40+ year old gaskets

I needed a set of valve cover gaskets so I checked online for a rubber set. No luck anywhere. All I could find was composition. So I decided to try to use a set of original Studebaker painted cork gaskets.

As with all cork and paper gaskets that are 40+ years old they have shrunk significantly. No hope of stretching the hard brittle cork. Sure to snap!

I have stretched gaskets in the past by soaking them in hot tap water for a few minutes, but this time I wanted to be sure and get the moisture deep into the cork. So I wrapped them in an old towel and soaked it all in hot tap water and left it for 24 hours.

They came out nice a soft and lengthened just enough to fit the valve cover.

I expect I will have to remove the valve cover to re-adjust the valves so I don’t want the gasket to stick to the valve cover or the block. So I coated them with aluminum anti-seize before installing them. Being pure cork there may be a problem with sealing on re-use. If that is an issue I’ll just restore another couple and use them. I have an order in to a Stude supplier and I’ve included a set of cork composite just in case I can’t get the original cork gaskets to seal properly.

Valve covers on the engine. Just snugged up until I install the new spark plug wire looms – that’s what the brackets are for.

Still plugging away at the engine compartment. Finally got all the heavy grease and grime off. Next step will be to sand it all down for priming.

This is one of two spot welded brackets that held the positive battery cable that went across the firewall to the starter on the passenger side. These will no longer be needed as Studebaker starters are mounted on the drivers side.

This is where the second one was mounted. I twisted off the metal leaving just the spot weld and then I ground it smooth. I found a couple more on the drivers side apron. I’ve taken them off as well and I’ll use bolted on mounting loops as needed.

Now onto sanding.

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