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Thread: valve cover gaskets need 2 replace every time?

  1. #1
    Rally Rat nhlkats's Avatar
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    valve cover gaskets need 2 replace every time?

    N00b Q ==> Do valve cover gaskets need to be replaced every time you take the cover off? If not, how often? I dont see dripping, but there is [what i think to be] oil residue on the cover and head near the valve cover gasket.

    The reason i ask is b/c my head gaskets are leaking, I was going to do both head gaskets and valve cover gaskets at once. Should I Bobs BMW them? Or does someone have somewhere else i should check first?

  2. #2
    Loose Cannon flash412's Avatar
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    Before installing new gaskets, clean the surfaces VERY well. Stick the new gasket onto the VALVE COVER. Wet your finger with oil and coat the face of the gasket with a light coating of oil before you put the cover on. Next time you disassemble, the gasket will stick to the valve cover, not the head. You can reuse it for many years if you always remember to clean the mating surface on the head and lightly wet the gasked with motor oil just before reassembly.

    The advantage of sticking the gasket to the valve cover instead of the head is that you are not pulling threaded fasteners through it every time you remove and reinstall it.

    After some time, the gasket will become brittle and require replacement. Maybe every ten years or so, depending on your climate, no matter how often the bike is ridden.
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    Living the Legend Bigrider's Avatar
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    You might also check your valve cover for warping. You will have to remove the studs. Place the covers on a sheet of glass and note any gaps. Some small gaps can be worked out with a sheet of fine dry/wet sandpaper place on top of the glass.

    Dave H
    San Antonio, Tx

  4. #4
    P Monk
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    valve cover gaskets

    just bought new ones, remember the inner round one that goes arround the sparkplug. I have 43k miles and still using old ones. When they leak I have the new ones to replace them.

  5. #5
    Rally Rat
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    I replace mine if they get torn while removing the covers. It took forever for the left one to seal and the leak to stop but now it works fine. Both sides have some staining but nothing serious.

    I did have the interesting (?) experience of removing the covers to adjust the valves the day after riding through very heavy rain for about 45 mins. Found water in the covers. Never happened before and hasn't since. No sign of water anywhere else.

  6. #6
    Short answer: no.

  7. #7
    Registered User AntonLargiader's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 99691
    .. remember the inner round one that goes arround the sparkplug..
    Sorry bud, this is the Airheads forum!
    Anton Largiader 72724
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  8. #8
    K Bikes Complex by Choice cjack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AntonLargiader
    Sorry bud, this is the Airheads forum!
    Don'tcha hate it when you kill the thread?
    R1200GS LC Rallye
    Jack Hawley MOA and RA #224, KE9UW ("Chuck")

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Bigrider
    You might also check your valve cover for warping. You will have to remove the studs. Place the covers on a sheet of glass and note any gaps. Some small gaps can be worked out with a sheet of fine dry/wet sandpaper place on top of the glass.

    Dave H
    San Antonio, Tx
    I've always heard to not place things on glass to check their 'flatness,' since glass itself is rarely flat..

  10. #10
    Living the Legend Bigrider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crazydrummerdude
    I've always heard to not place things on glass to check their 'flatness,' since glass itself is rarely flat..
    I guess flat is a relative term. Glass is generally flatter than most other items and this method has generally been an accepted process. In my experience, glass has been flat enough. How would you do it?

    Dave H
    San Antonio, Tx

  11. #11
    Has the GS-Lust The_Veg's Avatar
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    Don't use a window pane; get a piece of plate-glass at least 1/4" thick. I got one about 8"x10" in size (for checking fork-plane alignment) with edges dressed for about $7.
    2012 R1200GS
    "If you can't fix it with a hammer, it's electrical." -somebody's dad
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  12. #12
    MOA,ABC,AMA,NEF,BREC,CCA brownie's Avatar
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    Gentle Torque

    Hey nhlkats..................be fairly easy on the center nut torque.....I think about 12 ft lbs (I'm at work) is all that spec calls for; "fairly snug" on the 10mm nuts should do it. It is tempting to over Q the center nut/stud-don't do it!! (BTDT)................Shep
    Words to Ride by: Patience, Anticipate, Paranoia
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  13. #13
    Registered User ebeeby's Avatar
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    Ditto on the easy does it. Finger snug is enough. On all three fasteners.
    They do NOT fall off. And even if they did, it is easier to replace a nut than a stud.
    Over-tightening can also lead to leaks.

    Eric
    1973 R75/5

  14. #14
    Registered User lkchris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flash412
    Before installing new gaskets, clean the surfaces VERY well. Stick the new gasket onto the VALVE COVER.
    BMW valve cover gaskets have printing on one side and not the other.

    As with ALL BMW gaskets with printing, the printed side is the side with the built-in, heat activated adhesive.

    The bikes come from the factory with the gaskets installed to be stuck to the heads.

    Seems like adding glue to the side opposite the built-in glue could result in tearing the gaskets off, so if you're going to glue them to the cover be sure to put the printed side to the cover. I'd guess the built-in adhesive doesn't get enough heat in this orientation.

    I agree on the every 10 years notion and can report mine never leaked from running the cover studs through the holes.

    Actually it was 20 years I think, and I only ever got new valve cover gaskets when heads were sent for new valve seats.
    Kent Christensen
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    '12 R1200RT, '02 R1100S, '84 R80G/S

  15. #15
    Loose Cannon flash412's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lkchris
    if you're going to glue them to the cover be sure to put the printed side to the cover.
    Because of the offset studs, you can turn the gaskets around, but you can't flip them over. Oil the gasket surface facing the head.
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