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[T3] Back to stock valve covers -- I admit defeat.

I first began using bolt-on valve covers back in the '90s.  Never leaked as
long as I replaced the O-ring seal that went around the stud...which was
necessary every time because it basically had to be ripped out in order to
get the cover off.  I liked them because they looked good and didn't leak.
But I really began to tire of the extra time required in fighting to remove
the valve covers and to estimate how tight to bolt them down -- can't do it
very well with a torque wrench on self-locking nuts so I just had to use my
experienced judgment.

Fast-forward to a couple months ago, I bought some valve covers that looked
just like the bolt-ons except these used a stock-like bail.  I say
"stock-like" because the bail is larger to accommodate the larger aluminum
valve cover (more squareish, deeper, and finned).  No way in hell a stock
bail would work on these, BTTT (Been There Tried That).  Well, these suckers
kept weeping oil.  I thought it may have been due to the black valve cover
gaskets that came with the covers -- normally I *only* use the cork ones as
they never ever gave me problems.  So cork gaskets went in and still they
wouldn't contain the oil.  I tried bending and twisting and everything to
get the bails to apply more pressure but they simply wouldn't comply.

In a fit of anger I went to the shop and pulled two of the cleanest looking
stock valve covers off a spare engine (oh yeah, Martin, I forgot to tell
ya...), cleaned up the insides, slapped in new cork gaskets, removed the
chromed, larger bails that were on the heads and put cleaned stock ones on.
Placed the stock valve covers on the heads and snapped the stock bails on
them and called it an evening.

Today I drove to work and, of course, back home.  Not one drop of oil leaked
from the valve covers.  They look black, a little grimy, and definitely not
pretty compared to the after-market units, but they are NOT leaking any of
the fresh Mobil 1 15w-50 oil I put in her the previous day!

Now I have to get under the car and do some detail/cleaning for the Great
Canadian VW Show this coming weekend and I'll get those stock valve covers
spruced up.  Who knows, maybe their looks will grow on me, but even if they
don't I can rest assured that I won't have to worry about any failures about
those and if I were to have a problem I would be able to easily fix them
with stock parts.
     Toby Erkson  --  air_cooled_nut@pobox.com
     '72 VW Squareback, '95 VW Jetta, '81 Gold Wing,
     '73 Porsche 914, '90 Wet Jet
     Portland, Oregon

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