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Valve Cover Gasket Leak Repair

By Roger Moment

Originally published in the Austin-Healey Magazine

Q: I have been having trouble getting the gasket around the valve cover to seal completely. Plus, every time I remove the valve cover I have to replace the gasket. Is there a fix for this?

A: Yes, the following procedure gives a good tight seal and allows removal and replacement of the valve cover without damaging the gasket. I use the same technique on oil pan gaskets and can usually reuse them as well if I need to drop the pan.

First, use "Hylomar" (developed in England by Rolls Royce and available from NAPA and possibly other parts outlets) to "glue" the gasket to the valve cover (or oil pan). Second, use white engine grease on the joint between the gasket and the engine head (or between the oil pan and engine block in the case of the oil pan seal). Then reassemble while the Hylomar is still soft and tacky. Be careful when you tighten the valve cover nuts that the gasket stays fully covered by the flange and doesn't "scoot" inwards, particularly on the long sides. There is a small ridge in the sealing surface of the valve cover that presses a mating groove into the cork gasket to ensure a proper seal.

The grease will part when you take the bits apart, leaving the gasket well adhered to the cover. When first installing be sure the cork valve cover gasket doesn't "pinch" along the valve cover sides and not sit properly over the depression that runs around the flange. This should give a good seal and allow reuse of your gasket.

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