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Tech Review—SCE Vulcan Cut-Ring Head Gaskets

Posted By: Steve Turner
Written by Steve Turner
Photography courtesy of SCE Gaskets

Ramping up performance with higher compression or power adders increases cylinder pressure exponentially. That pressure puts a strain on the parts charged with sealing the cylinder heads to the engine block. Throw in the odd misfire and that strain increases even further. To seal high-performance engines with power adders, SCE Gaskets developed its Vulcan Cut-Ring head gaskets.
Created because founders Ryan and Dan Hunter needed quality gaskets for their own racing engines, SCE Gaskets began creating unique engine-sealing products, including patented pieces like Pro-Copper embossed exhaust gaskets, Titan Self-Sealing copper head gaskets, and ICS copper head gaskets with built-in O-rings. These days the company offers gaskets, including a full range of MLS Gaskets, for engines from top to bottom.
“Gaskets are all we do and we do gaskets right! A lot like a craft brew or a small distiller, we’re family-owned,” Aaron Hunter, Vice President of SCE Gaskets, explained. “We choose to make our gaskets from the best raw materials for sealing, rather than being told what to use because it’s best for profits. Our experience, design skills, machinery, and resources combine to bring you the best-performing gasket for every application we offer.”

SCE designed its Vulcan Cut-Ring head gaskets for naturally aspirated engines with high compression and those benefitting from power adders. They utilize a hybrid design that fuses a composite, metal-core body with stainless steel cut rings to effectively seal engines with up to 16:1 compression, 35 pounds of boost, or 250 horsepower of nitrous oxide.

One of the freshest offerings in the company’s product line is the Vulcan Cut-Ring head gasket, which is designed to seal engines with 16:1 static compression, 35 pounds of boost, or a 250-horsepower shot of nitrous oxide.
“Engine builders and racers continue to push the internal-combustion engines to new levels. Now it’s not uncommon to hear guys talking about 1,000 or even 1,500 horsepower in street cars,” Hunter said. “These engines push most standard MLS head gaskets beyond their capable limits. MLS gaskets with stopper layers between their active layers, where extra clamp-load is tripped to the combustion seal area, are at or very near their limit as well,” Hunter said. “To seal the pressures these engines are making in the cylinders we use a solid stainless-steel ring with three micro ridges that bite into the cylinder head. We don’t want any movement at the most critical sealing area.  Fluids are sealed with the tried-and-true steel core composite gasket body technology with silicone bead seals on both sides of the gasket body.” 

The stainless-steel cut rings in the SCE Vulcan gaskets provide greater cylinder sealing than traditional head gasket fire rings. Requiring nothing more than a smooth, flat deck surface, these gaskets require no special machining for installation.

Combining the special cut rings with a special polymer coating on the gasket body and silicone beading around the water and oil pathways creates excellent sealing properties without the need for added sealants. This design also ups the ante over the resilient MLS gaskets used in many modern OEM engines.
“The Vulcan Cut-Ring is very different from an MLS gasket as it comes in multiple pieces, yet requires the same prep work that delivers flat smooth deck surfaces. This is what makes this gasket technology so attractive, guys are installing these gaskets on engines with built rotating assemblies, heads off in the car, install the Vulcan Cut-Ring, reassemble and add those turbos or supercharger!” Hunter said.
While other more aggressive sealing solutions require special equipment and machining, the Vulcan Cut-Ring gaskets get the job down with nothing more than smooth, level sealing surfaces. 
“This is the beauty of these gaskets, nothing other than flat, even, 40ra or better deck surfaces,” Hunter said of the setup requirements. “No grooves, nothing special is required, just flat, smooth, even deck surfaces.”

The cut rings feature three micro ridges that bite into the cylinder head to ensure the rings stay put and the cylinder remains sealed. Around the water and oil pathways, the SCE Vulcan Cut-Ring gaskets feature silicone beading shore-up sealing.

Moreover, they aren’t just for race engines. They can be installed in any engines from street applications to all-out racing builds. This also makes them ideal for the ever-popular dual-purpose machines that play in both worlds, like those that compete in NMRA/NMCA TorqStorm Superchargers True Street.
“These gaskets can be installed on a daily driver you commute with running boring static compression ratio naturally aspirated to full billet race engines pushing 2,000 horsepower,” Hunter said. 
If these sealing properties sound like the ticket for your engine, SCE Gaskets offers the Vulcan Cut-Ring head gaskets for a wide range of popular applications, including the wildly popular GM LS engines, and more applications on the way. 
“We have tons of offerings, ranging from BMW, Audi, Nissan, Subaru, Chevy, Ford, and many more,” Hunter said. “Our development schedule is packed with many more, the small-block Ford, which will be SVO/C3/Clevor friendly will be available summer of 2022, and Gen III Hemi will be available in late-Summer/early-Fall of 2022. The small-block Chevy offering became available in late 2021, and the big-block Chevy just hit the shelves. We have offerings for Olds 455, Caddy 500, early Hemi 354/392, and all the late-model engine platforms as well.”
SCE Gaskets
(800) 427-5380

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