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Valve Cover Gasket: Step-by-Step Illustrated DIY write-up for total beginners.

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Valve Cover Gasket: Step-by-Step Illustrated DIY write-up for total beginners.

Old 07-15-2013, 08:05 PM
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Default Valve Cover Gasket: Step-by-Step Illustrated DIY write-up for total beginners.

I changed my leaking valve cover gasket today.

It took me 10 hours b/c there were a couple of unexpected roadblocks. Yes, 10 hours.
But, now knowing that no job ever goes as planned, I actually budgeted 12 hours, so I guess I came in ahead of schedule!
I could probably to this job in 1 or 2 hours if I had to do it again.

I went through the effort of writing up a very detailed how-to b/c I felt the existing write-ups were too vague and left out many steps.
I personally like to see all the steps before attempting a job, so this is the kind of write up I would have liked for this job.
I try to understand what I am getting into, and what problems I may encounter, and if it's a reasonable project to attempt with the basic tools I have.
Most here will consider this overkill. That's why I wrote "beginner" in the title. B/c even something as simple as a weird clip can stop a beginner in his tracks.
Hopefully, this one will be useful for someone going forward.

PARTS
Besides the valve cover gasket itself, I also ordered 2 replacement PVC elbows and grommets.
If they break upon removal, you'll be stuck. Order them. You'll be glad you did.

TOOLS that came in handy:
  • Magnetic pick up tool
  • Hose clamp tool
  • Short bungee cords to hold stuff out of the way.
  • 2 cans engine degreaser.
  • Wobble head extensions
  • 3/8 Socket extension bars

First, you need to disconnect the throttle cables.
One cable has a little ball socket attachment.
You just pry it off with a screwdriver.


The other 2 are clipped into a notch.
You slide them over and release.


Next, you want to unbolt the bracket holding the cables.
There are 3 bolts and they are a little tricky to get to.
For the bolt closest to the radiator, I unclipped the injector clip since it was in the way. You squeeze and pull it up.


Once all 3 cables are disconnected, and the 3 bolts are removed from the bracket, you can lift the entire thing away.
I clipped it back near the AC system piping.


Pop the 2 long coolant hoses that run alongside the valve cover out of the clip.
Then you need to remove this clip.
Mine just pulled right up, and left some sort of plastic base that has to be unscrewed.
I'm not sure if mine was broken in two parts.


Remove both the PCV vacuum tubes that connect to the valve cover.
These do not come out easily. Be patient.

There is a rubber grommet that each elbow connects to.
Notice how I cracked the elbow base when I first tried to pry it from the grommet?
I would just leave them attached, and remove both at once from the rubber grommet base.
I pried them up using a flathead screwdriver and a fulcrum.
I ordered both PCV elbows in anticipation of cracking both of them.
They come with new rubber grommets as well.

Notice the rear elbow has a nipple nozzle underneath.




Next, you will notice that the valve cover is just slightly blocked by the large radiator hose in the front.
So, I decided to disconnect it. The red circle shot is a side view. See how it blocks the lip of the valve cover?
Coolant will spill, so be ready. I did not do this initially, but had to later when I could not get the valve cover off.



Next, I started to unbolt the 15 or 16 valve cover bolts.
They are not all the same, so I poked them into a piece of cardboard to keep track of the configuration.


The left rear bolt has a wiring harness attached to it.
I could not lift it straight up, and I saw threading, so I figured it needs to be unscrewed.
But, I could not get the ziptie part to release, so I just cut it.
Once it was cut, I moved aside the wiring harness and unscrewed it off the bolt.


There is a bolt that is hidden at the very rear.
I used a wobble joint extension to get at it.
Wobble extension is different than a U-joint, so I'd have both.
Notice how the socket slants a little bit.


There is also a bracket that secures the spark plug wires.
This bracket is attached to 2 of the valve cover gasket bolts.
You will need to detach the bracket and move it aside.


The front bolt underneath the radiator hoses was a little annoying to get to.
This is important: I think I might have misthreaded the tapped hole while removing this bolt.
More on that at the very end.
For now, make sure you remove this bolt carefully and straight out.
Fight those hoses if you need to!
If you detached the radiator hose, then this is less of an issue.


Once all the bolts are out, it's time to remove the valve cover!
Watch the fuel rail on the driver's side, as it gets hung up on that.
The valve cover also gets hung up on the huge ground strap bolt at the very back right side.
It needs to clear that bolt when you're removing and installing. Watch that area also.
Be patient here, as it took a while to finally get it free.


YES!!! ***** deep now! No going back!


Next, remove the old gasket.


The valve cover gasket comes with replacement grommets.
However, it does not come with these metal inserts, so they must be reused.
The metal insert plugs into the grommet which plugs into the valve cover.
In these pics, these are 2 different parts. One is metal, one is rubber
Pry them up with a flathead.


