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Old 07-31-2011, 02:26 PM   #1
Lager Meister OP
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Leaky valve cover gasket replaced

So my 2010 800GS developed the valve cover leak right around the time the odometer clicked past 11,000 miles. The amount of oil loss was insignificant and since it was almost time for the first valve check, I decided to just wait and do everything at the same time.





The only time I'll ever let anybody else touch my bike with a wrench is for warranty work... I understand the gasket kit and labor would have been covered under warranty, but I adamantly wanted to do the valve check myself so I bit the bullet and bought the 'new improved' gasket kit. List price was $84.24 and with the usual discount at my local dealer it came to $75.82. Call me crazy if you want, but I convinced myself it was worth paying the 75 bucks so I could do the work myself.

The kit came with the two gaskets and new bolts.



The original gasket was installed with a small amount of sealant around the left side of the cover.




The new bolts have a slightly thicker shoulder and the rubber grommet is also thicker. The bolt on the left is the new one...



As expected, the threaded part is the same length as the old bolts...



The new gaskets are also thicker...

New one on the left...


Old...


New...


This the new gasket seated in the valve cover...



I used a tiny amount of brake cleaner on a clean shop rag to remove any oil residue from the sealing surface on the cylinder head and a very small bead of Permatex Ultra Black on the bottom side of the new gasket. The gasket has three small grooves that run along the entire bottom side of the sealing surface and I used enough to just cover the outer two grooves. I ran the bead all the way around the entire bottom sealing surface of the gasket. With the cover installed and the bolts torqued down, there is no sealant squishing out and making a mess. Hopefully my valve cover will be leak free for the next 12,000 miles until it's time to pop it off for the next valve check.

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Old 07-31-2011, 04:30 PM   #2
LukasM
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Nice write-up. I'm afraid I'll have to do the same at some point for my 08.

One suggestion I have is to stop using Permatex or any other silicone RTV on applications like this. It shouldn't be an issue with the small amount you used, but when sloppy mechanics smear it all over surfaces so that large amounts squish out inside the engines, they could eventually work loose and clog up oil passages.

A better choice is an anaerobic sealant like Loctite 518, it will stay liquid if it gets squished inside and won't harm anything.
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Old 07-31-2011, 06:01 PM   #3
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I also hear that the material for the gasket is another issue that they improved on the new one.
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Old 08-01-2011, 08:47 AM   #4
MCMXCIVRS
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I've got the new gasket kit and will be doing mine in a few weeks along with the valve check. I went to my dealer about the leak and they told me BMW refused the warranty because it was nearly due for the valve check anyway. In talking with the service writer, I said I'd do the work myself if BMW would at least warranty the faulty gasket. He was going to run that past BMW and see where it would go. I hadn't heard anmything from them for a couple weeks and was in picking up some other parts so i went round to the service counter and talked with another writer. He pulled up the work order and went and got me the gasket and I was off. The next day the original writer called and left a message that BMW would not cover the gasket on warranty either, obviously unaware that his co-worker had all ready supplied it to me .

I guess it's a catch 22 situation with this leak and warranty now. Unless its super low miles, you'll be paying your own way for the new gasket on the "its gotta be replaced by you anyway" excuse. If the service has been done, then they will likely use the excuse of it being the responsibility of whomever did the check to deal with the leak. Its not a big problem, more of an annoyance, but it's really not very impressive of BMW to not deal with it. I will also have to do my wifes F800ST soon as it too is nearing the valve check and has a bit of a leak.
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Old 10-11-2011, 06:08 PM   #5
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Update

4500 miles later and not a drop of oil leaked.
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Old 07-04-2014, 07:27 PM   #6
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24,000 miles and still hasn't leaked a drop

Here's what she looked like today right before I pulled the cover off for the 24,000 mile valve check...





The Permatex Ultra Black RTV worked great, but I decided to take LukasM's advice and used Permatex Anaerobic gasket maker this time.
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Old 07-05-2014, 01:39 AM   #7
Loutre
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ty for the update! much appreciated!
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Old 09-20-2014, 12:54 PM   #8
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A fix for the old gasket

Mine has been leaking for quite some time. Looked similar or slightly worse than LM's in the original post.
I had just been ignoring it until a valve check. Reading about the updated gasket/bolts, I thought I'd try my own backyard fix before shelling out for the new gasket.
This was the bikes second valve check. The bike was in for warranty work that required removal of the valve cover anyway when the first check was due.
That was before the updated gasket existed. I can't remember if the gasket was replaced at the time, but the tech had used some grey goop (appears to be silicone) upon reassembly.
What I did this time was try to duplicate the thicker grommet to increase the pressure on the gasket.
I pried the grommet off the bolt, placed a regular steel washer against the bolt head and reinstalled the grommet and original thin washer. Sorry, I don't have any pics.
After cleaning off the old grey sealant, I applied a very thin bead, about 1/16" or so of ultra black to both sides of the main gasket, all the way around.

Happy to report, after a few weeks and few thousand km's, it's leak free.
I can't say wether it was the washer, the sealant or both together that stopped the leak. YMMV

On a side note; the wiring to the right coil/injector had been chafing on the valve cover to the point it had worn through the tape and insulation. Looking at the pics above, the problem is not exclusive to me. A few strategically placed cable ties and the problem was solved.

greenthumb screwed with this post 09-20-2014 at 01:01 PM
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Old 09-20-2014, 01:31 PM   #9
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Laugh

Thanks for the update here also. One week before my 36 month warranty went out my dealer replace the gasket on my 09 under warranty. Had 11 k miles on it at the time and had them check the valves while they were in there. Paid 30 minutes shop time. Sweet.

Extra 7K miles on the bike now... still a clean machine with no weeps.
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Old 09-21-2014, 07:33 AM   #10
acap650
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greenthumb View Post
Mine has been leaking for quite some time. Looked similar or slightly worse than LM's in the original post.
I had just been ignoring it until a valve check. Reading about the updated gasket/bolts, I thought I'd try my own backyard fix before shelling out for the new gasket.
This was the bikes second valve check. The bike was in for warranty work that required removal of the valve cover anyway when the first check was due.
That was before the updated gasket existed. I can't remember if the gasket was replaced at the time, but the tech had used some grey goop (appears to be silicone) upon reassembly.
What I did this time was try to duplicate the thicker grommet to increase the pressure on the gasket.
I pried the grommet off the bolt, placed a regular steel washer against the bolt head and reinstalled the grommet and original thin washer. Sorry, I don't have any pics.
After cleaning off the old grey sealant, I applied a very thin bead, about 1/16" or so of ultra black to both sides of the main gasket, all the way around.

Happy to report, after a few weeks and few thousand km's, it's leak free.
I can't say wether it was the washer, the sealant or both together that stopped the leak. YMMV

On a side note; the wiring to the right coil/injector had been chafing on the valve cover to the point it had worn through the tape and insulation. Looking at the pics above, the problem is not exclusive to me. A few strategically placed cable ties and the problem was solved.
I went down the same path, shimmed the bolt shoulder and used the original gasket, only with sealant applied on the half moon side as specified. Result - still leaks but less than before. For the amount of work involved in getting to the VC IMO it's worth replacing the gasket.

Small rant - just as was the case for my F650GS single, this bike will not be a keeper because working on it is such a PITA. It's got around 12K now. I'll do one valve check and run it to 36K (hopefully before the stator croaks), then it's outta here.

Too bad because it's a great bike otherwise.
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Old 09-21-2014, 08:14 AM   #11
AK650
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Great writeup and follow up LM, thank you!

Wanted to ask what was the valve clearance at 12k and 24k?

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