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Do-It-Yourself Projects
Valve Cover Gasket Replacement
By Mike Bumbeck/autoMedia.com
Printable version
Degree of DifficultyModerate
Moderate
Estimated Time180 minutes
180 minutes
Practical Steps
Step 1 - The first step may be the last step. Before tearing everything apart, first try gently cinching down the valve cover bolts or use a torque wrench. Over-tightening bolts will not stop bad gaskets from leaking. Aluminum valve covers can crack. Steel valve covers can warp. Monitor oil level after tightening. Move on to step two if oil is still leaking.
First Try Gently Cinching Down the Valve Cover Bolts
Step 2 - Allow the engine to cool. Consult the service manual or instructions for valve cover removal. This car is turbocharged and had a fair amount of plumbing in the way. Remove throttle cables, spark plug brackets, PCV hoses, and anything else in the way. Remove the valve cover bolts
Allow the Engine to Cool
Step 3 - Lift off the valve cover. Tapping with a rubber mallet can help loosen the valve cover's grip. Be extremely careful not to drop anything into the engine. If a nut or bolt falls into the engine there will be a lot more work to do. Even an old newspaper tented over the engine can help stop this from happening.
Lift Off the Valve Cover
Step 4 - Remove the old valve cover gasket and install the new one. The valve cover shown here is cast aluminum and has a groove in which the gasket sits. If scraping is required, do not use metal scrapers on aluminum valve covers or cylinder heads. Use plastic to prevent leak-causing nicks. Also note the new grommets on valve cover bolts.
Remove the Old Valve Cover Gasket and Install the New One
Step 5 - Apply silicone only where required. Do not use silicone or sealer unless the service manual or gasket instructions say to use it. Clean all oil off all surfaces before applying silicone. Allow silicone to cure before starting engine.
Apply Silicone Only Where Required
Step 6 - Install the valve cover with the new gasket and tighten bolts to the recommended torque. Valve cover bolts don't require too much twist. A torque wrench and service manual will eliminate guesswork. Install everything removed to get at the valve cover.
Install the Valve Cover with the New Gasket and Tighten the Bolts
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