Clean off the valve cover with engine degreaser.
You should also clean any gunk off both the mating surfaces.
Clean the underside of the cover, and the mating surface on the cylinder head, as well.


Separate the metal inserts, degrease them if you want, then re-install using the new grommets.


Then, put the new gasket in place.


Now, it's time to go in reverse!

Position the valve cover.

Install bolts. I used the lug nut method to gradually tighten all the bolts at once. I did not tighten them much. When it stopped I gave a little push, but not much.
Apparently, it's very easy to overtighten these VC bolts, so I erred on the side of too loose. I will double check them after a short test drive.

Reattach the 2 PCV vacuum elbows. (Use oil to lube both parts. I seated the oiled up grommet first, then oiled the grommet rim, and pressed in the oiled up elbow)

Reattach coolant hose.

Reattach throttle cables

Reattach throttle bracket.

Reattach injector clip.



There is still a slight space between the cover and the gasket, so I don't know if I tightened it enough. I will find out tomorrow when I start it.



I ran into 2 unexpected problems that caused the to job to go several hours longer.

First, the bolt between the 2 coolant hoses somehow got misthreaded. I tried forever to get it back in straight. No luck. It would get stuck after 2 turns of hand threading. I even removed the entire valve cover and tried the bolt with nothing in the way. Still misthreaded. I tested the bolt in other holes and it was fine. So the tapped hole was bad. I went and got a tap, to rethread, but the fit was too tight, and I don't even know if I was using the right size tap. I've never even used a tap. Plus a tight fit with those stupid hoses. So, after a couple of hours and some phone calls, I gave up. The bolt only went in a few turns. So, I just used a few spare washers with the bad bolt and tried to just get it to go a few turns in, with the washers as spacers so it would still tighten down somewhat.

The other problem I ran into was the coolant hose clamp. At one point, I used the tool to fully expand the clamp and I moved it OFF the thermostat housing up into the middle of the hose. Big mistake. This radius is much smaller, so the jaws of the clamp expand even more! The jaws were now expanded fully. This meant I could not get my hose clamp tool back onto the clamp! It was now too wide. I do not own channel locks, but I am getting a set after this. I spent about an hour trying to compress the clamp with a needlenose while trying to slide it back onto the thermostat housing, so I could then use my hose clamp tool for final positioning.

If anyone has anything to add or correct, please let me know.
If you find this a useful write-up, please bump it with your feedback.

Last edited by BimmerJeeper; 07-15-2013 at 08:47 PM.
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Old 07-15-2013, 08:26 PM
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Wow.... another 15min job that took you 24 hours to do
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Old 07-15-2013, 08:44 PM
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My God Daughter did it herself in an hour. She is 7.
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Old 07-15-2013, 08:46 PM
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Actually, you don't need to remove the CCV fittings, grommets, and hoses. Just swivel the front hose so it points aft and the rear hose so it points fwd.

This will knock an hour off your job.
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Old 07-15-2013, 08:47 PM
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Anyone reading this. Do none of the above. Pull the bolts and wiggle the cover off. This write up is 5000 more work then needed
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Old 07-15-2013, 08:55 PM
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Holy Crap!!! 10 hours!! My son did mine in about 30min and I thought that was long. But I didn't give him any grief about it because he's just learning on how to work on cars.
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Old 07-15-2013, 08:57 PM
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Originally Posted by odgreen89on35s View Post
Anyone reading this. Do none of the above. Pull the bolts and wiggle the cover off. This write up is 5000 more work then needed
I think he did a good job putting together a visual tutorial for total beginners.
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Old 07-15-2013, 08:57 PM
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If I worked at That speed I would of been fired after day one
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Old 07-15-2013, 09:13 PM
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Originally Posted by CCKen View Post
I think he did a good job putting together a visual tutorial for total beginners.
+1
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Old 07-15-2013, 09:33 PM
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I've tried to help you on the other board, but I've resigned to the common opinion and decided you're a moron. drop the tools and just pay someone to work on your jeep before you do serious damage to yourself or your vehicle.
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Old 07-15-2013, 09:41 PM
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I coulda swapped the motor in less time. Bummer.
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Old 07-15-2013, 10:13 PM
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Originally Posted by salad View Post
+1
+2
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Old 07-15-2013, 10:33 PM
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Damn, I expected you to paint it what with removing everything to replace the gasket.
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Old 07-15-2013, 11:52 PM
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This is a good idea. Beats the heck out of tossing them in a coffee can and realizing later you don't recall where the studs went.

(stop giggling, some of us have trouble remembering if we've had lunch yet)
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Old 07-15-2013, 11:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Radi View Post
(stop giggling, some of us have trouble remembering if we've had lunch yet)
Once I'm on a roll I just forget to eat. One day I spent about 11 hours doing stuff to the Jeep and had two cinnamon buns. That's only because I saw them on the counter when I was inside. Who knows how dehydrated I was.
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