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I have Leaking Valve covers on both sides. I think the valve cover gaskets are bad. I am looking to replace the gaskets soon. I have had this done 5 or 6 times in the life of the car and it seams that it is only a year or two before they start leaking again. What type of gaskets should I use to avoid this problem? I have tried rubber and cork gaskets with the same results. This problem is frustruating because I get oil all over my engine and am sick of having to tear the engine down to fix it. Any Ideas would be very appriciated. Thanks
 

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FEL-PRO Part #VS12869T (PermaTorque Dry NO SEALANT!) will solve your issue
 

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I would be willing to bet your valve cover rails are bent. Straighten them up or replace them. Aluminum covers hold their shape better than the thin steel covers. I like cork gaskets with a very thin coating of silicone sealer on both sides of the gasket. Just snug them down and retighten the bolts after a few hundred miles. If you over tighten the bolts you will deform the valve cover rails and cut the gaskets.
 

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I do it exactly like steve, except I use a coat of chassis grease on the head side so I can remove the covers without trashing the gaskets. Cork gasts, alluminum covers. Glue the gasket to the valve cover with silicone, set heavy stuff on top of em, and let it dry over night before you install them.

Wet silicone will let the gasket squeeze out of place.
 

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Some other thoughts,..

Tell us about your PCV system...might have too much pressure building in the crank-case which will aggravate the problem.

Also, are you using aftermarket heads with a flat sealing surface or factory heads which have a more rounded sealing surface?

And, valve covers usually leak where oil can 'pool' in the back of the head, toward the firewall. If something is blocking the drain-down, excess RTV for instance, that will also aggravate the problem.

Lastly, are you running a high-volume oil pump?...it will aggravate the 'pooling' described above.
 

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The valve covers on that engine where always a problem there was a bulletin back in 1984 with part numbers for a new gasket and reinforcement kits to fix them. The GM part numbers are 14082322 for the gaskets and 14085816 for the reinforcement kits. 2 gaskets and 2 kits needed for each engine. The kits have studs and nuts. Make sure you torque the nuts to {50-65 lb. in.}.
I installed lots of them back in the day and they work well. I don't know if the parts are still available or not. You could use the kits with any good gasket. Bulletin number is #84-62-{01-09-1984} SI document ID# 269742
I have a set of them on my 69 vert I don't know if you can see them in the pictures.
 

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I'ts not the gaskets, it's the way the are being installed or bent or cheap chrome valve covers.
The way I do gaskets on my valve covers (and oil pan and timing cover etc.) I use cork gaskets, put gasgacinch on the cover (make sure the cover is clean, real clean) and one side of the gasket, then attach them to each other, this keeps the gasket on the cover. On the head side if you have a good flat surface, like an aluminum head, I install them dry. If cast heads and a rough surface, put a thin (approx 1/8") layer of rtv on the gasket (head side), let it sit just long enough to form a skin, then put the cover on. I have yet to get a leak from either method, I have cork gaskets on my factory aluminum covers that have been there for 4 years at least, and I have them off a couple times a year.
When you put them on DO NOT OVERTIGHTEN, thats the biggest problem. The wise old Mechanic that taught me this said use a 1/4" drive or "choke up" on a 3/8" drive, so you are not getting hamfisted when tightening.
But, if your cover is bent or cheap chrome, all bets are off. Get a good steel cover or better yet aluminum, aluminum IMO are the best because they don't distort.
 

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I do the same as Jim,
I use cork
Clean all oil off the covers, several spot beads of silicone rtv bathroom grade.
place gasket on and line up...some times they do not fit well, cut (diagonally)a small peice out with a very sharp blade and seal with rtv.
Before the RTV cures I place the covers on and torque down till just firm...this spreads the RTV evenly, removing any high spots....leave for a few hrs.
I then remove, and like Jim, wipe a smear of oil on the bottom side of the gasket.
Replace and tighten down...DO NOT over tighten cork gaskets!!! just firm
After a few days retighten slightly to take up the cork 'compression'
The last set of gaskets lasted me well over 10 yrs.

And do check the covers are not twisted on a flat surface
If where the bolt holes are, the covers are distorted gently beat back into shape with a dolly
 

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The valve covers on that engine where always a problem there was a bulletin back in 1984 with part numbers for a new gasket and reinforcement kits to fix them. The GM part numbers are 14082322 for the gaskets and 14085816 for the reinforcement kits. 2 gaskets and 2 kits needed for each engine. The kits have studs and nuts. Make sure you torque the nuts to {50-65 lb. in.}.
I installed lots of them back in the day and they work well. I don't know if the parts are still available or not. You could use the kits with any good gasket. Bulletin number is #84-62-{01-09-1984} SI document ID# 269742
I have a set of them on my 69 vert I don't know if you can see them in the pictures.
those "reinforcement kits" were put on pretty much everything starting in the mid 80's, and used to be in the GM perfromance parts catalog.
you can get them for probably nothing from a random 85-86 Caprice or pickup with a 305 or 350 that you stumble across in the junkyard. i have 2 sets in my tool box that i'll probably never use. be warned- the look like crap on nice shiny chrome valve covers unless you grind the burrs off and paint the spreaders.
as for the gaskets, just use some cheap Fel Pros from your local auto parts store of choice, and make sure that the valve cover is nice and flat.
 
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