Head bolts and the gaskets they are intended to seal
By Bill McKnight

Nuts and bolts. Those of you who’ve been in this business any length of time remember when it was that simple. We had head bolts, rod bolts, rod nuts, timing cover bolts, pan bolts, harmonic balancer bolts and manifold bolts. We tightened them up with wrenches or sockets and ratchets when we could, sometimes using a torque wrench if we could find a spec. Life was simple! I’m sure you’d agree, it’s not so simple today. Nuts and bolts have become “Fasteners”. Tightening them up has become a science and even though we’re into the third decade of this change, confusion still exists. This article will tackle the area of most confusion: head bolts and the gaskets they are intended to seal. Fortunately, much of the fastener technology we discuss carries over to other engine fasteners, hopefully making this information more useful to you.