Join Date: Dec 2004
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I wouldn't use RTV. The gaskets will do the job well unless you have eroded sealing surfaces. Looks like you have all the gaskets listed. Don't you need two zincs (fore and aft)? Zinc packing is copper washer, and usually reusable, but they're inexpensive so I would replace both. Soot in the manifold and exhaust elbow are not a problem, unless it is a very thick coating. It will build back up quickly. You need to run up the engine each time you run it, especially before shutdown for a minute or two, to blow any soot out.
If you were able to dig out and flush out the manifold well, and water is flowing freely through it while it is off the engine, you probably have solved your problem.