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Discussion Starter #1
Searched the forum and found nothing. I am guessing that I didn't let the cardboard gasket cure enough on the valve cover before installing and it shifted. The driver's side has 2 leaks between cylinder 2/3 and 3/4 which weep down the side and onto the headers.

I ordered new gaskets [one rubber one cardboard--I think I'm going to try rubber next time], but wanted to test run the car to see if my fuel pump replacement solved my missing and bucking/stalling issue. Is there any sealant I can use on the outside of the valve cover to temporarily halt these leaks? I can wait until next Thursday but it sucks to not be able to run the car.

Apologies if this is a dumb question but wanted to see if anyone had experience with something that could be used for a short period of time.

Thanks!
 

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All the gaskets I have seen are rubber. I've only seen paper gaskets on intake plenums or carbs so your idea to go with the rubber is likely a good one.
I can't think of any quick fixes that wouldn't make a mess. Duct tape or electrical tape? I'd just wait a few days.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Will just suck it up and wait -- thought about duct tape but not sure it would hold the oil. Merry Christmas and will report back once the new gasket is in!
 

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EIther way, you'll need to pull the valve cover and use some RTV type gasket sealant on the old gasket or to install the new gasket (with or without a very light application of RTV on the cover side of the gasket). Trying to temporarily seal your leak from the "outside" with duct tape or anything else is something only Santa's elves might be able to do.
 

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How much can it be leaking? The cam cover is not under any pressure so other than needing to clean off the oil that drips out I'd say go ahead and drive it until you can replace the gasket.

As for the gasket, I use the rubber version. I like to use a very thing smear of RTV to 'glue' the gasket to the cam cover. I then smear some oil on the head surface so the gasket won't stick there but come off cleanly the next time I need to check the valve clearances. Don't over-tighten the cam cover bolts - just enough to hold it down snug.
 

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There shouldn't be any pressure as long as the OVS system isn't plugged off or fouled up. If it were, there could be some positive pressure building up to blow by the gasket.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
How much can it be leaking? The cam cover is not under any pressure so other than needing to clean off the oil that drips out I'd say go ahead and drive it until you can replace the gasket.

As for the gasket, I use the rubber version. I like to use a very thing smear of RTV to 'glue' the gasket to the cam cover. I then smear some oil on the head surface so the gasket won't stick there but come off cleanly the next time I need to check the valve clearances. Don't over-tighten the cam cover bolts - just enough to hold it down snug.
It's leaking pretty significantly--like one drip out the side per revolution of the cam at idle so the headers smoke like a bastard when it rolls down and comes into contact with them--would likely be much worse at higher revs and don't feel like risking a fire in motion.

I did use Permatex sealant sparingly on the cam cover side of the gasket but am guessing I didn't let it cure enough before trying to put it on and it shifted when putting it back on. The cardboard gasket was angled/tapered in the package towards the "u" ends of the gasket which I thought was weird so I had to shape it out when putting it on the valve cover. Regardless, it isn't seated properly and my guess is that it shifted inwards when I was putting it on and as a result oil is weeping out in 2 places.

Rubber gasket it is next time -- it's been a frustrating start to my Alfa ownership but I'm hopeful that now that the fuel pump is replaced I'm on track to be able to actually drive it. Once that happens I'll deal with the niggling annoyances of owning any classic but having it sit in the garage for 3 weeks after waiting a year for it is beyond annoying.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Permatex sells a spray on leak sealer. I've never used it but Permatex generally sells good products. I'm not sure how easy it is to remove once you get the new gasket and make a better repair.

https://www.permatex.com/products/adhesives-sealants/permatex-spray-sealant-leak-repair/
Thanks for sharing-- saw that during my search, but am guessing that waiting a few extra days for a proper gasket is smarter than maybe having to spend 3 hours getting goop off from a temporary repair like this :)

As an aside, I also found during my search an Fcar guy with a Testarossa who apparently has been driving 8K miles on a high temp copper Permatex temp job: https://www.ferrarichat.com/forum/boxers-tr-m/329962-temporary-valve-cover-oil-leak-repair.html
 

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Often, particularly on older engines, you will see warped cam covers. The six hold down bolts were never intended to be ($&#@) tightened, and over tightened will either pull the 8 mm stud from the cam bearing cap, or warp the cover. Once warped, these are difficult to straighten.
Years ago, Autodelta offered a rubberized cork cam cover gasket that was thick, yet soft, and easily compressed. These were made up for the GTA magnesium cam covers. I wish I had a source for these today, as they easily sealed warped covers. Todays rubber ones are better than the thick gasket paper type as they do compress to seal, somewhat. Not as much or as well as the old rubberized cork. I can usually get a good seal with the rubber version by very careful initial installation, sealing this gasket only to the cam cover with Permetex Ultra Grey. Sealing surfaces must be clean and free of oil.
The gasket is sealed to the cover, and the six hold down bolts tightened with an inch calibrated torque wrench, evenly, but NOT to a final torque. The sealant is allowed to partially set up, an hour or two, then tightened to an even final torque. That USUALLY takes care of leaks to a major degree. With those old rubberized cork gaskets, you could almost always get a 100% seal (unless you had a crack in the Mg GTA cover!).
From my experience.
 

