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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Please help! I have a newly built 383 installed by a local "Hi Performance" engine shop and I have taken it back 3 times for leaks around the valve cover breather grommet!!! They tried 2 different types of breathers as well but no luck. They even had the nerve to tell me that it is normal to "seep" oil from that area. I don't believe that! I have a PCV valve on the passenger side as well. The driver's side had a K & N open faced type breather (the kind where you see the filter/mesh). That leaked around the grommet. Then they tried another of the same type. That didn't work. Then they tried a traditional solid breather (not a cap). That leaked around the grommet as well. I even tried putting a cap (non-breather) in the driver's side valve cover. That was a mistake as it didn't allow enough pressure to escape and blew out the valve cover gasket on the passenger side! They now say that it is ready for pick up but to expect seepage!!! They put in another breather but added another hose similar to the one attached to the PCV on the opposite side. Is this normal or can you explain to me what is causing this?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I got the car back today and the leaking from the grommet is not an issue now. They put a hose to the breather and attached it to the carb to create a vacuum. Well that worked but it created another problem!!! I parked it and heard what sounded like steam coming from it!!! I checked it out and I had a puddle of oil under the car. I believe the valve cover gasket on the passenger side blew out!! I have to take it back again!!! Why is this happening?? I have never heard of an engine leaking from the grommet or blowing out valve cover gaskets like this!!! The first time it blew out a gasket because I changed the breather on the driver's side to a cap. The cap did not allow the pressure to escape like the breather and the valve cover gasket just blew right out! Any help or advice is appreciated.
 

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do you have chrome valve covers?
if so, the only way that leak is going away is if you scrape the chrome off around the inside of the holes and use some black silicone to seal it up.
also, be prepared for valve cover gasket leaks if you don't do the same thing where the gasket goes. if you have a chrome timing cover, that will eventually start to seep around the edge unless you do it there, too. and i hope the oil pan isn't chrome..
chrome is just too smooth to get a good seal.
put a breather in one valve cover, and a PCV valve hooked to the big port at the base of the carb in the other cover- just like GM did it.
in the end, you have to keep in mind that every gasket seeps some over time- not every car is always going to look like the trailer queens you see at the car shows and in the magazines. real drivers have a little bit of "dirtiness" to them no matter how much you clean them.
 

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hmmm... trying not to be prematurely concerned, but you might start looking at a possible blowby problem. Perhaps the rings didn't seat properly for some reason, or one was broken when they assembled the engine.

A new tight motor should NOT generate enough crankcase pressure to blow out valve cover gaskets.

Do a compression and/or leakdown test.

Cap your breather and disconnect or remove the pvc. Start her up, and watch for vapor coming out the disconnected PVC hole in the valve cover. There really shouldn't be ANY, except perhaps a lil at WOT full load.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you Derrik and Jim. You have given me good advice. I will talk to the guys at the engine shop. And I don't mind some seepage but I have a leak. It is dripping. The valve covers are polished aluminum so I would think that I wouldn't have the "chrome" problem. And the valve cover blew out when I sealed (capped) the driver's side. The PCV valve was still functional on the passenger side. So, if one valve cover is not "breathing" and the other one has a PCV valve, are you saying that the valve cover should not have blown out? And why did my stock, numbers matching 350 require no breathers? Of course, it did have an oil tube in the manifold. Maybe that made a difference. Thanks for everyone's input. DeAngelo
 

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Do you have baffles in you covers.Only way to stop this.I had a set of covers no baffles cromme could not get them to spot seepping.Somebody said you need to add baffles or replace them with a set so far no problems.
 

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For proper operation, the PCV valve is installed on the driver side cover, and the breather (air intake) goes on the passenger side.

http://www.camaros.net/forums/showthread.php?t=91410&highlight=PCV+driver+side

Regarding the valve cover gasket "blowing" out, I've never heard of that. With good gaskets, valve covers that are not warped, and proper torque (2-3 ft lb) on the bolts, it wouldn't seem that enough pressure could build up if the PCV is functioning the way it is supposed to.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks Eric and Fred. They actually added a baffle to the driver's side and it worked but after I turned off the car, I heard a "steam" type sound and saw a puddle on my garage floor. It was leaking badly under the passenger side (the PCV valve is on the passenger side) and I saw a puddle under that side. I assumed that it was a valve cover gasket leak. I couldn't see where the leak was last night. It was dark and I have a small garage. I need to confirm it later today. I now have a PCV valve on the passenger side and a breather with a hose on the driver's side that is attached to the carb. The driver's side breather has a baffle as I said earlier. And why does it matter what side the PCV valve is on? Thanks sooo much. D
 

