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Hey guys,

What are your opinions on re-torqueing head bolts after about 100/150 miles after a headgasket job? I've read several different methods and I'm wondering if anyone has experience or input about this.

Some say to leave them alone. Some say re-torque to specs. And some say to break them loose, then re-torque to specs.

Suggestions?
 

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I would think that it depends on the bolts and initial installation.
In theory, after the first warmup cycle, the bolts have been stretched since initial torque, from the expansion of the warm up cycle, in addition to the initial stretch from the torque itself.
If I was to re-torque, I don't see why you'd release it first, unless you suspect that it is "bound" up; ie: been in there for awhile, not lubed under the shoulder, etc. but if not lubed properly then it wasn't probably stretched properly anyway, so...
My vote would be to leave it alone provided you can confirm that you did everything by the book and properly the first time. If you are seeing bubbles in the expansion tank, weeping, possibly suspect water in the oil, etc. then I'd consider re-torquing to fix that, but if not then even those situations tend to improve over time from what I've seen on this forum.

to add to the initial bolts comment in the beginning, if they were old bolts, then they may have more "stretch" in them as they fatigue, so re-torquing may be warranted, but if they are fatigued then you run the risk of pushing them too far, but the old bolts may be better than the new ones depending on the metals used.

Stretching steel is a delicate thing; failure is catastrophic and immediate, so approach the entire concept with sufficient care.
 

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I am of the re-torque after a few heat cycles camp. This is a very common procedure on a lot of engines, but one that seldom gets done because of the extra time and effort.
I have read of a number of head gasket replacements that have failed in about a year, and although there are undoubtedly circumstances surrounding each failure it leads me to believe that every thing that can be done to help is a good thing. To me this includes the re-torque.

Regarding the question of slack and re-torque:
The torque required to break a threaded fastener loose is almost always greater than the amount that fastener was previously torqued to, so applying the same torque or even 10% more will not move the threads, but only put more torsional twist into the body of the bolt. My opinion (as an engineer) is that if you elect to re-torque, then slack off and bring up to specification, one bolt at a time, in the same order as the manual states.

You asked for opinions.... :?
 

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Do the installation as it says in the Honda Service Manual.

Any other proceedure is poking the bear.
 

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Dennis has a valid point. The manual does not call for a re-torque. Therefor one can assume that the Honda engineers were satisfied that one was not necessary for a new engine, and that the cost of warrantee re-torquing was unjustified.
 

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I retorqued mine. Let me clarify that after 300 miles and about 10 heat cycles, in sequence, I backed them off slightly, and retorqued. I didn't add more moly 60 to the blt threadsor shoulders.This was about 2,000 mi. ago, and over a couple of Virginia mountain ranges in some good heat. Also have had it in traffic to work with those great 100 deglate afternoons into the westward sun.



This is the preferrablemount in hot weather though (the standard), as it is just plain cooler (temp wise :whip:)to ride.



FEETUP has it correct in my opinion.
 

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I agree with Nomados, and pay attention to bolts and nuts to make sure the threads are smooth and clean. I would take a soft brush to both inside and out. After thoroughy cleaning, I would lubricate with a light oil only.
 

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I was told by a Honda tech to re-torque the heads when my ALL ORIGINAL 1100 started seeping coolant at the right head gasket. Two of the bolts on that side were almost loose, three on the other head were not that far from them. Backed all of them off and then torqued them back to spec.s. Never seeped again. I checked almost every 4 banger Wing after that and almost all NEEDED it.

You decide for yourself.


Bill
 

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Just to follow up, I decided to re-torque. I backed all off just a tiny bit and then retorqued to spec. I did find one bolt slightly off spec, the rest were normal. Thank you all for the information and your time. Safe riding!
 

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I've always just torqued the head bolts to spec carefully and in stages. I don't know of any repeat failures (and believe me customers let you know).

On the other hand, on some of the (especially 1200's) bad head gaskets I've come across, I've found one or more head bolts that didn't seem tight enough. Could be they weren't torqued properly at the factory I suppose. Or maybe fatigue from hundreds of heat cycles changed dimensions a bit. I suppose it's maybe worth a try to retorque in this case (ala Pinto77) but the couple times I've tried this it didn't work.
 

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Keep in mind that break away torque has to be considered whne retorquing. If you torque a bolt to a certain spec it will require quite a bit more torque to get it going again. Try torquing to a moderate amount then try increasing little by little. You should find that it takes quite a bit more torque to get it moving again. That is why torque is done in steps that are significant. If you tried to do it in 10 foot pound steps it probably wouldn't move each time. There are variables such as diameter and length that affect the breakaway amount but all fasteners have it to some extent. I don't usually retorque heads but if I do I turn them back a quarter turn or so then bring them right up to spec in one motion.

The composition gaskets that are used today usually grow as much or more than bolts stretch with time. In the old days (my days) of steel shim gaskets the gasket would expand and contract woith heat cycles but not enough to keep up with the bolt stretch. I hated retuqueing heads. Some were almost as much work as taking them off. Ever work on an old Thunderbird with a 460? Some of the bolts were under the heater / AC plenum. Impossible to do in the car.
 

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Oh....T Birds.



In 1969, my brother was sent to Nam. I was 15, and that summer, in Hillsboro, Mo, ordered by the old man (dad wasx Navy) to take Mike's car and find a real job. Two weeks later I had a job at the Dog and Suds just north of Hillsboro Mo on old route 21.



Two weeks later, steam came out from the rear edge of the hood on the light blue 390 (FE) '62 Bird with AC, at midnight, after work. Head gasgets (steel shim cut yourself type) were leaking. This issue was to be fixed by me (with my 35 cents and hour job) before my brother came home on leave. It was a directive, to be met at all costs. Bicycle to work in the meantime (18 miles one way) on the Schwinn Typhoon. Good thing I had traded in the Sting Ray 5 speed a year earlier.



Heads off (witha MOTOR manual), new gaskets (sandwhich type). Motor manual said to retorque after some number of miles. I did that. Lovely work, but youth is a great thing.



Then my brother came home, took one look at my Dad's new '69 Mustang Grande 351, and picked up my girl friend and then showed off and flipped it upside down (all three of us). :?



This was trulyback in the day.
 

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Ericson,

Too funny. And that's why you are the man you are today. :)
 
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