Where to get neoprene gasket material sheets?

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JR96CK
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Where to get neoprene gasket material sheets?

Post by JR96CK »

I'm wondering if anyone knows where I can get gasket material of the neoprene variety (like valve cover gaskets are made from on the L31)? I need it to be black or dark gray and about 1/4" thick. I need to make a new gasket for the third brake light on the back of the cab of a Chevy Colorado. This is a well-known issue on these trucks, and GM has never come out with a gasket that supercedes the orginal foam rubber piece. For now I removed the foam rubber gasket, cleaned the surfaces, and put a bead of "Right Stuff" black RTV around the housing. I have no doubt this will form an effective seal, but I don't know how RTV is concerning long-term U.V. stability. Also, there is the obvious problem that I will have to remove the old RTV and apply a new bead any time a bulb needs to be replaced in the third brake light assembly, which is hardly efficient.

Any suggestions? Because of its compressibility--the gap is not the same all the way around the housing and thus needs to be compressible to some degree--I really think a neoprene gasket cut to the same shape as the GM piece (which is NOT available separately, you have to buy the whole $70 third brake light assembly) but slightly thicker than the original foam rubber piece is the best option here.

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And this is what's wrong with the factory seal:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BN_yG_hZP1s
Last edited by JR96CK on Sun Oct 13, 2013 7:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.

97k15004wd
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Post by 97k15004wd »

Just thinking outside the box; maybe find a scrap wet suit and cut out what you need? Or a dive shop?

JR96CK
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Post by JR96CK »

97k15004wd wrote:Just thinking outside the box; maybe find a scrap wet suit and cut out what you need? Or a dive shop?
Interesting idea... would have never thought of that. Thx, will look into it.

JR96CK
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Post by JR96CK »

I don't know if all neoprene is the same or if there are subtle differences from one application to another, but this looks kind of interesting:

http://www.amazon.com/Neoprene-Rubber-S ... B006GW5AT2

CrazyHoe
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Post by CrazyHoe »

Yeah a dive shop would have patches but it would be pricey...

Speeder
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Post by Speeder »

What about sanding the light base itself down so it more closely fits the profile of the truck? That just looks like shoddy engineering on GM's part, to not have the light housing more closely match the sheet metal. If the part were modded to fit better, then you'd be able to use a more available gasket material.

JR96CK
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Joined: Fri Apr 03, 1998 8:12 pm
Location: Texas

Post by JR96CK »

Speeder wrote:What about sanding the light base itself down so it more closely fits the profile of the truck? That just looks like shoddy engineering on GM's part, to not have the light housing more closely match the sheet metal. If the part were modded to fit better, then you'd be able to use a more available gasket material.
You probably cannot see it in the pic, and it's kind of hard to explain, but your suggestion would be a good option were it not for what is essentially a compound curve in that area. I don't think I could ever duplicate the curve accuartely enough via hand sanding to get it right, and I beleive it would require way too much material removal anyway. Good idea though, I just think I'm still leaning towards trying to make a better gasket.

playtoy_18
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Post by playtoy_18 »

Autozone has several different types of gasket material,I also keep an old innertube around for making various gaskets sometimes or even between stuff for squeaks/rattles.
I also keep a bunch of 10ml syringes around for making them frm silicone when needed.

Not sure that any of that info will help with what you're doing though,that gasket looks similar to the ones on my fiero wingstands. Haven't figured out a way to do them yet.

Speeder
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Post by Speeder »

OK. If you change your mind though, you wouldn't have to make it fit perfectly but just take off enough material that a thinner gasket would work.

I did find this thread from another board where one guy welded metal in then put an aftermarket light in, and another guy used 1/2 inch foam tape from Home Despot to make a gasket. Supposedly it came out looking stock, but there were no pics. They did say both solutions stopped the leaks.

