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My timing chain cover does not use a solid gasket, instead it relies on gasket maker, which is caulk-like paste. The cover is fastened by something around 20 bolts. I am curious how bad can it be if the gasket maker gets in some of the holes, impeding the bolt grip/torque.

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  • What's stopping you from cleaning the hole? I would try pouring some gasket remover in it.amazon.com/CRC-05021-Technician-Gasket-Remover/dp/B000M8IE6W
    – rana
    Sep 8 '15 at 17:59
  • it's hard to get it if it gets into the threads
    – amphibient
    Sep 8 '15 at 18:00
  • @rana - You do understand using the CRC product would be counter-productive? It would remove all of the gasket maker, not just what's in the holes. There would be no way for you to get around it. It would be a Wash; Rinse; Repeat cycle with no end (until you ran out of product). Sep 10 '15 at 0:31
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It is not going to bother it too badly. It can cause issues if you get too much into a hole. As was already stated, this can cause breakage of the block. It's called hydraulicing. I don't think you could get enough torque on these smaller bolts you are talking about to cause you any issues as the bolt would break off before it would get that tight. I have never worried about there being a small amount in this type of application. It's mainly a problem with larger bolts such as head bolts which can stand a lot more torque. Also, it doesn't usually happen with gasket maker, but if you have too much oil in the hole it can surely happen (with the larger bolts).

Basically, what happens is you have filled in the bolt hole with the liquid. When you put the bolt into the hole and force it down, the liquid does not compress, so the pressure has to go somewhere. It will find any avenue it can, so can possibly cause problems.

In some instances you want to have sealant in the holes. Holes in the block which enter into the water jacket need to be sealed. The only way you can do this is with sealant (place a small amount on the threads so it encompasses the entire bolt). This does not affect the torque of the bolt to any great extent, so there is no issue there either.

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  • all the bolts i'm dealing with on my cover are 17 ft/lbs torque ... so fairly low
    – amphibient
    Sep 9 '15 at 0:06
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    @amphibient - It's definitely not going to be an issue if you get a small amount in the holes, just don't over do it. There is almost no way for you not to get any in the holes ... it happens and not much you can do about it. Sep 9 '15 at 0:40
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If you get lots in and put the bolts in, it is possible that you could crack the head/block around the bolts. A very small amount shouldn't do any harm, but could possibly affect the torque setting. Best not get any in, though.

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