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Thread: valve cover gaskets: install dry?

  1. #1
    Registered User kwb210's Avatar
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    valve cover gaskets: install dry?

    Just finished a service project on my1977 R100. Cleaned the head and valve cover surfaces and installed a brand new valve cover gasket, installed it dry. First startup and it leaked pretty good ( or is that "leaked pretty bad?"). Figured it would seal itself in a few days, gasket would be wet and not leak. So far for 3 days it still leaks. Not just a drip but the size of a couple of 50 cent pieces. So it also drips or gets caught in the wind and now my shoe is oily.
    What do i do?
    thanks!
    kurt

  2. #2
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    Assuming you have a BMW gasket, something is wrong and it is probably not the gasket. Take the valve covers off and look for some debris that is causing the problem, or some other hang up.

  3. #3
    Airhead krehmkej's Avatar
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    Another possibility is a warped valve cover - or (!) head. Remove the offending cover. Then unscrew the 2 6mm studs. Place the cover on a known flat surface (plate glass is good - granite block better) and check for flatness. It may rock, or you may have to use a feeler gauge under the edges. Either way, if its warped, you can carefully surface it with 320 sandpaper on the block and working the cover in figure 8 motions untill evenly smoothed. This has worked for me on several used covers I bought cheap. If the head's warped, the best thing to do is use a silicone gasket.

    http://www.realgaskets.com/files/motorcycle.htm#bmw
    -jwk-

    1978 R80/7

  4. #4
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    I have always spread a bit of oil on the gasket with my finger. '75 airhead. Original gaskets. No leaks. If your cover has warped, then use the neoprene gaskets.

  5. #5
    Registered User lkchris's Avatar
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    Original BMW valve cover gaskets come with heat-activated adhesive. That's the side with printing. Put this side next to the head. Indeed they are installed dry. Gasket will then be reusable for 10 years or so.

    If surface is warped or damaged, silicone gaskets are a useful alternative, although they are a PITA otherwise.
    Kent Christensen
    21482
    '12 R1200RT, '02 R1100S, '84 R80G/S

  6. #6
    criminaldesign
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    i've always been told to dab oil on the gasket before sealing in areas with oil and such. Not drench but enough to seal when pressed.

  7. #7
    JAMESDUNN
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    Quote Originally Posted by Weasel View Post
    I have always spread a bit of oil on the gasket with my finger. '75 airhead. Original gaskets. No leaks. If your cover has warped, then use the neoprene gaskets.
    it is my understanding that you want to do this against the head side not valve cover side. The oil according to Snowbum can carbonize and stick.

  8. #8
    Registered User lkchris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by criminaldesign View Post
    i've always been told to dab oil on the gasket before sealing in areas with oil and such. Not drench but enough to seal when pressed.
    Not by anyone familiar with BMWs.

    It's not in the factory service manual. 'merikun shade tree "knowledge" isn't.
    Kent Christensen
    21482
    '12 R1200RT, '02 R1100S, '84 R80G/S

  9. #9
    Registered User kwb210's Avatar
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    I'll get the valve cover gaskets off this afternoon. Wanted to be sure engine was cold as I'm going to check torque levels on the head. Then I'll look for a flat surface and check the covers. Good idea. Simple too!
    thanks,
    kurt

  10. #10
    criminaldesign
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    Quote Originally Posted by lkchris View Post
    Not by anyone familiar with BMWs.

    It's not in the factory service manual. 'merikun shade tree "knowledge" isn't.
    I've haven't even replaced the gaskets the times I've opened her up. Not a drip to be found.

  11. #11
    Registered User kwb210's Avatar
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    bolt may be stripped

    think I may have found the problem. after reassembly, I began to roque the valve cover nut to 15 ft lbs and it just spun, funny i did not notice the first time, maybe it's not funny, it's just my luck! So, I pulled cover off and applied a tiny tiny amount of black silicon high temp oem something gasket sealer. leak is now gone. even with the lack of the center bolt pulling in the cover. good until this winter and I'll re-tap.
    thanks for great comments.

  12. #12
    Registered User lkchris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by criminaldesign View Post
    I've haven't even replaced the gaskets the times I've opened her up. Not a drip to be found.
    Exactly.

    Set on my RS that I bought in 12/'83 lasted maybe 15 years. And that's just when I finally had the heads off for new valves, etc.

    BMW owners are welcome to have higher expectations than they've come to have owning 'merikun iron.
    Kent Christensen
    21482
    '12 R1200RT, '02 R1100S, '84 R80G/S

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