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Re: Valve cover gasket

To: Barney Gaylord <>
Subject: Re: Valve cover gasket
From: Elliott DeGraff <>
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 1999 11:15:25 -0500
Many thanks to Barney and Valerie for your advice on installing the new
gasket leak free.  Now if only I can convince my wife to let me use the
kitchen counter as a work bench:-)  After all, it is her car.  Lots of
joy for the New year.

Elliott DeGraff
2 71Bs

Barney Gaylord wrote:
> 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

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