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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, all!

I´m not 100% sure I´m welcome here (I´m a Philistine with a ´93 Tracer 1.9 4-door), but since the Tracer and Escort are basically identical, I thought I´d ask here.

I bought my Tracer about 1.5 years ago ($1500 cash...lovely), and I´ve had to replace the valve cover gasket three times (and am about to do it a fourth time). The seal always fails in the same place over the number 4 cylendar, directly over the exhaust manifold. While I lose very little oil, the oil that I do lose ends up burning off and stinking up a storm.

I did the gasket replacement the first couple of times myself, since it´s pretty simple to do, but last time I had a professional do it (since I figured I must´ve hosed the first 2 somehow). It has lasted a bit longer than normal, but it´s starting to fail again (I can see the break in the gasket).

I was starting to think that maybe PCV is failing, but if it were, I´d be burning oil out the exhaust too, right (and I´m not...the engine is in otherwise great shape and passes California emissions without a single problem)?

Anyone out there run into a similar problem?
--bj
 

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Sounds more like cursed bad luck then anything else. I would replace your PCV, you wont alway see the burning oil...because its very little oil that flows usually.

Here´s some more advice, the black RTV sealant stuff SUCKS. There´s a brand of high temp sealant stuff called "The Right Stuff" It´s really, The Right Stuff. Helps more then just using the Black RTV.

Resurfacing the valve cover and head where it comes in contact with the gasket is a good idea...just dont take off too much.

The only other thing I can think of is maybe the oil getting up through the head is just a little too hot right here...what weight oil are you using ?

Anyhow, g´luck and you are more then welcome to post here,...for anything.
 

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I´m having the same problem. And I´m pritty sure it´s nothing to do with my incresased cylinder preasure or anything with oil preasure. I´m going trough valve cover gaskets like crazy. Every 6 months I have to replace it. I used proper torque and stuff but still. I believe it´s a shitty gaskets. They are made of 2 layers of cork and some metal foil between. My problem is that upper cork layer splits from metal foil and slides aside. It loves to do it near first cylinder (1-2-3-4 coil pack).
 

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I have always had good luck using Indian Head Gasket sealer. It works wonders on those multi layer gaskets because it doesn´t let anything slide around. use plenty of sealer, lightly tighten the bolts wait about 2 minutes then finish tightening the bolts to the right torque. remember on cork gaskets it you over tighten the bolts the gasket is junked. by the way, my car never leaks oil --- it´s just marking it´s territory!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well, I definitely feel better knowing that at least one other person is having the same problem...

Anywho, thanks everyone! I´ll try Indian Head Gasket sealer (which is overkill, but probably worth it) and see what happens. I think I´ll also hit Autozone´s and Checker/Kragen/Whatever´s web sites and see if they have any higher-test gaskets.

AleX definitely hit the problem on the head. The cork does seem to be separating from the rest of it, and the stronger sealant may just do the trick.

I´d promise an update in a few months, but this thread will likely be long forgotten by then...
 

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Blade is right about Felpro. they are one of the best you can get. There is an old trick but don´t use it unless you are really serious: weather stripping adhesive and a new gasket. Darn near impossible to get apart. this even seals up old chevy small blocks before the center bolt valve covers.
 

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Lay 3/16" bead of Ultra-Blue and let it sit for around ten minutes then torque down an extra 10% to make up for thread drag. Put a little on the threads as well. Ultra blue is also the best for tranny leaks cause it doesn´t break down. Or if you want to go nuts goto a Subaru dealer and but this stuff called FujiBond, they use it in rallying because it´s quick and does the job like no other $$$$$Pricey though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
CosworthWannabe2: Are you saying to use Ultra-Blue in place of a gasket, or with a gasket? I´m not familiar with this product, so please forgive my ignorance...
 

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The gasket that was on my 1.9 was rubber. I never had a prob with it leaking. I even bought rubber gasket for my Mustang engine. They seal way better than cork from my experience. Proper torque is important, so never overlook that. If using RTV be careful. It must bond to both surfaces or it will have a void where a leak can form. I try to avoid using both RTV and a gasket. one or the other should be fine.
 

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If you absolutely have to use a form of RTV dont get the black or blue stuff...it sucks bad. They make this product called "The Right Stuff" it really is the right stuff to use. I used it on my oilpan after tapping the return line nipple.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well, I finally got around to replacing it today.

It took about an hour to scrape off the bits of cork from both surfaces, but the rubber one is on and working well so far. I ended up heading off to Autozone and picking up a Felpro rubber gasket. Per advice of the dude there (confirmed here somewhat tangentially), I went with no sealant.

Alas, I misread the specs and overtorqued the bolts a bit before realizing that 50-100 ft-lbs was WAY too much here (I´d never bothered torqing them in the past, so I thought I´d do it right this time). Long story short, they´re now torqued to 120 in-lbs, which I suspect is not the end of the world (at least with rubber gaskets).

I then ran an oil system flush and changed the oil (just in case there were any nagging cork bits in there). We´ll see how it holds up. Thanks to all of you for the advice!

--bj
 

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Yeah I´m not sure about the 1.9 but on my (1.
engine I had the same problems. Finally got pissed put a gasket on and used the gasket goop stuff. IT worked very well for about a year +. IT´s been sitting for about a year now so I think its leaking but I have a couple oil leaks I need to fix so no biggie.
 
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