Head gasket TOP-label puzzler

Ray suggests instead of TOP stamped on the head gasket’s upper surface, BOTTOM should be stamped on the lower surface. His idea, if the gasket is accidentally installed upside down, the TOP wouldn’t be noticed. But the BOTTOM stamp would.

Me, I’m thinking if there’s only one stamp, TOP is the more useful. B/c before I install the head I’ll double check the TOP stamp is visible. If no stamp is visible I’ll be thinking this particular gasket didn’t come w/a stamp, and install the head anyway.

If there’s only one stamp on a head gasket, which do you think is the more useful? TOP or BOTTOM?

Bottom… for the reasons Ray stated.


I’ve never replaced one myself, but guess there’s a front and rear orientation issue too, but presumably that one is easily decided by the corresponding holes. The head gaskets I’m seeing by Googling Camry head gasket don’t seem to have any obvious label on them. No label? Not visible on the photo? Label on the other side?

That’s exactly the point. Using the “Top” convention could result in the problem you describe.

I guess I would tend to agree if there is room to stamp the longer word on the gasket. But then what mechanic that has done the work before would not know?