How to clean RTV from polished aluminum surfaces?

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I am doing a top-end rebuild on a Toyota 2GR-FE engine that includes resealing the timing cover, camshaft housings and upper oil pan. All of these surfaces are a “polished aluminum” that are as shiny and smooth as a mirror. There is no cross-hatching from the factory.

What is the best way to fully remove all of the old rtv? I generally use lots of plastic razor blades followed by a small piece of red scotchbrite (by hand) to remove any remnants. However, I think the scotchbrite will dull the finish here.

Here are the results from using only plastic razor blades:
0BEFD4D6-2D39-494A-BCD2-CBCCFA02C6A5.jpeg


45A00609-1EF9-4725-8C1F-42704DAD186B.jpeg

A9D3B554-685F-4A73-A2D2-80E1A9023C73.jpeg

As you can see, there is still some rtv embedded on the surface. It almost looks like staining at this point.

What is the best way to finish cleaning this?
 
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This and a new plastic razor blade..

 

JHZR2

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Does the polish really matter? I’d almost think that the rtv would have more bite if not ultra smooth.

I do get not wanting to damage it necessarily, and I do get not wanting old rtv on there…

Does the solvent in rtv soften up old rtv?
 

The Critic

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This and a new plastic razor blade..

Thanks but none is in-stock locally. I found some ZC-30A from the local Ford dealer, though.

Does the polish really matter? I’d almost think that the rtv would have more bite if not ultra smooth.

I do get not wanting to damage it necessarily, and I do get not wanting old rtv on there…

Does the solvent in rtv soften up old rtv?
Supposedly maintaining the surface finish is paramount. GM's TSB says that leaving some small amounts of RTV residue won't impact sealing:
 

JTK

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Nice!

Never thought about a product like this for automotive RTV removal. I've used an Elmer's glue looking product for household silicone sealer removal. I'd have to google it to recall the product name. Like trav said, it turns it to mush quickly and it all wipes/rinses away such that it doesn't effect the new bead of product.

Critic, knowing your work, that 'yota motor will be better than new when you're done with it.
 
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It looks fine as-is, RTV can handle much rougher surfaces than that, but if you really must strive for perfection you could scotch brite it, and even polish it if you're a masochist. ;)
 
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You are 100% correct and for good reason. The micro sized dust particles of the ceramic and aluminum oxide blend they use gets into everything and passes even be most efficient oil filters it then finds it way right into the engines bearing surfaces causing unseen but very real damage.
No manufacturer advocates their use on engine surfaces in fact they strictly forbid their use. They have their place on external parts for rust and paint removal.
 
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Ford surface prep wipes are awesome. I'll use a wire wheel or scrub pad if necessary but only if it is a part that I can thoroughly wash afterwards to get all of the bits out of.
 
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