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Old 11-27-2006, 04:08 PM   #1
metalfred74
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1997 SW2
Default Leaky valve cover gasket

I recently purchased a rebuilt DOHC from a guy on Ebay in Illinois. This guy was a previous Saturn employee. He did a fantastic job rebuilding this engine. It was kind of drive for me to get it, but definitely worth it.

OK, onto my story. The gasket was leaking, per usual. And, as I was torquing the bolts down, WAY beyond the spec. It broke. So. off to the local True Value hardware store to purchase a screw extractor and a new bolt. I purchase a flanged metric bolt. Highly recommended by the way.

I realized that there is an inherit design flaw with this bolt design. The steel sleeve that is on the bolt that prohibits the cover from overtightening and cracking the cover, was also the cause of my leak. I wasn't able to pull the cover down close enough to the head.

Out went the old broken bolt. When I put the new bolt in, I did not put the sleeve on. But, I did put a washer on it to replace the function of the top part of the sleeve. To squish to the grommet. I was able to torque it down enough to stop it from leaking. I didn't use a torque wrench. I "felt" it to ensure I did not go to far, but not too loose. Plus, I could see the grommet squish.

I don't know if I would recommend doing this quite yet. As, I have only put 100 miles on it since doing this. But, It seems to have been working well so far. It doesn't leak.

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Old 11-27-2006, 04:53 PM   #2
STLWACO
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Default Re: Leaky valve cover gasket

diffenatly keep us updated on this.

What are the specs on the new hardware?

...
Saint Louis Street Racing

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Old 11-27-2006, 06:14 PM   #3
Low Saturn
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Default Re: Leaky valve cover gasket

Quote:
Originally Posted by metalfred74
And, as I was torquing the bolts down, WAY beyond the spec. It broke.
Quote:
Originally Posted by metalfred74
I was able to torque it down enough to stop it from leaking. I didn't use a torque wrench. I "felt" it to ensure I did not go to far, but not too loose. Plus, I could see the grommet squish.
This is why it leaks and you break bolts. Torque it to the correct value and pattern using the correct gasket and it will not leak. Nineteen Saturns plus countless gasket replacements on friends and families Saturns over the past 13 years and not one has leaked on me.

...
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Old 11-28-2006, 09:32 AM   #4
DonP
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Default Re: Leaky valve cover gasket

Just wondering - has anyone figured out or estimated how much oil (say, per 1000 miles) is lost due to the "average" head cover gasket gasket leak?

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Old 12-01-2006, 12:52 AM   #5
Picsman
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Default Re: Leaky valve cover gasket

I had a leak with the valve cover, replaced it, and it came back. Fixed it again when I realized the PCV valve was clogged. The leak was from the pressure, not a bad gasket. You might want to check it out.

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Old 12-01-2006, 02:25 AM   #6
Bigdaddy94sc2
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Default Re: Leaky valve cover gasket

If torqued properly, with a good gasket and a good cover, it WONT leak. Well, unless the pcv is clogged like said above. But it has to be CLOGGED.

It is possible that you masked a warped cam cover assembly by tightening the bolt more than normal, when all you may need is a new cover itself. We see it more and more lately on the early years of the composite cover. We replace the gasket, and it comes back leaking within 3k miles. The covers will slightly warp after time and cause too big of a gap for the gasket to seal, and they only do it when heated up..... Hope it helps.

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Old 12-01-2006, 03:05 PM   #7
Sky King
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Default Re: Leaky valve cover gasket

Quote:
Originally Posted by metalfred74

I realized that there is an inherit design flaw with this bolt design. The steel sleeve that is on the bolt that prohibits the cover from overtightening and cracking the cover, was also the cause of my leak. I wasn't able to pull the cover down close enough to the head.
This is not a design flaw. You said it yourself, it is there to prevent overtightening and creates a predetermined amount of compression of the gasket material.

Quote:
Originally Posted by metalfred74
Out went the old broken bolt. When I put the new bolt in, I did not put the sleeve on. But, I did put a washer on it to replace the function of the top part of the sleeve. To squish to the grommet. I was able to torque it down enough to stop it from leaking. I didn't use a torque wrench. I "felt" it to ensure I did not go to far, but not too loose. Plus, I could see the grommet squish.
You don't really want to see the grommet squish. Without a torque wrench, how do you know if you didn't get it too tight or too loose. You said it yourself in your post that you broke off the bolt in the first place by tightening it "WAY beyond spec". Torque by "feel" is a guaranteed way to get the wrong torque. Unless you have a calibrated click type elbo or wrist.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigdaddy94sc2
If torqued properly, with a good gasket and a good cover, it WONT leak. Well, unless the pcv is clogged like said above. But it has to be CLOGGED.

It is possible that you masked a warped cam cover assembly by tightening the bolt more than normal, when all you may need is a new cover itself. We see it more and more lately on the early years of the composite cover. We replace the gasket, and it comes back leaking within 3k miles. The covers will slightly warp after time and cause too big of a gap for the gasket to seal, and they only do it when heated up..... Hope it helps.
What he said^^^^
If you only used one of your replacement bolts and the rest are the origional, you very well could CREATE a warped cam cover. Is the cover aluminum or composite? In any case having one of the bolts tightend down considerably more than the rest is just asking for trouble and leaks in the future.

...
1999 SC-2 280,000 miles -mine now also dead, RIP
1995 SL-2 296,000 miles - my wifes totaled, RIP
1993 Chevrolet S-10 Pick-up - mine
2003 Harley Davidson Low Rider - mine

Last edited by Sky King; 12-01-2006 at 03:10 PM..

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