The Chevrolet small-block engine was a brilliant item of engineering, attested by the reality that fine over 100,000,000 have actually been built. But the very first generation was not as oil-tight as later generations. The gaskets between the valve covers and also the top are usual culprits. They frequently weep, leak and also seep. A great part of the problem is that till 1986, only four bolts located around the perimeter fastened small-block valve covers. Compounding that problem are flimsy stamped steel valve consists on base models and also a narrow, turbulent sealing surface on the cast-iron top made leaks almost inevitable.

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On the shining side, valve cover leaks are about the the very least expensive oil leaks come fix. And valve cover removal is among the easiest and most trouble-free ways to look inside your engine. Plus, if her engine compartment is feather a tiny dreary, instead of or refurbishing the valve covers provides a major improvement at reasonably little cost. Due to the popularity of Chevrolet small-block and big-block engines, the selections in aftermarket valve covers space staggering.


We will pay certain attention to 1955-\"86 small-block valve covers and also gaskets. Big-blocks utilized 7 bolts instead of the four on the first-generation small-blocks. Later on generations the small-blocks (and first-gen engines beginning in 1986) used \"center bolts\" instead of the \"perimeter bolts\" that the first generation. These and also other architecture changes considerably improved sealing in ~ the valve covers. Regardless of the design, the following information top top valve covering considerations and gasket alternatives is the value once replacement is needed.


From the first small-block engines in 1955 until head changes in 1959, valve covers had a staggered-bolt sample (the top boltholes to be a small over an inch closer with each other than the lower boltholes). That style may have actually been to ensure that the covers to be not mounted upside down. In any type of case, a prime factor to consider is even if it is the sheathe you require is a staggered or straight-across design. Because that those that have actually the faster staggered-bolt heads yet want to pick from the many more styles the the later straight-across bolt valve covers, one adapter is available.


An essential factor to consider for engines v high-performance aftermarket valvetrains is the internal height of the valve sheathe so the there\"s adequate clearance come the rocker arms as soon as the valves room open. Keep in mind that a tiny extra height additionally can be acquired by making use of thicker 보다 stock gaskets.


Another essential factor to consider is the outside height that the valve cover. In some engine compartments, there\"s very little clearance in between it and also the brake booster, air conditioning compressor, alternator or various other components. The intake manifold, EGR valve or exhaust manifolds can additionally cause fitment issues.


A fourth important structural consideration pertains to the openings in the valve covers. The beforehand Chevy V-8s had actually none. These engines had actually oil fills and/or breathers on the entry manifold and some had a roadway draft tube on the rear to vent the engine. Later valve covers have openings for vents, PCV valves and also oil fills. The size, number and also location of these holes in the valve cover differed from year to year and also even varied in between engine options. Since of that, numerous aftermarket valve covers have no holes. If feet are needed in those covers, customers have to either machine or drill them to suit their specific application.


The over considerations room structural and also are critical. But they are fairly easy come inspect and measure to recognize what girlfriend need. Cosmetics considerations are an entirely various story. There room so many options for Chevrolet engines. For example, Summit Racing offers well end 100 styles for small-blocks alone. We\"ll leaving those aesthetic considerations totally up come you while we look in ~ the countless gasket options


It provided to it is in simple. Valve cover gaskets to be cork or cork through a rubber binder. These are still easily accessible and are great choices for numerous applications. Lock conform fine to the narrow, turbulent mating surface ar of at an early stage small-block cast-iron heads. This is crucial with the fairly low clamping force of perimeter bolt covers, especially the stamped-steel covers. The cork gaskets are generally the least expensive but they compress end time, requiring that the covering bolts it is in retightened occasionally.


After numerous years cork gaskets can compress as well far and become hardened. It\"s a common practice to cement these (and other varieties of gaskets) come the valve covering to host them in place during installation and also to store the gasket attached to the valve cover throughout removal. ~ above the reduced gasket surface, Permatex Form-A-Gasket No. 2 or various other non-hardening sealers can be used to much better seal against the head when the gasket compresses or the bolts loosen.


Cork valve cover gaskets space also accessible with a steel main point laminated in in between cork layers. A steel core stays clear of valve cover gaskets indigenous being sucked in through high vacuum or pushed out due to excessive punch by. Although this incident is uncommon on share engines, the steel layer also helps cork gaskets retain their dimensions. Old cork gaskets can dry out and shrink. These multilayered gaskets retain the ability of cork gaskets to seal versus rough surfaces and also are a popular an option today.


