Should i use rtv on water pump gasket


When it comes to ensuring a leak-free seal for your water pump, the use of RTV (Room-Temperature Vulcanizing) silicone can be a topic of debate among automotive enthusiasts and DIY mechanics. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore whether you should use RTV on your water pump gasket, the benefits and drawbacks, and expert recommendations to help you make the right choice.

Using RTV on Water Pump Gasket: Pros and Cons

Advantages of Using RTV on Water Pump Gasket

  • Enhanced Seal: RTV can fill minor imperfections in the mating surfaces, providing a tighter and more reliable seal.
  • Temperature Resistance: RTV is designed to withstand high temperatures, making it suitable for engines that generate heat.
  • Versatility: RTV can be used as a sealant for various engine components, offering a multipurpose solution.

Disadvantages of Using RTV on Water Pump Gasket

  • Messy Application: Applying RTV can be messy and requires careful precision to avoid excess and spills.
  • Curing Time: RTV requires time to cure properly before the engine can be operated, which can delay the assembly process.
  • Reusability: If you need to remove the water pump, the RTV-adhered gasket may not be as reusable as a conventional gasket.

Expert Advice: Should You Use RTV on Water Pump Gasket?

The decision to use RTV on your water pump gasket depends on various factors.

  • Surface Condition: If the mating surfaces are relatively smooth, a traditional gasket may suffice. RTV becomes more useful for uneven or damaged surfaces.
  • Type of Engine: High-performance engines with increased pressure and heat might benefit more from the additional sealing provided by RTV.
  • Personal Experience: Some mechanics prefer using RTV due to its reliability, while others stick to conventional gaskets for simplicity.

Step-by-Step Guide to Using RTV on Water Pump Gasket

  1. Clean Surfaces: Ensure the water pump and engine surfaces are clean and free from debris.
  2. Apply RTV: Apply a thin, even layer of RTV on the water pump or engine side of the gasket.
  3. Assemble Gasket: Place the gasket with the RTV side facing the corresponding mating surface.
  4. Tighten Bolts: Follow the manufacturer’s torque specifications to tighten the water pump bolts.
  5. Curing: Allow the RTV to cure as per the manufacturer’s instructions before running the engine.

Useful Resources Links

  1. Popular Mechanics – How to Use RTV: Step-by-step guide on using RTV sealant.
  2. Fel-Pro – RTV vs. Gaskets: Comparison of RTV sealants and conventional gaskets.

FAQs About Using RTV on Water Pump Gasket

Can RTV Be Used Instead of a Gasket?

RTV can be used as an alternative to traditional gaskets, but it’s essential to consider factors like surface condition and engine type.

How Long Does RTV Take to Cure?

Curing times vary by product, but most RTV sealants require several hours to achieve full cure.

Can I Reuse a Gasket with RTV?

While possible, removing an RTV-adhered gasket may compromise its reusability compared to a standard gasket.

Is RTV Resistant to Engine Fluids?

RTV is designed to be resistant to various engine fluids, but compatibility with specific fluids should be confirmed.

Is RTV Application Messy?

Applying RTV can be messy, so precision and care are required to avoid excess and spills.

Can I Use RTV on Both Sides of the Gasket?

RTV is typically applied to one side of the gasket, usually the side facing the engine.


Using RTV on a water pump gasket can be a beneficial choice in certain scenarios, especially when dealing with uneven surfaces or high-performance engines. However, it’s important to consider the advantages and disadvantages and evaluate your specific engine’s needs. By following expert advice and proper application techniques, you can achieve a reliable seal and maintain the performance of your engine’s cooling system.

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