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4 chevys and a ford
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I have had 3 of these, early 2000's v6 vortecs.
They have all had problems leaking; oil pan, front cover, and rear.
Even the valve covers, with brand new seals, will start leaking in short order.
The PVC valve is fine.
I dont even know how many front covers Ive done over there years.
One was poorly manufactured. I didnt find out until later. Though it leaked the same as the others
One time I was able to keep the pan leak free for a long time. I just went around the whole freaking pan with RTV, on the outside of the gasket. That worked for a long while.

My engine latest engine has about 100k miles.
I got an oil change the other day, and then it promptly started leaking, bad.
My first thought....they stripped my oil pan bolt.
That wasnt it. Its leaking between the block and trans.
The rest of the pan is pretty dry, so i'm thinking the rear main went out.
I also wondered if the put too much oil in it. Could that raise pressure inside, and ruin seals?
My dip stick broke, and my new one is not in yet. So I cant check yet.

What am I missing? Are these engines just prone to leaking? I follow install directions with everything, and it will still leak, in a short amount of time.
Are there some tricks? Time tested hacks from chevy builders?
Im looking at pulling the trans, to see whats going on, but damn, if I do that, I want the best seal money can buy, and years of leak free rear main.
Any advice from 4.3 enthusiasts would be greatly appreciated!
 

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4 chevys and a ford
Joined
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614 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
So i'm not the only one who puts RTV where here should be none. I have not tried it on the valve covers, yet. Such a pain to clean up when putting new gaskets on.
Its seems like a great idea; gaskets that dont require RTV,...if it would work.
I used the tack spray on the water pump. It worked great, and made it quite easy to put the pump on.

So why dont they work as designed? I have used new gaskets on the valve covers, multiple times. I replace them every time I have the covers off. Even when the gaskets seem fine, still new.
And it still slightly leaks at the back outside corners. Not enough to get on the ground,
but enough to piss you off after busting your butt cleaning up and restoring everything. Do older vortec valve covers just leak? Period. Maybe the plastic covers warp over time?
 

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Yea the vortec covers have a shallow area that covers the gasket that combined with the bolts not pressing down on the corners leaving recesses for oil and the oil running down the inside and often onto the top of a gasket is a recipe for leaks.

A thin coat of sealant seals things up making up for any gaps. Only after you try a felpro blue gasket and still have leaks. The felpro blue gasket by itself is sometimes enough.

The aftermarket has addressed the issue with ones that have thicker sides and ribs inside so the corners are pressed down.

Check and clean your stud/bolt holes. Often dirty holes can give false torque readings.
 

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BS
If it leaks, your doing something wrong.
Yes.
I am very picky about clean engine bays.
My junk does not leak.

A majority of the time felpro blue (reusable) gaskets are enough. Sometimes switching a better cover with a better design is enough. When those don't work then I use permatex.

Now before you go blaming the gaskets. Look at the pvc system. If your building pressure in the pan the thing is going to relieve that pressure somehow.

I like to paint my blocks a bright color like silver or such. This shows leaks easily and allows for me to wipe down the block to trace leaks fairly accurately.

Now I will pull a engine to do a oil pan. It is just easier.

I have done rear mains and oil pans on my back sometimes with the engine hanging from a picker to have a few extra inches to do a quick fix when I punched a hole in the pan etc. But generally I will just pull the entire thing (usually with exhaust manifolds attached) when I have a weekend to do it right.
 
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