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Ndawg12

Leaking Valve Cover Gasket

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Ndawg12

I can push down on the cover and it will flex ever so slightly, compress the gasket, and I can see some oil move.  Thinking I might have some seepage through that gasket as I seem to find a little oil in random spots/areas around the engine.  Are those 3 torx bolts the only thing holding the valve cover on?  For as much of the gasket that I can see (the outer edge) it doesn't appear to be damaged or anything.  Wondering if 3 bolts down the center of a semi-flexible/not entirely rigid cover is adequate to seal up the entire outer edge.  FWIW I did tighten those torx bolts the other night, got an extra 180 on each of them, cleaned up a stretch of gasket, and it was oily again 2 days later.

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minnmarker

Don't you just hate random fluids in the bilge?  Yep, bolts down the middle.

If it started to leak, tightening probably won't stop it - as you found out.  Get a couple new gaskets (do the other side too) and a torque wrench if you don't have one.  Clean up the mating surfaces real good, put everything together, and you should be good to go.  Bakes should have the gaskets and be able to tell you the torque specs and tightening order.  Probably unnecessary but you could get a straight edge and check to make sure the cover is not warped.  If the cover has any dents on the top or sides get a new one as it will probably not mate correctly with the head.

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Ndawg12

Yeah I'm leery that the covers are warped, sunken down too far in the center, pulling up the edges.  

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Woodski

@Ndawg12:  What engine do you have, there should be 4 valve cover hold down bolts if a SBC.  Sounds like you have the center-bolt style covers and yes the bolts are the only items holding the valve covers in place.  As for gaskets, there are two styles, cork and rubber.  Due to the engine tilt, there does exist the opportunity for weepage at the rear of the cylinder head.  There are also a variety of replacement options, including cast aluminum ones if a replacement is needed.

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Ndawg12
1 hour ago, Woodski said:

@Ndawg12:  What engine do you have, there should be 4 valve cover hold down bolts if a SBC.  Sounds like you have the center-bolt style covers and yes the bolts are the only items holding the valve covers in place.  As for gaskets, there are two styles, cork and rubber.  Due to the engine tilt, there does exist the opportunity for weepage at the rear of the cylinder head.  There are also a variety of replacement options, including cast aluminum ones if a replacement is needed.

I'm sorry, there are 4 bolts.  383 Hammerhead.  It appears the gasket is a grey rubber.  

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Woodski

@Ndawg12:  Another area that can fool you on where the oil is coming from is the breather grommets / fittings / hose on the valve covers.  Just a slight leak/mist can end up looking like the valve cover gaskets are leaking.  Take a white paper towel and wipe the various areas and see if you get any oil residue.  Good luck.  If you find your covers are warped, you do have various options from which to choose including cast aluminum which can be stiffer.  Available at Jeg's, Summitt Racing or various  auto parts stores.

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