How To Make Custom Exhaust Gaskets

How To Make Custom Exhaust Gaskets

Exhaust gaskets are a pain, no matter how you slice it. When you have a leaky manifold, header, or flange gasket, all you hear is that annoying “tick tick tick tick tick” whenever you are driving. Replacing the gasket is not that hard, the right gasket is the key to the entire job. Most of the time, you can roll up to your local NAPA Auto Parts Store and pick up the exact right gasket for your car for just a few bucks, but what if your ride is a 1929 Pierce Arrow? Unless you have a time machine, you are probably stuck with that ticking sound. Oh wait, you do have a time machine, and it is called Fel-Pro Proramic 101. Now you can make custom exhaust gaskets for any application.

Fel-Pro Proramic is a must-have for every DIY mechanic that has to work on non-standard engines that need gaskets. Most gaskets are die-cut to specific shapes and sizes from cork, silicone, or paper materials, but this stuff doesn’t last more than a few minutes in an exhaust system. While many new vehicles use multi-layer steel gaskets, anything older than the mid-2000s (and some newer cars too) use gaskets made high-heat resistant materials with a steel core. The two halves are bonded to the steel core, which keeps the gasket from blowing out, keeping your exhaust in the pipes where it supposed to be.

Making your own custom exhaust gaskets is not difficult, and this process works on standard gasket materials as well. Non-steel lined material is much easier to work with because you don’t have to cut through the steel core, but we made the gaskets shown here with relative ease. You need two tools that you might not have on hand—tin snips (you should have at least one pair of these), and either a set of hole punches or a hole punch tool. Our punches came in a set of six, and while you won’t use them often, when you need them, you will be glad you spent the money on them.

We had a pair of custom exhaust flanges that needed <span style="font-weight: 400;">custom exhaust gaskets</span>. You can’t buy gaskets because we cut these flanges custom to fit the chassis of a vehicle getting an engine swap.

We had a pair of custom exhaust flanges that needed custom exhaust gaskets. You can’t buy gaskets because we cut these flanges custom to fit the chassis of a vehicle getting an engine swap.

We picked a sheet of ProRamic 101 and got started. First, the material was placed on the bench and we traced the shape of the gasket with a pencil.

The gaskets have to hold up against the heat and pressure of exhaust, so the Proramic material is perfect. We traced the shape and hole locations onto the material with a pencil.

The gaskets have to hold up against the heat and pressure of exhaust, so the Proramic material is perfect. We traced the shape and hole locations onto the material with a pencil.

Next, we used a punch that was the closest to the require hole size and made the holes. A couple of blows with a hammer cut right through the gaskets without any tearing or jagged edges.

Creating the holes in gaskets is easy with hole punches, anything else is a mistake.

Creating the holes in gaskets is easy with hole punches, anything else is a mistake.

Then we used a pair of tin snips to carefully cut out the outside shape. Cut slow and careful. The metal core can cut, so be careful.  

Tin snips are the perfect tool for ProRamic material. There is a steel core, so you can't use regular scissors.

Tin snips are the perfect tool for ProRamic material. There is a steel core, so you can’t use regular scissors.

We used the hole punch to get the center hole started, then used the snips to finish the job.

Using the same punch, we knocked out a hole for the center opening.

Using the same punch, we knocked out a hole for the center opening.

 

Then we finished the hole with the snips.

Then we finished the hole with the snips.

Now we have a pair of custom-made exhaust gaskets that will last many years of reliable service. So the time your ’29 Pierce Arrow (or any number of internal combustion engine) needs custom exhaust gaskets, you can make them yourself.

The finished product is ready to install.

The finished product is ready to install.

Check out all the maintenance parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 16,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on how to make custom exhaust gaskets, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

about author

Jefferson Bryant

A life-long gearhead, Jefferson Bryant spends more time in the shop than anywhere else. His career began in the car audio industry as a shop manager, eventually working his way into a position at Rockford Fosgate as a product designer. In 2003, he began writing tech articles for magazines, and has been working as an automotive journalist ever since. His work has been featured in Car Craft, Hot Rod, Rod & Custom, Truckin’, Mopar Muscle, and many more. Jefferson has also written 4 books and produced countless videos. Jefferson operates Red Dirt Rodz, his personal garage studio, where all of his magazine articles and tech videos are produced.

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