|Copper head gaskets can be re-used, but before you fit it
you need to soften (anneal) it. Copper hardens with work. To soften it you
heat it up. Most metals must be worked when they are hot, but copper is
worked when cold. This is a job that is easily undertaken by an amateur at
home with a gas blow torch.
To anneal (soften) copper, heat to a dull (cherry) red & let it cool.
It does not matter whether it cools in the air or is quenched in water or
oil, it comes
out the same. Quenching in water will remove most of the black oxide
coating and it will come out clean and bright or you can clean it up with
A gasket is
typically thin and so just letting it cool in the air
will allow you to be able to work with it in about 10 minutes.
- Don't use
Oxy acetylene....way too hot.
ever bead blast.
- Heat from the bottom up. It makes it easier to see the
colour (dull red) in a darkened environment.
- You don't have to get
the copper heated all at once. You can do a corner today , a corner
- The trick is to get the entire gasket to that colour at one time
- The acid in brown sauce (Ketchup) will clean off the oxide.