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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi there guys, I just tried for what feels like the 100th time to fit my valve cover gasket properly, I can't seem to get it to sit in the groove of the valve cover so it won't seal up properly.

How do you get your gaskets to stick in place while you're fitting the cover? I can't even get my gasket to sit 100% in the groove even while the cover is off, nevermind while trying to get the cover back on.
 

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Honestly I don't try doing that anymore. I found it much easier to put the gasket in place first, then slowly drop the cover onto it. Too little space I was always dislodging it before I got it over the rocker parts.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Honestly I don't try doing that anymore. I found it much easier to put the gasket in place first, then slowly drop the cover onto it. Too little space I was always dislodging it before I got it over the rocker parts.
I've been doing that too but even still I am having major issues getting it to even stay in place or line up with the groove, it moves as soon as i try to put the cover on it.

The engine seems to angle downwards, do you prop the front wheel up with a stand to get everything to lie horizontally?
 

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No, if anything it was probably just on the rear stand, I don't remember.



You could try very lightly smearing regular grease on the gasket to get it to stick to the cover, before working it over the top. The top doesn't get near hot enough to turn the grease into anything nasty and if you do get a tiny amount in the rocker box, it's not going to harm the engine.



Asides from that, perseverance is all I got to offer!
 
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Discussion Starter #5
No, if anything it was probably just on the rear stand, I don't remember.



You could try very lightly smearing regular grease on the gasket to get it to stick to the cover, before working it over the top. The top doesn't get near hot enough to turn the grease into anything nasty and if you do get a tiny amount in the rocker box, it's not going to harm the engine.



Asides from that, perseverance is all I got to offer!
That sounds like a good idea, I'll try and get my front stand set up so the surface is level.
At the moment i'm getting a good fit everywhere except one corner and i'm not sure how to work it in exactly, when I get the other areas snug I don't have enough room to push this last bit into place..
I've tried doing this about 10 to 15 times and I always end up with one area leaking air, it's infuriating and I can't ride the bike at all because of it. Stupid design.
 

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IIRC, the gasket stays attached to the cover when I remove it, and doesn't come off or deform when replacing it. YMMV
 
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Discussion Starter #7
IIRC, the gasket stays attached to the cover when I remove it, and doesn't come off or deform when replacing it. YMMV
That's a great help! I seem to recall that now you say it but it's been so long since I first got stuck with this gasket.

I'll try hitting the cover's gasket groove with gasket maker/sealant/bond and then working the gasket itself into half of it, then letting it dry for 48hrs before working the rest of the gasket in. I'll have to order some and wait first but I'll write a comment in here once I do the job, it might help someone in the future if it works! I tried using some loctite I had lying around before but it didn't do any good.

Thank you very much for mentioning that there, it's a really great help so it is.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Try this.
It is made for holding difficult gaskets in place.
Already there :wink2: I bought this earlier and am waiting for it to arrive. Silicone-based adhesive. Nice to have the confirmation though, wasn't sure it was the right stuff because of the "gasket maker" labelling
 

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sounds like the gasket has dried up and shrunk or is non oem
i'd try sticking in a shallow pan of brake fluid to swell the rubber up a bit..
my 33 year old valve cover gasket is very flexible and drops into grove easily
 

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What I pictured is different from what you (OP) pictured.


The stuff in a tube you pictured is silicone gasket maker. Like window caulking.
That stuff will work if you use a thin film and allow drying time. Think 15-30 minutes or so.



The High Tack product I pictured is more like an adhesive spray. Spray it on the metal and then stick the gasket on. It drys rapidly and holds gaskets very good.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
sounds like the gasket has dried up and shrunk or is non oem
i'd try sticking in a shallow pan of brake fluid to swell the rubber up a bit..
my 33 year old valve cover gasket is very flexible and drops into grove easily

I am having this issue with a brand new OEM gasket, an aftermarket gasket, and the original gasket that was stuck on there too and none of them will readily fit in, they are all ready to bounce out so i'm not sure that'd work. I'm running a chinese clone engine on the bike so although the design is the same, some things are different to the Rebel/Nighthawk OEM.. but not the area i am working on.
What I pictured is different from what you (OP) pictured.


The stuff in a tube you pictured is silicone gasket maker. Like window caulking.
That stuff will work if you use a thin film and allow drying time. Think 15-30 minutes or so.



