The choice of Composite or Shim Steel Gaskets
Composite Head Gaskets.
Composite head gaskets were introduced in about 1993 and are by far the best gasket choice for all Rover V8 Engines of all capacities and all ages.
Benefits ---- The main benefit of using composite head gaskets on early engines that originally had shim steel gaskets is that they seal much better, especially if you are refitting heads without re-facing them first. Perhaps a slight downside is there will be some slight loss in the compression ratio, due increased thickness but this seldom makes any noticeable difference at all due the fact that the improved seal now eliminates compression leakage your engine was most likely already suffering from.
Further Advice --- Some compression can be restored if you reface your heads but be aware the more you take off your cylinder head face, the more you will effect the ‘Tappete Pre-Load’. Intake Port alignment, as well as risking valve to piston contact in extreme cases.
Shim Steel Head Gaskets
Benefits ---- Apart from the lower price we see no benefit at all in using the Shim Steel head gaskets, unless that is you have an engine requirement that really does need the highest possible compression ratio in which case we would strongly suggest that you employ new Head Stud Fixings (head stud kit) rather than just new head bolts, however as in all cases ‘Never re use existing old original head bolts ever’
found in our Engine and Components section of our eBay shop.