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Old 11-15-2007, 04:47 PM   #1
SaturnManiac
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Default Replacing the valve cover gasket

This seems fairly easy. What all do I need to do it, and what are the torque specs on those bolts? Anything I should know before I do this, like anything to look out for?

My friend's needs replaced and I was the one called for the job!

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Old 11-15-2007, 05:08 PM   #2
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1996 SW2
Default Re: Replacing the valve cover gasket

D, you, of anyone, should know to post the year and model, since it's not your own car we're talking about.

'96 and up DOHCs have a rubber gasket, with four o-rings for the spark plug holes. You just need a dab of RTV at the two points where the timing cover meets the cylinder head.

'95 and earlier DOHCs originally were done with RTV from a "tube", but now you can get a "preformed RTV" gasket set that resembles the later models.

SOHCs are all RTV, but I don't know if there's a preformed option, or what. No spark plug o-rings to worry about.

Torque is VERY low, like 90-ish INCH-pounds. A standard 3/8" or 1/2" drive foot-pound torque wrench won't even measure that low. Either guess it, and err on the "light" side, or get a 1/4" torque wrench that measures down to inch-pounds.

Seach the How-To Library on "cam cover gasket".

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Old 11-15-2007, 05:11 PM   #3
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Default Re: Replacing the valve cover gasket

My torque wrench is actually in inch-pounds, not sure if it goes to 90 or not, I'd have to look at it again to see.

It's a 1996 SL2 with the plastic valve cover, the black one.

So, I still have to use RTV even if we buy the gasket from the dealer?

I was hoping I wouldn't have to get involved with RTV, since I've never really used it before, only seen it done, and heard it's a pain in the butt.

Sorry I totally forgot to mention the car's year and model. I was about to say it had the black plastic valve cover, but that's what I forgot to put that I couldn't remember I forgot to mention. I knew I was missing something, LOL.

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Old 11-15-2007, 05:27 PM   #4
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Default Re: Replacing the valve cover gasket

Quote:
Originally Posted by SaturnManiac View Post
My torque wrench is actually in inch-pounds, not sure if it goes to 90 or not, I'd have to look at it again to see.
I'm sure it does. That's less than 8 foot-pounds.

Quote:
It's a 1996 SL2 with the plastic valve cover, the black one.

So, I still have to use RTV even if we buy the gasket from the dealer?

I was hoping I wouldn't have to get involved with RTV, since I've never really used it before, only seen it done, and heard it's a pain in the butt.
Relax, it's just those two spots. And you don't have to build up or run a perfect bead, or let it cure for a day, or any of that. The How-To describes it better than me, but it just needs to set for a wee bit to "skin", then you can put it back together.

Note: if this job is in response to an oil leak, it's always possible that the cam cover itself is warped.

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Old 11-15-2007, 05:47 PM   #5
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Default Re: Replacing the valve cover gasket

Quote:
Originally Posted by madpogue View Post
'96 and up DOHCs have a rubber gasket, with four o-rings for the spark plug holes. You just need a dab of RTV at the two points where the timing cover meets the cylinder head.
The set I got also came with new grommets for the bolts

It took a while to get the old gasket out of it's groove.....it was so baked on there you couldn't really tell that it set in a groove at parts of it...and the new one takes a while to work in there(time and patience).....that was about the worst of it...that and cleaning the engine side mating surface because you have to get all the old goop off while being careful not to scrape the bits into the engine....
Attached Images
File Type: jpg intakebolt.jpg (196.5 KB, 105 views)

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Old 11-15-2007, 10:03 PM   #6
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Default Re: Replacing the valve cover gasket

do not do not DO NOT DO NOTTTTTT over tighten the bolts.... they snap like (snapping fingers) that....


ya i got the tube of rtv looked at it and said..."hell no" went back and for a few bucks more just got the rubber one.


i DID have a little rtv in my room but not enuf to do the job.. you SHOULD put a little where the timming cover meets the engine..

and you should be fine



i have faith

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Old 11-16-2007, 12:17 AM   #7
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1996 SW2
Default Re: Replacing the valve cover gasket

Quote:
Originally Posted by tarsun View Post
do not do not DO NOT DO NOTTTTTT over tighten the bolts.... they snap like (snapping fingers) that....
And short of that, you'll warp the cover.

Quote:
ya i got the tube of rtv looked at it and said..."hell no" went back and for a few bucks more just got the rubber one.
She won't have to decide on that; with the nylon cover, it's a rubber gasket only.

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Old 11-17-2007, 04:24 PM   #8
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Default Re: Replacing the valve cover gasket

This is in response to an oil leak, not a bad one, but it is an oil leak. I don't think the valve cover itself is warped, but I'm assuming I would just have to try this and see if it helps, or is there an easy way to tell if it's warped. I would assume you could see if it's warped, but then if it's not warped bad enough, you might not be able to.

So for using the RTV, I don't really have to worry about it getting into the engine by mistake?

I'm good with cars and understand this, but I've never done it before, and wouldn't want to mess up someone else's car!

...
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Old 11-17-2007, 04:37 PM   #9
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Default Re: Replacing the valve cover gasket

Is it really possible for a plastic cam cover to become warped? Doesn't plastic just bend, then bounce back to where it was? Also, isn't it soft enough that if it were warped, tightening it down to specs will just straighten it out?

