How to Properly Apply Sealant

Too much goo

No doubt about it, room temperature vulcanizing (RTV) sealants are the best thing to hit motorcycle engines since the recirculating oil pump. Unfortunately, you can sometimes have too much of a good thing. Since these sealants come in toothpaste-tube-type containers, many of us assume the material should be applied the same way. We push a long, thick bead along the gasket surface and bolt the parts together. The problem is that whatever you see ooze out has also oozed in, usually toward the center of the engine, where it can do all sorts of mischief, like plug up an oil galley or gum up a bearing. Here's the right way to go about applying an RTV sealant.

Properly apply rvt sealant
Cut the brush to at least half its original length.Cruiser
Properly applying RVT sealant
Less is more. The sealant should be almost translucent.Cruiser

Pick up a couple of acid brushes at your nearest hardware store. These normally run about 50 cents a piece. Trim the bristles to about half their length or less; what you want is a nice stiff brush. Squeeze a bit of sealant onto a piece of cardboard and use the acid brush to paint a thin film onto the gasket or gasket surface. The sealant should be almost translucent where it’s applied. When the parts are bolted together, no more than a wisp should be visible seeping from the joint. Remember, you’re only trying to fill in microscopic imperfections, not huge gaps. In this instance, neatness does count!

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