by Pat Goss
Both for do-it-yourselfers and the professional technician, fixing cars is becoming more complicated by the minute. Now even a simple job like replacing a gasket can become very involved these days. First we start with all the different gasket materials that are out there, the sealants, the gasket makers, the adhesives and all of these. See, there are literally hundreds of different products on the market, and they all have their place, but you have to know what that place is, what materials should you be using and when should you be using it. And to find that out, you have to rely on the information that is packaged with your new set of gaskets.
You see, in some cases, they may want you to use a specific, maybe a RTV sealant right here in the corners of this particular gasket, and they don’t want you to use it anyplace else. It will give you an exact description of what you should be using and exactly where you should use it. Well, you need to follow those directions, because if you don’t, your new gaskets will probably leak.
All right, but, you know, for years we have relied on certain things to clean up the old gaskets. Now, we have a real problem because of the tolerances inside modern engines. Things that we have used for years and years can’t be used anymore. We started out with wire brushes. Well, they’re okay, believe it or not. But then that evolved to abrasive disks, like this green one. That evolved into this pad-like material. Well, both of these have abrasives in them. And if you’re working on anything that is near the oiling system of the vehicle, in other words, the valve covers, the intake manifold, anything like that, you’re going to have a situation where the abrasive material will come off of those disks and it will get into the oiling system of the car. It will go right through the oil filter. It will destroy bearings inside the engine over a period of time.
So, what can you do? Again, the wire brush is acceptable, but here’s the newest thing. This is made by 3-M and it’s purely plastic. It does a very good job, and there is nothing abrasive about it to damage anything inside the engine. So learn the rules and follow them before you tear into your engine. Otherwise, you could have a disaster on your hands.