The High Tack product I pictured is more like an adhesive spray. Spray it on the metal and then stick the gasket on. It drys rapidly and holds gaskets very good.
Ah I see what you mean now, this product is available here (UK) but I'll still have to glue half the gasket on first before trying the rest, i'm gonna have to leave that to dry & set for 24hrs before trying to tug the rest of the gasket into place.
 

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.... I'm running a chinese clone engine on the bike so although the design is the same, some things are different to the Rebel/Nighthawk OEM.. but not the area i am working on....
I’d be very surprised if Honda’s oem gasket would fit a chinese clone engine. It may be similar, but different enough to cause this problem.

Do you know for certain that the original gasket that was there when you removed the valve cover was the china-clone oem gasket?

It may well be that it was replaced by someone previously who shoe-horned a Honda gasket into place. It could be that none of the gaskets you’re trying are the correct gasket for a china-clone engine.
 

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I work on Honda GX390 small engines and those clone parts fit perfectly. We use the clone carbs and even side covers all the time.



Most of those clones are "identical" just lower quality control.

From what I read, the Chinese cloned a first gen Australian Rebel. That is where most of the parts differences seem to come from. Australian bikes used dual carbs etc..


Maybe the original poster can post a few photos to give us a better idea of what is going on.


Another choice is to use a 3/16 bead of the silicone gasket maker. Let it set up and install the valve cover without the factory gasket. Machined aluminum on machined aluminum will seal fine with just the silicone. Especially in a non pressurized situation.
 

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cut gasket in half on back side, place in cover grove, fill gap with silicone
let it sit a few days to cure before installation.
 
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I work on Honda GX390 small engines and those clone parts fit perfectly. We use the clone carbs and even side covers all the time.



Most of those clones are "identical" just lower quality control. ....
He doesn’t have a Honda engine that he is using aftermarket parts on. He has an entire aftermarket replacement engine.

Despite the “clone” label (a euphemism for “pirated”), more often than not these aftermarket engines have many different specs and parts. I’m only suggesting the possibility that the gasket he is using is not correct for this particular non-Honda engine.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
He doesn’t have a Honda engine that he is using aftermarket parts on. He has an entire aftermarket replacement engine.

Despite the “clone” label (a euphemism for “pirated”), more often than not these aftermarket engines have many different specs and parts. I’m only suggesting the possibility that the gasket he is using is not correct for this particular non-Honda engine.
Correct in some ways, in the UK the more recent Rebel clone engines by AJS (the biggest china bike importer) from say, 2010-2011 onwards have a bunch of deviant features such as a water-cooling system and a balance shaft. They are better in function than any Rebel engine to be honest apart from being outrageously weak and badly made (125cc, 10bhp at 9,000rpm).

I got lucky in that my own engine is an early import from between 2006-2009 which doesn't deviate much from the original Rebel design apart from the fitting of covers and so on. It really is a clone. The castings are a disaster though, they don't look like they've been machined properly on the inside.

Here's a few photos of the situation currently, engine pic with decorative cover removed, and the valve cover gasket off and on. As you can see, not quite marrying up with the groove hence my plan to glue it with industrial stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Hello again gents, pleased to announce that my plan worked! I used a line of high temp gasket maker in the cover groove, then I gently placed the rubber gasket in the straight areas of the groove. I let it sit for a minute or two and then applied gasket maker to that curve you see at the top there, then pressed the last part of the gasket in and held it there. First time in a while that I felt clever as it took no more than 5 minutes to get the whole gasket fitted snug to the groove.

I haven't run it yet because I want to leave the gasket to dry for 48hrs before I go jiggling it around the frame & engine and possibly wasting my time or causing another leak. I'm confident this will be airtight though as the purpose of that groove is to provide a seat for the gasket, which can then be squeezed by the cover bolts to seal off the valves for good, now I've fixed my threads and gotten that gasket seated, there should be no further hiccups.

I'll definitely be using that gasket maker again for helping my gaskets adhere to surfaces, it seems popular on the YouTube to use it alone but I'd rather get it done the right way. Hope this thread helps someone, thank you everybody! I might post an update after a while.
 

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a lot of curvature in your clone's cover that Honda Rebel cover doesn't have
side indentations not existent on yours as well not surprised you had problem
Glad it worked out for you..
 

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