Timing cover coolant leak again, gasket or sealent this time? | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Timing cover coolant leak again, gasket or sealent this time?


May 23, 2016
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Year, Model & Trim Level
96 Ford Explorer
I have a 96 explorer 5.0 awd. I have replaced the timing chain cover gasket around 15,000 miles ago. I cleaned it all up spotless and used a new timing cover at that time. I used a light coat of rtv on both sides of the felpro gasket. All torqued down and allowed to sit 24 hrs before fluids. Noticed the coolant ports are leaking at the block again. Wondering if there's a better way to seal the cover to block, maybe no gasket and using the right stuff or ultra black RTV? Maybe using the right stuff and the felpro gasket? That's basicly what I did last time but RTV, and it leaked again. Don't want to do this again in a couple yrs. Thanks

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Cover is warped I bet, happened to me. Got it right the 3rd time in 40k miles lol. You can see in the pic where the sanding had not made it to the low spot yet. I just glued a peice of 180 grit to my dead flat metal table and went at it.

Resized_20220102_150552.jpeg Resized_20220102_145055.jpeg

Good info from both of you, thank you. I will be following the advice in both of those posts. Still somewhat considering getting rid of the gasket, for the timing cover only, and using permetex the right stuff only? Maybe that's not the best idea? Have never used that particular sealent, but have read good things about it.

Someone made a metal gasket and coated it in high torque grey rtv and hasn't had an issue. I wouldn't try it without a gasket though.

Factory style gasket coated in copper spray is probably best option if you want to add any sealant. Don't forger rtv at bottom corners and oil pan hoop.

I purchased the cometic c5660-020. It has not arrived yet, but hopefully is good quality. I'm going to put a light coating of permatex the right stuff black sealant on the back of the timing chain cover and the front of the block where the gasket sits. With any luck I will not be doing this job again in a year and a half. Thanks for the help.

I sandwich the gasket with Permatex ultra
Same for waterpump
Same for oil pan with a little dab at the corners
I use a LIGHT FILM of silicon on both sides of the gaskets

New timing covers (mexico reman) are avail on Ebay, used to be under $100
JB weld can be used to make up any small gouges or dents from prying the cover off, but I usually just swap with a known good one (I keep one good one on hand all times, will order new one if I know 5.0 timing cover job coming up, saves downtime)
warped covers can be sanded or just replaced with new (parts are cheap labor is $$$)

Not a job you want to do in the vehicle often, so going slow and doing it right is key
as well as using some permatex to make up for imperfections

Are all the new TCs good? Pioneer, ATP, Dorman?

VERY important to Tap Threads Clean - Wire brush Fasteners & use Anti Seize.


Anti-seize, or thread sealent? Are all the holes blind holes? None of them go into coolant passages?

Anti-seize, or thread sealent? Are all the holes blind holes? None of them go into coolant passages?
I think the upper left ones in my pic go to coolant passage, why that one fails first probably, I used RTV on those 2 - Anti seize on the rest - I just cleaned & reused the Fact Pan Gasket ends at Timing Cover instead of the crap Gasket in the Kit - I just covered the pan opening w/ rag then flushed pan w/ Kerosene at the end.