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Valve Cover Decision Time: Help Me Spend more $$

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Old 03-13-2018, 01:47 PM
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NewbVetteGuy
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Default Valve Cover Decision Time: Help Me Spend more $$

I'm looking to finalize a decision on an inexpensive, fabricated aluminum valve cover set and I have a few questions. First of all "knowns":
  • I definitely want fabricated, not cast covers
  • Price is important; China seems to be a must-I'm ok with that for valve covers
  • Must have holes for Breathers / Oil fill
  • I think I prefer perimeter bolts; although my Profiler heads can accomodate center or perimeter bolts
  • I want either powder coated or anodized; I don't want to do the maintenance for polished, natural aluminum


Questions:
  • Most valve cover options seem to be "long bolt"; what are the pros/cons of long vs. short bolt valve covers?
  • If you have heads that can accomodate either perimeter or center bolt valve covers, which would you go with and why?
  • Appearance differences of powder coated vs. anodized (my intake is silver thermal barrier coated so it's already a kind of shiny, kind of dull, polished aluminum look; I'm leaning towards anodized..
  • None of the fabricated valve covers I've seen come with both an oil filler hole AND breather holes; do you just pull out a breather and then use the hole as the oil filler hole with these? (Assume so)
  • PRV / Breather: I definitely want to use a PRV and all the valve covers I'm looking at have interior baffles which I'm hoping means avoiding sucking in too much oil; should I be using a PRV in the driver's side valve cover and routing that to the appropriate vacuum port on my intake and then install a regular breather on the passenger's side? (See photos below)

The image insert javascript on the site seems to be failing on my browser right now, so here's a link to what looks like long vs. short bolt style valve covers, but the description of both says "long bolt"; is the description just wrong?
https://kmjperformance.com/sbc-chevy...ve-covers.html
https://kmjperformance.com/sbc-chevy...3-327-400.html


P.S. Yes, I know KMJ has a bad reputation including for customer support; BUT valve covers seem to be one product that really doesn't really have bad reviews from them and I'm willing to chance my arm for that price...


Adam

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Old 03-13-2018, 03:41 PM
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C3 Stroker
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These valve covers are available from many companies (same covers, different names), so I got mine from Skip White. He has the best prices I've seen so far and the best options (holes, no holes, etc.). Only OEM style valve covers have filler holes AND breather holes (as far as I've seen), and you could drill an extra hole if needed. I got mine with no holes and drilled a filler hole on one side and a vacuum pump access hole on the other.

Check out this site...

https://www.skipwhiteperformance.com...5-satin_84867/
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Old 03-13-2018, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by C3 Stroker View Post
These valve covers are available from many companies (same covers, different names), so I got mine from Skip White. He has the best prices I've seen so far and the best options (holes, no holes, etc.). Only OEM style valve covers have filler holes AND breather holes (as far as I've seen), and you could drill an extra hole if needed. I got mine with no holes and drilled a filler hole on one side and a vacuum pump access hole on the other.

Check out this site...

https://www.skipwhiteperformance.com...5-satin_84867/
Thanks; Skip seems to be in the same boat of KMJ in terms of consumer complaints when something goes wrong, but I agree he's more discerning about what he stocks. -I've bought some stuff there and have been very happy so far.


He doesn't actually carry any anodized nor any powder coated SBC fabricated valve covers, though.


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Old 03-13-2018, 04:06 PM
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I almost forgot to ask about gasket types!

What type and thickness of gasket type is "standard" or recommended by folks on here? -I'd like it to be reusable...


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Old 03-13-2018, 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by NewbVetteGuy View Post


He doesn't actually carry any anodized nor any powder coated SBC fabricated valve covers, though.


Adam
No one carries powder coated or anodized fabricated covers......you'll have to get those customed.....
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Old 03-13-2018, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by C3 Stroker View Post
No one carries powder coated or anodized fabricated covers......you'll have to get those customed.....
Amazon.com lists many examples.

https://kmjperformance.com/small-blo...r-sbc-350.html Anodized $83

https://kmjperformance.com/small-blo...r-sbc-350.html Powder Coated $90

Skip White is the only one I've seen so far who DOESN'T carry anodized or powder coated...


Adam

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Old 03-13-2018, 05:53 PM
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Sounds like kmj is your guy.......worth a call.
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Old 03-13-2018, 08:19 PM
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I also put on Skip White covers and they are really nice. If you want them coated, these are inexpensive enough to justify sending out prior to install. I ordered mine with holes and use a PCV on the DS and billet breather on PS. Good quality stuff.




Fresh Motor - Ready for Dyno



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Old 03-14-2018, 09:24 AM
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I just replaced these with Chrome plated. While i really liked them, i'm with you on the constant upkeep on cleaning. However, if i had thought about it, having them powder coated would have taken care of that. So consider powder coating.
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Old 03-14-2018, 11:04 AM
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another option is full custom made valve covers, these were CNC cut from Billet Aluminum Block.
these are small block Valve covers, custom made.
engrave, anodize, or powder coat, you chose what you want.


