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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello guys I am having a problem and I had just gotten my 350 small block chevy done which has aluminum heads and I had a set of Moroso valve cover studs in the heads and they had like a 1/8 inch hex wrench size in the center of the stud which allows you to screw it in or take them out if needed.

The problems I have had with these on a few builds over the years is I use antiseize on them before installing them and I use the nylock nuts that come with the studs with a lock washer and a flat washer to keep them from coming loose and I torque them down to 2 ftlbs but they still leak and because of the nylock its creating more friction so I torqued to 4 ftlbs and they worked fine in the past. The flat washer is to protect my covers.

This engine here my Dad was the one who tightened the things down and he has big arms unlike me which are tiny so what is barely tight for him is super tight to me for feel wise. He tightened them down so I don't know how much as he just used a ratchet and just snugged them down.

While checking things out I found a leak on both sides and my cork gasket which nothing was put on had squished out the sides and was leaking. So I have a chevy s10 and very limited space especially on the driver side as my cover is real close to the brake booster. The other side it hits the old part of the AC unit which I don't have anything hooked up.

I am getting new gaskets and this time putting some gasket tack on them to hold them to my valve covers which always worked for me when doing that so I had to get these things off and the feel of the nylock nuts was not feeling overly tight at all bu the gaskets had to be fixed.

Anyways to the point. The problem I keep having with these studs is after they have been tightened up some times the studs will screw in so tight that if I take a 1/8 inch hex allen socket on my ratchet the studs end up stripped out and I can't get them out as I can't get a wrench on the studs to double nut it with the valve covers on and I was lucky that I got the passenger side one off but the driver side I had to work the cover back and forth and almost thought I would have to take the brake booster off.

After finally fighting things I got them all out by double nutting them but they sure was in there pretty tight by turning with a tiny wrench to me wise.

So now is my question I am thinking about going with a set of ARP valve cover studs which is below and am wondering would they work better and have less of a chance with this happening? I use Summit cast aluminum valve covers. I prefer to use studs and not bolts so the stud threads are being pulled more so then the head itself. Sorry if this sounds like a dumb question and if using the ARP studs I would most likely stay away from using any lock washers and nylock nuts and just use the nut and washer that comes with the studs and torque to 2 ftlbs which is spec and hope it seals.

I have only used bolts on iron heads in the past which has been a very long time since having a build like that and also used the T handle style which always vibrated loose. I can't remember if my Dad used any lock washers on the older builds or not but the last one I can remember had the T handle stuff which I hate.

I would just like to use studs that I can get loose with out having to go through this again and them being to tight I can't spin the ones I need out by hand somehow if I ever needed to get my covers off again and also at the same time stay tight and not come loose like the old T handle stuff.

 

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Are you talking center bolt or perimeter bolts?

Those in the linked picture are for perimeter attaching.

If these have nylocks they certainly don’t need lock washers.

Flat washer only to take the twist force of the nut install without gouging the softer aluminum

Studs need to be set with Locktite rather than anti-sieze.

Rubber gaskets not cork.

Check all the mating surfaces of the head and the covers for straightness. Cast aluminum covers in particular are often warped.

If your head’s take center bolt covers and if your not running stud girdles just get a set of center bolt covers and avoid this perimeter bolt nonsense, these have been a plague on the SBC since day one. It took the EPA ordering GM to seal up the drips in 1985 to finally get the leaking rear mains and the drippy valve covers sealed, up it only took 30 years to finally do something senseable.

Bogie
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
My heads are perimeter bolt type so four outer bolts. I know my covers and heads are not warped as they did not leak on previous build and worked just fine with cork gaskets on them and some gasket shellac. With my valve train setup I can't take center bolt covers and I don't know if my heads will accept that type. I am using Comp Cam Ultra Gold Roller rocker arms and they are pretty wide and I have not looked at my heads to see if they actually take that type. I went ahead and got me a set of ARP valve cover studs as they are a 1/4 inch shorter and might give me the needed clearance that I need without having to remove any of them.

I will look at my heads when I get my new gaskets and sealed up this weekend and see if they have that option on them and look into it.
 

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I would ditch the nyloc nuts too, just not needed and running them onto the thread the nylon friction tries to drive the stud into the hole tighter at the same time.

The studs either need to be a necked stud(or maybe the term is "shanked stud", I forget), with an unthreaded center portion that stops engagement at the top of the hole rather than the thread bottoming out.
When a threaded stud bottoms out, it deforms the very first thread on the stud, and it then tries to mangle all the threads in the hole when you try to back it out...or it does tear them all out forcing you to repair it..
The ARP's you linked are exactly it.

2nd way is a small ball bearing in the bottom of the hole, for the fully threaded stud to seat against before it hits those partial tapped threads in the bottom of the hole.

3rd way is loctite them in.

They have to be in solid enough the increased friction of the nylock isn't effecting the studs, just influencing the clamp load.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks Ericnova72 for the tips along with Bogie. I can't use center bolt covers as my heads does not have that provision and with my roller rocker arms I doubt it would clear anything like that anyways. I will use the tiny ball bearing deal with the studs if I can find one small enough somewhere but I live in a tiny town and not much around here except fast food joints and auto stores.

I measured and my thread depth in the heads are about half an inch from the top of the flat to the bottoming of the hole. As far as a ball bearing size I would not know what would be a good enough size to allow the stud to go far enough in while not to far and still be good.
 

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With the ARP shanked studs, you don't need to do the ball bearing trick.

The ball bearing deal is just a way to prevent a fully threaded stud from trying to drive into the untapped bottom of the hole.

if you do need a ball bearing, a common .177" pellet gun BB will do the job in a 1/4" hole.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I got my ARP studs stuck on and new gaskets and I can say the quarter of an inch shorter that they are allow me to keep all four studs in on each side and even though its a really tight fight I can take my valve covers off and not have to take the studs out and the bullet tips on the top sure make the nuts to go down nicer. I just used the hardened washers and the nuts from ARP on these and no lock washers and no nylock nuts and just used my ratchet and went wrist tight and got my inch pound torque wrench out and very carefully tightened them to 24 inch pounds which should hopefully be enough to keep them leak free and I put some gasket shellac on the gaskets and squished the covers down on them over the studs and looked like it went well. I have to get my rad and a few other things put back together and will see how it all goes. Thanks all for you help and appreciate it.
 
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