Goops and Gaskets
by Pat Goss
Most of the parts in an engine are connected together, or sealed between one another, with something like this. This is a gasket. Well, one thing about gaskets is if you keep them in service long enough, just about every gasket ever made will, sooner or later, fail. And when it does, you have to replace it. Now, there are some things that you can do and some things that you should never do when you’re dealing with gaskets. See because modern engines are mostly made of aluminum.
One of the things you don’t do is take some kind of aggressive power tool such as we have here, and use it to grind the old gasket away because not only will you grind the old gasket away, you’ll also grind some of the aluminum away. You also don’t use anything that is abrasive because the abrasive material forms a dust as you’re working with it, that dust gets down inside the engine, and it damages various parts as they move. Even things like this look like it’s not abrasive; it actually has abrasive material built into the fibers on the pad. Alright, you also don’t use sharp instruments on aluminum.
Here’s one of the more typical things that people, especially do-it-yourselfers, have used for years. This is a wood chisel. Works great for doing things with wood, works great for removing gaskets on steel or cast-iron parts, but never use one on aluminum, and here’s why: if you’re working with the aluminum, and you get it hung up just the least little bit, now you have a gouge in the metal, and it isn’t going to seal properly, possibly ever.
Use plastic tools to remove the old gasket, use gasket removing chemicals to soften it so the plastic tool will work. And in some cases you may find that you need gasket in a can. This is for things like thermostat gaskets and where other gaskets, two of them, come together and so on. In the past, products had to cure a certain amount of time. Well some of the newer products, they don’t need a specific cure time. Makes it a lot easier and the job a lot better. And if you have a question or comment, drop me a line, right here at MotorWeek.