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Thread: Good sealant for carb float bowls?

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    KEITH KRAUSE's Avatar
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    Default Good sealant for carb float bowls?

    I've about had it with leaking bowl gaskets on my '79 GS1000 (VM26mm). The carb body gasket surfaces look good, clean, no corrosion. I always use new genuine Suzuki gaskets. I also use stainless steel hex bolts instead of the original Phillips screws.
    As has been the case the last couple of times servicing the carbs, the gaskets leak. I keep snugging down the hex bolts, hoping the leaks will stop. I finally made things worse when I discovered one bolt started spinning as I tried to snug it up again. The bolt is fine but the carb body must have cracked even though I don't see a crack on the outside. I can imagine this could be close to happening with other bolts. I hope I have a good number 1 carb body or I'll be asking for help with that too.
    So this time I think I'll have to use some sealant to assist the new gaskets. The sealant will have to be applied as a fairly thin bead so excess sealant doesn't squeeze into the bowls and cause other problems.
    My concern is that it will take several minutes to carefully apply (with a toothpick?) the sealant to both sides of the gasket. In applying the sealant so thinly, I'm concerned the sealant will start to dry before I can tighten each bowl.
    Is there a sealant anyone uses that's 100% gas resistant and dries slow?
    I apologize if this should've been posted in the carb section but I want to get as much help as I can. I don't like the idea of using sealant to help the gaskets seal but I don't see any other choice. Thanks for any help.
    And on the seventh day,after resting from all that he had done,God went for a ride on his GS!
    Upon seeing that it was good, he went out again on his ZX14! But just a little bit faster!

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    No sealant on float bowl gaskets. If the carbs won't seal with normal torque on the screws something is wrong. Fuel level too high? Did you check with the clear tube method? Replace the float valves with original Mikuni parts (Dennis Kirk sells them for fair prices?) The gaskets Z1 sells are thick and pretty soft. My cat chewed up a set much to my chagrin. I doubt they would last as long as the OEM Suzuki parts but they are soft and thick, so they conform and seal well.

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    FWIW the purple Loctite instant gasket is fuel resistant - incl Methanol.

    But I'd pick that you've got slightly warped gasket faces on the carb bodies. I have had to recover a couple of unobtainable bodies by lapping them on the usual flat surface.
    Where there's a raised ridge around the edge, I have in a couple of cases removed this to get the working surface flat.

    Clean what you have and offer the bowls up without gaskets. If they'll rock rather than sit flat, you know what you've got.
    And sorry to say it - but where I have encountered it, socket head screws have been used rather than the phillips OE type. Overtightening does it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nessism View Post
    No sealant on float bowl gaskets. If the carbs won't seal with normal torque on the screws something is wrong. Fuel level too high? Did you check with the clear tube method? Replace the float valves with original Mikuni parts (Dennis Kirk sells them for fair prices?) The gaskets Z1 sells are thick and pretty soft. My cat chewed up a set much to my chagrin. I doubt they would last as long as the OEM Suzuki parts but they are soft and thick, so they conform and seal well.
    Thanks, Ed. No fuel level issues. I did check, a few times. I always use the over-priced genuine float valves too and never mix valves and seats.
    I'll try the Z1 gaskets. I've always wondered how old the gaskets are that I've bought. Generally they feel very hard. I never had leaking until the last 4-6 years and 2 sets of new gaskets. I think it's interesting that the carb body has that thin raised lip to help the gasket seal, but the bowl is just flat. I appreciate the help.
    And on the seventh day,after resting from all that he had done,God went for a ride on his GS!
    Upon seeing that it was good, he went out again on his ZX14! But just a little bit faster!

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    Quote Originally Posted by GregT View Post
    FWIW the purple Loctite instant gasket is fuel resistant - incl Methanol.

    But I'd pick that you've got slightly warped gasket faces on the carb bodies. I have had to recover a couple of unobtainable bodies by lapping them on the usual flat surface.
    Where there's a raised ridge around the edge, I have in a couple of cases removed this to get the working surface flat.

    Clean what you have and offer the bowls up without gaskets. If they'll rock rather than sit flat, you know what you've got.
    And sorry to say it - but where I have encountered it, socket head screws have been used rather than the phillips OE type. Overtightening does it.
    Thanks. I don't want to try removing the raised ridge on the bodies. I think any warping would be the bowl surfaces. I never considered the bowls could warp. I'll try to see if the bowls are flat. I'll check out the purple Loc-Tite too. I appreciate the help.
    And on the seventh day,after resting from all that he had done,God went for a ride on his GS!
    Upon seeing that it was good, he went out again on his ZX14! But just a little bit faster!

