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Sealing Revisited

by Alan Richer

A fellow Rover owner recently sent me an email message, asking if I thought that the goop-in-a-tube gasket makers would provide a proper seal for an oil sump and a transfer case cover.

Honestly, my first thought here was "Good luck...". Gasket sealers and the like are great for emergencies, or if the mating surfaces are damaged, but I don't usually recommend them as a cure-all for the ever-present Rover leaks.

Proper gaskets for these bits are very inexpensive, and can be had from any LR parts dealer. Quality is the keyword here - cheap gaskets are useless. This is one of the spots I'll tend to buy original, as they tend to be made better than the after-market gaskets. That said, I am not above using a product as mentioned above to cement the gasket onto the cover or sump, both for sealing and to hold it in place when reinstalled.

The secret to sealing a joint like this is fourfold:

  1. Cleanliness will get you a good seal - thoroughly scrape all the mating surfaces of old gasket and sealer, then wipe them down with a solvent to remove small particles that might be left behind.
  2. A warped cover or pan will not seal. Make sure the cover or pan edges are not warped from over-torquing of the bolts. If so, a bit of gentle flat-filing with a fine file is in order to take the lumps down. If it's not flat, it won't seal. Use a metal straightedge to check for this.
  3. Don't' over torque the fasteners. Tighter is not better with gaskets.
  4. A bit of sealer on one surface (usually the removable bit, not the block) is a good idea. This is my regimen, and it usually works well. Good luck!

Gasket punches - a handy shop project for the Land-Rover owner

I will admit that I own a lathe and a milling machine - for a lot of the things I do on my Land-Rovers it is invaluable to me to be able to make bushings, tooling and other small items rather than having to order them in.

Sometimes I find myself making tools to make things - and this article describes one of those items. The punches in this project are within the capability of even the smallest hobby lathe, so if you own an Adept, a small Taig or even a Unimat don't shy away.

Have you ever gone to make a gasket and had the punches you are using either tear the gasket material or simply refuse to cut it? I did, and on punches that weren't inexpensive, either. This made me decide to do something about my motley collection of hole punches - I made new ones!

Making punches for soft materials is really not at all a hard job - it's also rewarding as a far better punch than imported commercial ones can be made in a few minutes with little cost.

The instructions that follow are simply a guide - if you have a way to do it better don't hesitate to use it.

Chuck a piece of silver steel (drill rod for those brought up speaking American English) in the lathe and drill the center of it an inch deep at the ID of the soon-to-be punch. Turn the outside down at a 30-degree or so taper till it intersects the ID - you now have what is essentially a knife blade edge.

Now, off to the mill (if you have one - if not see below) and plunge cut an end mill the same size or slightly larger than the punch ID into the side about 1/2" up from the bottom. Slot that hole up to allow the punch debris to be poked out of the punch ID.

For the above step if you don't have a lathe the same result can be had with a drill and file - you simply need to open up the side of the punch to let the chaff out.

Now, if you wish, fancy it up by turning a rounded edge on the striking end, knurling for grip...whatever strikes your fancy.

After that, heat the punch end and quench to harden, then draw it back to purple and give the bevel a rub on an oilstone to sharpen. This is really optional - you could just sharpen the taper and be done with it but as I said before do as suits you best.

If you have bar ends as I do, a punch like this takes a few minutes to make and costs nothing...and you're not buying junk from overseas.

Copyright 2009 - Alan J. Richer

Copyright Dixon Kenner, 1995-2011. Last modified April 17, 2009.
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