New valve covers
I decided to add a little bling to my engine with new polished aluminum valve covers. Should have been a simple 10 minute job. The original covers had rubber, reusable gaskets, but the shop said I needed thicker steel-core gaskets for these new covers. I swapped the new covers on, with the new gaskets, piece of cake. The next day I noticed the left cover was leaking a bit - it was loose. I thought I had carefully snugged it up the night before. Checked the right cover, still nice and tight. A few days later, headed to a cruise, I was smoking like a chimney! Got home, checked it out. Left cover fine, tight and not leaking. Right cover seemed tight, but was leaking like crazy. The gasket had worked itself inward on the bottom side.
When I got this engine, it had two hooks on it for hoisting. I took the front one off right away, but the back one didn't seem to be in the way of anything, so I left it on. The flange on the new valve covers is a little wider than the originals, so it pushed up against that bracket, forcing the cover off to the side just a little - enough that after a few heat/cool cycles, the gasket was able to squeeze out from between the head and the cover!
I took the bracket off, which allowed the cover to seat properly. I re-used the original rubber gasket, which sealed just fine. (shop was wrong) No more leaks, just the aftermath of all that oil blowing all under the car. I have a large clean-up job ahead of me.
Lesson learned (again) - even a little simple job can turn into a big mess if you don't take your time and pay attention to the little things.