Thread: Leaking valve covers

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  1. #1 Leaking valve covers 
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    So I've been reading about this problem with this generation of 3.8L engines...

    I'm pretty sure that the last recall was done on this car - as the front valve cover is clean. It seems they only do the front valve cover for the recall?

    My rear valve cover is leaking as well. So I will be replacing these gaskets.

    I do have two questions...

    1. What gasket should I use as the replacement? Did the aftermarket solve this problem?

    2. Is this an inherent fault with the valve covers themselves? As in, is there a redesigned valve cover/gasket combination that solves this problem?
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  3. #2 Re: Leaking valve covers 
    Solving problems BrandonHall10's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by danf View Post
    1. What gasket should I use as the replacement?
    I think they are all probably about the same. I'm a Fel-Pro guy. Whatever you get, make sure to get the set with grommets also.

    Did the aftermarket solve this problem?
    That depends on the timeline. New gaskets will solve the leak. Then they get old and leak. Problem unsolved.

    2. Is this an inherent fault with the valve covers themselves? As in, is there a redesigned valve cover/gasket combination that solves this problem?
    See previous answer.
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  4. #3 Re: Leaking valve covers 
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    I always run Fel-Pro gaskets/grommets and never had an issue. Have them on my 95 Bonne, 00 GT and brother's 01 GT. No leaks, no fires. If the GM recall was done then you're front valve cover is likely black in color, while the rear is still grey.

    I'm still pretty convinced that the fire issue was caused by the janky O-rings in the fuel line quick connects where the nylon line meets the steel line. I had mine start to leak on the 00 GT once and it filled up the LIM pockets with raw fuel as it seeped. I caught the fuel smell and found it leaking after shutdown. New O-rings installed and it's been fine for the last 150K+ miles. Still have my factory valve covers with Fel-Pro's.

    I get cards in the mail from GM every few months for the engine fire issue. Nice to know they care but I'm pretty sure that after upgrading the front brakes on my GP years ago I'd know if there was a leak on the front side under hard braking that would cause an issue. I've set this thing down hard from highway speeds quite a few times and it hasn't burnt down yet.
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  5. #4 Re: Leaking valve covers 
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    OK. I was looking a little closer this morning and it looks like the elbows off the tensioner were already changed to the metal ones... hopefully those won't be a PITA to change.

    I don't think it's the intake gasket(s) - I don't see any real evidence of leaks from it, but it sure is oily right below the rear valve cover. I guess once I get some things out of the way I'll have a better idea on the intake gaskets.
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  6. #5 Re: Leaking valve covers 
    Turbo is the way to go. BillBoost37's Avatar
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    The gaskets are rubber and the grommets put pressure on them to seal them. The bolts bottom out, so it'a all grommet. As these gasket age, the grommets get weak, the gaskets flatten out and you end up with a leak. Replacing them will get you years of happiness. Look at the front to make sure they did grommets too. I've seen where the recall didn't do the grommets.
    I drink..so consider that when reading my posts.

    2010 Audi A6 Dual IC's
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  7. #6 Re: Leaking valve covers 
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    Well, I got the car more or less ready to change the rear gasket. I was surprised when I took the alternator off that the bracket didn't go over the rear valve cover - I was expecting some cursing because everything I read said the alt bracket is in the way.

    I didn't remove the rear bracket off yet (does it have to come off? I was measuring and thinking it might come off with the bracket still there...) but I did clean everything and I can see the rear valve cover now. It was pretty buried back there. I ordered FelPro gaskets.

    I probably won't have time to curse at the replacement until next weekend though.
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  8. #7 Re: Leaking valve covers 
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    I didn't find an edit button... I also checked around the intake at the front and back and while there is a bit of grime there's no pooling oil at all. I might try to wipe it all up with a rag and that way I'll know if there's a leak. The bracket and header below the rear valve cover is just coated in oil...
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  9. #8 Re: Leaking valve covers 
    Turbo is the way to go. BillBoost37's Avatar
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    That bracket (if it's the middle of the rear head) is held on with 2 13mm nuts. It's well worth it to take it off as it'll give you room to clean etc.

    The alternator bracket depends on the year. Seems you have a late 90's if your bracket wasn't in the way.
    I drink..so consider that when reading my posts.

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  10. #9 Re: Leaking valve covers 
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    Well, I got the job done. I cleaned up as much oil as I could see. I still smell oil after the car gets fully warmed up but I'm 99% sure that's what I couldn't reach, will likely be smelling that for a while.

    The rear valve cover had orange gaskets:


    The front cover (done under recall a couple years ago) had gray ones. I replaced them both with the FelPro Blue gaskets.

    After all this at least I don't see any visible blue smoke burning off !!
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  11. #10 Re: Leaking valve covers 
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    Quote Originally Posted by danf View Post

    I probably won't have time to curse at the replacement until next weekend though.
    the one thing i dont like about sideway V6 and 8's is doing anything on the rear bank of cylinders.
    08 grand prix NA3800
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