Left Crankcase Cover

After my recent dump, I had cracked my left crankcase cover. I replaced it with a new one this weekend. Getting the old gasket off was a pain to say the least. Does anyone have any proven and effective methods for removing old gaskets without leaving dings and gouges in the engine where the gasket sits?

Also, the service manual makes it sound like the bearing needle and oil seal, which reside within the left crankcase, cover pop right out when removing the clutch stem. Some quick advice for anyone replacing the left crankcase cover. Buy a new needle bearing and oil seal! Those sucka's aint comin' out once there in there. So unfortunately I had to delay my re-assembly mid-wrench until I could get a new needle bearing and oil seal. Has anyone else ran across this and were you able to successfully get the oil seal out without damaging it or get the needle bearing out at all?

There's no real easy way of getting old gaskets off, but there is a couple of things you can use to make things a little bit easier. I use spray on gasket stripper which you simply spray onto the surface and it eats in and loosens the material from the alloy, then I use a razor and carefully scrape the gasket material off.

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