How to Replace a Kamado Joe Wire Mesh Fibreglass Gasket, Properly
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In this guide I’ll walk you through the simple steps of replacing your Kamado Joe wire mesh fibreglass gaskets found on the Classic Joe 2 & 3, and the Big Joe 2 & 3.
I’ve seen a few guides and videos on the web of people giving this a shot. But to be honest it seems like at lest some of them don’t totally understand what they are doing and unfortunately giving out some bad advice. Which, if followed, will essentially lead to you having to repeat this processes again in the not to distant future.
For over 20 years now I’ve been building sets and props for theatre, TV and film. You can safely say I know my way round a tool box, and know a little about sticking stuff to other stuff!
From what I gather this is quite a daunting task for a few of you out there. It’s a question that comes up on some of the Facebook groups at least once a week. It does seem to be quite a common issue at the moment especially with the Classic and Big Joe 3’s! I suspected there’s a guy in China (where Kamado Joe’s are assembled) getting a bit of a telling off right now.
Anyway, below is a detailed description with pics on how to attach your brand new Kamado Joe gaskets. The way they should have been attached in the first place. And they should last you for years to come.
In This Guide:
- Make a Tidy Workspace
- Remove the Leftovers from the Old Gaskets
- Remove the Remaining Adhesive
- Clean and Remove Dust
- Attach the Gaskets
- Adjustment and Alignment
- Curing the Adhesive
- Kamado Joe Wire Mesh Gasket Kit
- Electric Sander
- 40, 60 & 120 Grit Sanding Pads
- Scissors/Kitchen Shears
- High Temperature silicone
- Vacuum Cleaner
1. Make a Tidy Workspace
Let’s start by removing everything that’s going to get in the way. Side tables if you have them, and then everything inside, all the cooking accessories, racks, basket, firebox and ashtray. It’s a good idea to give it all a vacuum as it comes out so you don’t get ash everywhere. We’re removing everything because we’re going to have all sorts of stuff falling in which we will want to clean out before cooking. It’s a good idea to have a good clean out a couple of times a year anyway.
2. Remove the Leftovers from the Old Gaskets
If it’s your first time doing this you’re probably going to have a fair bit of black felt. Why there is so much under the gaskets, I have no idea? We need to remove everything from the surface which takes the gasket. If a little is left on the sides it’s fine, but there’s no point trying to glue something to this, it won’t work. Using a scraper, scrape off as much of the felt and old glue as you can, don’t go mad and be careful not to gouge.
3. Remove the Remaining Adhesive
Using an electric Sander carefully start working your way round the kamado, being careful not to sand any powder coating off the metalwork. You can do this by hand but it will take a lot longer.
It’s going to get a bit dusty here so ware a dust mask.
We’re going to use 3 grades of sandpaper for this, first an aggressive 40 Grit which will quickly remove most of the remaining glue. A medium 60 Grit to start smoothing the surface. Then finish off with a bit finer 120 Grit to give us a fairly smooth surface for the new glue to adhere to. It won’t be like glass but should feel fairly smooth to touch.
4. Clean and Remove Dust
Dust is one of your biggest enemies when trying to glue something and it’s especially bad with adhesive tapes. Here we’re going to clean away as much dust as possible as well as any remaining fat or grease which is also not your friend.
Start by giving the whole Kamado a thorough vacuum. Don’t just clean the surfaces where the gaskets sit, but all over, inside and out. Dust can easily move around and contaminate your nice clean surfaces.
Now were going to wipe down the surfaces with alcohol to remove the remaining dust and any grease that may have soaked in during a cook.
Wet an old rag (this can be an old cotton sock of torn up t-shirt) with a little sprit and give all the surfaces taking the gaskets a good rub. As I’m a Pyrotechnist, I happened to have a large bottle of Isopropyl lying around which I use for Special FX. This was perfect here but you could use acetone or even white sprit. We don’t use water here as it will soak into the ceramic and take ages to dry.
Once the surfaces have been cleaned, leave it for about 20 minutes for the alcohol to evaporate. The time will differ slightly depending on ambient temperature. Put your nose to it and give it a sniff. If there’s a really strong smell of alcohol then leave it a bit longer. If it only slightly smells, you’re good to go.
5. Attach the Gaskets
Now that we’ve properly prepared the surfaces for glueing, we can go ahead and attach the gaskets.
Take one of your replacement gaskets and gently remove the black tape. It’s just there to stop it fraying.
Peel back a little of the adhesive tape
Starting at the back, line up the end of the new gasket with air hinge tensioning bolt. Centring the sticky adhesive strip to the cleaned face, push down gently (do not push too hard here). Slowly work your way round the kamado, pushing slightly back as you go.
DO NOT STRETCH THE GASKET!
When your new gaskets go through a few cooking cycles they will start to contract and acutely shrink a fair bit. If they’ve been stretched when installed, they will quite literally pull themselves off as they shrink.
By pushing back slightly (don’t over do it!) on the gasket as we apply it, we leave a buffer for the contraction, with enough material to shrink without any issues.
Once you have applied the gasket all the way round and reached where you began, use a good pair of kitchen shears to cut it, flush with the other end.
Peel off the adhesive strip backing from one of the supplied fibreglass strips. Place centrally on top of the join. Lifting the gasket slightly, tuck the ends over so that they will be hidden under the gasket, And pat down.
Don’t ask me why, but Kamado Joe don’t supply a couple of extra tiny strips of adhesive tape to place under the join. So to do this we’re going to use some high temperature silicone. Apply a small amount under the join and press down.
This is optional, but not doing it could leave a weak spot in your gaskets.
If you’re replacing both gaskets, repeat all the steps in section 4 for the top gasket.
6. Adjustment and Alignment
Now the reason we didn’t want to push down too hard earlier when attaching the gaskets is that we may need to adjust them slightly to make sure they’re aligned properly.
Close the dome and latch it. Crouch down and look along your gaskets. As you make your way round your kamado, you may notice that in some places your gaskets don’t marry up very well.
We’ll deal with these bits one by one. Choose one bit to work on and make note of the problem (top or bottom gasket?) and (bulging out or tucked in?).
Open the dome and gently prise off the offending piece of gasket and adjust it accordingly. Go round the kamado until your happy.
Try not to go too crazy with this step as we don’t want the adhesive tape to start losing tac.
Once you’re done latch down the dome and leave for at least 1 hour.
7. Curing the Adhesive
After you’ve given your gaskets time to create an initial bond you can open your dome and replace your internals. Ashtray, firebox & basket.
Start a small fire, close the dome and fully open your vents.
Let the temperature rise to around 200°C/400°F.
When the temperature reaches 200°C/400°F close all the vents but leave the dome latched.
As soon as the kamado has fully cooled, the adhesive is now cured and you’re good to go, around 12 hours or overnight is a good bet.
I hope this helped you get up and running with ease.
Let me know what you thought, or if you have a question or need some advice. Leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you.