other HGs. I can also see that having the stock HG in place as the weakest point in the build so that in the event that something does go wrong the HG fails instead of something catastrophically failing in the motor.

    Quote Originally Posted by Haifisch M3 View Post
    + 10 on the cutring.

    whatever you do ...no MLS
    You are not the first one I have heard say that.

    -Fully Rebuilt M52-Ported & Polished Head-3 Angle Valve Job-S52 Cams-540 MAF-24lb Injectors-BBTB-Longtube Headers-TRM Tune-ZF 5 Speed Swap-M50 Manifold-AFE Stage II 3.5" CAI-Remus Exhaust-Rokkor Coilovers-Polyurethane Bushings-ZHP Shift Knob-Sport Seats-M-Technic Body-EBC Cross Drilled & Slotted Rotors-EBC Red Stuff Pads-Euro Foglights-DJ Auto-Clear Lights-M Tech Side Moldings-VDO Gauge Pod-BBS RC-M Tech 1 Steering Wheel-BSW D210-Motion Motorsport Under Panel
    Cars: 2005 BMW 545i-2004 BMW X5 4.4i-2004 BMW 645ci-1999 BMW 528i-1995 BMW 325is-1994 BMW 840i-1989 Mercedes-Benz 560SL-2001 Dodge Ram 2500 Turbo Diesel

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