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sounds like you got something going on there. is this a fresh motor? make sure your not leaking oil from the back of your intake it may be a cause of some of your oil on the floor but won't help the pressure in your valve covers sounds awfull high for some reason.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks. Yes, it is a freshly built 383. I will check to make sure where the leak is coming from. Keep ya posted!!! I hope nothing is wrong with it.
 

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dean,
I think you really need to have someone else look at this thing for you. The engine should not have enough pressure in it to be leaking.

If you seal one valve cover up, and keep the pcv valve hooked up tot he other side, there is a good chance you will create enough vacuum to pull the valve cover gasket in. You have to have a breather on one side and the pcv on the other.

It sounds to me like you have a ring seal problem.
 

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As Eric stated, the PCV goes in the drivers side. I had the same seepage problem, changed the PCV to the drivers side and breather on the pass.side and solved the problem. Also as stated, if you don't have baffles on the inside of your valve covers, plan on dealing with this seepage and the oil smell inside the car.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks, Bill and Jumpstart. I hope that there is no issue with the rings. I will ask them to do a compression and leakdown test. I was guessing that there is no seal problem as the dyno showed typical numbers. I assumed that the performance would have suffered and it would be evident on the dyno sheet. And I still don't understand why the PCV valve has to go on the driver's side. And can you buy baffled valve covers or was Jumpstart referring to the baffle in the breather? Thanks again, D
 

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I was refering to the baffle in the valve covers. Good covers have baffles inside them to keep oil from the pushrods and rockers from spraying directly at the inside of your PCV valve, breathers, and/or fill plug. There are a couple ways to add baffles. There are screw-in baffles and grommets that limit oil splash. Check these part #s at SummitRacing.com.
http://store.summitracing.com/partdetail.asp?autofilter=1&part=SUM-440332&N=700+115&autoview=sku
http://store.summitracing.com/partdetail.asp?autofilter=1&part=MOR-68775&N=700+115&autoview=sku
I've got some that attach on the inside. Might want to try something like these instead of getting to worried about interal issues unless there are some other indications of internal problems.
:)
 

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Kinda off the wall but think about a fan and the direction the air flows when it's spinning. Think about a boat or airplane propeller and the way the water and air flow from them. The engine is an air pump but we usually only think about the path from the carb and intake through the cylinders and out the exhaust. In the crankcase the rotation of the crank (like a fan or propeller) and the moving pistons create a directional flow as well...


As for the dyno and performance, how do you know the results you got are all your engine has in it? They may be good but maybe they should be better.

You can add baffles to a valve cover, you can buy a valve cover with valve covers already in them or you can use a grommet that is baffled. All will help the PCV not suck splashing oil under the valve cover get sucked into the PCV valve and into the base of the carb where it gets mixed with fuel and burned off. Baffles have little to do with leaking grommets and gaskets which usually comes from excessive internal crankcase pressure.

I didn't have a baffle on the PCV side valve cover and I was burning a qt of oil every 300-400 miles. I installed a baffled grommet and eliminated the problem. My PCV valve got plugged and after idling in a parade for more than an hour I had oil being pushed around the grommet and all over the valve cover. I replaced the PCV valve and don't have the oil leak around the grommet any more. I screwed up drilling the breather holes in my valve covers so the grommets are loose and I use an "O" ring inside the valve cover to hold the grommets in place. If everything works as it should you don't need to glue or seal the grommets to the valve covers...
 

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I've seen 2 types of alluminum valve covers.

My old M/T's have the "holes" directly over 2 of the valves.
These type are gonna seep some oil no matter what you do. Oil is squirting out of the pushrods directly at the hole, and they will leak a little no matter what you do.

My new repro Z/28 covers have the holes in the gap between the 2nd and 3rd valve. They have a mutli peice sheetmetal baffle attached that goes down almost to the surface of the head, same as a stock steeel valve cover has. These type do not leak. You get oil out of one like this, you have a sick sick engine.
 
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