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    I’ve never had an issue with a bowl seal, even re-using gaskets. Something is definitely wrong... good luck with it

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    Me too, I've been watching this thread & thinking, I've been lucky, never remember a problem getting a bowl gasket to seal & reused the gaskets lots of times. Are you having problems with more than one carb?
    1983 GS1100E, 1983 CB1100F, 1991 GSX1100G, 1996 Kaw. ZL600 Eliminator, 1999 Bandit 1200S, 2005 Bandit 1200S, 2000 Kaw. ZRX 1100

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    *Permatex makes a wide variety of 'sealants" that work around fuel...but this might be a place a CORK gasket would work...they conform well to warpage but need care torquing down and I seldom use them...a thicker paper might work but these won't "conform" to a big warp.
    Is there meat to re-tap a larger bowl screw? or even a small bolt passed through with nut (albeit funky).
    That said, I haven't seen trouble at the bowl gaskets either. Seems to be rare.

    ...on the level, fuel level doesn't overtop them excepting the tilt of the carbs, ie:sidestand or tilt per suspension and/or airbox.., so yes they need to seal but pressure is very low.

    *the "permashield " looks interesting...but read all the blurbs for each.
    https://www.permatex.com/product-cat...sket-sealants/
    Last edited by Gorminrider; 01-01-2021 at 12:45 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gorminrider View Post
    *Permatex makes a wide variety of 'sealants" that work around fuel...but this might be a place a CORK gasket would work...they conform well to warpage but need care torquing down and I seldom use them...a thicker paper might work but these won't "conform" to a big warp.
    Is there meat to re-tap a larger bowl screw? or even a small bolt passed through with nut (albeit funky).
    That said, I haven't seen trouble at the bowl gaskets either. Seems to be rare.

    ...on the level, fuel level doesn't overtop them excepting the tilt of the carbs, ie:sidestand or tilt per suspension and/or airbox.., so yes they need to seal but pressure is very low.

    *the "permashield " looks interesting...but read all the blurbs for each.
    https://www.permatex.com/product-cat...sket-sealants/
    Thanks for the reply. I'm looking at the Permatex P/N 85420. Gas resistant, used specifically for use with fuels, fills minor gaps, can be used to form a gasket that's easily removed and stays permanently flexible.
    I'm considering ordering the Z1 gaskets that Ed says are softer. After checking them out for myself, I'll decide if I want to apply a thin coat of the Permatex.
    As for the hex bolt that won't tighten, I don't believe it's stripped. It snugged up as expected the last time I tightened it. Then when I went to snug it up this time I could feel immediately it was loose. So I believe it's loose because the carb body has cracked around the bolt hole and it happened between tightening? I kept noticing a bit of fuel collecting on the bottom of the bowls and I would turn the bolts maybe 1/16th turn now and then. Obviously I finally over did one.
    And on the seventh day,after resting from all that he had done,God went for a ride on his GS!
    Upon seeing that it was good, he went out again on his ZX14! But just a little bit faster!

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    Quote Originally Posted by rphillips View Post
    Me too, I've been watching this thread & thinking, I've been lucky, never remember a problem getting a bowl gasket to seal & reused the gaskets lots of times. Are you having problems with more than one carb?
    Thanks for the reply.
    Yes, all four carbs are leaking, various amounts. Not a serious drip anywhere but when you inspect with a flashlight you can see all four carbs are "shiny and damp" where the bowls meet the bodies. Then the fuel slowly collects on the drain bolts or other low spot. Each time I tightened the bolts about 1/16th turn at the most, it seemed to help but within a week or so the carb leaks would come back as before. This all started about 5-6 years ago and involves 2 different services where I cleaned the carbs and replaced some o-rings and float valves. I haven't done anything different so I blamed it on maybe the genuine Suzuki gaskets being "old" and a little harder than they should be? I don't know. Driving me nuts. I've owned the bike since it was new so I know the carbs history. No previous problems the first 35 years or so. I've always used stainless hex bolts for the bowls.
    And on the seventh day,after resting from all that he had done,God went for a ride on his GS!
    Upon seeing that it was good, he went out again on his ZX14! But just a little bit faster!

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