Gasket or Seal: What is the Difference?
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Gasket or Seal: What is the Difference?

When trying to choose between a gasket and seal, your first impression might be that they are the same thing. After all, they perform essentially the same function, right? In some ways they are certainly the same, but there are some important differences that you should understand when deciding which one is right for your project.

Gaskets

Gaskets seal a connection between two components that have flat surfaces, while seals are used between engine parts that rotate. Every time an engine is taken apart and then reassembled, a new gasket should be used. Several different types of gaskets are usually used inside of small engines. For example, those that are made for cylinder heads are usually made of a very thin material that is also fibrous. Other types of gaskets are used between the engine block and the intake manifold and between the engine mount and the carburetor that’s paired with it.Gaskets tend to be rather fibrous and made of either a material that is very thin and similar to paper or a tougher material that is fibrous. When paper gaskets are used, a liquid is often also used to make the seal even tighter. The liquid sealant is brushed right onto both of the gasket’s sides before it gets installed into the motor. Those that are made of thicker material do not tend to need a liquid sealant.Occasionally liquid gaskets are also used. When a liquid is used, it gets poured right in between the two static components and becomes hard after it dries. This type of gasket is necessary when a tight seal is needed between two components that have very little room between them. Liquid gaskets can dry and end up somewhat flexible or extremely hard, depending on which kind you use.

Seals

As already mentioned, seals are used between engine parts that rotate rather than those that are static. One of the most common uses for seals in small engines is to keep leaks from occurring at the end of the crankshaft where it comes out of the cover for the crankcase. This type of seal is made to keep oil from leaking out of the case without keeping the crankshaft from rotating.Seals tend to be flat and round, while gaskets are often cut into different shapes so that they fit the components. Most seals are made of an outer ring that is metal and nests over an inner surface that is often made of rubber. The inner circle is tilted just a bit, which creates a lip for the seal. The lip is designed as a second barrier against any drops that manage to get past the first edge of the seal. The only bad thing about this design is the fact that they can only keep leaks from occurring at one end of the seal, so it is essential that it be installed correctly. If it’s installed backwards, you could end up with a leaky mess on your hands.When installing the seal, it’s usually fitted into the hole by a press and then tapped further in using a hammer. Lubrication is usually necessary to keep the crankshaft from damaging the seal as it goes through it.Seals are most often used in bearings, which is basically just a ball bearing surrounded by a rubber seal, which keeps it from leaking and sometimes reduces the amount of noise that occurs during operation. When a seal breaks down, the entire bearing must be replaced rather than just the seal.Let the experts at Blaylock Gaskets help you find the right gasket or seal for your project.

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