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Old 01-25-2018, 10:24 AM   #5
XoXSciFiGuy's Avatar
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Auburn, WA
Posts: 1,758
Vehicle: 1997 D21 King Cab XE 2WD, 1998 Pathfinder.
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Those so-called 'pits' are normal. They are just very minor pit impressions caused by the previous gasket.

They will NOT affect the new gasket. Seeing your pictures, you did a damn good job cleaning off the old gasket, and didn't even leave any scrape marks from a razor blade, which many people do when they replace a head gasket.

You have zero issues going here with that surface. That is a completely NORMAL look for this stuff. In fact, it looks better than some I've seen.

No worries, your gasket should work. Now...for a few quick hints.

Don't DROP the timing cover! On a Nissan that old, it will shatter like glass. For example, never lay it on the engine or up around the radiator. Keep it separate and sitting on a rag nearby. Maybe make a shrine to it.

Be really careful torquing down those timing cover bolts, you can crack that cover easier than sh#t. The reason is...after so many years of being heated and then cooled off by driving, the cast aluminum becomes brittle. It will work, but just one pound too much and you can crack it around a bolt hole. This is surgery, not slamming a front cover on some Chevy V-8. You are better off leaving it a pound or two loose and letting the gasket and sealer do the job. Remember...those torque numbers in the book are given for a cover that's new. Things change, and one of them is the chemistry of the cast aluminum metal you are working with. Even if it leaked slightly, (extremely doubtful) you can always re-tighten. But you can't fix a cracked cover.

Use Permatex BROWN, not the 'modern' crap. And certainly no silicone sealer. It holds forever if applied properly. Silicone for these things is (see the S word above). You want a nice application that goes all around the bolt holes, too. Block side, as well as cover side.

I've had great success in these types of jobs for Nissans. Never a leak, never a failure. (knock on wood) Patience is good, and on the head, patience regarding torque patterns in stages on the bolts is even better.

And go buy some NEW head bolts, if you haven't already. Don't reuse the old ones. On an engine that old, this is bad policy.

1997 King Cab XE, 5-sp, canopy, AC/PS, KA24E, 118,000 miles. Need a technical manual? Drop me a message. Chilton's for amateurs.

Last edited by XoXSciFiGuy; 01-25-2018 at 10:39 AM.
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