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Old 08-07-2010, 09:30 AM   #1
Ackpacket
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Default Valve cover. Oil everywhere. Everywhere? Yes, almost.

2002 sl2 dohc

The horror. So the other day I replaced the gasket on my valve cover. I did not use rtv on the bottom portion because the previous one didn't need it and I didn't feel like cleaning it off should I need to remove the cam cover in the future (you never know what might need addressing).

I did use a little bit of rtv on the top of the gasket to hold it in the cover, but apparently not enough. The gasket started to fall out in some places when I turned it upside down to put it on. I readjusted the gasket and flipped the cover over and put it on as quickly as I could. I looked around and thought the gasket seated ok. I left the car to sit for a few hours and suddenly had to leave for an emergency late that night. Flash forward.

I'm driving my car, notice a bit of smoke, pull over immediately and examine the underhood area. I forgot to put the breather hose and the pcv valve back in the cover. The is oil over everything between the engine and the firewall. The intake manifold, the valve body, fuel rail, injectors, you name it.

There are two possibilities. 1. the gasket slipped out a bit when I flipped the cover over, and left some small gap for oil to come out of the valve cover. but can a small gap in a valve cover unleash that much oil, with such a wide coverage area? I though people could run cars with the valve covers off and get just a bit of oil squirting out? Or 2. Oil was coming out of the breather hole and pcv valve seat, probably caused by some positive crankcase pressure due gas getting past the rings and valves. The gasket looks fine, as near as I can tell, and there is no oil coming out of the front. I don't want to remove the cover to check it, but I just can't tell if it's leaking or not by looking since there is already oil all over everything back there.

My question is this: Is the oil more likely to have come from a small gap in the cover, OR by the openings in the cover for the pcv valve and breather hose?

Also can anyone recommend a degreaser? I'm looking for something that I can spray indiscriminately all over the engine compartment and not have to worry about getting electrical contacts wet or anything else getting damaged. I guess that would leave simple green out since it has water in it.

As always, all info appreciated. Thanks in advance guys.

...
2002 sl2 DOHC 126k miles

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Old 08-07-2010, 10:27 AM   #2
OldNuc
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1998 SC2
Default Re: Valve cover. Oil everywhere. Everywhere? Yes, almost.

The electrical connectors are designed to be highly water resistant. You can squirt diluted Simple Green all over a cold engine/engine compartment and hose it down with a mist spray from a garden hose. The only possible problem is the spark plug wires and if you let it all dry off with the hood open they will not cause problems.

As to the CAM cover gasket. There is a tongue on the gasket that is pressed into the grove on the cover. When done right it does not fall out. Th e head surface and the gasket its self have to be completely oil free or it will leak. Wipe both down with acetone until it mets the oil free criteria. If the cover is warped it will leak. There is a specific torque sequence and if it is not followed it will leak. The bolts do not tighten down tighter with increased torque, they just break off. About 85 to 86in-lb is plenty to do the job. It is not leaking from the PCV or its grommet. Do not use RTV on it as it will leak. There are 8 E12 threads here relating to how to install a cam cover, advanced search is your friend.

Plastic cover torque is 89in-lb MAX. You will need a torque wrench that is calibrated in inch-pounds or if you use a 3/8 drive wrench that is calibrated in ft-lb the 89in-lb is 7.4ft-lb but set your wrench for 6.5ft-lb and click it a couple of times on a SPARE bolt held in a vice so you know it works. You really do not want to break one of these little bolts off.

intake side
9 5 6 10
3 1 2
8 4 7 11
exhaust side

Plastic cam cover torque sequence. Torque in stages, in sequence.

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Old 08-07-2010, 07:19 PM   #3
Ackpacket
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Default Re: Valve cover. Oil everywhere. Everywhere? Yes, almost.

Thanks OldNuc, reliable as always.

I know I torqued the cover down properly and in the right order. The issue truly is the gasket. When I fit it in there, it was just a wee bit too long. Imagine trying to fit an o-ring into a slightly smaller o. You can do it, but part of it just wants to come up and make a hill. Both the felpro and dealer gaskets have this same loose fit. I'll try again today =\

I'm curious how a small gap in the valve cover could get oil onto so many things. Is there a lot of air flow in the engine compartment? Aside from the radiator of course.

...
2002 sl2 DOHC 126k miles

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Old 08-07-2010, 08:19 PM   #4
OldNuc
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1998 SC2
Default Re: Valve cover. Oil everywhere. Everywhere? Yes, almost.

There is a ton of oil being slung around under that cover. The gasket is supposed to be too long. Put the 4 corners in the grove first and press it in. The go to the middle of each side and repeat. Now press in both ends. press in alternate sides on each side. Turn cover over on a table and push down all around the edge to get it properly seated in the grove. You may want to get the goo out of that grove first so the tongue fits in all the way. After it is clean and before you try and install the gasket set it on a table and see if its warped. Also check that the left end and both sides are straight. If its warped it no good...

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