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it works with the gaskets not as one. It will keep heat from the intake to contact the carb lowering the temps of the carb. Take note that some years came with a gasket that was thicker then your averge carb gasket and had some of the same effect.
 

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Is it that much better than just a gasket?

Definitely is on racing applications. I would imagine on street applications with aluminum intakes, it would help too. Just make sure it's made of insulative material. I personally prefer phenolic, which is a matrix of fabric and resin. Kinda machines like wood *G*
 

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I used a phenolic spacer(which insulates the carb from heat) to cure a vapor lock problem I was having. The car had problems staying started after turning it off for a few minutes. All the heat from the intake transferred into the carb.
 
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