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Richard Jemison
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Defore doing anything

Take off the cover and seriously clean it.
Look for cracks sround all the 6 hold down caps. Internally they should be more noticable after cleaning.
If no cracks, after cleaning the surfaces around the head, put the cover on it and using a .004 or .005 feeler guage feel for gaps.

If you find some use a straight edge and see if the head is warped. If not do the same with the cam cover.
If the cam cover is warped, take it to any machine shop and have them put it on a sanding table or head surfacer,and flatten it.

As to sealants, I strongly suggest using only Permatex Ultra Grey sealant on a thick type permanant gasket (no rubber crap) and only on the head side as it can remain in place whenever the cam cover is removed. It cleans off easily when it is time to change the gasket.

If you found the head warped re-tigjhten all the head nuts to 75 lbft and use the ultra grey sealer a little more freely, then instal the cam cover only torquing the 6 hold down cap nuts lightly. Leave overnight then re-torque the hold down cap nuts and 2 front 6mm bolts to a normal amount. It won`t leak then. Remember the rear two hold dorn nuts should have the aluminum washers under them to compress the two rubber half-moon seals where the boring bar was accessed.

Illinois Chapter Director AND Charter Member of THE CONFUSED AND INCORRECT
Gordon, I thought you were named "Chairman Emeritus" for life?
But still you should remember that you only won because several of the BB members fail to qualify as, living in the Northwest, they were ineligible for this recognition in Illinois!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for the tips. I'll clean the parts thoroughly and redo the gasket, although I am very tempted to use the rubber gasket from centerline this time as I feel there is more forgiveness in a rubber gasket...I ordered both cardboard type and rubber type from Centerline so will be a gametime decision based on which one looks better.

Too bad those GTA Cork ones aren't around anymore--that sounds like a brilliant way to seal 2 imperfect surfaces.

Merry Christmas!
 

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Trained (ex)Professional, , 1953-2018 RIP,
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I am guessing that I didn't let the cardboard gasket cure enough on the valve cover before installing and it shifted.
I've been guilty of this on the rare occasion as well; too impatient to install the cover or not positioning the cover correctly when lowering it into position. The fix is to remove the cover and re-position the existing gasket. I would not even consider a 'temporary' fix.
IMO, the material the gasket is made of is irrelevant to getting a leak-free seal; it's the assembly procedure. I use RTV on the cover side only. This allows the gasket to come off with the cover and it can be re-used many times over. In addition, with the gasket affixed to the cover, the half-moon seals at the back of head can be easily changed and the risk of getting bits of old gasket into the engine when the gasket needs changing is eliminated.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
...with the gasket affixed to the cover, the half-moon seals at the back of head can be easily changed and the risk of getting bits of old gasket into the engine when the gasket needs changing is eliminated.
What are the half moon seals that I have read about? Didn't notice any when I changed the gasket last time so am curious and wondering if I need to inspect them or change them while I'm in there.
 

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Trained (ex)Professional, , 1953-2018 RIP,
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The two rubber half-moon seals are at the back of the head. They are directly to the rear of the two rear most cam caps (cap #3 on the exhaust side and cap #4 on the intake). New seals are quite soft and flexible and will sit proud of the head surface by a fair amount. As they age, the seals become hard, shrink and leak. The old seals can be pulled straight up out of the head with your fingers so there is no reason not to change them.
Looking for a pic...
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Excellent thanks Papa! Will replace those as well when I get the new gasket, hopefully Wednesday.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Put the rubber gasket on last night after cleaning the cover of any and all pieces of crud from the last failed attempt...looked carefully after installation and lightly torqued, looked good. Woke up nice and early to take it for a test run on totally open and clear roads, and.....the brand new battery is dead from so much cranking and not driving. So, now will go search for battery chargers. With a Nor'easter coming in this afternoon, I likely won't be able to get the car on the road until next week. Here's to hoping that my luck with this car gets better in 2017 :)
 

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Sorry to hear you couldn't get out on your test run yet. Question: Of the six large bolts that hold the cam cover down are the rear most two (one on either side) using a fiber washer under the bolt or the original steel washer? When you install the half moon gaskets, as said previously, they sit quite high when new and compressing them with a fiber washer under the bolt might not work as well as the steel ones.
 

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The rear hold downs washers are aluminum not steel. The aluminum seals against oil leak to some degree. FYI only one aluminum ring is actually required. It's ONLY purpose to to electrically connect the cam cover to rest of the engine. The location of the one aluminum washer is not critical. There is an odd story as to WHY this was done. Until the mid-60's all washers were fiber.
PM for the story if so inclined.
 
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