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I came across this article by Matt Gonitzke on how to surface a head using a square of glass and sandpaper. Maybe it's old news to a lot of you but I thought it worth sharing and seeing if maybe it should be a "sticky".

It seems like a no brainier as I always surfaced automotive heads when doing a head gasket job but never thought about doing it on a small engine.
I'm sure sending it out to have it surfaced at a shop is a more perfect way to get it flat but this seemed like a great way to get very close and sure beats just tossing in a new gasket and hoping for the best.
I like that's it easy and fairly cheap too :wavetowel2:

http://www.mgonitzke.net/cubcadet/tools/headgasket.pdf
 

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It is common to do that on carburetor mating surfaces. At work we have a block of glass of about 8x8 inches, double glass and a double sided adhesive film in between that we use with sandpaper for that purpose.
 

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That's a fantastic write-up, Frog. Thanks for passing it along.
It's quite coincidental timing of you posting it, too, because I'm actually doing that same repair on my pop's lawn tractor...replacing the head gasket.
Such a simple method for effective results
 

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think I saw the same technique in an old kohler repair manual - caution was to use the right grit paper so you don't take too much off - high number wet/dry paper
 

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posted before I read the article - use caution with oven cleaner - most cleaner cans recommend not using on aluminum as it can dissolve Al - usually contains lye
 

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For those who have done something like this before, about how much time did it take to wet sand the head in the article - 20 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour? Even more?

Also, as far as the directions stating to turn this thing periodically during the process, what is the best method - turning from say 6:00 to 9:00 then to 12:00 etc. in some type of specific, circular sequence?
 

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For those who have done something like this before, about how much time did it take to wet sand the head in the article - 20 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour? Even more?

Also, as far as the directions stating to turn this thing periodically during the process, what is the best method - turning from say 6:00 to 9:00 then to 12:00 etc. in some type of specific, circular sequence?
ive done this to numerous ob motor heads, and there is no " how much time". a slightly warped head can be done in less than a half hour. a really twisted one may take close to 2 hrs. i do figure 8's and rotate the head 180 now and then...all depends on what you see on the mating surface.
 

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The amount of time it takes would depend on how badly it's warped. You can always take a magic marker and color the surface before you start sanding to make sure you have it flat. Usually the sanding itself will make the metal look bright so it's pretty easy to see. I'd rotate it 90 degrees each time.
 

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The amount of time it takes would depend on how badly it's warped. You can always take a magic marker and color the surface before you start sanding to make sure you have it flat. Usually the sanding itself will make the metal look bright so it's pretty easy to see. I'd rotate it 90 degrees each time.
that's how i mark mine. blue or black magic marker unless your lucky and have some machinist blue laying around to mark the surface
i also use lapping compound in place of sand paper using 3 grades course med fine to get a better surface,
 

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ive done this to numerous ob motor heads, and there is no " how much time". a slightly warped head can be done in less than a half hour. a really twisted one may take close to 2 hrs. i do figure 8's and rotate the head 180 now and then...all depends on what you see on the mating surface.
I'll second the figure 8 pattern. I do mechanical assembly and whenever we have to lap a part that is the recommended way.

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