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Old 08-06-2004, 11:26 PM
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valve cover gasket keeps leaking!

Well, i'm on my second set of valve cover gaskets and now they are leaking.
My first set (Felpro cork) on the new engine had about 1500 miles when they started leaking bad. I talked to the machine shop and they suggested the new black composite HP gaskets. Put them on about a month ago and now they are leaking and i'm getting pissed.

I"ve been putting them on dry as I don't like the mess of having to scrape off all the gasket sealer crap when I pull the covers.

My son has the high dollar silicone/steel core gaskets on his 400 and its as dry as a bone, BUT, I have stock heads and don't have the nice smooth machined surface for those gaskets to seal against. I have stock heads with the rounded bumpy surface.


I'm running the Proform tall covers. They are flat and straight and don't bend at the bolts, so I don't think they are the problem. I also have a good working PCV system so pressure is not an issue either.

I don't like having to glue them on but i'm open for suggestions to stop the leaks.

Any ideas?

Thanks.
Mark

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Old 08-07-2004, 08:36 AM
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Buy the basic cork gaskets and coat them good with vaseline, let them sit a while and use your fingers to press it in, the gasket will absorb it, it`ll keep them moist and they seal a lot better and keep a seal for a long time. if your using just a bolt and not a load spreader I`d get some load spreaders. also make sure you go back and check the bolts tightness after a few days run time.
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Old 08-07-2004, 09:33 AM
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I agree with D.V., load spreaders will help on stamped valve covers! On problems like yours my solution would be to use the double thickness cork gaskets (make sure that your bolts are long enough) and clean the mating surfaces with alcohol before assembly! This has been a sure fix for me over the years!! Personally, I don't like putting silicon or anything on the gaskets because they slip around as soon as you start tightening the bolts!
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Old 08-07-2004, 09:48 AM
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If you are using a stamped steel cover, I've had good luck using a thin film of rtv to cement the gasket to the valve cover (letting it dry) and using the long load spreaders. I use the VS12869AC Fel-Pro gasket. It's cork and is thicker than the normal one.

tom
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Old 08-07-2004, 10:33 AM
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Thanks everyone for the replies. Guess its off to the store again! Last set the machine shop gave me, but I don't want to push my welcome. LOL

The Proform covers are 3 times thicker than stock (or so they claim). They are heavy and i've not noticed any bending around the bolt holes like on stock GM covers.

In the "old days", I'd glue the gasket to the covers with 3M Weatherstrip adhesive and then put them on and had good luck, but I hated the job of removing the glue after it dried.

As soon as my son finishes putting a compressor and drier on his buddies Honda, guess I'll pull my truck in and go to work. Glad its an easy job! My wifes '86 smogger Caprice is in need of VC gaskets too, but they are buried under a mile of hoses, brackets and wires. That one may take all day.

Mark
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Old 08-08-2004, 12:51 AM
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I still use yellow 3M to glue cork gaskets to the covers, & Permatex #3 (aviation) or Super 300 liquid on the bottom side. Let the Permatex soak in, then brush on some more. Add load spreaders, & as long as the flange is straight, it works fine. Cork gaskets should be retightened after a week or two, & again after a year or so. A soak in gasoline will loosen the 3M if you need to remove it.

Mr. Gasket Load Spreaders for SBC:

pn 6395..........gold iridited
pn 6396..........chrome
pn 6397..........black
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Old 08-08-2004, 02:56 AM
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valve cover gaskets