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Old 03-14-2018, 11:48 AM
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Out of curiosity, what color were you planning on having these powder coated?
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Old 03-14-2018, 12:22 PM
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Those are pretty cool! Both the Skip White and KMJ versions. I might have to get a set...
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Old 03-14-2018, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by JoeMinnesota View Post
I also put on Skip White covers and they are really nice. If you want them coated, these are inexpensive enough to justify sending out prior to install. I ordered mine with holes and use a PCV on the DS and billet breather on PS. Good quality stuff.




Fresh Motor - Ready for Dyno
That's a good point. I just got off the phone with the same shop that coated my intake; they said the tall SBC valve covers they can coat for $75. That would put me at like $130 all-in but I'm just not so sure about a thermal barrier coating on valve covers. I'd prefer to actually cool the oil; holding heat in there doesn't seem like a good idea without an oil cooler.


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Old 03-14-2018, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by 69Vett View Post
another option is full custom made valve covers, these were CNC cut from Billet Aluminum Block.
these are small block Valve covers, custom made.
engrave, anodize, or powder coat, you chose what you want.

OMG those are amazing and in another price universe, I'm sure.

I'm looking at $50-$100 valve cover sets...


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Old 03-14-2018, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by PainfullySlow View Post
Out of curiosity, what color were you planning on having these powder coated?
I'm NOT planning on paying to have any valve covers coated, nor anodized; I'm planning on buying them already coated or anodized.


The powder coated valve covers I linked to earlier in the thread were an aluminum-like silver color; the anodized are a clear (no pigment added) anodize.

I think I've moved into the camp of just buying the anodized ones at this point although getting the plain aluminum ones coated by my coater HAS run through my mind. (The anodized ones with a set of grommets for the breathers are right at $100; buying the SkipWhite natural aluminum ones and getting them coated $134.)

-I think I prefer the slight oil cooling ability of the anodized valve covers vs. a thermal barrier coating which would keep heat in AND it's a 45 minute drive each way to get to the coater, so if KMJ Perf gets back to me about their return policy and says they'll return the item for cash if I don't like it (excluding shipping costs) then I'm going to go that route.



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Old 03-14-2018, 12:52 PM
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Now for the gaskets question:

I want a good seal and a gasket that's reusable, but one that doesn't raise the height too much.

What's the difference between a steel core vs. a rubber gasket?

-I know these valve covers will fit over my Comp UltraPro Magnum 1.6 RRs even without the raised rail heads that I have; I also need to keep everything under those huge TPI-style runners of my intak. Ken says the tallest, square valve cover DO create clearance issues with the intake, which is why I'm looking at these "barn roof-style" (my term) valve covers vs. a square top.

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Old 03-14-2018, 06:41 PM
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Something to watch for with the lower-priced fabricated covers - I got a set a while back and they were not flat - I had to get a local machinist to mill the bottoms. Regardless of gasket choice, you may want to watch for that.
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Old 03-14-2018, 07:37 PM
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Skip White stuff. Valve covers I hydro dipped
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Old 03-16-2018, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by diehrd View Post
Skip White stuff. Valve covers I hydro dipped
That sure is a look.

The alternator bracket is the stock steek bracket with a carbon fiber-inspired wrap?


Those coils are MASSIVE; never seen any coils that large; Pantera EFI IGN-1A or???...


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Old 03-16-2018, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by cooper9811 View Post
Something to watch for with the lower-priced fabricated covers - I got a set a while back and they were not flat - I had to get a local machinist to mill the bottoms. Regardless of gasket choice, you may want to watch for that.
I think that's true for all the fabricated / welded aluminum valve covers to a certain degree. The heat required to get full weld penetration puts a good amount of heat into them.

The SkipWhite-sold fabricate valve covers' rail is .225" thick and the listing still states:

"We have used these valve covers on thousands of our high performance engines for over 10 years without any issues. On occasion, you may notice a slight degree of warpage on the rails before installation. This is due to the heat generated by the massive amount of welding done around the outer edge of the rails. This warpage is not a problem. When the valve covers are bolted on, they will pull down flat and seal well. Any micro amounts of variation left over after you have bolted them down will be compensated for by the gaskets. Any and all fabricated valve covers with such welding on the rails will have this characteristic. It's simply not a problem in the least. We dyno many of the engines using these valve covers. The engines are brought up to considerably high rpm levels, and rarely do we ever see any signs of oil seepage. They seal very well. The extra thick valve cover gaskets we use do an excellent job of sealing around the valve covers: Part number 7483-ET. See our other listings for these. Every engine we build uses the extra thick gaskets."


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