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Old 07-23-2006, 05:07 PM
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Valve Covers - Aluminum vs. Chrome

I just yanked the chrome valve covers off my 1971 Firebird Formula 455. They were installed on the car when I bought it and when I took them off to address a small leak, I discovered that the gasket rails were pretty bent up and there was enough sealant to make two additional gaskets. It was all over the back of the driver's side head, the inside of the valve cover, and even on a couple rocker arms!

As a result, I'm going to order new covers so I was wondering what are the advantages of aluminum covers versus chrome. I'm not sure if it makes any difference but I have Edelbrock Aluminum heads.

Thanks in advance!

Forgot to mention that I have aluminum Harland 1.65 roller rocker arms instead of and Rhodes lifters so clearance may be an issue.

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Old 07-23-2006, 05:50 PM
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personal preference. I prefer chrome. a little chrome polish once in a while and they shine forever. aluminum, you forget to polish it and your back to the drawing board. brown tripolli over the buffing wheel, buff with that, then go to a white buffing compound for the finish, if you forget about polished aluminum, you will need to know that.
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Old 07-23-2006, 05:57 PM
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I like the look of aluminum myself, natural or polished. Sure it's a little higher maintenance but I think it looks sooo much better. You can get the heavy cast aluminum valve covers that have very thick machined sealing surfaces that wont bend and distort like stamped steel can. Of course, if you use new gaskets and don't overtorque the bolts in the first place you shouldn't have any problems to begin with...
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Old 07-23-2006, 06:39 PM
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I like the look of chrome as long as they dont have Edelbrock, Moroso, or some other brand name on them. Aluminum covers seal better and will not distort when tightened down. The key though with either is to use decent gaskets. Moroso makes an EPDM gasket with a steel inner core that is superb. Use no glue/sealer on them though. That stuff has never stopped any leaks and causes big problems if you ever have to remove the cover. If you must use some to hold it to the cover, only use the minimum amount and put it on the cover only.

Vince
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Old 07-23-2006, 09:34 PM
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3M 80001 molding adhesive works great for holding on all kinds of gaskets, from tranny pan gaskets to water neck gaskets. I'v used it on V/C gaskets too. don't need a bead, just enough to coat the surface yellow. it's a yellow goop and most mechanics refer to it as monkey snot.
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Old 07-23-2006, 09:57 PM
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I prefer the cast aluminum after suffering with the bendable (translation: leaky) stamped types. It has an understated look.

Also, there's chrome and there's chrome. I've seen (and experienced) rust breaking through the cheap chrome jobs.
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Old 07-24-2006, 06:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matt167
3M 80001 molding adhesive works great for holding on all kinds of gaskets, from tranny pan gaskets to water neck gaskets. I'v used it on V/C gaskets too. don't need a bead, just enough to coat the surface yellow. it's a yellow goop and most mechanics refer to it as monkey snot.
That is too much, all you need is several drops placed around the gasket to hold it in place. If the gasket will stay in place without the adhesive that is the preferred method. The yellow snot just causes problems down the road if you have to go back into the part. That stuff is very hard to scrape off. I rue the day when people started using that %$#% to glue gasket on.

Just about all gasket manufacturers advise using no sealer or glue.

Vince

Vince
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Old 07-24-2006, 07:01 AM
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Why not use Chrome plated Aluminum?
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Old 07-24-2006, 08:14 AM
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remember chrome holds in heat,looks great but engines are a give and take.to benifit in one place you lose in another.you have to deside what you want.felpro also makes thicker valve cover gaskets that will help with your clearance issue.
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Old 07-24-2006, 08:32 AM
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The gasket flange on the chrome valve covers will distort and the aluminum valve covers will crack or break around the bolt hole covers if overtighened. I think it is just personal preference what type of valve cover you use. The brand of valve cover and the gasket will be the determining factor on how much they leak or don't. I have found out myself that cheap valve covers and gaskets just don't seal.
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Old 07-24-2006, 08:35 AM
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chrome

In my shop if a customer wants anything chrome on the engine i make them sign a paper that i am not responsible for leaks.....

I hate chrome, It all comes from china and it all leaks!!!

Sorry if thats to harsh!!!!


Keith
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Old 07-24-2006, 09:06 AM
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Aluminum

First thing I try to do on all of my cars is replace the tin valve covers. I love the Mickey Thompson valve covers but cant get them anymore. I have plain aluminum on my car and don't really care about the shine, just wanted something that wouldn't leak.
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Old 07-24-2006, 09:09 AM
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The 3M adhesive is easily dissolved by REAL brakleen(not the cheap no name crap), or permatex #4MA gasket remover. I do agree, however, that it can make removal of the gasket a bit of a bear. On v/c, I use about five (small) spots of adhesive, so if I need back in there in the future, I am only scraping the bare minimum. Ask any mechanic, we all hate scraping.

BTW, my vote is for aluminium, as when used with a good quality gasket and tightend properly, they rarely leak.
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Old 07-24-2006, 09:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 302/Z28
That is too much, all you need is several drops placed around the gasket to hold it in place. If the gasket will stay in place without the adhesive that is the preferred method. The yellow snot just causes problems down the road if you have to go back into the part. That stuff is very hard to scrape off. I rue the day when people started using that %$#% to glue gasket on.

Just about all gasket manufacturers advise using no sealer or glue.

Vince

Vince
I learned to use it in my autoshop class. we use 3M rolloc discs to scrape gaskets. but yeah, your right, only need a little to hold it. we only use it when it is nesasary. tranny pans are the most common thing we use it on.
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Old 07-24-2006, 10:36 AM
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valve covers

my personal preference is aluminum. chrome holds the heat in and i run a SB Chevy 400, .030 over so i know about heat issues, they are known for it. you can't match the good look of aluminum either. aluminum also keeps valve noise to a minimum. as far as gaskets, i like the rubber with steel core in them. i've had to take my covers off a few times for adjustments and they seal right back up, no leaks, no sealant.
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