[Top] [All Lists]

Re: Valve cover gasket

To: Elliott DeGraff <>
Subject: Re: Valve cover gasket
From: Barney Gaylord <>
Date: Sat, 25 Dec 1999 02:03:14
At 09:26 PM 12/24/99 -0500, Elliott DeGraff wrote:
>.... I dimly recall advice to soak the gasket in water before installing
it.  Any ideas .... to assure a leak free installation?

Yes, forget the water.  The primary concern is that the valve cover has to
be flat along the bottom edge to make the gasket seal on the head.

Start by eyeballing along the edge of the cover, and if it is visibly out
of plane you can lay it on a foat surface, use the end of a 2x4 board for a
punch along the flange and pound it down with a BFH to get it close.  Then
glue the new gasket to the cover with Ultra Blue RTV, press it into place,
install it temporarily on the engine to set the gasket in place and let the
 RTV dry for an hour.

Then set the cover with gasket on a very flat surface.  A formica covered
counter top or laminated wood workbench might be flat enough, but you
should check with a straight edge first.  A heafy plate glass window like a
sliding patio door should be flat enough, but you can't pound on that of
course.  Otherwise, if the intake manifold is not on the engine the top of
the cylinder works well for the next step.  Using a very thin thickness
gauge, maybe .003", or a piece of thin shin stock, hold the cover tight
against the flat surface and poke around under the edge of the gasket with
the blade.  Where the blade slips under you have a high spot and a gap.

Here you again use the end of a short piece of 2x4 board as a punch, lay it
on the flange and whack it firmly with the BFH to bend the flange down a
bit.  The gasket will compress a little momentarily when you hit it, so the
flange will bow a bit beyond straight and then spring back some.  Then you
check again with the blade to see if it's flat.  With the gasket in there
it takes a pretty good whack to give the flange a set, so it's not likely
that you would overdo it.  When you can't fit the blade under gasket
anywhere you have it flat enough.

Then you apply a thin film of oil to the gasket to act as a release agent
so it can be easily removed in the future.  When you clamp it down with the
two retaining nuts it will squash the gasket several thousandths of an inch
to conform to the surface of the head, so no leaks possible.  Later when
you want to do a valve inspection or adjustment you just give the cover a
little thump on the side with your fist and it lifts right off.  With the
original type cork gasket glued on top and oiled once on the bottom it will
be good for several years and many inspection cycles.  When you do need to
replace the gasket it's easy to take the cover to the work bench to scrape
the old gasket off, and you don't have much of a cleanup job on the
cylinder head.

Have fun,

Barney Gaylord
1958 MGA with an attitude

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>