Automotive gaskets and seals serve an important purpose of preventing outside elements from entering or fluids from leaking out of the Jeep’s overall structure or powertrain. It’s always important to keep in mind these gaskets could dry and break down over time, so it’s critical they are properly maintained. In this information guide, we’ll focus on identifying some of the major gasket and seals found on your Jeep, discuss what they could be made of, and good maintenance procedures to ensure they perform to the full extent of their designed function.
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Between every mating service is a gasket, and their importance shouldn't be understated. Whenever you're separating two pieces on your rig, make sure you have the gasket and lubricants to put everything back together properly.
What are Some Common Gaskets and Seals Found on Jeeps?
Weather Stripping: A common gasket found on Wranglers can be simple weather stripping around the hood and doors. These gaskets are typically made of highly durable silicone that can be compressed for a watertight seal and rebound into the original shape when decompressed. These gaskets are generally found around the doors and tailgate of a Jeep and serve an important function of keeping water out of the interior cabin during heavy rainstorms or even deep-water crossings. The same type of silicone gasket can be found along the front edge of the hood, assisting with the cushioning of the fluttering hood during high winds on the road. The hood gaskets also help keep water from entering the engine bay, allowing it to deflect along the sides of the Jeep.
Oil filter gasket: Most oil filters will include a one-time use silicone ring that goes over the edge of the Wrangler’s oil-filter housing. This silicone ring allows for a water tight seal to help keep the hot oil in the engine and prevent any water from entering the engine. Oil and water don’t mix, so if there’s any cross-contamination due to an improper seal, it could lead to serious engine damage.
Axle tube seals: The solid axle design of a Jeep is part of the main reasons why Wranglers are such trail capable vehicles. The axles, however, are exposed to the elements and require seals to help prevent mud or dirt from entering and contaminating the axle oil. Over time if the axle’s seals are damaged, the oil can leak and fine dirt can enter the axle. The combination of a dry dirty axle can lead to serious damage and eventual failure of the axle. Axle tube seals are an inexpensive and effective protective layer that helps prevent that failure from happening. The seals are typically CNC machined billet aluminum and come in an anodized finish for great corrosion prevention and long durability.
Air filter: An air filter is also considered a gasket. Its function is to filter air by preventing fine dust/dirt from entering the engine’s air intake. Most air filters are made of a fine woven cotton gauze surrounded in rubber. The cotton gauze is incredibly efficient in trapping dirt and dust particles, and the rubber rings help provide and maintain a tight seal within the air box. Some air filters are designed to be a single-use that is disposed of after several months. Other more expensive air filters advertise a life time of use because they can be cleaned and re-used. Some life time air filters utilize oils to help with the overall filtration and maintenance, but it’s important to remember oiled air filters could be problematic to Jeeps that utilize a Mass Air Flow sensor (MAF). This sensor is designed to register the volume of air passing through the air intake. The oil from these air filters can produce a coating over the sensor, preventing it from reading the air volume.
Differential cover gaskets: The Jeep’s front and rear differentials are designed with a removable cover to make servicing easier. The covers are bolted in place with a thin gasket between the iron surfaces of the cover and differential. This gasket can be in the form of a silicone or a thin steel based ring that can be reused several times. Whichever gasket you choose to use, it’s important to properly clean the face of the differential and cover and completely remove any old material to maintain a watertight seal.
What are Some Good Maintenance Tips for Gaskets & Seals?
The most important element for any gasket or seal is proper lubrication. If a gasket or seal dries out, it could lead to cracking. Cracks in a gasket will lead to leaking of fluid or prevention of blocking outside containments from entering.
Weather stripping maintenance: Weather stripping along the frame of the Jeep is silicone based and requires routine cleaning and proper lubrication. It’s important to use correct oils and cleaning products that don’t dry out the silicone. There are several cleaning products available specifically designed for silicone weather stripping and helps avoid any drying or cracking.
Oil filter gasket maintenance: Most oil filters will come with a replacement silicone ring for the filter housing. It’s important to replace and inspect the ring when replacing the oil filter to ensure there’s no drying, cracks, or cut in the ring.
Axle tube seal maintenance: Axle tubes should be routinely inspected for any leakage. Regular cleaning and inspection are all that is needed to ensure great overall performance.
Air filter: Air filters should be replaced according to your Jeep’s service intervals. If you’re using a reusable air filter, it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s directions for proper cleaning and maintenance.
Differential cover gasket: Similar to the oil filter housing, differential covers are removed during inspection and maintenance. During the inspection process, properly cleaning the surface of the differential housing and cover is critical for a flat surface that is clean from any oily residue. A flat clean surface will allow the silicone gasket or reusable steel ring to properly seal the cover into place and protect the gears from outside contamination and maintain the gear oil within the axle housing.
Gaskets and seals are important components of your Jeep’s overall structure and mechanical powertrain. As discussed in this information guide they help provide an important layer between the outside contaminants and interior oils. With a consistent level of maintenance, the gaskets and seals will perform to their optimal level.
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