Rubber valve sheathe gaskets have been an choice for plenty of years. For race applications, they have the added advantage of standing increase to recurring removal and also installation of the valve cover. The rubber product is fairly hard compared to cork and therefore occasionally does not conform as well to rough surfaces, especially with the few focused push points that perimeter bolt stamped-steel valve covers. However, if valve covers space not most likely to it is in removed, rubber gaskets deserve to be coated top top both sides through RTV or other sealants because that a long-lasting, leak-free seal.


An instance of the newer varieties of valve cover gaskets is Fel-Pro\"s molded silicone gasket v a laminated steel core. This gaskets in addition feature stole compression limiters permitting the bolts to it is in tightened without overly compressing the silicone. These have garnered an excellent reviews and also represent the high end of valve cover gaskets at end $50 because that a pair.


One an ext consideration when picking valve cover gaskets bring us earlier to the at an early stage small-blocks through the staggered-bolt valve covers. This staggered designed is still an issue today due to the fact that some valve covering gaskets have actually both staggered and also straight boltholes (six holes total) to accommodate both designs. These six-hole gaskets need to be trimmed to fit some valve covers. And the extra holes produce a thinner sealing area close to two the the sheathe bolts.


Although valve cover gaskets don\"t necessarily need sealers or cements, it\"s a common practice to glue the gasket to the valve cover. There room a number of sealant choices, too. Because that this application, Permatex No. 1, RTVs or Permatex High Tack gasket sealant job-related well. Tip: ~ gluing the gasket come the cover, place the gasket on a flat surface and also place a weight on height of the cover until the sealant dries. Then remove any type of excess sealant to prevent it from gift an eyesore ~ above the external or going into the engine indigenous the inside.


Before replacing the valve covering gaskets, inspect to make certain that they space the reason of oil autumn on your floor. Feeling for oil top top the head about the reduced rear corner of the cover. That\"s a primary trouble area. The gaskets can also leak in ~ the height of the valve cover resulting in oil to pond at the leaf of the entry manifold. Identifying the resource of the leak in this area gets tricky because, back much much less likely, the input manifold gasket can additionally seep oil.


The seals in ~ the front and rear the the input manifold are one more potential resource of oil leaks. If inspecting the behind of the engine, likewise examine the oil press line or sender and the distributor gasket. Earlier to the top of the engine; inspect any rubber grommets on the valve cover. They typically harden and also seep oil when they dry and also shrink.


Moving below, inspect the underneath of the engine for oil leaks in ~ the rear key seal, front key seal, fuel pump gaskets and also dipstick tube. In any type of case, you have the right to follow follow me for advice on instead of the valve sheathe gaskets. On beforehand small-blocks if they aren\"t leaking now, it\"s most likely they will certainly be at some time.


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1. check the bottom the the valve cover in ~ the rear. If it\"s shiny through oil climate you have the right to be pretty particular your valve sheathe gaskets need replacing. However, if that feels like your valve sheathe bolts room bottoming out, you might just need to add a level washer or 2 to prevent the leaking.


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2. If oil is puddling close to the input manifold, that\"s likewise a common sign of valve cover gasket failure. Oil can likewise seep previous the intake manifold gasket close to its center yet that is much much less common.


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3. traditional cork gaskets are still a popular an option and deserve to seal well against the unstable narrow sealing surface ar of cast-iron heads. However, cork often tends to compress over time, request valve cover bolts to be retightened. Eventually the cork gasket compresses too much in the center allowing oil to get by.


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4. eliminate the valve covers and remove any type of sealant or gasket from the heads. Prevent the drain hole to store these bits native falling right into the engine. Soak increase the oil by the reduced rear and also front head bolts come spot any debris that is hiding under the oil.


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5. Clean out the boltholes in the head by transforming a 3/16-inch drill little bit by hand. End the years gasket product or sealant can develop up in the bottom that the hole, avoiding the bolts from tightening on the valve cover.


6. Screw a bolt all the method into every hole and also then unscrew that counting how plenty of full turns before it come out. Also note if the subject bind throughout the last few turns; that will certainly make it daunting to tell how much press is being put on the gasket. If the bolt bottom out as soon as installing the valve cover that doesn\"t matter how good the gasket is—it will certainly leak. After the boltholes were cleaned, this 1973 heads permitted just end nine turns.


7. Block off the baffles as soon as scraping the old gasket and also cleaning the valve cover. The baffles aid prevent oil droplets from gift sucked right into the PCV valve, vent tube and hoses. Also note the projections ~ above the inside of this manufacturing facility valve cover. These drippers assist in oiling the rocker arm pivot.


