For several years the OEM’s have been using multi-layered steel head gaskets (MLS). Fel-Pro, a division of Federal Mogul, has been producing MLS head gaskets for stock and high performance head gasket replacement for a number of years.
The high performance line utilizes a four layer MLS gasket, we talked to Federal Mogul’s Nick Nelson, about the applications for GM LS engines. The LS engine gaskets are available in wide range of bore sizes ranging from 3.845 all the way up to 4.270-inches. This allows Fel-Pro to provide a head gasket for virtually any popular LS bore size.
“We use an MLS head gasket, not only because it’s the OEM technology, but also because it offers the best head gasket sealing available,” says Nelson. “When you have an MLS head gasket, you have embossed, hardened steel layers that act as a spring. As the head lifts microscopic amounts, that steel offers some additional contact stress. The stopper also bends the head a small amount so it doesn’t lift as much.”
While we traditionally only think of cylinder heads lifting under extremely high stress, like high boost, Nelson says the heads actually move microscopic amounts on each combustion combustion stroke. The MLS head gasket helps the engine maintain that seal.
Fel-Pro also offeres a full line of silicone, molded rubber gaskets for the LS engines. The high temperature silicone is better suited to withstand the high temperatures of modified engines.
Fel-Pro was also showing off their new Ford modular big bore cylinder head gasket. This was designed for the 4.6 or 5.4 engine, 3.73 bore, and good for three-valve and four-valve applications, as well as some two-valve.
Fel-Pro Field Test Garage
Federal Mogul, the parent company of Fel-Pro, also has an interesting way to test their new products. They use what is called the Fel-Pro Field Test Garage. “The aftermarket engineering team will come up with a product they want to field test. I will find a vehicle, approach a Federal Mogul employee about using their vehicle for the test, and bring that vehicle in,” says Federal Mogul’s John Guring.
Vehicles that come into the field test garage have the test product, plus associated other necessary pieces, replaced. So for example, a head gasket, would also involve a new valve cover gasket, intake manifold gasket, exhaust manifold gasket, etc.
The aftermarket engineering team will come up with a product they want to field test. I will find a vehicle, approach a Federal Mogul employee about using their vehicle for the test, and bring that vehicle in. -John Guring, Federal Mogul
The program has been in place for well over three decades at Federal Mogul. “What I love to do is work on cars, and this is a great job for me, I’ve been doing it for 27 years,” says Guring.
Guring says this is a way for Fel-Pro to find out what the average installer should need to complete a job. “Sometimes we find that there might be an extra o-ring, or seal, or something we didn’t think of, that needs to be replaced, so we make those recommendations in how the parts should be sold.”
The test garage is just one of many engineering and quality check tools that Federal Mogul has, and a cool program that many of their employees participate in each year.