C4 Vette Valve Cover Gasket Replacement Part V

I’m now at the point where I can re-install the valve covers.  I’ve painted them and cleaned up the gromets (for one of my vette buddies who was dismayed when the saw the interim pics).  

If you remember I had to remove a few things including vacuum hoses, spark plug wires, a/c parts.  In addition the bolts that hold the covers down had spark plug wire holders  and other brackets for hold wires.  

Brackets that would mount through with the bolt for the covers passing through.


Keep this in mind as I explain what I learned from my decision to use Fel-Pro gaskets. 

Ok..fine enough dramma..lets get to the lesson I learned (which is often learned the hard way when you have average skills and less than average experience). 

I am not smarter than the engineers at GM.  They knew what they were doing when the used permatex…it was all about the bolts.  Specifically, the length the engineers decided do use, or maybe it was the budget guys. They knew how to follow the build sheet. Here is the bottom line.  The length of the bolts supported the thin layer of the permatex and the brackets shown above and that was it. 

They did not support the thickness of the gaskets.  They were just under a 1/4 too short.  With the brackets and the Fel-Pro gasket in place barely two threads poke out, not enough to catch the thread on the engine.  errrk….When did I know this and what got into your head to do it anyway? 

Fare enough question.  I found out when I queried a couple of Corvette forums about what gaskets to use.  I got a lot of responses, everyone has an opinion..ya know!!!  But only one had actually done an 84 C4 and he said..if you don’t use permatex you are going to have to get longer bolts and BTW your bracket for the spark holders won’t fit.  So I knew this before  I picked up the valve covers (but not before I ordered the set from the supplier).  

Why I didn’t go with the permatex solution was the amount of space and jostling what I had to do when I took them out.  I was pretty sure getting them back in would be worse and the changes of wiping off the some of the permatex and messing up the seal, making the odds of redoing it high. 

Finding the longer bolt took some doing.  The auto parts store…yes..yes.. the same one that said they didn’t have anything but cork and when querying another employee show me what I and originally asked for..didn’t have the proper bolts.   The 84 C4 was all metric, bolts and nuts, you can even switch the digital the dash from US to metric.  The heads are 11mm the threads were 6mm and the pitch was 1/4. 

I ended up at ACE hardware and the only thing that would work and look good were the chrome.  Ok…average guy with average budget…warning..they weren’t cheap…I know that when the manger took me to the back of the store and showed me a stack of boxes that were padlocked shut.  They lock them up!!!!  They were over $2.00 each, washers were nearly a $1.00.  

So I decided on the chrome but they only had 7 bolts..I needed eight with washers as well, they only had 1 washer.  When did we as a nation have a shortage chrome???  Any way I went ot another Ace and the guy there didn’t have any, but tried to tell me the ones I purchased at the other ACE wasn’t correct.  He had the washers so I picked those up and traveled to the next ACE (they’re a lot like Walgreens..they’re on nearly every corner here in Tucson). 

Replacing the covers was about the same as removing them and while doing it I was very glad I didn’t use the permatex, most of it wouldn’t have made it on the covers or the engine.  I’m thinking at the GM factory they put the valve covers on before the AC and all the vacuum hoses and alternator…etc. 

Tomorrow I’ll  finish this up….well maybe…one more lesson was in store. 

Thanks for reading. 


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One Response to C4 Vette Valve Cover Gasket Replacement Part V

  1. Steve Sears says:

    I was wondering why you went with Chrome. When the engine is all assembled with that humongous cross flow cover you can’t see anything.

    Anyway the point I wanted to make was that we have a Fastenal store here that you may have one there too that have just about every fastener ever thought of in stock. Metrics are no problem and they seem to be less expensive than any other place I’ve seen. Do you have one of those in Tucson?

    Just a thought for the next time you have to suffer through one of those tasks again.

    My Ranger truck used a permatex like material to seal the oil pan on the 2.3 liter engine. It now has a gasket that leaks. It was installed when the original sealant plugged up the oil pickup tube. The bad part is the engine has to be removed to change the gasket. My truck will continue to leak for quite some time. Ha ha.

    Really good documentation of the valve cover job. I’m sure it will be helpfull to many.

Let me hear from you!!! Drop a note!!