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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I need to get the remaining pieces of head gasket off my engine block. Should I just use a plastic gasket scraper or is there an easier way like a chemical or something that loosens it up? And while I have the shortblock, what is recommended to clean up with it assembled like the carbon or oil sludge, etc? thanks
 

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If its an assembled short block, debris is your major concern. I always approached it like surgery. I covered one half of the cylinder bank, timing chain, and the lifter valley with an old sheet and duct tape, and then put paper towels in the cylinder bores and started with chemical gasket remover to soften the gasket. Chipping at it with ascraper sends pieces everywhere. I also scratched the surface once with my metal scaper. Bad. Plastic and chemical should be OK. Thats pretty tuff stuff.
As for the sludge, thats even worse. Scoop the majority out, if possible, and the brake cleaner or oven cleaner should dissolve the rest. I would stand the block on the end, timing chain up, to drain the fluid down. If not possible to lay on end, I would not worry about removing the sludge, just vacuum up debris and used synthetic oil to slowly clean the sludge away later. I avoid water and compressed air on assembled short blocks so pieces of dirt dont go flying around. Thats how I do it.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Brake cleaner, oven cleaner? Can I use that in the lifter valley for the sludge or just on the gaskets?
 

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Quicker than a Hummer!
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permatex makes gasket remover specifically for removing gaskets too-
 

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When we did ours, we threw an old shirt in the valley, then used a regular scraper..It's really hard to gouge an iron block with a small scraper... Used a vaccum cleaner every so often because of the debri, then finalized it with some 400 grit sand paper and a final vaccum...
 

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Discussion Starter #7
What about some of those scotch bright pads and some carb/brake cleaner? Would that do the job? Or would a scraper do better?
 

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scraper is better, that stuff is stuck on there pretty good.... Once you get the majority off, you can use a scotch brite to remove some of the film left, but you need to make sure that when you put the head back that both the head and the block are 100% pure metal...
 

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life begins @ 20 psi
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I like to use a combination of brass scraper (putty knife), razor scraper, scotchbrite pads and kerosene. The brass scraper gets the bulk of the old gasket off without fear of damaging the gasket surfaces. The razor scraper does an excellent job of removing what's left. The scotchbrite pads make the mating surfaces look bright and clean. Kerosene work's pretty good at dissolving all the sludge. And it's cheap too :D. Getting as much out as you can will make the job go a lot quicker. A toothbrush or parts cleaning brush works well. When I was cleaning out my lifter valley, I just put a drain pan under the oil pan and squirted the kerosene in the valley (after giving it a good scrubbing) with a turkey baster until it came out clean.

If you want to go the extra mile after the motor is installed, fill the crank case with the kerosene like it was oil and run the motor (idle, partial throttle-DO NOT DRIVE IT) for a few minutes then drain it out. Usually, A LOT of nastiness will breakfree. Running the motor with the kerosene will flush everything that you can't really get to. Running a motor without oil seems VERY messed up but, it works... Fill it with oil afterwards, drive about 50 miles, then change it again and you should be set. HTH's

Mike Campbell
 
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