Troubleshooting an issue? Some of you probably live for the task, others of you never want to hear those words again. It isn’t an activity that is for the faint of heart. It can be incredibly frustrating at times, but when you finally resolve the issue, you are ready to take on the world…especially if the issue has consumed your life for an extended period of time.
When you’re dealing with an exhaust leak, the issue could be a number of things, and it isn’t necessarily the fault of your gasket or gasket material. Keep on reading for things to investigate during your troubleshooting.
1. There could be a problem with the design
Check to see if the joint is loaded sufficiently and not distorting. This could send you back to the drawing board unless you are able to find a gasket material that can compensate for the design deficiencies.
2. At the same time, check for loading issues
Is the load distributed properly and evenly? If not, hopefully it is something that can be corrected. Otherwise, you’ll probably need to revise the material or design until it works properly.
3. Maybe the material is not rated for the temperatures observed
Make sure that the material is not burning or oxidizing away. This is an all too common issue. The internal temperatures can very easily exceed what was intended in the design phase once you start testing.
4. There might be too much pressure for the material chosen
Is the internal pressure too high and forcing a leak? If this turns out to be the issue, explore the reasons for the pressure and what can be done about it. Gasket design may require reinforcement from the flange ring to accommodate the pressure.
5. Does it look like there are expansion/contraction issues
Check to see if the thermal expansion may be tearing the gasket apart. If so, can you add a coating to provide lubricity? Otherwise, a more robust material might be the answer. (Metal Tech would offer our AR400, or something similar, in this situation.)
6. None of the above
If the issue is still a mystery, look at the history of similar applications to see if there is anything obvious that stands out as a factor. Historical comparisons can sometimes be your best troubleshooting method.
As you can see, your exhaust leak could be stemming from various issues. If you weren’t aware of all of the potential causes, hopefully this list will help you focus your investigation. Although some of the causes aren’t directly attributable to your gasket material, a lot of times, a different gasket material can fix the problem (it’s a lot less expensive than a redesign). Once you have narrowed down your issue, talk to your trusted gasket material supplier. They may be able to help you with some of the troubleshooting, or possibly suggest a material that will better meet your needs.