Little Trucks, Big World

Blown head gasket.... WHICH gasket to buy as replacement?

Well, after 32 years on the original engine, the head gasket blew between cylinders 3 and 4 causing loud knocking under load.  I nursed it home using high rpm/low torque to not put any stress on the engine, which worked well.

You know, this truck has NEVER, not one single time, left me stranded in all those years.  This was no exception.  It got me home.

Anyway, time to finally change the gasket.  This engine was NEVER overheated or ran hot.  So it's probably fine.  Yes, I may have been remiss on re-tightening the head bolts lately. 

I did look but can't find the discussion on what head gasket to get for my Z24.  I "think" it was mentioned to only use Nissan original but I wanted to float the question again regardless.

Also..... while I have a wedge in there and the head off, would it make any sense to put in head studs instead?  And does anyone make them?


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Also check your cat,mine got clogged up,came apart and blocked the flow,causing it to blow between 3 and 4 cylinder,it was making a loud noise too,my 3 and 4 plugs were wasted too,I had new exhaust manifold studs put in,he used Fel-pro head gasket,Jack did the job,the same guy that installed my Jasper engine,he cut the cat off and ran a straight pipe,we have no smog test here.He sent the head to a machine shop,the valves were adjusted and the head checked for warpness,the machine shop was 195 bucks.He also put a new pipe coming from the exhaust manifold on.He also put a 160 degree thermostat in so it will run cooler,my temperature gauge shows only a third of the way up.Don't need much heater here,it don't get cold.O'Reilly's has Fel-pro head gaskets,they are 21.99 each here,may be more in Cali,it is showing them in stock here.He also put new head bolts in.

Your stock one lasted 30 years why gamble with a different brand on someone's opinion? As long as the head is off have checked for straightness. The only job that sucks more than a headgasket is doing a second headgasket shortly afterwards. Stock components=reliability. Good luck and don't slack the chain or you will blow a personal gasket!
Oh, I know about slacking the chain!

Well, I thought as much about the head gasket. But sometimes things actually improve after 30 years, so thought asking wouldn't hurt.

As far as stock parts = reliability.... YOU BET! Lesson learned a looong time ago.
Fastest way to junk your vehicle, aftermarket parts.

Go with Fel-pro Marc,it's better than stock.Stock isn't always better,like you said things get better in time,also send head to a head shop to get valves looked at and adjusted,it is 32 years old.And make sure it's not warped,my head blew cause of the cat and Jack put felpro on it,plus when he put new Jasper motor in,he used Fel-pro,no one uses old Nissan parts like that,you can go right to the Auto parts place and get it then,no waiting. Some people are behind times.I have parts on my Nissan that's never been changed,that doesn't mean I over pay at the Nissan place.I've had my 85 Nissan since 92 and I am proud to say I use after market parts and it will last till They put me 6 feet under.Just got new tires put on and they are after market BF Goodrich,the last one's last 61,000 miles,got them in 2009.I just washed it an I'm going to show ya'll what a 85 look's like with after market parts,lol.Got new lug nuts,they are after market too.

Hey Marc, sorry to hear about your baby. I used fel pros in a couple chevy small blocks and a 66 mustang straight 6 and never had issues. But honestly I can't remember what I have in the Nissan, I just told the guy not to pinch pennies and use what he thought was best because he specialized on imports (Didn't feel like doing that one myself at the time). But yeah, like Channing says, if the O.G. Lasted that long then why question it. Definitely stick with the Nissan lug nuts and tires though, not like they outsource them to companies that actually make lug nuts and tires. I'm gonna have to second tommy on the cat, keep an eye on it, once mine got all the moisture in it after my gasket popped it got clogged bad and fast, probably rusted from the inside out.

Good luck!

Hi Joe,

Long time...

Yep, between the stock and fel pro.

Cat's fine, totally clean.  NO coolant leaks, ever.  It just finally got through the fire ring between 3 and 4. 

Since the stock gasket is not in "stock" (heh), I may just go with plan B and get a fel pro.

If your head gasket is going to blow because of whatever issue,it will blow all head gaskets.Some people's vehicle will go longer without blowing but history states that 720's will blow them.Also if it  is not done  right it will blow it again real quick,have the head sent to a machine shop,our trucks are old as dirt,I would never attempt to try to save money doing it myself..It's not cheap having a real pro doing it but it will be right.My engine never ran hot when cat got clogged up.But you need to find out what caused the head to blow,be ashamed to put new head gasket on and a few days later it blew again.You have to also watch who you have doing it cause they may say they sent it out to a machine shop to make money off of you and the head can be warped and they will shim it,and it will blow again.

These trucks are simple to work on. If you have the tools and time pretty much any repair can be done at home. Most folks on here are looking for a little knowledge from others on what to expect on difficulty and tips for different repairs. Loosening of the timing chain and tensioner popping out is the big one for the headgasket. The head can even be checked at home with a glass table and a feeler guage if you really need to save pennies. The few specialty tools such as torque wrench can be gotten for free from the autoparts store that have a tool loaner program.





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