Gorilla Gasket

Don’t Blow a Gasket! 2 Memorable Gasket Malfunctions in History

From our basic hair blow dryers to massive spacecraft, gaskets are in almost everything we use. And we depend on them to perform their function to a T and when they do the harmony that ensues is priceless. 

Remember that the primary duty of a gasket is to act as a sealant. This means keeping liquids out of where they don’t belong. 

And although gaskets can be found in our commonly used items, they can be dangerous if not made and fitted correctly.

Gaskets are indeed on the cheaper side to manufacture in the eyes of the industry of industrial assembly. But do not be misled, they are far more valuable than their price.

Like a hidden immunity idol in our personal material things jungle, gaskets can be the hero or the villain of our life story. Whether or not we realize that they’re there.

But what happens when gaskets malfunction?

Danger is the answer. Making erroneous gaskets is a leading concern for manufacturers around the globe. 

Why does a gasket malfunction?

Depending on the use of the gasket, a malfunction can cause irreparable damage to the machine and cause bodily harm to people in its vicinity when the impairment happens. 

Most often, gasket malfunction happens because the material the gasket was derived from isn’t compatible with the opposing element. These components must be compatible because certain gasket textiles can degrade over time.

This is especially true when introduced to specific/reactive chemical compounds or extreme changes in temperature or pressure. 

Malfunctions can also happen as a result of sizing. The assumption that thicker gaskets can prevent leakages better than thinner ones is, unfortunately, a common misconception.

The truth is that gaskets derived from thinner materials seal more firmly, with more blowout resistance, and less leakage. So don’t get sucked into the mentality that bigger is better. Because with gaskets, it’s not always the case.

Leakages are commonly caused when there’s a deficiency in lubrication. Without it, the friction that happens in the tightening process can be detrimental to the seal. Or in some cases, it may not seal correctly at all.

This is a great time to remind you of the importance of the perfect fit. And why a well-manufactured gasket is the only choice.

Is gasket malfunction common?

Malfunctions happen. Like life, anything is possible when it comes to gaskets, too. But depending on the machinery, a faulty gasket that leads to failure is costly not only financially, but in time.

There are, however, a handful of common reasons why gasket malfunction happens:

  1. External and environmental aspects: Even a properly sealed gasket can erode from vibrations, flange damage, or erosion.
  1. Installation: The majority of failed gaskets can be traced back to a poor installation process. 
  1. Incorrect size, style, or material: A gasket not manufactured in the consideration of variables like temperature and pressure, etc. 

Some of the more common gasket malfunctions happen involving automobiles. The common denominator usually is faulty head gaskets. 

Head gaskets are located near the top of an automobile engine. Their function is to separate coolant lines from oil passageways. A head gasket is cut with both square and circular cuts.

The oil and coolant passageways fit into the square cuts, while the combustion chamber fits into the circular cuts. When white smoke begins to billow from the exhaust pipe, then it’s usually the head gasket that has blown.

When it has malfunctioned, coolant is free to move into the combustion chamber of the engine. And it can eventually mix with the oil there too, reducing lubrication, and destroying the engine outright. 

2 memorable gasket malfunctions in history

This is exactly what happened with our first example of two memorable gasket malfunctions in history. Known as a reliable car choice in most family circles, Subaru has a well-known bad gasket history. 

Head gaskets to be exact, and the brand has had a reputation to defend in automobiles as a direct result. You can imagine how often and how badly these head gasket malfunctions must’ve been to earn such widespread negative tonation.  

But Subaru isn’t alone. We saved the juiciest historical gasket malfunction for last so be sure to keep reading.

1. Subaru head gaskets

The Subaru head gasket debacle of old is an example. It’s been long known that Subaru is a reliable car brand. But it’s just as widely known that the head gaskets are inevitable to fail.

It needn’t be any specific model to apply this common fear to as multiple models have had the issue over the years. Rumored to happen anytime between 80,000 and 100,000 miles, it’s anticipated most in the following models:

  • Forester from 1999 to 2010
  • 1999 to 2011 Impreza
  • Outback 2000–2009
  • 2000 to 2009 Legacy
  • 2003 to 2005 Baja

Since 2012, the brand has reportedly redesigned its engines, eliminating the problem with head gaskets.

2. The Challenger Debacle

The second memorable gasket malfunction happened in 1986. When the spacecraft Challenger seemingly exploded a mere 73 seconds after liftoff. 

It was scientifically proven later that the O-rings, a type of gasket, in the solid boosters had malfunctioned. This was a result of lower-than-normal temperatures on the day of the scheduled flight.

Having been postponed one day later for the same reasoning, it was decided to go ahead with the launch that fateful January morning.

Gaskets in modern-day motion

The demand for gaskets only continues to increase as technology advances. There will always be a need for perfectly fitted gaskets for the latest gadgets.

And with the learning curve achieved, gaskets of old can be made new again using those aforementioned advancements in tech. Leading to a malfunction-free existence for gaskets.

That remains the goal at least. Gorilla Gasket is committed to that goal and to making the toughest gaskets on the planet.
Visit our website today to explore the gasket manufacturing options available to you.

Gorilla Gasket

1012 N 1st St
Artesia, NM 88210

(575) 336-1446

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