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Q; While on a long weekend ride we needed to make a gasket for the sidecases on my buddies bike. It was quite a job. Any tips to make it easier if it happens again?

A: I usually carry a complete gasket set for my bikes but, like you, sometimes a buddy needs help. For that, I carry some large sheets of hi-temp gasket material. A lot of auto supply stores sell rolls of various types (asbestos, paper, cork etc.) that are handy to keep around.

A quick fix is to use hi-temp silicone gasket sealer for the sealing surfaces but if you want to make a permanent gasket, here's some tips: Place the cover on the gasket material and mark the bolt holes. Remove the cover and punch out the bolt holes. A set of hole cutters works best, however, you can use some spent shell casings of various sizes. For example, a .22 caliber casing is close to the size of most bolts used on side covers (keep some in the toolbox).

Put the back on the cover and place the bolts in the holes to keep the gasket in place. Use the rounded head of a ball-peen hammer to lightly tap (at a slight angle) around the sharp outer edge to cut the gasket in the shape of the outside of the cover. Do the same procedure to cut the gasket on the inside edge. There's your gasket.

Gaskets sometimes can be reused if you use gasket sealer to glue the gasket to the sidecase and lightly oil the side that contacts the engine. This allows the gasket to release from the engine and retain it's integrity.
Professional tuner and 'Trials Competition' writer Jon Stoodley has very kindly stepped up to the plate to answer your questions. If you're having problems, or need some advice just send an email to Jon. If it's something that could be useful to others, we'll post it on the site.
This article originally appeared in 'Trials Competition', and was reproduced with permission.
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