this is NOT a big issue bro. while it's a shitty thing to find out, and then hear the dealership tell you what is involved, its not at all serious!
I have the EXACT same bike as you. and if its the rocker cover gasket on the REAR cylinder, i had the exact same problem.
Here's what you do:
First, try to tighten the bolts the secure the crome rocker cover to the head. you will have to remove the seat and gas tank to do this, not at all hard. If it's as small of a leak as you say it is, then this may stop it from leaking. But no permenatly.
Second, If that still doesnt fix the leak. then you will need to remover the rocker cover. And YES you CAN do that WITHOUT removing the engine. here's how I did it...
you need to get the bike set up and level
remove BOTH foot boards and brake/shifter assy.
remove the exhaust
You will also remove the right side frame tube, there are a total of FOUR bolts. (2) in the front by the top part of the radiator and (2) back by the rear motor mount.
Slide a jack under the motor for stability, you dont need to put the weight of the entire bike on the jack, but enough weight so the motor doesnt drop when you remove the motor mount bolts.
once you have the motor loose in there you will need to take off the left side cover, the one that covers the clutch slave cyl. 4 or 5 botls, easy as pie and there is no oil in there to leak out, so dont worry about spillage.
with that done you will drop the motor down an inch or two and TILT it out towards the right side of the bike. you may need to silde the driveshaft boot off the trans to accomplish this, but you DO NOT need to disconnect the driveshaft completly!!
once its tilted out far enough you can remove the rocker cover bolts. be sure to keep them in the correct orienation they come out of the cover, i dont remember if they are different lenghts like the clutch cover bolts are. But better to be safe than sorry.
watch out for the springs, and i think there are some kind of pads on top of those springs. If your careful when removing the cover you'll be ok. but remember them when you do so you know to look for them.
after the cover is off, its a basic gasket cleaning and sealing job. be thourough, you dont wanna do this all over again do you?
I may have missed a few things, I'm writing this at work in a quick frenzy. Someone will chime in if I forgot something.
I did this in my own garage in about a week working on it for a few hours a day, I took my sweet ass time so i didnt break anything or make things worse. I also did not have any write up to follow.
If you have any questions just ask. Don't spend the money at that dealer, 1200 is way high for this job anyways. should be half of that at most.
BTW, if its your FRONT that is leaking, then you can do that with everything the way it sits. the front is ALOT easier!!
1996 VN1500 classic-28K miles Sold and missed :'-(
2005 VN2000-12.5K miles