Don’t skimp on O-rings

Date:21 May 2012 Tags:, , ,

HARDWARE-STORE PARTS
Q I changed both the crankcase and the transmission oil in my 2001 Harley Road King the other day, which requires new O-rings on the oil-pan plugs. After buying them from the bike shop, it dawned on me that I might find cheaper replacements at my local hardware store. Sure enough, I found a 10-pack of what looks like exactly the same O-rings for much less. Will these withstand the heat generated from the engine?

A This is always an interesting dilemma. The thrifty among us peer over to the hardware aisle and see visually similar components at a fraction of the price of factory parts and wonder if they’ll work. The issue in using household bits in motorcyles or cars isn’t just whether they’ll hold up to heat, but if they’ll endure repeated thermal cycling, chemical exposure, compression and vibration in the way factory seals will. In all likelihood, the seals you spotted at the hardware store match the physical dimensions, but not the chemical composition. Using those plumbing seals might work on your Road King for a while, but over time you may fi nd an oily puddle under your bike, making you fit every Harley stereotype
other bikers love to poke fun at.

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