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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am putting my valve cover back on to my engine. I have new valve cover gaskets but I need to know what to use to create the gasket seal on the ends? Are we talking RTV sealant again?

In the Helms manual and online it is stated that some "sealant" be used in certain areas on the valve cover but nothing is said about what that mystery sealant is. I am assuming it is RTV.....can anyone tell me?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
i just clean the valve cover gasket with a rag, put it on w/o anything and it holds fine.
I thought about doing just that but then realized that the little rubber gasket and the tiny little valve cover bolts aren't really going to hold the valve cover on once the engine gets going and the temperature rises.

So, I believe that that Hondabond is what really keeps the valve cover in place once things really heat up. After all, if the valve cover was simply held in place by the bolts the thing would slide right off when the bolts were loosened. Instead, you have to use a rubber mallet to bump the cover and then the bond breaks and you have access to the valve train.

:clappy
 

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They are more than sufficient to hold it on. Its not like there is any pressure behind it. what kind of sealing material you use is exclusively a question of how concerned you are with leakage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
They are more than sufficient to hold it on. Its not like there is any pressure behind it. what kind of sealing material you use is exclusively a question of how concerned you are with leakage.
My guess is that any leakage is too much leakage. I know that there is no pressure per se but letting the oil slop around inside the valve cover and leak onto the head from under the valve cover is not good. Of course burning oil off of the block is not good either. So, I think sealing it is important.

Also, without a good seal it is "possible" that exterior elements "could" get into the valve train. Let's say you spray your car with an engine degreasing agent and some seeps in to the valve train through a poorly sealed valve cover that would be problematic.

Not too likely of course....but I like to play it safe.:D
 

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It is true that you want no leakage but honestly thats what you will get regardless of what you use. Your previous post said that you thought that the bolts were insufficient to hold it in place and that simply isn't the case. It will usually seal perfectly well with no fluids of any kind to adhere it but some people chose to add a little just to be safe. So no, the bolts are what holds it in place. Hondabond is there merely to ensure that there arn't any gaps anywhere.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
My understanding from the Helms' manual was that the bolts were not sufficient enough to hold the valve cover on and keep fluids in/out of the valve train. So, my understanding was wrong. I am glad that you cleared that up for me. I thought that the gaskets and bolts weren't sufficient on their own to do the job. Now I know better. And that makes me feel better. After all, I don't want stuff seeping into or out of my engine. I also don't want the cover to wiggle loose due to weak bolts. Neither of those are likely too happen according to what you have said. That is good.
 

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You can prevent valve cover gaskets form leaking when mating to a clean dry surface, and using RTV in the corners, or Honda bond if you prefer.

There IS pressure inside the valve cover , take loose your PCV valve(positive crankcase ventilation) and tell me there isn't. This is what causes the gaskets to leak oil. The constantly changing pressure inside the engine from combustions start to drive oil past the gasket where its poorly mated. Eventually causing the whole gasket or most of it to fail.

Clean everything throughly, preferably with acetone/alcohol.
When cleaning prevent as much debris from getting inside your engine as possible. Residual oil left on a gasket mating surface will prevent it from sealing as well as it could have.

Torque gasket to spec, DO NOT OVER TORQUE.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
See, this is what I find confusing about this subject. One person provided a fairly astute appraisal of this issue and then another comes along with a better explanation. So, there IS some pressure inside of the valve cover. That means that oil can be pushed under the valve cover gasket and forced out onto the block. So, mating the surface with Hondabond or RTV is necessary to assure no leakage.

Running without a hardened seal around the edges could produce a leak. You COULD run without the RTV but you risk the seal leaking over time and that would produce unwanted oil on the block and maybe even onto the timing belt. Oil on the timing belt alone makes it worth going through the effort to apply RTV and make sure the seal is sound.
 

