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ok, yet another valve cover gasket question


NAXJA Forum User
I had oil all over the top of my 89 xj. Thought it was a rear main but most likely not since the back half the cover was finger tight.
My question is what are you guys running for a gasket with the aluminum covers. The Haynes manual says RTV only. Some are using cork, or neoprene. What is the concensus?
Oh, by the way, I'm pretty much a noob here so I've got on my flame suit!!

Flame away guys!

RTV works well, but takes a little technique, most guys overdo the RTV. RTV can make it pain to seperat the valve cover again. Best technique I´ve found is to put a light bead down, set the valve cover on, just start the bolts and let it set overnight, pull the bolts one at a time, loc tite and just barley snug them. When done right, you don´t even really need the bolts.
Rubber gaskets work well, but sometimes have a tendancy to slowly squirt out of the side of the valve cover. Gasket glue helps, but kind of defeats the purpose of a rubber gasket.
I usually use quality cork, a dozen little dabs of glue near the bolts holes on the valve cover and a very lite coating of silicon on the head. The coating of silicon on the head isn´t really necessary, just a personal habit. Keeps the asphaltum in the cork from cooking onto the head and actually makes cleanup the next time a little easier.
Whatever valve cover gasket you use, the trick is to have a good inch pound torque wrench, that goes up to around 80 inch pounds. If the bolts aren´t torqued equally, some will be loose and some tight. On most torque wrenchs 7 foot pounds, isn´t very accurate, real easy to get unequal torque. Too much torque will crush a cork gasket and may cause cracks.
I highly recommend the Fel Pro Perma Dry gasket. It's a fairly new steel core/neoprene gasket. Part #VS50522T. Put it in a year ago with no leaks since. Prior to that, I'd been fighting a VC leak for years. Tried cork gasket, RTV, etc. The Perma Dry gasket is the only thing that has worked for more than a few months. It's pricey (around $30 when I bought it) but not having the leak is worth it.
I've had good luck with the cork Fel-pro and dab of RTV to hold it in place during assembly. I always remove the thermostat housing and it makes things much easier to line-up properly in that area when installing the cover.