Yes. A lot of applications have not used actual gaskets since the late 1980's. They use silicone sealers instead, but not just anything will work. You want stuff that remains pliable and does not get hard, like a rock. From working at a very nice Chrysler dealership, I am very familiar with their products, so I will share my wondrous wisdom. They have two sealers in small tubes. One tube should be enough for an oil pan. You can buy this stuff in caulking tubes too, but that is way too much for the average person or mechanic. Those big tubes are mainly for times when a lot will be used on many projects in a short amount of time.
The black stuff stays more rubbery, but it has one notable drawback. It absolutely will not bond and seal if there is any light film of oil residue on one of the two sealing surfaces. We used this for transmission pans, but on the four speed automatics, transmission fluid will continue to drip and run down the lower edge of the sealing surface for hours after the fluid was drained. We have a few tricks that stop that dripping long enough to allow us to scrub the surface with Brake Parts Cleaner, then slap the pan on with the sealer already applied to it. That dripping will start up again in about thirty seconds, but it does not hurt if it runs down onto the sealant. The bond has already been made. You can even add the new transmission fluid right away. No need to wait for the sealant to cure.
The better stuff is the gray sealer. It cures a little harder, and it takes more work to scrape it all off next time, but it will bond and seal through a light film of oil. That is an advantage in case you overlooked a little wet area.
For whatever is left over, both of these will cure in the tube. The black stuff will become too hard to use within a few months to perhaps a year. I have had some gray stuff still be good after three years of opening the tube. Sometimes you can cut the side of the tube and get a little out for really small jobs, after it has become hard next to the opening.
The bead should start out about 3/4 the diameter of a pencil. I hold the pan just close enough that I can get three or four bolts started, then I push it up to squish out the sealant. The bolts will prevent the pan from sliding around and scraping the sealant off. Both of these will give you at least three to four minutes before they start to skin over. If you wait too long, partially-cured sealant will not bond very well.
The other manufacturers have similar sealants, and you can find them at hardware stores and auto parts stores. Some of them give off fumes that can damage the oxygen sensors in your exhaust system, so check that the product you are using is "O2 sensor safe". I suspect most sealants made for automotive use today will be acceptable.
Saturday, November 18th, 2017 AT 6:55 PM