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Of course, Jet Doctors would also be a solution, BUT, who wants little pieces of junk in an area where fuel and air are doing their dance.

I do like the look of safety wire, but any roadside repair would also require wire cutters. The springs or Nylocks make the most sense.

I safety wired my valve covers. Those bolts are only supposed to be just tight enough to prevent leaking. Unfortunately, one of my covers took a slight warp during welding on the AN8 nubs. That one requires the bolts to be a bit too tight for my likings. I'll have to fix that at some point.

@El Frazoo posted:

Bolted on valve covers really look cool.  Also, they really leak almost all the time.  The shoulder bolt arrangement for fastening is the pits, if you ask me.  You simply cannot beat the steel covers with the spring bale -- or is it bail??  Auto-adjusting for gasket compression over time. I ditched my cool looking Al finned covers for plain old VW covers, never looked back.

You're right, Kelly; all the aluminum bolt-on covers leak eventually.  I don't think I've ever seen a set NOT leak!  The only thing better than stock steel covers with the spring bales- Scat aluminum covers (with spring bales).  I have a set made out of sheet aluminum- they're pressed/formed into shape just like a stock steel cover, should radiate heat well and are really (and I do mean REALLY) light!

lightened al valve covers

Going from stock valve covers (the 2 I have weigh 340, 349 grams) to the aluminum Scat covers (155, 158 g) saved 376 g (13.26 oz.)- something to watch for in the swap meet at the next show you go to.  Remember to ask for the bales (the covers I bought didn't have them)!  It doesn't look like Scat makes these in aluminum any more- they are available in stainless steel and weigh about the same as stock steel covers, so scouring the swap meets it will be.  Al


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  • lightened al valve covers
Last edited by ALB

The bail covers are really hard to beat. They DO work well.

However, my bolt-on P-replica/faux 547 covers don't leak. They may weep a tiny amount every once in a while, but do not drip. I milled a groove for an O-ring where the bolt shoulder rests. And safety-wired the bolts like Carlos, so I can't lose them.

@Carlos G I like that treatment of the rubber washers. That is DEFINITELY a source of dirt in the carbs.

You should be able to have the warped cover milled flat by a good machinist.

Now you guys have me concerned about my steel washers with rubber on the bottom I use for my air cleaners.

For a time I used Revmaster C-Channel valve covers but a couple of times I cut through the gasket when tightening them.  They are now in the box of stuff to give away at Carlisle.

Now I am using CSP bolt-on valve covers.  They can be used with an o-ring or a conventional gasket. Currently, I am using silicone gaskets with them.

I used to have a set of valve covers like Danny.  I can't remember why I stopped using them.

I have the CB Perf bolt-on covers.  I think they look cool, but no one is ever going to see them other than me.  

I use whatever cover gasket I can find but moisten them with grease for 30 mins before I install them.  Rather than screwing around finding o-rings for the bolts to the cover, I use a piece of 5/16" gas hose and use a plier/cutter to cut out some 1/4" thick pieces of hose and use them as o-ring seals on the bolts.  

This is the cutting tool I use, and, so far, I still retain all of my fingers:

I tighten everything nice and snug and that's it.  I swap gaskets when ever I change the oil and check the valves and occasionally one or the other cover will weep a little and enough to look moist but not enough to drip.  I can live with that.  Leak-free engines are totally over-rated.


@DannyP posted:
.... @Carlos G I like that treatment of the rubber washers. That is DEFINITELY a source of dirt in the carbs...

OK, so I've been following this wing nut sub-thread (and may have contributed to it somewhat), with growing fascination, and now perhaps with growing feelings of anxiety and even foreboding.

For most of my adult life, I've felt I've known all that was important to know about wing nuts. But as talk has escalated around drilling, safety wire, securing springs and now rubber washers, I'm getting nervous. Is this yet another hole in my sorry understanding of what car guys are supposed to just know?

Here is one of the wing nuts that secure my air cleaner covers. There's a solid brass washer, a star washer, and the wing nut proper. For almost ten years now and for over 40 thousand miles, they have held firm. Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night has kept one of them from their appointed rounds.


Using them is rather simple. Two wraps of a rag to cushion my delicate, California fingers, a quick twist, and the task is done. Releasing them is a similar process.

The only special care required is making sure the wing nuts and all washers are completely removed from the engine compartment before the air cleaner covers are removed, else one of them is sure to disappear down the Venturi of Death.

So, what am I missing? Why is this not a fully sanctioned process? What crimes against engineering am I committing here? Where have I failed? The nuts stay nutted. I am master of my domain.

What, are star washers somehow cheating? Maybe I don't want to know after all.



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I tossed my leaky bolt-on covers for a pair of Scat stainless covers. They never leak, but you have to be careful of the sharp edges. A lot easier than fiddling with the bolts, hardening washers, etc.

I have a set of those, I drilled them for bolt-on vent fittings. I should have had them welded. I could weld them now, but I don't use them. They are indeed sharp, especially the anti-suck gasket-holding tabs.

Valve covers matter on a Spyder, they are very visible when the clam is open.

@Sacto Mitch You are absolutely correcto-mundo, you DON'T want to know!

And FWIW I have the wing nut, the star washer and the rubber cup washer.  I also have rain hats whose two holes for the studs are pretty damn tight fitting. Also I twist the rubberized cup washers off the threads vs just yank them up, because its easier.  So I have two layers of covering: rain hats plus the Al filter cover,  to catch little bits, and All are removed with utmost care and, as has been mentioned, putting all loose hardware safely in a cup on the ground first.  Have never thought for a minute that bits of rubber were going into that tiny dark place where the Weber Devil lives.  But maybe?? So I'm now in the shyts with Sacto, doubting my very existence as a bona fide gearhead. Oh woe is me . . .

My engine does seep a little from one place or another, but really does not leak.  I wipe it down underneath with a rag from time to time.  I credit the use of red silicone on all cover/gasket interfaces I have done R&R on. Overall, as my third air-cooled experience over all time, this engine has been pretty good.  As delivered, the rear main seal spun out some oil. IIRC, I replaced that with two new ones, back to back, and things are good now. And have been for some time.

But the remaining question is;  Did @Stan Galat ever find his missing wing nut or has it joined Lane’s brass thingie and who knows how many lost 10mm sockets?

I'm no good at a lot of things, but I don't lose tools in the shop. Ever. I don't lose stuff in the engine compartment, either.

I leave a trail of tools on the jobsite, and I lose stuff off my work-truck so often that I started buying Stanley 6-in-1 screwdrivers by the case 10 years ago. I carry a complete second set of hand tools, because I semi-regularly leave the entire tool bag sitting on top of a unit or in a shopping cart downstairs and drive 60 mi to the next job.

I got 4 10-24 nylock wing nuts and 4 number 10 nylon washers and took the rubber-backed washers off too. I'm not dorking around with this anymore.

VC gaskets: I think the ones I get are called fiberfab?? they are a combo of silicone and fibers, not unlike our bodies: resin plus glass fibers for strength.  They work really well.  Never liked nor had any great luck with cork back in the day.  I stick 'em down with the aforementioned red HT silicone.

As to Danny's little wee springs, I think they are the bomb. If nothing else they make a profound statement about the owner/driver: "I pay attention."

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