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Beware of Athena top end gasket kits

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I recently did 2 top ends on a 2005 and a 2006 crf450r using top end gasket sets from Athena.

These came with multi layer metal head gaskets,paper base gaskets and copper exhaust rings.

Looked very similar to the TUSK kits.

I had never used Athena top end kits b4, so I wanted to inspect them a little closer.

Good thing I did, I found the head gaskets measured .83mm thick with a crushed measurement

of .65mm as compared to an OEM head gasket at .62mm with a crushed measurement of .40mm.

Things were no better for the paper base gasket, it measured .77mm and crushed at .65mm.

Compared to OEM metal base gasket at .52mm and crushed at .39mm.

I also found that the copper exhaust ring was too big of an O.D. to even fit into the exhaust port!

It measured at 52mm with the OEM at around 48.5mm.

Both of these kits were part # NX-10045T

I really did not want to run these bikes with the increased squish area (+.51mm) that would have

lowered the compression.

I contacted Athena USA and was basically told "we have not heard of this problem".

Here is the email I got back

Hello Chuck,

I forwarded your problem to a few colleagues and non of them have seen the issue your referring to in any other gasket kits. It’s super strange to me that ive had no other problem but you had 2 out of the 2 gasket kits fail. All I can tell you to restore your confidence in our product is that Athena gaskets are used by many of the top race teams in the world. Our gasket material is second to none, we would never sacrifice quality, and we stand by our product 100 percent. I can guarantee that if you have any problems in the future with our products and you send them back or take pictures, we will do everything we can to make you happy. I’ve been with Athena USA for 5 years now and ive only had a handful of customers that weren’t happy with our product and even then they were happy with our service and the help offered to make things right. You now have me as a contact. If you have any other issues down the road, please feel free to contact me.

Thanks

Richie Benanti

Athena USA

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I've had problems with every aftermarket gasket company. Only OEM gaskets fit perfectly, every time.

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The real issue is that you measure things. Seems like in the motorcycle business people notoriously dont. Its been my experience that if the gaskets dont leak and cover the right areas to cover they go further unchecked.

Camp is right. The OEM stuff is always right. Its how they were put together the first time. Now, that stuff still needs checked! They do make revisions with head gaskets and things. A while back Honda changed the way they did head gaskets. I used to get the one piece head gaskets for the CR500 motors I do, but the recently changed them to the multi-layered ones like the CRF uses now too. They ended up crushing the same as the one piece, but it was a change none the less and I had to do some test fitting and checking to make sure.

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+ 1 on OEM.

I posted a while back about another companys head gasket which used the rivet method to attach the gasket layers.

Just so happened the rivet lined up perfect with a casting lug between the cylinder and head causing interference.

Maybe tighening everything up would have crushed the rivet "enough", but I don't take those kind of chances, and its not my style to force things into place.

I dumped a brand new gasket and sprung the $25 for a new OEM.

I'm sure if you investigated this stuff closely you might find the land of MFG is some place other than USA or Japan.

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In fact I think I'd feel safer with reusing a damaged OEM metal base gasket than using a new paper gasket. That gasket is under a lot of stress.

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I have used Athena Gaskets for many years without any issue. I also use other aftermarket gaskets without any issue. The OEM part is generally made by a an aftermarket brand under license. I have had gaskets that have been supplied incorrectly. Make sure the gasket is fir for purpose.

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