1 One of the great things about o-ring seals is they often remain in good condition despite numerous disassemblies. Occasionally, you find an o-ring has expanded and can not be reused. Of course, the o-ring shown here needs to be replaced, but if you're in a jamb and can't get a new one, there may be hope. Here is how you can repair an expanded o-ring if the cross section is still good. Don't count on this as a permanent repair, but if you do a good job the o-ring will seal as intended. It is a good idea to replace the o-ring later, but this repair will get you back in action until you get a new one. To do this job, you will need a fresh razor blade and some Super Glue.

2 Cut the o-ring as shown here, but realize the following:

  • Cut on a clean, flat surface
  • Use a very sharp blade
  • Lightly oil the sides of the blade
  • Do not roll or slide the blade while cutting
  • Hold the blade perfectly square onto the o-ring
  • Press straight down against the work surface

3 You should now have a clean, square cut.

4 Put the o-ring back in place (without stretching it) so you can mark where the excess needs to be cut away. A dab with a fine tipped white paint stick or a "White-Out" brush works well. Because you will not be able to fully lay the o-ring in the groove, you will have to estimate somewhat where the cut should be. Mark the location for the cut as accurately as you can. The goal is for the repaired o-ring to fit securely in place in a natural unstretched state.

5 Now cut the excess out in the same way you made the first cut. The trick is to have a perfectly square cut. By the way, o-ring splicing kits can be purchased from industrial supply shops that contain a special cutting fixture that facilitates a perfect cut. However, you can still achieve great results like this. For the rare occasion you may need to do a repair like this, it may not make sense buy such supplies.

6 Place a drop of Super Glue on one end of the o-ring and glue it together. Pay careful attention that the natural lay of the o-ring is matched and that the ends align perfectly. It is helpful to glue the o-ring together with it place. The groove helps you keep everything in alignment. Just don't glue it to the groove (optionally, a Polyethylene v-block can be used). Firmly hold the ends together for several seconds. When the bond is secure, you can wick away wet, excess glue with a piece of paper towel. Don't glue the towel piece to the o-ring.


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