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I recently installed a new valve cover gasket because I suspected the valve cover was leaking. I used a Felpro gasket that I bought from Napa. They're rubber with metal rings at the bolt holes. Well, if it wasn't leaking before, it was certainly leaking now. I took the valve cover off again and I found that the rubber gasket was cracked and split around the bolt holes and some of the rings were ripped out of the soft rubber.

I don't understand the idea behind metal rings embedded in rubber. It seems that the metal rings would prevent the cover from compressing on the rubber for a tight fit.

Is there some subtle technique to installing these gaskets. Are the rings supposed to fit into the holes on the cover?

How can I prevent the rubber from splitting? Should I buy the gaskets from Ford instead of Felpro as one mechanic suggested?

Thanks in advance.
 

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wow almost 5 years and first post!
lol any way i would say that the metal rings are there to prevent it frome being overtightened wich will split and push the gasket out of place and to help it get torqued down evenly.

did you torque the bolts to the manufacturers specs?

i had the valve cover gasket on my contour leak because it was a little bit out of place and my dad overtightened the bolts and it twisted and split the gasket.

i would get a new gasket and make sure its in place and torqued down to the right specs and in a criss cross pattern from the center
 

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Discussion Starter #3
sable23, Thanks for responding.

Metal rings in rubber just seems like a bad design. This is isn’t the first time I found the rings ripped out of the rubber on these gaskets and embedded in the aluminum valve cover.

I live by the criss-cross pattern when it comes to tightening bolts down. I also followed the torque specs, although I did use the high end value (106 in-lbs) and it is possible my torque wrench is a little too aggressive (inaccurate and trending toward a higher torque value). I’ll go with the lower torque value the next time.

I joined the TCCA back in 2004 when I was researching how to replace head gaskets. Now, I figured it was the right forum to return to for asking about these Ford/Mercury specific gaskets. LOL, I forgot I was a member until the registration page rejected my usual username.

I expect to be making more posts because this year I’m waging a holy war on my car’s issues.
 

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so the metal rings actually embeded themselves in the cover? if that is the case i would probably just try and find an all rubber gasket then... and try the lower torque setting first if it seems too loose or it leaks try torqing them down just a little bit more i hope this helps. yeah i am trying to get maintenace done on my cars this year too so they dont keep breaking down on me at the worst possible time...
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Well, after finally getting a new valve cover and gasket and being distracted by other things (like my job), I'm just about ready to replace the leaking gasket and cover.

I bought the gasket from Ford. It was expensive ($48 + change), but compared to the Felpro version the rubber is slightly thicker and the metal rings at the bolt holes are now washers. These differences are inspiring confidence.

I located the left side valve cover in Tennessee. It might be the last new one for my car available anywhere. A lot of places have the right side, but not the left.

I'm wondering now whether I should use the Permatex Ultra Rubber Gasket Sealant and Dressing during the install, or not? I'd rather avoid gumming things up. Any thoughts?

E Steve K
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Well, I replaced the rear valve cover gasket with the new Ford gasket and installed a new cover, and results seem to be very good. No more burnt oil fumes. Here are some notes that may be helpful to others doing this job.

- I didn't use the Permatex Ultra Rubber gasket sealant as I did the previous time because when I opened the cover up I found the sealant had become somewhat hard an flaky. Instead, I used the Permatex hylomar which worked well in the past.

- Even though this should have been a simple job, it took me a good part of a weekend. The reasons why it took so long include:
-- This is a really tight area to work in.
-- I had to improvise tools to clean off the Permetex Ultra Rubber gasket. I used a Shopvac to capture the oily flakes around the rocker arms. I used small pieces of paper towels stuffed into a gasket scraper blade clamp and sprayed with gasket remover to remove the permatex around the rim, and I used paper towels dipped in mineral spirits and tied to a stick to do further cleaning.
-- I'm kinda slow and methodical.

- I avoided over-torquing the cover down. In fact, I undertorqued it figuring I could always come back a tighten it if necessary. I started with the rear center bolt and used a criss-cross pattern.

- Leaning over the engine for hours on end is literally backbreaking work.

Good Luck
 
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