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Gary
Gary, Pontiac Technician
Category: Pontiac
Satisfied Customers: 15707
Experience:  15 years GM master tech/15 years ASE master
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1992 Pontiac Transport 3.8 V6 head gaskets. I cleaned

Customer Question

Hello, 1992 Pontiac Transport 3.8 V6 head gaskets. I cleaned all surfaces and am ready to install the new head gaskets. I bought the Fel-Pro Cylinder Head Gasket Set HS9644PT1 see image here: https://www.carpartsdiscount.com/catalog/pontiac~trans-sport~92.html?3593=270573
The instructions are to install with the arrow pointed to the front of the engine. The two gaskets that came in the set are identical and if I install each one with the arrow pointing towards the front of the engine they would actually contact the engine block
with opposite sides. One side of the gasket has the circles sealing surfaces around the heads joined with the circle of the adjacent head (heads - if we refer to the one in the middle which joins with the side ones). The opposite side of the head gasket has
three circles sealing surfaces that do not touch each other. One side of the gasket has a slightly different color and texture and has all the numbers imprinted onto and into it, the other side is clean with no writing on it whatsoever. I would imagine that
the same one particular side should touch the engine block and the opposite one should contact the heads on both sides consistently. But this would mean I have to point the arrow toward the rear of the engine on one of them in order to stay consistent with
the sides. I imagine that there is a reason why the circles touch on one side and not the other. Did they mess up when they put the kit together and gave me two of the same head gasket by mistake? Which side faces the engine block?...the one where the circles
meet (the sealing surface around the heads) or the one where they are separate? I do not want to do this job twice. Thank you Gabriel
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Pontiac
Expert:  Gary replied 1 year ago.
those directions can be confusingboth head gaskets should be exactly the sameand when placed on to the block there is only one way they can lay on the block so the holes line up with the holes in the block correct ? even if one of the gaskets technically does not have the arrow pointing to the front of the engine ?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Not true in the case of this engine. I just went back to look again. You can put the gasket either way and all holes match.
This actually brings up one more issue: open up the link I sent you to see the images of the two gaskets in the set. You will notice that they each have three tiny holes on the bottom side (tiniest holes on the side facing down in that picture) plus a fourth one slightly larger. I just looked to see if what you said was true and noticed that these holes actually cover holes in the engine block that are rectangular and about 0.5". That means that no matter how I place the gasket over them they will oclude most of the hole.
I am running out for 30 minutes but when I return I will send you the photo of the actual thing. I will then take enough time to look at it without rushing with the wife complaining in the background that we have to go.Thank youGabriel
Expert:  Gary replied 1 year ago.
both gaskets should be the same and to install these you install them back head gasket arrow pointing to the timing cover front of the engine then the front gasket is installed flipped over so the arrow faces the front timing cover front of the engine
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
These are the instructions (see attached file) from ALLDATA given to me earlier by another mechanic on Justanswer. It says...:
"3. Install head gasket with arrow pointing to front of engine"
Front of the engine is equal to what you said ..."arrow pointing to the timing cover front of the engine" and "front gasket is installed flipped over so the arrow faces the front timing cover front of the engine". So I already knew that. The problem and the reason I am looking for professional advice is that i I follow that instruction I will end up using one face on one side and the opposite face on the other side. I will end up using the wrong face on one of the heads just to have the arrow pointing towards the front. These faces are different as the circles are joint on one side and not joint on the other side. The old gaskets were touching the engine block with the face where the circles are joint. Both heads were touching that way and the arrows were pointing correctly to the front of the engine.
This tells me that someone messed up big time when they fabicated the new gaskets either on purpose or by mistake. Anyway you look at it it is inadmissible to mess up like that as the paying price is redoing the headgasket job when the compression loss starts or the gaskets fail miserably because of one arrow pointing the wrong way.
So I am trying to get an answer that is confirming my findings that they messed up so I can go back and return the part or a professional explanation of why I would install the gaskets with a different face on the front head and the opposite face on the back head. I will not do any guessing.
Which side faces the engine block?...the one where the circles meet (the sealing surface around the heads) or the one where they are separate? I do not want to do this job twice. I hope you can sort this out. I have also attached pictures of the gaskets so you can see what I am talking about.
Thank you
Gabriel
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The ALLDATA file also says:
NOTE: Head gaskets are not interchangeable. Failure to install with arrow pointing to front will cause gasket failure and possible engine failure.Why are my gaskets interchangeable and identical?

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