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TR2/3/3A head gasket... which way up?!


Jedi Hopeful
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Moss 690-022. flat on one side, embossed on t'other, but which way up? No markings. Moss tech thinks the flat side is up. Should I use Permatex copper spray if I can get it here in outer Mongolia (aka rural BC)? Rebuilding a broken engine from scratch is such fun: but I need a helper to lift the head safely! But I am getting there.


I have always placed the side with the crimps up toward the head and the flat side down on the deck of all engines that i have rebuilt regardless of the make of the auto. Perhaps someone with a gasket which is marked as to which side should be up will advise as to the crimp or flat side of the gasket.


Great Pumpkin - R.I.P
According to the factory, either side can be up. There was an early production modification to allow that (note the redundant hole for the oil passage to the head).

My preference is to install the flat side down, but I don't know that it makes any difference.

The book says to use "jointing compound" (the TR3 manual specifies Wellseal or equivalent). But my experience has been that, if everything is right, it will seal fine with no coating, and if something is wrong, coating won't help. So I make sure the liner protrusion is between .004" and .0055" on both sides, then install it dry. I learned the hard way to check both sides; spent a long time fighting blown head gaskets before I discovered I had a block that wasn't machined quite right. Oddly enough, I discovered the same thing with my current TR3, so I suspect it was common at least in the early days.


Jedi Hopeful
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Thank you both for your replies. I am afraid that I am less sure about the part number. The gasket came out of an unopened pack of gaske=ts labelled 691-001, which is a lower gasket set made by Payen. (t may have been stuck in there for shipping.
Any way. it seems a lousy fit and , to my mind, would quickly blow out as it looks a bad fit. All cylinders look much the same. I shall try to add photos, and talk to Moss!


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Great Pumpkin - R.I.P
690-022 should be the cylinder head set. Did you get the rest of it? For sure, the Payen lower end set does not include a head gasket.

Those "wings" around the cylinders are the standard Payen pattern. I'm not sure why they are there, but Payen was considered one of the best TR head gaskets for a long time. Payen quit making TR2-4 head gaskets a few years back, but I understand another company bought the tooling and started making them again.


Jedi Hopeful
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Thanks again. The Lower gasket set says "made in Italy": on a sticker. So that is before the German company took over.(?) The 690-022 number was our best guess since there was no visible number and it must j[have been repacked by the dealer I see that the NW parts head gasket also looks a bit eccentric. so i will take your reassurance and install it. And pray. lots.


Jedi Knight
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After having a head gasket start leaking at the rear of the rear cylinder. I realized that if you have the head gasket with the seam side down it allows the water to work on the seam. In my case the seam eventually allowed the water to get into the rear cylinder. If you look at the head in that location you will note that the head has only a small hole for the water, while the block has a large hole for the water. So to me it makes sense for the seam to be up against the head and the flat side to be against the block.
Seems like I did eventually find a gasket that was marked in this fashion. But I have not seen any since. There was a thread on this forum not to long ago where the consensus seemed to be to use Copper seal on the gasket as well.


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Regarding the gasket picture a buddy of mine after a couple of failures switched from the Payen oval shape to another brand - I think the Lucas high performance one BPNW has was it. The fit to the liners was much better.


Great Pumpkin - R.I.P
Thanks again. The Lower gasket set says "made in Italy": on a sticker. So that is before the German company took over.(?)
I don't think the German company is allowed to use the 'Payen' name. Apparently, Payen (now part of Federal Mogul) still makes the conversion set (EC510), they just quit making head gaskets when the tooling wore out.

(This link probably won't work, but it shows the conversion set listed on the Payen web site)
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