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Discussion Starter #1
OK, its time to change valve cover gaskets on my leaky 1970 Chevelle, 350. Got a few questions for the experts:
1. What type of gasket should I use?
2. Should I use RTV or just a dry gasket?
3. What is the torque of the valve cover bolts?
Any other tips would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks in advance, from a novice, but eager to learn, mechanic!!!!
 

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Fel-pro now makes a rubber composite gasket with a steel core and load limiters around the bolt holes, for early small-blocks. I can't remember the part number, but those are the ones to buy and you don't have to worry about bolt torque!
 

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1.Cork
2.Ultra-blue (or equivelent) sheetmetal side.
3.Two-fingers tight.

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Harley
69 461 El Camino Nitrous Model
69 Chevelle coupe
71 SS Camaro
75 L-82 Corvette
71 Gremlin X
Kerrville,Tx.
 

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A little tip. Alot of people think lots of silicon is better than just a bit, dont do it! Just use enough(applied to the valvecover) to keep the gasket in place so you can line it up. I've used this method everytime and seems to work like a charm! No leaks!
BTW- I agree FelPro cork gaskets, blue RTV, Harleys 2 fingers tight is pretty good too you wont be having fun if you strip out the threads!

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Steve
64SS-327-4spd-sold to Original owner!
65 Malibu 283/PG!!!
www.angelfire.com/ca4/chevelle/
Team Chevelle Member #71
 

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My father just replaced the valve cover gaskets on his 1976 Corvette. He used Felpro's new Perma Dry maybe, maybe it was perma Torque, I'm not sure. They were about $50. You can't overtorque them and you don't use any sealant. You install them dry. I believe the gaskets were blue and red.

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Bryan Shook
Burgettstown, Pa
1972 El Camino
 

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Bryan, 50 bucks for valve cover gaskets? Ouch!! D Smith; Take a look at the area near the bolt holes in the valve covers. If it is bent away from the bolt heads you'll have to overtighten the bolts to stop leaks. Turn the valve cover upside down and put the flange on a straight hard surface and lightly hit with hammer to get it straight. Be sure to use the load spreader washers when putting together. Light coat of RTV seems to help stop seepage. tom
 

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tom3 been there done that. Not fun! But no leaks now!

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Steve
64SS-327-4spd-sold to Original owner!
65 Malibu 283/PG!!!
www.angelfire.com/ca4/chevelle/
Team Chevelle Member #71
 

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Another thing about the expensive rubber gasketswith the steel core, and steel grommets to prevent over-tightening----they're re-useable! If you need to remove the valve covers all you have to do is wipe the oil of all of the mating surfaces until they are dry, and bolt them back together. Do that 4-5 times and $50 doesn't seem so bad. The shop that built my big block used these, and I've had them off probably 5 times (long frustrating story), had to restraighten the covers once as tom3 suggested, but no leaks. Another trick with cork and RTV method is to only finger tighten the bolts when assembling, then come back the next day (if you can wait that long) and snug the bolts up a bit more with a wrench or rachet. This works very well, not only on VC gaskets, but also them cheap pesky chrome thermostat housings, or just about anywhere you are inclined to use permatex on.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
OK, got the cork gaskets on and put them on finger tight. I used sealant on the cover side to hold the gasket in place. No other place was the sealant used. I fired her up and it leaks horribly. Should I have waited a day for the gaskets to seat? Not sure but any tips or help would be greatly appreciated to this first timer!!!! THANKS AGAIN!!!
 

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Remove both covers. Place gasket side down on a reasonably flat surface gentely press down on each corner. Could be the covers are tweked. Also there may be a hunk of old gasket still attached to the head. Try a set of those load spreading washers ( there about 3/8 wide and 3to4 inches long, I get mine from the bone yard). Two fingers tight is just enough to compress the gasket, but not squeeze it out,same for oil pan.
Yes you should have let the sealer set awhile.
Are you useing stock or aftermarket covers?
Where the covers clean and oil free before you applied the sealent?
Slow down look closley at both mating surfaces, something is wrong with something as there are millions out there that are not leaking.

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Harley
69 461 El Camino Nitrous Model
69 Chevelle coupe
71 SS Camaro
75 L-82 Corvette
71 Gremlin X
Kerrville,Tx.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Harley,
Thanks for you continued help. Thes are the stock covers and appear to be the first time they have been replaced. I cleaned the mating surface of the cover very well. I also cleaned the mating surface of the head. Maybe more time could have been spent there. I will put extra attention when I pull them on the straightness of the cover. Also, there are some oddly shaped washers that came on the vehicle. I am assuming that this is what you are talking about. By the way you explain this, it seems very easy. I am thinking that the gasket is getting mis-aligned when the cover is placed on the head. Again, thanks a lot.
 

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Sometimes helps to get a small mirror and use to look at the edge of the underside of the valve cover after intall. Shine a light into the mirror and it will light up and reflect the area at the same time. Should see gasket edge all around.
 

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The odd shaped washers are stock ( about a inch long). the one's I am talking about are similar but much longer and thicker. Most parts stores have them.
Try applying sealent to the sheetmetal, carefully place gasket and then lay gasket side down on a flat surface for a while, overnight if you can.

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Harley
69 461 El Camino Nitrous Model
69 Chevelle coupe
71 SS Camaro
75 L-82 Corvette
71 Gremlin X
Kerrville,Tx.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I will try that tonight. One more question. Since I have to get new gaskets, should I go with the rubber or cork? Sounds like some people use one, and some use the other.
 

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Six of one half dozen of the other to me,what ever comes in the kit. But I'am a whore. Which ever one you decide stay with as you learn to deal with such problems and get to know what they "feel" like when properly installed.

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Harley
69 461 El Camino Nitrous Model
69 Chevelle coupe
71 SS Camaro
75 L-82 Corvette
71 Gremlin X
Kerrville,Tx.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
OK, here's the skinny. Got the valve covers off, removed the gaskets, again, cleaned, cleaned, cleaned. And then cleaned some more. Both surfaces. Noticed a slight bend and tried to straighten as good as I could have. Put the rubber gaskets on the covers with a bit of sealant, then installed onto engine. Got the bolts finger tight. Let it sit over night then snugged up a bit this afternoon about a 1/4 of a turn with the wrench. They seeped a bit so I cleaned it up, then tightened a bit more with the wrench. This seems to have stopped most, if not all of the seepage. If it is leaking, it is a small amount and it is enough to live with. Thanks for all of the help from you guys!!! Couldn't have done it with out you!!!!

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D Smith ALABAMA 1970 Chevelle 350
 
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