The MGA With An Attitude
CORK SEALS for Main Bearing Caps - CS-108

At 11:31 AM 4/16/06, Roger Bailey wrote:
"The rectangular cork end plate to block / pan gaskets are very much over size. Is this cork oversize normal?"


"Is one supposed to trim them to something reasonable, or is it mash-in time with plates and pan trying to force the cork flat? Or am I missing something?"

You're missing something.

Since the cork pieces seal the end plate(s) the cork bits need to be installed before the end plates. This could be a bit of a problem when you already have the front plate installed. Once you have this figured out, you have your choice of disassembling the front end, or fudging it.

SOP is to install the cork bits before the end plates. The heavy steel end plates are strong enough to smash the cork down to working thickness in that direction, no problem. Then you can use a razor knife to cut the cork flush with the bottom of the block. After that install the oil pan and pan gasket in normal manner. The pan gasket makes a seal inboard from the position of the cork piece.

Now if you don't want to remove the front plate you have to find a way to install the cork in the slot. Getting it in there without shaving the thickness would require considerable squeezing. How creative are you?

1.) Place cork strip over the slot. Place a piece of angle iron next to the cork against the bottom surface of the block, and squeeze it with a couple of clamps to make the cork bit as narrow as the slot. Then push the cork packing into place with a wide flat nose punch and hammer.

2.) Use a single sided razor blade or razor knife to shave down the thickness of the cork to a point where you can press it into the slot with your fingers. Glue it in place with RTV sealant (Permatex Blue), let it set until the sealant is cured, then shave it flush in normal manner. This is what you have to do when you the oil pan and replace main bearings without removing engine from car to R&R the end plates.

3.) Fill the slot with RTV sealant in place of the cork strip. This can work if you have it perfectly clean first. You would need to wash it with lacquer thinner and blow dry to remove all traces of oil. Then apply enough RTV to be a little above the surface, as it may shrink a little as it cures. Let it set for 24 hours for full cure, and then shave it flush.

Next time you WILL remember to install the cork before the end plate.

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