Catalytic Converter Gasket: Going for the Right Fit
Gaskets are sometimes rather tricky things. They are normally too small to be noticed by people-yet they play such a critical role in keeping systems airtight and smoothly operating. In fact, most people do not realize that some thought has to go into gasket selection to get it right. The following are a couple of tips that you can use as a guide to making the right purchase.
Bits about fit
The first and most important consideration is the circumferential fit of a gasket. Do not go for an exact match or fit for the tube or pipe that you need to fit a gasket to. It's advisable to get one that is a millimeter wider in diameter to allow for micro-contraction that a gasket might undergo when heated up-trust us, in the catalytic converter, this happens more commonly than you would think.
The perfect supplemental product
Purchasing a gasket doesn't end with just buying one. If you want maximum effectiveness of the seal, it helps to purchase some ordinary wheel bearing grease on the side. This type of grease is cheap and affordable and confers enough benefits to justify the purchase, namely:
- Keeps the gasket firmly in place during installation, making the process much easier.
- It kickstarts the process of swelling that new gaskets undergo when lubricated to ensure a tighter fit.
- It makes any future gasket replacements easier because it counteracts to a degree the contraction cause by heating.
All of those benefits come from the investment of a couple of extra bucks, and an extra step or two in the installation process-well worth it.
Why buying a new gasket is better than making your own
Most people don't know this, but you can actually craft and form your own gaskets out of thicker-gauge sheet metal if that's up your alley. Honestly, though, considering how extremely inexpensive gaskets are, is it really worth the hassle?
Keeping Things Sealed: Replacing Your Catalytic Converter Gasket
Replacing your entire catalytic converter can be quite a hassle, not to mention costly. People tend to jump the gun when it comes to diagnosing car troubles. When it comes to converters, for instance, it sometimes is a matter of just replacing the gaskets to seal things to get things up and working again. With this handy little guide, a few tools, and some patience, you should be up to the task-this will save you quite a bit on repairs.
Difficulty level: Moderate
Stuff you will need:
- Jack stand
- New catalytic converter gaskets
- Owner's manual
- Wrench set
Step 1: Disengage your battery, and allow for at least half an hour to pass before starting on your replacement job.
Step 2: Carefully raise your car by anchoring the jack at a stable point on your car. You can refer to your vehicle's owner's manual for this information.
*Note* Install the jack stands underneath the most secure portions of your vehicle to prevent damage to your ride and injury to yourself.
Step 3: Locate your catalytic converter underneath your car. Generally, this is roughly 3 to 5 feet behind your muffler and a foot behind your engine.
*Note* Depending on your specific make and model, as well as the particular catalytic converter that you have installed, the location my vary by +/- a couple of feet.
Step 4: Using the appropriately sized wrench, carefully undo the bolts securing the converter's pipe. As a standard, there are two to three of these.
Step 5: Slowly slide off the pipe from where it is connected-the old gasket might very well fall off by itself at this point.
Step 6: Slip in the new gasket, and tightly put it all the bolts that you just removed. Make sure that these bolts are secure and tight.
Step 7: Carefully remove the jack stands after you engage the jack. Lower the car back to level and reconnect the battery.
Step 8: To check if the install was alright, run the car for a solid 15 minutes, and observe any leaks.