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I had the same problem with my MLS, it worked great for the first 3000 miles, long story short. The head came off an back on, and after reusing my MLS gasket I got water in oil, I removed the head and copper sprayed the MLS gasket, retorqued to a higher setting, still would mix oil/coolant. So now I rock a permatorque composite gasket, no issues. Everytime the head came off both surfaces were checked and cleaned. Im sure if I were to use a brand new MLS gasket it will seal great but I want to say its a onetime use item, at least it was for me.
When you received the block and head how smooth was the finish ? On my build I asked for a diamond cut resurface had to ask around since not too many shops did that but the surface was mirror like.
At this point if you don't wanna chance it then a composite head gasket would be the safest choice I've used Fel-pro head gaskets on other builds with unmachined head and block surfaces with no issues but then again this was on little 1.6 Nissan sentra engines .
I had a cometic gasket blow out on mine, pushed coolant and oil into the timing belt area. I had no clue it happened until the belt snapped. It all happened in a longer drive, so no chance to catch the leak.
I used copper spray on it with perfect surfaces. Still failed at 300whp. Later learned that copper spray is causing multiple failures with Cometics newer gaskets. Used a OEM mitsu MLS on that rebuild. ZERO issues since, same head and block. Didn't even surface the head after the failure.
RTV on a head gasket might work, but I would not use it. Too much chance of it squishing into a coolant, oil, or a drain and causing a restriction or small blockage. LS1 heads are nothing like the 4g63. Just because something works elsewhere, does not mean it's a universal fix. I'd be super cautious. Both hobby wise and professionally, I would not do it.
As for reusing a head gasket, that opinion goes hand and hand with my statements about how I can't believe someone will spend 1k-2k for a turbo, but then be super cheap on critical engine components. I've never reused a MLS head gasket for the fear of a POSSIBLE failure. I've reused MLS on exhaust and intake gaskets with no issue, but those see far less stress than the HG.
Composite is the best for sealing, however it lacks the ability to withstand knock. I know lots of people that use composite on higher HP builds with good luck.
After over analyzing everything I have concluded that my issue with that gasket was two fold:
1. The surface was way to rough on the block. You can see machining lines in the goop on the gasket that go right through the fire ring into coolant jacket. These ares are toasty.
2. At the front passenger side of the gasket there is a spot that was pressed through to connect all the layers. This indent came in contact with the block and was the main reason this gasket seal failed.
I will not be reusing this mls and think a composite would work fine. I have Bigger problems though. When I was going over the pictures I noticed that the cylinders seemed a little discolored. Today on closer inspection I come to realize the cross hatching is no longer viable and the cylinders are almost completely glazed over. I believe this to be the main reason for my lower compression numbers. I will try to get the pan off tomorrow so I can pop out the pistons. I need rings at the least but it's likely a lot worse than that. I really hope the pistons are ok but it's not looking good.
Full disclosure: This engine's first start up incurred intake valve to piston contact due to a backwards crank timing marker plate. I don't know if this is the primary cause of the damage. The compression was tested after that indecent and values were higher than last test conducted. I'm guess it's more likely caused by knock or poor break in. I don't really know. I'm new to all this and should have probably known more before wasting all this money.
The 2.1L rotating assembly cost me $1500 and consumables, machining, and assembly another $1500. Hope the crank and rods are salvageable if not the pistons too. The machining all has to be redone for sure.
it sounds like the piston to cylinder wall clearances are too tight, either that or somehow the break-in procedure was monumentally messed up which is really hard to do (think leaving it idling for 3 hours and that's it).