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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,
I have a a 1986 Interstate 1200.
It has a leak at the thermostat housing that leaked into the timing belt cover. The bike has about 66,000 miles, I've owned it just over a year.

Since I don't know the service history, I've decided to change the timing belts and have the radiator checked while the radiator is off.

The bike also gets hot when you slow down from 65+mph and although the seep hole is not leaking, I plan on replacing the water pump since I'll have the radiator off (I've read that the bike getting hot like that might be a sign the water pump is going).

So, I've read a lot and watched some videos and I have a few questions before I begin. One blog post suggested using a gasket remover to help get the old gasket off the transmission cover and the engine. Does anyone know if the gasket removers available at the local auto parts store are aluminum friendly? I would hate to use a gasket remover and have it pit the aluminum. I bought a plastic scraper, and I hope the plastic scraper and a scotchbrite green pad will do the trick, but I thought I would ask the forum for advice on the best way to remove the old gasket without damaging the engine or transmission cover.

I also read there will probably be sludge that needs to be cleaned out and one blogger suggested brake cleaner. Is break cleaner also OK for aluminum?

Thanks in advance for your help,
-Bobby
 

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If you are talking a spray gasket remover it should be aluminum friendly since so many parts are made of it. My Mustang ('83) had an aluminum timing cover and I am sure I used it there, but check the label. I prefer to scrape then off (new razor blade or plastic. See what works and go careful) or use a scotch brite type pad. A very thin coat of RTV grey (the most coolant resistant) will easily seal any imperfections created or existing.
Brake cleaner should also be fine as some calipers are aluminum. I would spray a rag and wipe because that stuff really shoots out and is not that paint friendly.
With all the stuff off you can pour distilled water through the system to help remove any sediments. You could use a hose, but there are minerals in tap water that can lead to corrosion. Since the cooling system is so small, a gallon of distilled should get a fair amount out of the block and be easy to catch in a pan.
 

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I've heard aircraft stripper works well, but will of course remove paint. It is sold as a gel also and could be brushed on. I hate scraping gaskets.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks guys,
When I checked the water pump I realized a previous owner must have changed it already.
I'm going to trust he did the job was done correctly, so I'm holding off for now.
I had the radiator serviced and changed the thermostat, so I'm hoping that solves the problem.
Someone used a silicon sealant on the thermostat that I had to scrape off and I used a plastic "razor" blade that worked pretty well.
Thanks for the replies.
-Bobby
 
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