8. the is important to location some form of straightedge against the gasket surfaces of stamped-steel valve covers to view if they space bent. Castle usually space deformed close to the bolt holes and also they won\"t seal till that\"s fixed. Assistance the upper surface of the flange on a block and tap top top the reduced surface close to the bolthole until it is directly again.


9. There room many options in valve covering gaskets. There room even selections in cork gaskets. In enhancement to cork gaskets being accessible in a variety of different thicknesses, cork gaskets can likewise have a steel layer laminated in the center as seen here.


10. Mr. Gasket offers a 0.325-inch thick cork gasket. This extra thickness can carry out increased clearance for aftermarket valvetrain materials or that can assist prevent the valve cover indigenous hitting the intake manifold.


11. This silicone Fel-Pro gasket native Summit gyeongju is a great example of luxury sealing. In addition to the laminated metal core, it has metal sleeves around the boltholes to prevent the gasket from gift crushed too far. This also enables the bolts to be tightened to the allude that they are much less likely to loosen up.


12. Paragon\"s gasket has cork bonded v rubber for better dimensional stability. The extra bolthole permits it to be provided on the early on small-blocks that had actually valve covers v staggered bolts. The thickness is comparable to OEM gaskets at about 9/64-inch.


13. Paragon also offers original style valve covering bolts, screws and retainers. The factory retainers are often absent but they are vital to distribution the force of the bolts ~ above the slim stamped-steel valve covers. Note that the factory bolts offered with aluminum valve covers have actually 3/8-inch hex heads.


14. The selections in aftermarket valve covers are extensive. Holley\"s brand-new Vintage series finned aluminum valve covers through Chevrolet manuscript come in natural actors finish, polished, satin black color or manufacturing facility orange with machined fins. Holley-scripted models space also obtainable with or there is no PCV and oil fill holes (and these come with pre-installed interior oil baffles).


15. Three an important structural considerations in choosing a valve cover are the internal elevation for clearance through aftermarket valvetrain, outside height because that clearance with adjacent components and also any holes needed for a breather tube, PCV valve or oil fill. The last two substantially narrow the an option on part cars.


16. This is a good time to inspect all the rubber grommets top top the valve covers. Castle harden gradually to the level that pieces have the right to break off and fall inside during removal. Be aware that the grommets made for steel valve covers have a narrower channel 보다 the ones because that aluminum valve covers. Paragon supplies these original style grommets plus new emblems and stickers come restore factory covers.


17. It\"s vital to examine to see how far the bolt goes through the valve cover and gasket. At the very least three threads must be showing, especially when provided with aluminum heads. However, much more than 5 threads prolonging out can be a trouble with part stock heads due to the fact that the boltholes are reasonably shallow. Ours 1-inch long bolts worked well with the Holley Vintage collection covers and a special gasket.


18. Permatex High Tack is renowned for gluing the gasket come the valve cover. This holds the gasket in place during installation and also keeps it attached to the cover throughout later removal for valve convey or various other work. Permatex Ultra Copper Silicone RTV additionally works well in this application. Both are easily accessible from Summit Racing.


19. A thin coat of Permatex No. 2 top top the lower surface the the valve sheathe gasket helps do it oil tight, specifically on the narrow sealing surface of beforehand small-block cast-iron heads. It likewise helps save the oil in when gaskets compress or cover bolts loosen. Permatex No. 2 is non-hardening for this reason the covers can be removed later without breaking the gaskets.


20. Make certain that the valve cover has actually clearance with the entry manifold. The upper lips of factory aluminum valve covers were trimmed in this area. Comparable trimming can regularly be done on aftermarket valve covers as soon as needed.


21. Holley also makes finned die-cast aluminum air cleaners in their Vintage Series. This come in 3-inch and 4-inch heights v a choice of premium dark red or natural paper air filter elements. A facility stud, soup nuts, and also gaskets space included.


22. The exterior surface ar of unpainted aluminum valve covers can tarnish over time. Tip: spray a tiny Corrosion Block top top a cloth and also wipe aluminum parts to safeguard them. It deserve to even aid restore a small sheen come an old valve cover, as seen on the best side.

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23. The combination of the Holley Vintage series valve covers and also matching wait cleaner add a considerable amount that bling come an engine compartment. Replacing valve consist of or gaskets is among the simplest at-home projects. And also with no drips, your garage floor will certainly look better, too.


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