– Rocker cover gasket: Characteristics
– Head cover gasket maintenance
– Cost of rocker cover gasket replacement
If you’re not the type to get your hands dirty but rather take your car to the nearest garage, he’ll probably tell you about the rocker cover gasket, which is one of the reasons you see leaks and seepage in your car’s engine.
Rocker cover gasket: Characteristics
Definition of the rocker cover
The rocker cover covers the top of the valve train, including the following:
– the camshaft;
– the tappets, the intermediate support parts between the camshaft and the valve stem (in this case, these replace the rocker’s arms)
– the valve stems and their return spring.
The rocker arm cover stores a reserve of oil for lubricating the top of the engine and is often made of aluminum alloy, sometimes of composite material.
The rocker cover gasket serves as a seal between the rocker cover and the top of the cylinder head.
Its shape is related to the form of the rocker cover; if in the past, the general shapes were simple (a rectangle), modern engines nowadays offer tortured and complex bodies, with the presence of:
– two camshafts;
– variable valve timing, variable valve opening, and closing points depending on the engine parameters;
– multi-valve technology: when the number of valves per cylinder is multiplied. In general, 4 per cylinder: 2 intake valves and 2 exhaust valves.
The rocker cover gasket is available in several materials:
– the cork, abandoned today but present on vintage vehicles;
– the paper gasket, rare on a rocker cover;
– the rubber gasket, often thick and guided by an impression in the rocker cover;
– the elastomer gasket, an O-ring with a round or square cross-section, pre-shaped to the design of the cylinder head cover and set in a recess on the circumference of the cylinder head cover. It is the almost universal solution adapted to modern vehicles.
Maintenance operations of the cylinder head gasket
Its replacement, necessary by a leak or when dismantling the engine, does not present any particular difficulty for old engines; it will be more demanding on the latest generations and will require the following precautions:
– Given that it is necessary to disassemble accessories to access them (manifold, electrical connectors, hoses …), it is wise to identify the locations and order of disassembly (taking pictures).
– The disassembly and reassembly of the head cover must respect procedures often recommended by the manufacturer:
◦ removal and installation of the fixing screws: tightening is done progressively from the center to the outside (snail procedure), and loosening is done in reverse.
◦ The contact surfaces of the seal must be cleaned.
◦ Once the new gasket and the head cover are in position, tightening to the torque recommended by the manufacturer must be respected (risk of breakage of composite head covers).
Cost of replacing the rocker cover gasket
Depending on the complexity of the gasket, the cost range is $10 to $30. A professional replacement will take 2 hours or less, or $35 to $150.
If you do the replacement yourself, you can get it at a lower cost through specialized sites and establishments.
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