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Old 10-17-2002, 10:45 PM   #1
FFWD
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Default '93 SL2 valve cover gasket replacement

Among other problems, I've got a leaking valve cover gasket that I need to replace. I heard the gaskets could be bought for $12 US from other posters, so imagine my suprise when three local dealers all quoted me $45 Canadian (about $30 US). Did I ask for the wrong part? I went to Canadian Tire and got a gasket kit from them for about $12 US, but it consists of two tubes of RTV Black and 10 rubber grommets for the bolts. Am I better off with a "real" gasket?

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Old 10-17-2002, 11:25 PM   #2
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RTV IS the OEM "gasket". The rubber bolt "isolators" DO NOT need to be changed unless damaged or deteriorated. The trick to getting the cam cover to seal is to get it CLEAN. NO TRACE of oil or old RTV on it OR the cylinderhead mating surface. After scrubbing off ALL the old RTV, wash the cam cover in the kitchen sink throughly with soap and water and dry. Use BRAKE CLEANER to clean the cylinder head mating surface because it evaporates readily, removes all traces of oil, leaves no reisdue and will NOT contaminate the engine oil like most degreasers will. Use "Ultra Form a Gasket. (The BLACK stuff) A 5mm (1/8 in) bead evenly on the camcover lip where it meets the head AND around the spark plug well holes..with just a wee bit extra around the side that the timing chain runs and the covers "corners" in that area. Torque to 8 ft pounds NO TIGHTER!! or you'll strip out the bolt holes.

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Old 10-17-2002, 11:41 PM   #3
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Thanks for all of your responses, Wolfman. I had heard from other posters that they bought original Saturn gaskets. Maybe it was for another model. But I still can't believe they want $30 for a few tubes of RTV...

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Old 10-18-2002, 12:42 AM   #4
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Gasket for the 91'-95' aluminum cam covers are/were RTV ONLY with the rubber bolt isolators. 96'-02' Use an actual gasket for the composite (fancy name for plastic) valve covers. Buy the RTV at your local autoparts store...the most expensive (and only different) thing about those two tubes Saturn sold you is the "Saturn" on the labels!

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Old 10-18-2002, 08:40 AM   #5
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I don't have the price or the part number from when I bought a Saturn valve cover gasket for my 1993 SL2 in front of me, but I can get it later tonight. I think it was $24 or $30 or $35 (US) for it, plus another $15 or so for the tube of Saturn RTV sealant.

Anyway, the valve cover gasket from Saturn for my 1993 SL2 came on a sheet of cardboard inside a flat plastic bag. On the cardboard is RTV sealant in the exact pattern needed for the perimeter plus four circles of RTV sealant for the spark plug wells. I'd say that Wolfman is right (as usual), just use high quality RTV sealant after getting everything clean.

Be very, very careful when tightening those bolts!!! I set my torque wrench to 20 foot pounds and popped 3 of them on my 1996 SC2. That set me back about $450 to get them drilled out and retapped and all. The Saturn retailer wanted $550 to try to fix it and another $2,200 if they couldn't and would need to replace the engine head. I have not been back to my local Saturn retailer since then. (I get my OEM stuff in the mail from a Saturn retailer in the next state and on occasion use a Saturn retailer a bit farther away and in the other direction.)

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Old 10-18-2002, 08:53 AM   #6
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Sounds about what I got when I did mine about a year or so ago. It did the job just fine- just make sure you apply the sealant properly to the valve cover- if you miss a spot, you will be redoing it.

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Old 10-18-2002, 09:43 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by David 93 SL2m
Be very, very careful when tightening those bolts!!! I set my torque wrench to 20 foot pounds and popped 3 of them on my 1996 SC2. That set me back about $450 to get them drilled out and retapped and all. The Saturn retailer wanted $550 to try to fix it and another $2,200 if they couldn't and would need to replace the engine head. I have not been back to my local Saturn retailer since then. (I get my OEM stuff in the mail from a Saturn retailer in the next state and on occasion use a Saturn retailer a bit farther away and in the other direction.)
Will new bolts prevent that from happening to me, or was it just your technique? Where can I find the correct tightening pattern? Lastly, if I use RTV from the tube, should I let it set before replacing the cover, or put it together "wet". Sounds like I should probably let it set, if Saturn sells theirs preformed?

