Valve cover (and more) replacement questions - 1979 L6

Discussion in '1978 - 1981 Specific' started by Schmidy, May 18, 2016.

  1. Schmidy

    Schmidy New Member

    Likes Received:
    May 18, 2016
    Arvada, Colorado
    Hello everyone, I am new to the forums and to owning a camaro (I tried to search for this topic, but was unable to find anything, if it exists, will someone please direct me)

    I recently (yesterday) bought a 79 base model (womp womp), I couldn't pass it up, 61k original miles, (with a couple dents - one kinda gnarly dent that will require a new door) for $1,400!!!! (most rolling chassis in my area seem to go for double that). I have always wanted a project car, and I finally got one. Plans include, removing the L6 for a sbc 383, and converting to a manual transmission - plus ALL the work that goes into that. I'd also love to try to do the 70 split bumper swap down the road, as I have seen a few threads on those, and they look sweet.

    After driving my new old car home and parking it my driveway (it was rainy all day yesterday), I noticed a spot of oil on the ground (figures right?). The seller told me that there was a slight oil leak in the valve cover - apparently the previous owner didn't use gaskets with replacing the cylinder side covers???? He included a new gasket in the transaction (woohoo).

    Today I went outside to make a mental game plan for the job, and noticed a couple weird things, which leads me to believe I want to just replace the entire valve cover, oil breather cap, PCV grommet, and PCV valve. PCV valve because it's a super cheap part and if it is clogged (my guess), it could be causing the overpressurization in the valve cover, which could be leading to the leak. (Or so I believe)

    It looks like one of the previous owners (maybe the guy selling it to me, seeing as he was trying to just get rid of it before he moved) decided to 'hot fix' the oil leak in the valve cover with paper towels??? WTF! (see images below). There are "paper towel gaskets" on the oil breather cap, and on the air line going from the valve cover to my air filter. There also looks like what seems to be electrical tape around the base of where the PCV valve connects to the valve cover. I know I should have probably seen all this when I was looking at it originally, but it was raining on us, and I was just too dang excited to be buying myself a Camaro.

    Because I will eventually be swapping this motor/trans etc out (less than 2 years hopefully) - I do not want to go nuts upgrading everything, I just want to use this car as my everyday driver - so i need it to last a while. The less money I spend now, the more I can spend on my 383 :).

    Besides replacing the valve cover, valve cover gasket, oil breather cap, PCV grommet and PCV valve, should I look into doing anything else to the motor while I have the valve cover off?

    Am I underestimating the amount of work this will be? - (i.e. getting out of this spending less than $50 - plus everything seems super accessible). I know enough about cars to get myself in trouble, but I am very also mechanically inclined - so if you want to dumb it down for me, you wont offend me.

    Oil Breather -

    Oil Breather and air intake -

    PCV Valve -
  2. RS1979

    RS1979 Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

    Likes Received:
    Jun 18, 2013
    Memphis, TN
    You could probably get away with putting a new valve cover gasket, new pcv and breather tube grommets, new breather element and a new pcv valve. Once you pull the valve cover off, check the bolt holes on the valve cover. If the bolts have been overtightened, a dimple will form on the bottom side of the hole. This happens a lot with stamped steel valve covers. If you see the dimples, tap the dimples back until they are flat. These cause a lot of oil leaks.

    Also, check all the fluids to see if they are clean and in good shape. If they aren't, change them.
    Last edited: May 18, 2016

Share This Page