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See, this is what I find confusing about this subject. One person provided a fairly astute appraisal of this issue and then another comes along with a better explanation. So, there IS some pressure inside of the valve cover. That means that oil can be pushed under the valve cover gasket and forced out onto the block. So, mating the surface with Hondabond or RTV is necessary to assure no leakage.

Running without a hardened seal around the edges could produce a leak. You COULD run without the RTV but you risk the seal leaking over time and that would produce unwanted oil on the block and maybe even onto the timing belt. Oil on the timing belt alone makes it worth going through the effort to apply RTV and make sure the seal is sound.
You got it, if there was no pressure then oil would travel the path of least resistance thus not making it past the gasket, and there would be no worry of leaking, but since there is a constantly varying pressure inside the engine the oil gets shoved around.. and pushed out of our gaskets, this is also why a oil pan leaks. Oil usually isn't higher up than the oil pans gasket. but it runs down past the gasket into the pan and if the seal is weak then it can get pushed out. Essentially the same applies for ALL gaskets.

Besides RTV is cheap, once you buy a tube and seal it correctly after you use it it wont go bad for a LONG time. Some kits even come with a mini tube of RTV. RTV is also known as "form-a-gasket". Incase anyone ever used that term and you didn't know WTF they were talking about.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
You got it, if there was no pressure then oil would travel the path of least resistance thus not making it past the gasket, and there would be no worry of leaking, but since there is a constantly varying pressure inside the engine the oil gets shoved around.. and pushed out of our gaskets, this is also why a oil pan leaks. Oil usually isn't higher up than the oil pans gasket. but it runs down past the gasket into the pan and if the seal is weak then it can get pushed out. Essentially the same applies for ALL gaskets.

Besides RTV is cheap, once you buy a tube and seal it correctly after you use it it wont go bad for a LONG time. Some kits even come with a mini tube of RTV. RTV is also known as "form-a-gasket". Incase anyone ever used that term and you didn't know WTF they were talking about.
Good recap and thanks for clearing things up a bit. I agree with you that using the RTV should be essentially standard practice. Not using the RTV is just begging for a leak somewhere on the mating surface. I just hope that this information helps someone other than me.:rolleyes
 

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You can prevent valve cover gaskets form leaking when mating to a clean dry surface, and using RTV in the corners, or Honda bond if you prefer.

There IS pressure inside the valve cover , take loose your PCV valve(positive crankcase ventilation) and tell me there isn't. This is what causes the gaskets to leak oil. The constantly changing pressure inside the engine from combustions start to drive oil past the gasket where its poorly mated. Eventually causing the whole gasket or most of it to fail.

Clean everything throughly, preferably with acetone/alcohol.
When cleaning prevent as much debris from getting inside your engine as possible. Residual oil left on a gasket mating surface will prevent it from sealing as well as it could have.

Torque gasket to spec, DO NOT OVER TORQUE.
The torque part is important. Those bolts can be snapped by someone who is over eager with their wrench. But you are way off about the pressure. What do you supose that PCV valve is that you disconnected. It vents the inside of the valve cover and block to ENGINE VACUUM so there is rarely any pressure in there. Next we have to differentiate between the two issues of sealing and staying on. As long as the valve cover is attached with at least half of the bolts somewhere close to tight it will not come off. Ever. That does not mean that it wont leak ever. If you don't want to have it leak you need all the bolts in place and torqued close to spec and a reasonably new good condition gasket (you all know that rubber hardens and degrades over time right). RTV or hondabond are just extra insurance. Whatever you do don't over apply the stuff or you'll end up with little chunks of rubber clogging up the oil ports in the engine which is bad so put on a thin layer so it won't gob out the sides.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The torque part is important. Those bolts can be snapped by someone who is over eager with their wrench. But you are way off about the pressure. What do you supose that PCV valve is that you disconnected. It vents the inside of the valve cover and block to ENGINE VACUUM so there is rarely any pressure in there. Next we have to differentiate between the two issues of sealing and staying on. As long as the valve cover is attached with at least half of the bolts somewhere close to tight it will not come off. Ever. That does not mean that it wont leak ever. If you don't want to have it leak you need all the bolts in place and torqued close to spec and a reasonably new good condition gasket (you all know that rubber hardens and degrades over time right). RTV or hondabond are just extra insurance. Whatever you do don't over apply the stuff or you'll end up with little chunks of rubber clogging up the oil ports in the engine which is bad so put on a thin layer so it won't gob out the sides.
I was very careful to not over torque the bolts. I know that there is some pressure inside the valve cover but not too much. As such I took extra care to clean the mating surface, utilized a gasket kit, added Hondabond in the designated areas, and carefully removed the previous gasket material to keep it out of the oil passages.