Thanks again everyone, more questions to come soon...

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Old 10-18-2002, 01:34 PM   #8
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Haynes manual states torque for
sohc engine (SL1) is 22 ft.lbs.
But -- it states torque for dohc engine (SL2) is 89 in.-lbs. I don't use a torque wrench for that job -- simply apply enough force, as evenly as possible, in correct sequence, to assure good fit.

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Old 10-19-2002, 03:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by David 93 SL2m
I don't have the price or the part number from when I bought a Saturn valve cover gasket for my 1993 SL2 in front of me, but I can get it later tonight. I think it was $24 or $30 or $35 (US) for it, plus another $15 or so for the tube of Saturn RTV sealant.

Anyway, the valve cover gasket from Saturn for my 1993 SL2 came on a sheet of cardboard inside a flat plastic bag. On the cardboard is RTV sealant in the exact pattern needed for the perimeter plus four circles of RTV sealant for the spark plug wells. I'd say that Wolfman is right (as usual), just use high quality RTV sealant after getting everything clean.

Be very, very careful when tightening those bolts!!! I set my torque wrench to 20 foot pounds and popped 3 of them on my 1996 SC2. That set me back about $450 to get them drilled out and retapped and all. The Saturn retailer wanted $550 to try to fix it and another $2,200 if they couldn't and would need to replace the engine head. I have not been back to my local Saturn retailer since then. (I get my OEM stuff in the mail from a Saturn retailer in the next state and on occasion use a Saturn retailer a bit farther away and in the other direction.)
Okay, I found my receipts!

1993 DOHC valve cover gasket, part number 21015250, $25.29
1996 DOHC valve cover gasket, part number 21007365, $16.54
RTV Liquid Gasket stuff, part number 21006236, $16.98

To fix the broken bolts: $580.00
To replace the engine head: $2,600.00

Here is a picture of the valve cover gasket from Saturn for my 1993 SL2 (still waiting to be installed). It is hard to see; basically it is a 1/4 inch bead of RTV in the exact pattern needed.

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Old 10-19-2002, 04:10 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by David 93 SL2m
... basically it is a 1/4 inch bead of RTV in the exact pattern needed.
Yeah, I dropped by the Saturn parts counter today, and the guy showed it to me. He said "You're basically paying for some dude at Saturn to squeeze the tube for you. If I showed this to everyone BEFORE they bought it, I wouldn't sell any at all..." and he's right. A tube of RTV is less than $8 CDN, they want $45 for the "labour"...

I still have a question, though. When replacing the valve cover, should I let the RTV harden first, or just put it on while it's still wet/soft?

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Old 10-19-2002, 04:18 PM   #11
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Probably we are paying for some robot at Saturn to squeeze the tube for us.

Sorry, I don't feel right giving any advice on changing the valve cover gasket as I did it once with terrible consequences. I need to check the 1991 - 1993 Chilton's Saturn manual. Either I misread their manual or they had the specs wrong.

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Old 10-19-2002, 04:33 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by David 93 SL2m
Probably we are paying for some robot at Saturn to squeeze the tube for us.
Those were his exact words, which is what made it really funny. I was just picturing someone doing this all day...

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Old 10-19-2002, 06:12 PM   #13
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No need to let it dry first just "skin" over to reduce the chance of smearing it. Again make sure everything is squeaky clean and do not over tighten the hold down bolts. Tightened correctly they will "seem" too loose. Most torque wrenches will not set below 10lbs...torque spec for the DOHC cover bolts is 89IN lbs...which translates to about 8FT lbs. Think of it as "snug" not "tight" You "can" also count the number of turns to loosen the bolts when you remove them and use it as guide for tightening them although idealy a IN lb. torque wrench or one that is capable of the 8ft lb. setting is the "ideal" way to go. (OH, and don't forget about the "circles" sealing the cover around the spark plug wells when applying the sealer.

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Old 10-19-2002, 07:33 PM   #14
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89 Inch-Pounds = 7.416667 Foot-Pounds

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