Head Gasket on 429 - If it were put on upside down, what would happen?

My newly rebuilt engine got hot immediately on first run. Did this 3 out of 3 tries, blew hose off first two times. It fails compression test badly.

My question it this... Can the head gasket go on upside down? If so, what would the result be?

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I had tested the thermostat in a pan of heated water and accurate electric thermometer, and it was working. I only had it in the first two runs.

Removed it on the last run. Tank on radiator was getting really hot in about two minutes. Water was circulating on startup. Started really gurgling hard and puking water out. I suspect air bubble first time I ran it on Wed, and blew head gaskets at that time.

It appears that coolant ( water ) circulation  thru the engine is not happening to overheat the engine  in such a short run time 

Almost acting like you thru off a fan belt on the water pump  when out on the road 

Very much  interested in what’s going on with your engine  rebuild and what you may be finding going back in 


Sure the WP is a new one —and it should be checked for proper impeller location as some new out of the box a while back were not correct and needed to be adjusted  on its shaft to prevent it from  overheating the engine 


The water pump is a rebuilt original. It's working fine. I saw the water circulating on the last start, and even during the compression check, so that isn't it.

I pulled the pass side head off. No obvious big blowouts, but the metal around the lower outboard water ports in the head is all dark, much darker than the rest of it, and it goes right up to where the sealing ring for the cylinder is. There are no cracks that I was able to see with a strong LED work light. Cylinders look perfect.

I still have to pull the driver side head off. If appearances are the same on that side, or if there is just an obviously blown gasket, I am going to obtain the necessary gaskets, etc and put it back together. Oil looked as expected for break in oil. I already have another six pack of break in oil on the way here. Lucas break in oil 30 weight.

I'll oil the cylinders before I put the heads back, and run another compression check, and see if it comes back up, before starting it again.

Be sure your oil is for a flat tappet cam engine 

you can use a copper spray on the head gaskets to give them a bit more of a seal to the heads and block 

loving to know what is causing your heat issue 


The closer I'm looking at the parts, the more I feel it's a head gasket issue. It won't take much to cause this, especially if it's in several spots.

Yes, this break in oil is expressly for this purpose. It's what the machinist gave me for it.

can you post a pic of the head gasket?  
something had to go wrong here, not just the gasket, and not just an air bubble would make the engine lose compression that fast.

are the dowel pins missing?  is there some foreign debris stuck in the gasket?  

I've never seen a new gasket just go without something to take it out, and 14 minutes wouldn't boil out all of the water in the engine, divided over three starts.   The damage was there before you even started it, and the evidence is in the gasket

Holes in heads, gaskets, and block are not a 100% one for one match. Strange, but I guess that's how they are. I just got all of my gaskets, thermostat, and oil filters here yesterday afternoon. I also painted the radiator support, so I will be putting that back in before I attempt to run it again. I had to get a new heater control valve too.

It's going to be 82 deg here in NJ today, so I am taking my motorcycle out for a bit. After that, I'll go back to the Caddy. My plan is to clean head and block mating surfaces by hand with lacquer thinner and scotch brite pads, wipe and oil the cylinders, and put the heads, water pipe, and oil filter back on, and give it a fresh oil fill with the fresh Lucas break in oil, 30 weight, as it had in it before. From there, I'll do a quick compression check to make sure that compression comes back up where it should be.

I brought this up in my rebuild in Feb.  i also ordered another gasket, and it was different than the first one!!  same supplier!!!i "made a note of that Holes in heads, gaskets, and block are not a 100% one for one match"

I noticed that too, and thought it strange. I bought Fel Pro gaskets from RockAuto, the last pair they had. They matched up hole wise with what came out. I expect to be re installing the radiator support today, and possibly the fan shroud too. I will probably start it tomorrow, and see what happens.

I see that I did not mention that I also had ended up with a low compression issue on several cylinders. Three of them were below 100, 1 was 89, 2 was 91, and 8 was 97.

I put the heads back on yesterday with the best Fel Pro gaskets I could get. I got it oiled back up with new oil and filter (break in oil used again, with WIX filter). when I did the compression test just now on the stone cold engine, all of the cylinders came up, with the exception of 7, which had 170 on compression before, and now.

I am working on getting the radiator support, fan shroud, and fan back into it. I ran without them before, just the radiator sitting on the frame with a blower on it. I'm not doing that again.

Once it's all together the right way, I will add water and try it again. I'm not expecting to have any more issue with it.

That's great news. Glad it wasn't any thing major.. just a pain in the you know what to disassemble and reassemble.



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