J-Mark ; Im not trying to be smart , but why would you worry about cleaning off the gasket goop or dont like to . I mean you dont change them that often do you. the main thing is not leaking and silicone peels off when your going to redo . I think youve been doing them right by gluing the gasket to the valve cover all along ! thats the way Ive always done it ; then you can usually remove the cover to readjust the valves etc. Like what one of the guys said I would coat the bottom cork with something to soften it up. the only problem I ever had was with an S10 that I sols about a year ago: the passenger valve cover leaked when I got it and it leaked when I got rid of it . I tried every thing , straightening the holes etc. I believe there was some kind of defect in the head ! sounds crazy but ! Got a new valve cover for it but someone offered me a thousand dollars so I sold that headache . I dumped alot of good oil down her and sucked in alot off it after burning on the exhaust . If possible Ive always used aluminum covers on my Chevys. thanks
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Old 08-08-2004, 03:53 AM
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Mark, I too have the Proform stamped steal rocker covers on my sbc. The heads have the rough 'as casted' surface for the gaskets to seal against, but to my surprise Mark they're not leaking 8 months after installation! I bought the re-usable rubber gaskets and used RTV silicone to seal them onto the rocker covers. I used clothes pegs to hold the gaskets into placed whilst the silastic cured. I particularly concentrated the pegs around the corners as the gaskets were wanting to pull inwards. With the silastic cured, I had perfectly fitted gaskets on the rocker covers and I knew that the gaskets will stay in position during assembly. I also knew that there's no way oil was going to seep between the rockers and the gaskets due to the cured silastic. I did'nt use any silastic between the gaskets and the heads to assist in future removal of the covers. I used the load spreaders supplied and used firm, but not excessive pressure on the bolts.
In your case, you may have an irregular casting surface that may be contributing to your problem. I'm suggesting for you to jack up the car one side at a time to get the cylinder heads level to keep the oil off the head rails. Clean the rails with solvent then dry them with a clean rag/paper towel. Now you'll have the perfect opportunity the positively seal this bugger. With the gasket already fitted and sealed onto the rocker cover apply RTV silicone to the gasket and fit the rocker cover onto the dry head rail and torque it down. Leave the car up on its side for 2 hours or more and repeat the same on the other side. Or you could just wipe the excess oil away from the head assembly rather than lifting the car on its side, but you'll always find that persistent oil dribble reappearing. Any oil contamination would render the RTV silicone seal as useless. Rob
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Old 08-08-2004, 07:20 AM
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I use Mr. Gasket...........the ones with the double cork and metal in between. The number escapes me at this time. The speed shop here in town keeps them in stock...........for all the dirt track boys.

They are kinda HIGH....... but they work for me....


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Old 08-08-2004, 08:18 AM
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I gave up on cork gaskets and now use Fel-Pro's #1628 silicone based gaskets on my SBC. They work great (at least with aluminum valve covers), no mess and they are reusable. For $46.95, they have been worth every penny. Good luck, Ed www.edgesz28.com

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Old 08-08-2004, 11:41 AM
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Ok, I give in! I"m off to Checker for some 3M and Permatex #2, just like I used to do it. I can't stand the leaks! And I don't like seeing my synthetic oil ($$$$) dripping either.
LOL Nice pretty engine, nice clean driveway. I may have a spare pair of the Felpro cork, so i'll give it one more try before trying the 'spensive ones like my son used.
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Old 08-08-2004, 09:43 PM
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I am just going to throw this out there.......Why not get you a set of $50 cast aluminum ebay covers instead of spending money on gaskets. I have a cheap set from ebay with straight cork gaskets and they seal tight.

Chris
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Old 09-06-2004, 04:51 PM
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Well, after tightening the VCs one more time last week and then cleaning the engine AGAIN!, the leaks continued, so today I got my new cork gaskets and glued them to my Proform covers with Yellow Death, then gooed up the other side with Permatex #2 and nailed em down. Let it set for 4 hours before firing. Cleaned the engine again and will see how this goes.
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Old 09-06-2004, 05:01 PM
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I have the same covers but short ones.
I use the cork felpro gaskets.I put um on so that the 4hole side(ones with the 265 bolt pattern)is up near the intake.I clean the cover rails w/ brakleen I coat the valve cover with Ultra blue RTV just a skim,I spread it on with my finger then stick the gasket on to the cover then fill the 265 holes with asmall dap and wipe it flush and bolt um on after a few minutes of cureing.
Works good for me.
I also have stock heads w/ the as cast rails.

Last edited by 78 monte; 09-06-2004 at 05:14 PM.
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