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Old 08-06-2010, 11:53 AM   #1
JohnHupp
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Default Valve cover (cam / camshaft cover) hard to remove

I recently replaced the valve cover "gasket" on my '95 SL2 (which has the aluminum cover). I used Permatex Ultra Black RTV, worked very hard at getting everything clean and grease/oil-free before application, didn't over-torque, etc. Everything was fine until I did a big road trip a few weeks later. It started leaking again.

So I bought a $32 PermaDry pre-formed gasket kit from Advance Auto and want to install that, but I haven't been able to get the cover off yet. It was relatively easy when I did the last repair. I think I just hit it with a rubber mallet sideways on a corner while maintaining hand press on the cover.

In connection with that, I observe that there is an open bolt-hole (about 1/4" diameter) on the cover around the corner from the PCV valve, on the driver's left side. I'm wondering if that is for temporary installation of a bolt which could be connected to a come-along or hoist to exert more vertical or horizontal force for cover removal. Anyone know?

If that's not what it's for, what are my other escalation options?
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Old 08-06-2010, 02:26 PM   #2
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Default Re: Valve cover (cam / camshaft cover) hard to remove

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnHupp View Post
I recently replaced the valve cover "gasket" on my '95 SL2 (which has the aluminum cover). I used Permatex Ultra Black RTV, worked very hard at getting everything clean and grease/oil-free before application, didn't over-torque, etc. Everything was fine until I did a big road trip a few weeks later. It started leaking again.
Thats why I always tell everyone to use the proper gasket the first time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnHupp View Post
So I bought a $32 PermaDry pre-formed gasket kit from Advance Auto and want to install that, but I haven't been able to get the cover off yet. It was relatively easy when I did the last repair. I think I just hit it with a rubber mallet sideways on a corner while maintaining hand press on the cover.
It came easy last time because the vover wasnt bonded to the head by RTV. You're probably going to have to pry it off.

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In connection with that, I observe that there is an open bolt-hole (about 1/4" diameter) on the cover around the corner from the PCV valve, on the driver's left side. I'm wondering if that is for temporary installation of a bolt which could be connected to a come-along or hoist to exert more vertical or horizontal force for cover removal. Anyone know?
That location is where the EGR solenoid was mounted on 1991-1993 and 1994 Federal Emissions equipped DOHC's.
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Old 08-06-2010, 03:28 PM   #3
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Default Re: Valve cover (cam / camshaft cover) hard to remove

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You're probably going to have to pry it off.
And hope not to crack/warp/gouge it in the process. I wonder if it'd help to get a coupla buds, and have them gently pry up under it in, say, 3-4 places at the same time, and while the upward force is being applied, give it a sidelong thunk or two with the mallet.
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Old 08-06-2010, 03:41 PM   #4
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Default Re: Valve cover (cam / camshaft cover) hard to remove

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Fm > Low Saturn
You're probably going to have to pry it off.
Quote:
Fm >Mad Pogue
And hope not to crack/warp/gouge it in the process
A slightly sharpened putty knife has worked very well for me.
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Old 08-07-2010, 11:11 AM   #5
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Default Re: Valve cover (cam / camshaft cover) hard to remove

What a revelation.

I'm convinced now that if I had been able originally to apply a thick, uniform bead of RTV (Permatex Ultra Black), the gasket would have been good forever.

I say that because of how hard it was to get this RTV-cemented cover off compared to my first removal.

What worked for me was to get a 24" pry bar and pry first at the front inside corner by the compressor. This is the only good pry point I saw, and it's only a small one.

I pried enough so that I could jam a slot screwdriver in beside it and secure my progress, then worked the pry bar in further, pried more, moved screwdriver in farther, etc. Then started working my way across the front of the cover with more screwdrivers + the pry bar, working exclusively at the bolt-hole prongs so as to keep any gouging damage away from the gasket mating surfaces. Then down the timing chain side of the cover.

But this stuff came apart with the greatest possible reluctance. Rubbery and pliable, but tough and adherent at the same time. When the cover did finally come off, there was much more residue on the head surface than the original gasket material left. And the RTV on the cover would not simply pull off with my hands as did the original. Re-cleaning the surfaces this second time is distinctly harder than my first effort.

I hope that the cover is not bent -- I have not been able to check that yet. But the RTV held onto it with enough force that this seems like a possibility.

So if the pre-formed gasket stays sealed, I'll be a convert to Low Saturn's way of thinking on this. If I did this often enough to make sure that I could apply a good bead of RTV (perhaps with one of the larger containers of Permatex that has a dispensing handle, or else the caulk tube -- rather than the small tube squeezed with fatiguing fingers through a nozzle), then that would be a nice, cheap way to go, and the result would probably be good forever. But for an extra $25 and extra assurance that I won't have to redo this ugly job in a matter of days or weeks, I'd get the pre-formed gasket.
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