As far as testing for warpage goes, you should be able to get a metal yard stick and use it with a feeler gauge to at least see if the edges are straight. Or, if you have a really flat table you can put the cam cover on the table and use the feeler gauge to check for gaps. (You can test it with the metal yard stick first to make sure it's flat.) I'm not sure how much of a gap would be acceptable.

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Old 11-17-2007, 05:56 PM   #10
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Default Re: Replacing the valve cover gasket

Quote:
Originally Posted by SaturnManiac View Post
This is in response to an oil leak, not a bad one, but it is an oil leak. I don't think the valve cover itself is warped, but I'm assuming I would just have to try this and see if it helps, or is there an easy way to tell if it's warped. I would assume you could see if it's warped, but then if it's not warped bad enough, you might not be able to.

So for using the RTV, I don't really have to worry about it getting into the engine by mistake?

I'm good with cars and understand this, but I've never done it before, and wouldn't want to mess up someone else's car!
you'd have to work really hard to get rtv to go down into the engine, just need enough to cover the mating surface on the timing chain cover part...that's all

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Old 11-17-2007, 05:58 PM   #11
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Default Re: Replacing the valve cover gasket

Quote:
Originally Posted by oseberg View Post
Is it really possible for a plastic cam cover to become warped? Doesn't plastic just bend, then bounce back to where it was? Also, isn't it soft enough that if it were warped, tightening it down to specs will just straighten it out?

As far as testing for warpage goes, you should be able to get a metal yard stick and use it with a feeler gauge to at least see if the edges are straight. Or, if you have a really flat table you can put the cam cover on the table and use the feeler gauge to check for gaps. (You can test it with the metal yard stick first to make sure it's flat.) I'm not sure how much of a gap would be acceptable.
probably the minimum size gap required for oil leakage

I don't know about regular plastic but my guess is the composite plastic these valve covers are made out of behaves a bit differently

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Old 11-18-2007, 01:55 PM   #12
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Default Re: Replacing the valve cover gasket

Quote:
Originally Posted by madpogue View Post
D, you, of anyone, should know to post the year and model, since it's not your own car we're talking about.

'96 and up DOHCs have a rubber gasket, with four o-rings for the spark plug holes. You just need a dab of RTV at the two points where the timing cover meets the cylinder head.

Seach the How-To Library on "cam cover gasket".
Where exactly are these two points where the timing cover meets thed cylinder head?

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Old 11-18-2007, 08:20 PM   #13
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Default Re: Replacing the valve cover gasket

Quote:
Originally Posted by OU812 View Post
Where exactly are these two points where the timing cover meets thed cylinder head?
http://www.saturnfans.com/photos/sho...=44919&cat=500

on either side of the motor mount in this pic

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Old 11-18-2007, 09:35 PM   #14
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Default Re: Replacing the valve cover gasket

where the t-chain cover meest the block...



see the line in the close up pict...? right there, on both front of engine and back of engine

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Old 11-19-2007, 12:21 AM   #15
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Default Re: Replacing the valve cover gasket

I'm assuming Saturn put both RTV and the gasket when these motors/cars were manufactured.

And thanks for the pics people, they will help!

I've never used RTV before, so what kind of RTV should I use?

So I just put it on the silver shiny metal part where those arrows are pointing to, and that's it?

...
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Old 11-19-2007, 11:23 AM   #16
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Default Re: Replacing the valve cover gasket

Your choice on RTV. I've used red for all kinds of things including the cam cover. Wolfman likes ultra-black. I think OEM is ultra-grey. I don't think it makes a lot of difference anymore. Don't worry about the RTV, it's no big deal. Just a couple little dabs. Just make sure you get the mating surface on the engine super clean. Acetone or brake cleaner work well for this.

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Old 11-19-2007, 11:33 AM   #17
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Default Re: Replacing the valve cover gasket

I used ULTRA-BLUE on the points where the timing cover meets the head and bought the FEL-PRO gasket. It was groover & tabbed so installing the gasket was a breeze. Even the "circles" for the spark plugs were easy with the FEL-Pro as they were all attached to each other and dropped in perfectly

Most importantly - I cleaned the mating surfaces of the cover with brake cleaner (squeaky clean is best)

Never had to look at it again....

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Old 11-19-2007, 11:50 AM   #18
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Default Re: Replacing the valve cover gasket

For future reference if anyone does a search:

http://www.differentracing.com/tech_.../camcover.html

I think that was the first tech article we put on the site almost 10 years ago.

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Old 11-20-2007, 08:52 PM   #19
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Default Re: Replacing the valve cover gasket

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For future reference if anyone does a search:

http://www.differentracing.com/tech_.../camcover.html

I think that was the first tech article we put on the site almost 10 years ago.
Thanks, you are always such great help with stuff like this. I should've thought to search your site. Do you have any pictures of the job done (or how much and where to put the RTV) on the 96 plastic composite cover? Oh, and do you recommend the Saturn RTV, or I don't have to use Saturn's RTV.

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Old 11-20-2007, 10:48 PM   #20
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Default Re: Replacing the valve cover gasket

Quote:
Originally Posted by SaturnManiac View Post
Thanks, you are always such great help with stuff like this. I should've thought to search your site. Do you have any pictures of the job done (or how much and where to put the RTV) on the 96 plastic composite cover? Oh, and do you recommend the Saturn RTV, or I don't have to use Saturn's RTV.
Barnowl's description is good and there was a photo by tarsun on where the RTV goes. So no excuse not to start the job!

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