Ry_Z71
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Post by Ry_Z71 »

You can buy anything you need from McMaster-Carr. If you can come up with the correct dimensions in a CAD format, you can even take your neoprene sheet to a shop with a computer-aided cutter. However, neoprene is not your material. It is subject to degradation by UV and ozone. Look for EPDM in the realm of reasonable cost. Otherwise, do what I did for my nephew and replace the incandescent bulbs with LED and seal the housing to the body with urethane (same stuff that keeps your windshield in).

JR96CK
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Location: Texas

Post by JR96CK »

Ry_Z71 wrote:You can buy anything you need from McMaster-Carr. If you can come up with the correct dimensions in a CAD format, you can even take your neoprene sheet to a shop with a computer-aided cutter. However, neoprene is not your material. It is subject to degradation by UV and ozone. Look for EPDM in the realm of reasonable cost. Otherwise, do what I did for my nephew and replace the incandescent bulbs with LED and seal the housing to the body with urethane (same stuff that keeps your windshield in).
OK, cool... this is what I needed to know concerning the UV aspect. I'll check into EPDM. I did consider going the route you did and changing out to LED so as to prevent the need (or at least minimize it) to disassemble the housing in the future. A couple of good options to explore.

Thanks everyone, good info.

z71gmc06
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Post by z71gmc06 »

I just bought this off fleabay for my snowmobile. It's to seal my trunk on the bottom.

There are lots of types and sizes out there.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/251248738208?ss ... 1497.l2648

JR96CK
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Joined: Fri Apr 03, 1998 8:12 pm
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Post by JR96CK »

z71gmc06 wrote:I just bought this off fleabay for my snowmobile. It's to seal my trunk on the bottom.

There are lots of types and sizes out there.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/251248738208?ss ... 1497.l2648
Another option I'll look into. Thanks for the link.

playtoy_18
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Post by playtoy_18 »

Stopped by a flooring place today,they had a thin rubber underlayment/mat on a roll that might fit the bill.
The stuff I saw was about 3/16",but maybe they have something thicker. This stuff was for going under laminate or wood flooring I think.

JR96CK
Posts: 1515
Joined: Fri Apr 03, 1998 8:12 pm
Location: Texas

Post by JR96CK »

playtoy_18 wrote:Stopped by a flooring place today,they had a thin rubber underlayment/mat on a roll that might fit the bill.
The stuff I saw was about 3/16",but maybe they have something thicker. This stuff was for going under laminate or wood flooring I think.
Cool, another option. Thx.

Am leaning towards the EPDM sheets I found from a supplier online at the moment. I hate how these things always come up in the middle of a semester when I have ZERO time to spend figuring it out. The RTV seal I put on there the other day seals perfectly and doesn't show, so I could leave it that way, but I would still like to figure out a better long term solution.

97k15004wd
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Post by 97k15004wd »

What did you end up doing?

JR96CK
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Location: Texas

Post by JR96CK »

97k15004wd wrote:What did you end up doing?
Actually, nothing. Haven't had any time at all to deal with it beyond the initial fix, so I've opted to leave the RTV seal in place. We have received some heavy rains a few times and I've had zero leakage. I used "Right Stuff" Black RTV and managed to make a clean enough attempt at "caulking" the housing in place (for lack of a better term) that you cannot even tell it's there. I've opted to stick with this until I burn out a bulb, and then I will re-evaluate what I want to do then. At that point I might look further into making the EPDM gasket or install LEDS throughout and seal it again with RTV.

I did want to post this link for anyone who might be interested though. This was sent to me during my search and I think it might be useful for those in need of a more complex gasket than can be made out of simple sheets. I've no idea on pricing or quantity, but it might be worthwhile if someone needs a unique engine gasketing solution or something:

http://www.customgasketmfg.com/Products/NeopreneGaskets

Here is the RTV seal as it stands now:

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97k15004wd
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Post by 97k15004wd »

That looks good!

JR96CK
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Location: Texas

Post by JR96CK »

97k15004wd wrote:That looks good!
Thanks 8)

I had intended for it to be a temporary fix, but it has worked out better than expected.

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