DIY: Making soft gaskets

Aug 30

You can make custom soft gaskets really easy and save quite a lot of money.  By “soft gaskets”, I am referring to gaskets that are not do not include steel gaskets such as the ones used for exhaust, etc.  Soft gaskets can be used to provide a good seal against oil and air leaks.  I have been making custom soft gaskets for my turbo projects for 2 years now without leak issues, etc.  Just make sure when you purchase gasket sheets, you use the right gasket material for the specific job it was designed for – use oil type of gasket when you will be making gasket for the oil return line for your turbo – I found that coating the finished gasket with slight layer rtv sealant helps to give it rubbery characteristic which should make it more resistant to moisture.

Here are some DIY gasket pictures for a T25:

Let’s get started:

1. Take piece of regular photocopier / printer paper.


2. Put the part into a vice or on a stable surface.  Use pencil to trace the shape of the flange through the paper.


3. Cut the shape you just drew and punch out / cut out the bolt holes.  Basically we’re making a gasket template on paper so we can trace it onto gasket material.


4. Trace out the shape on the gasket using the template you just made.  Cut the gasket material to the shape you traced on it – hole punches are very useful to get the bolt hole sizes right instead of having to mess around using exacto knife or cookie cutters, but you can do it either way.


5. Put it on the flange itself to see how it sits.  You can gently file or cut it to fit the flange exactly – this way it will not reduce air flow and will last without tearing, etc.  Make sure you don’t cause any damage to the actual flange.  Afterwards – clean up any dust that accumulates from the trimming of the gasket (air compressor / cloth / visual spot check come in handy).


6. Here is how our new gasket looks back on the turbo…


Ok some more examples..

T25 inlet / outlet gaskets…

KA24DE IACV gasket…

* Point of interest: if you are putting your IACV back on the manifold that still sits on the motor, it’s good to use dental floss or string to hold the gasket & screws together until you start to tighten them on the back of the manifold.  It saves a lot of time and headaches resulting from falling gasket / screws.  Once you start tightening, pull on the string so it unwinds and you’re done.  This works great in places where you have limited access with one hand.

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