Indian Head Gasket Shellac Changed My Life

Sometimes I do a repair precisely by the book, leaving absolutely no possibility for error.  Then, at the moment of truth (i.e. testing the machine after reassembly), my heart sinks straight into my belly as I stare in disbelief when the appliance behaves just as if I never touched it.

This recently happened to me on a rather complex washer repair – replacing a tub seal – that requires extreme teardown and reassembly.  You sure don’t want to have to do it twice, but you need to put it all back together it before you can test the newly installed seal.  When I did, ouch!  The thing still had a slow, constant leak like I never knocked myself out putting in the new seal in the first place.

I was so bummed that I was grateful the washer was located in a separate room outside of the main house so I had some privacy to work through my “frustration.”  There I was in that dreaded situation where I had done everything right, and it just wasn’t clear to me what else I could do.

I decided to call GE technical support for any possible clue they could provide.  As the tech walked me through step-by-step everything I had already done, I nodded continually on the other end of the phone.  At the tail end of the call, though, he mentioned a special industrial adhesive, made by 3M and sold by GE, that is often used to reinforce the new tub seal after you install it, especially if it is not a particularly snug fit.

Although mine was a snug fit, it still leaked, so I contacted my parts house to try to get hold of some of the adhesive.  They didn’t have it in stock, and said they would need a couple of days to get it in.  Did I mention they said it was $29 a tube?!

As I continued to research the problem, I stumbled on the best tip of the day!  Another technician said he uses Indian Head Gasket Shellac every time he puts in a tub seal.  The best part is, Indian Head Gasket Shellac is available at any AutoZone, and costs $3.99 for what is apparently a lifetime supply.

There was an AutoZone just minutes from my service call, and I was back with a spanner wrench in my hand within an hour.  Now, while this didn’t relieve me from a second teardown of the washer, I now I felt I was not just shooting in the dark.  And, of course the second disassembly is always faster because you’ve already freed up all the corroded connections.

I got the new tub seal back out, applied the gasket shellac to the edges and reinstalled it, then I had to have to give it time to dry before I could retest the washer for leaks.  I went on another quick service call, then returned to check the results.

Bingo!  Wow, live and learn!  Earlier that day, I had no idea that the stuff even existed, and it turned out to be a lifesaver.  It is fair to say that Indian Head Gasket Shellac has changed my life.  If you don’t think so, see if I ever go out again without it!

One Reply to “Indian Head Gasket Shellac Changed My Life”

  1. Thanks for the advice! I am a homeowner who inherited a newer GE top loader when we bought our house. The tub seal had been leaking and washed the grease out of the bearing at the bottom of the transmission. I was most worried about the difficulty of replacing the bearing and then sourcing the oil seal at the top of the transmission, not to mention finding the right weight of gear oil for this non-serviceable transmission. That all went together without a hitch. When I reassembled every function of the machine worked and the spin cycle was smooth and barely audible!
    The bad new was the when I ran a small load I started to feel a spritz. Water was dripping from tub!!! I thought it had to be from the tub seal to the shaft, until I came across your article, a life saver. I had not considered it could be leaking from the seal to the tub itself. I shellacked the tub and the tub seal, let it sit till tonight, then reassembled. I just ran a load and so far, no leaks! Thanks so much for your help, tim

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