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One Piece Carbon Seal Installation:

In this post we will go over how to install one piece (1-PC) carbon seals a couple of different ways. Hopefully this will make this process smoother, less time consuming, and with less breakage. If you have had the misfortune of breaking your 1-pc carbon seal, we have them available separately on our website.

1-PC carbon seals are used in many Garrett™ T3 and T04 turbos. They were originally designed for draw thru carburetor applications as a positive seal to keep oil from being sucked out of the turbo in high vacuum situations. For this reason, they are the best possible seal for oil control. They do however cause drag on the shaft, which does cause slower spool up, so in most performance applications (that are not draw thru carb) you will not see them used. Another reason they are not used more often is that they are fragile. Fragility of these seals is one of the reasons for this post. Almost weekly we get an email or phone call from a customer that has broken one of these seals. The carbon part of the seal is like ceramic and truly will shatter. This can happen during installation, being dropped on the bench, or by an engine backfire.

METHOD ONE: This first method uses a bench vise as the main tool for installation. You will need the following tools for this option:

  • Bench vise
  • 9/16″ 12 point socket (we have modified ours by grinding the 12 points down to make sure that they don’t touch the carbon part of the carbon seal)
  • 7/16″ socket
  • Pick set
  • 3m™ Scotch Brite
  • Loctite™ 515 (optional, but preferred)
  • Bench vise soft jaws (optional)
  • Helper (optional)

Removal: Place the 4-bolt side of the seal plate (aka backing plate) against one of the vise jaws and a socket (usually 7/16″) on the other jaw. The socket should fit loosely in the bore of the seal plate without touching the bore itself. Now, slowly tighten the vise jaws together (this is where the helper would come in handy) until the socket is in contact with the carbon seal. Slowly tighten the jaws until the seal is completely free from the seal plate.

Now that the seal is removed, thoroughly clean the seal bore with the pick set and 3M™ Scotch Brite. Once the seal bore is clean and smooth, it is time to press the new seal in.

Installation: First, spread a thin layer of the Loctite™ 515 on the brass housing of the 1-pc carbon seal. Place the compressor wheel side of the seal plate against one of the vise jaws, next align the 1-pc carbon seal and your 9/16″ 12-point socket in the opposite jaw. Slowly draw the vise jaws together, making sure that the carbon seal draws in straight and does not cock to one side or the other. Once the seal is completely touching the bottom of the seal bore and is flush with the bore, you are finished.



METHOD TWO: The second method uses an arbor press. The same tools are required in this method as the first, except the bench vise is replaced with the arbor press and a helper is not needed. You will need the following tools for this option:

  • Arbor Press
  • 9/16″ 12 point socket (we have modified ours by grinding the 12 points down to make sure that they don’t touch the carbon part of the carbon seal)
  • 7/16″ socket
  • Pick set
  • 3m™ Scotch Brite
  • Loctite™ 515 (optional, but preferred)

Removal: Place the 4-bolt side of the seal plate (aka backing plate) against the bed of the arbor press, and align the 7/16” socket with the backing plate bore (see picture). The socket should fit loosely in the bore of the seal plate without touching the bore itself. Now, slowly pull the press arm down until the press head is in contact with the 7/16” socket. Slowly press on the socket until the seal is completely free from the seal plate.

Now that the seal is removed, thoroughly clean the seal bore with the pick set and 3M™ Scotch Brite. Once the seal bore is clean and smooth, it is time to press the new seal in.

Installation: First, spread a thin layer of the Loctite™ 515 on the brass housing of the 1-pc carbon seal. Place the compressor wheel side of the seal plate against the base of the arbor press, next align the 1-pc carbon seal, the 9/16″ 12-point socket and slowly bring the arbor press ram down until it touches the socket. Slowly press the ram, making sure that the carbon seal draws in straight and does not cock to one side or the other. Once the seal is completely touching the bottom of the seal bore and is flush with the bore, you are finished.