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89 Mk2 polo breadvan oil rocker leak

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Hi, unfortunately my bready has become an annoying illusive siv... 

I have had an oil leak fairly excessively for a couple months costing copious amounts on oil. I decided after looking and looking that although I had a suspicion of the leak being from either the rocker or head gaskets as had just changed them. 

So after fully dismantling and re assembling after a deep bay clean and an actual metal coloured engine had appeared I was able to see it was from the rocker cover gasket in the drivers side and closest to front of car corner of the gasket. The rocker cover sits level but does have some movement left right when the top bolts are not tightened down. 

Is there a position the rocker cover has to be in to properly seal? 

The gasket is also seemingly slightly big as you can see it on a side of the rocker cover when it moves. 

Have attached pics to help explain although have a video I cannot attach here of the movement l/r of the rocker I can email etc ?

Any help appreciated

Thanks a lot 



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Its a long while since I had a Mk2, but a couple of things come to mind:

(1) Doesn't the cam cover have 'top hat' sectioned rubber plugs under the nuts that hold it down? If so, I would think that they should centre the cover into place.

(2) If the holding down nuts are of the domed variety, it is possible that the studs are bottoming inside the dome and preventing the gasket from being compressed sufficiently to form a seal. This could be caused by (a) a gasket that is thinner than the original or (b) replacement studs that are too long.


Don't be tempted to place washers under these nuts in order to obtain more 'nip' - its OK to do so up to a point, BUT too much clamping effort may distort the cover, causing even more of a leak.


It might also pay to place the cover on a flat surface (sheet of glass) and, using a thin feeler blade,  make sure that there are no gaps between the face of the cover and the flat surface when it is held down by hand pressure - It would be very difficult to make a distorted cover seal the joint.



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This is all good advice. So far my experience is with the steel sheet metal cam cover. Most of the oil, I have found leaks around the seals of the bolts and the corners where the main seal comes over the cam retaining caps. I put gasket sealant in these corners and under the seal only. Also instead of bolt, I have made studs that stay in the cylinder head and the cam cover is then held down by nuts that are shaped like a hat so they spread their holding force flatter on to the rubbers on top of the cam cover in the hope the rubber won't then be distorted causes them to leak. My engine now has a cast aluminium cam cover and in the short time the engine has actually been running there has been no leaks. Something that can be missed is to make sure the inside of the engine is not pressurised by combustion blow by and that the breather at the back of the engine is not blocked. I will be adding a PCV (positive crankshaft ventilation) valve to my engine which will be a hose from the inlet manifold where there is a vacuum most of the time to a point on the engine not yet decided. The valve limits the amount of vacuum that can be placed on the engine when the throttle closes quickly and also in boosted engines the valve prevents the engine from being pressurised by boost. If there is a small vacuum inside the engine most of the time then oil may not get pushed through seals. There is a theory that that vacuum inside the engine will tend to pull down the piston rings making them seal better.

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  • 1 year later...

Hi Guys, going through the same at the moment, had a garage fit new rocker cover gasket today but still dribbling oil front left at the same rate.  Only difference is he didn't use a tonne of silicone like the previous owner had. Thinking now it could be the cam seal but don't have the time or money to get into that right now so hoping it's not and I can find a simpler answer!  Phil can you tell me where to find the breather at the back of the engine and a bit more about that if possible? I have looked online and around the haynes but can't find where it is.  Thanks in advance!

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are you sure its not the corner of the head...they leak there often 

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