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Project Tomcat, Valve Cover Gasket

Since driving the car more, there has been one small but persistent issue; the valve cover is still haemorrhaging oil.

A while back I fitted new valve cover gaskets, as they came with the car and they had obviously been leaking as there was just oil everywhere on the top of the engine.

The rear gasket is a weird plate type, which is metal sandwiched between layers of a compressible material

Putting a few KM on the car now, it was immediately clear that even with the new gasket it wasn’t sealing. The pools of oil in the valley make that really obvious and there was a faint waft of oil smell when stopped.

Removing the gasket, I could see that it had been leaking around the entirety of the gasket

The sealing surface on the gasket was very wet with oil. Keep in mind this engine hadn’t been started in a week or so…

I enquired on the Rover Coupe Facebook group if leaking gaskets were normal, and one helpful chap told me to check the metal sleeves that the bolts pass through. Sure enough, this is what I found.

That metal sleeve should be flush with the face. All of them were like this

This is from a previous owner seeing the gasket was leaking (probably the one I originally replaced, instead of them replacing it themselves) and just cranking down on the bolts. The plastic cover cant squeeze down any further because of the metal in the gasket, so the metal sleeves get pushed out through the holes in the gasket. Not a chance it was ever going to seal as it was.

I used a pair of big grips to gently squeeze all the sleeves back into place until they were flush.

And after a thorough clean of both faces, refit the cover with a new gasket. I decided to fit the gasket dry this time, with no sealant on it.

The front cover has been sealing perfectly since I replaced the gasket, so no need to touch that one.

A decent drive shows that there is no more oil leaking down the cam carrier, and the valley is dry. Finally, after all the work I have done it appears I have stopped the valve covers leaking.

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