It has been a week since I replaced the valve cover and I have not had any leaking fluids from my valve train. I appreciate your response and I realize that there is a ton of information on the forum and net that is incorrect. I did get enough information out of this thread to keep me from damaging my engine and completed the installation without issue.

I did end up buying a tool that I had never used before in order to keep from over torquing the valve cover bolts. It was a deal where you attach the socket to the end and it has a manual handle to rotate the bolt with. That thing made all of the difference. I could totally feel the amount of stress I was putting on the head of the bolt and it kept me from stripping the bolt heads off.:clappy
 

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Could you describe a little more about this tool.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Could you describe a little more about this tool.
I don't know the technical name for it but I have heard them called speeder handles. I have seen them in almost every high end engine builder's tool kit. I always wondered why and now I know. They allow really fine sensation or torque on bolts. The feel was so much more accurate than an impact tool, a ratchet, or a grip tool like a screw driver.

Here is a picture of what it looks like.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
It has a socket attachment on one end and the other end is a rotating handle. You can't really put much torque behind it due to the way it is created. I bought one in 1/4 and 3/8 inches from Craftsmen at Sears for less than $20.
 

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The torque part is important. Those bolts can be snapped by someone who is over eager with their wrench. But you are way off about the pressure. What do you supose that PCV valve is that you disconnected. It vents the inside of the valve cover and block to ENGINE VACUUM so there is rarely any pressure in there. Next we have to differentiate between the two issues of sealing and staying on. As long as the valve cover is attached with at least half of the bolts somewhere close to tight it will not come off. Ever. That does not mean that it wont leak ever. If you don't want to have it leak you need all the bolts in place and torqued close to spec and a reasonably new good condition gasket (you all know that rubber hardens and degrades over time right). RTV or hondabond are just extra insurance. Whatever you do don't over apply the stuff or you'll end up with little chunks of rubber clogging up the oil ports in the engine which is bad so put on a thin layer so it won't gob out the sides.
PCV= positive crankcase ventilation you goon. POSITIVE being the key word , meaning there is substantial pressure that must be ventilated in order to keep your engines seals from blowing. The pressure is constantly variable, going from pressurized to unpressurized to a vacuum like state constantly. The advantage of venting it into the vacuum line of the intake is easy to see, as the vacuum like state will also help pull positive pressure from the crankcase.

It would also take a good bit of RTV to clog up an oil port, anyone with some descent sense would know better, those without that "common sense" shouldn't be working on their car(s)
 

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The Positive part of positive crankcase ventilation is referring to the fact that it is a positive flow as opposed to ambient venting say through one of the dumb looking mini filters on turbo cars. Most of it is to remove the blow by gasses so they don't acidify the oil. there's also a second vent port that runs to the intake tubing on the far side of the throttle body to create a cross flow so more air is circulated out of the case. Assuming that anyone on here has the slightest amount of common sense is asking for disaster. There are unfortunately lots of dumb people on here. Just because they shouldn't be working on their cars doesn't mean that they won't as ricers prove in novel ways every day.
 

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I never use anything for VC gaskets. Get a piece of shop towel, stick it in the grooves, and whipe. Put the VC on carefully, hand tight the nuts, do one QUARTER turn with a rench, done deal. If it leaks, slightly tighten down the side/area leaking. Not so hard
 
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