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I see there is a fel pro gasket kit that is compatible with both the 1st and 2nd design. Comes with a few more parts like o ring etc. part # MS 98014 T on fel pro website. It looks silver in color. The fel pro gasket kits made specifically for the 1st or 2nd design look black. MS 95809 or MS 95809-1. My question is in regards to quality. Is the quality the same? Is there some kind of extra coating on the black colored gaskets that makes it better? Has anyone inspected both these gaskets personally? What you recommend? I would rather buy the black one if it's better and then buy the o rings separate if that means I get a better gasket. This is my first 3800 engine. I would appreciate any input really. My car has 56k on it and I'm doing this job as preventive maintenance.
 

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Talk about burying the lead, 56k on a 97 Olds!?! Wow.

That MS98014T seems like a decent kit, but is aluminized steel that's already rusting in their example photos. I doubt there's much difference in the rubber material lining the ports, just what dye they put in the mix that time. I've always ran the AC Delco aluminum ones, and picked up separate gasket/seal kits for whatever else I'm replacing. You should be good with any non-plastic version, which is why they've finally moved in that direction after so many failures at coolant ports.

MS95809 (probably still plastic when sold by itself) is meant for the 1995-1997 blocks with no holes at the end of the valley for holding those blue gaskets (see next design)... You can actually use the 2nd design ones, and hang the little stud off the outer edge of the block, when buying aluminum AC Delco, etc. versions.

I think I went over some junked LIM gaskets in a 2004 engine I'm refreshing for my turbo setup, if you want a preview of what you'll see...
(skipped link to that part)
 
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