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Old 12-01-2013, 08:28 PM   #1
billr
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Default DOHC Valve Cover Leak

Well crap! It's the '95 SL2 with the auto trans. I pulled off one plug boot and the well was filled with oil up past the top of the plug (other three dry). It's running fine, but I intend to fix it soon. This is a '97 engine, by the S/N on it, and has a plastic valve cover. Am I fighting a losing battle trying to seal it, should I try to find an aluminum one? The salvage yards near me are pretty pricey, so I would like to avoid replacing it...
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Old 12-01-2013, 09:51 PM   #2
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Default Re: DOHC Valve Cover Leak

The aluminum cover will go on and not leak first try. The plastic cover might seal depending on how many times you want to try. Over tightening of the cover bolts results in a rapid expansion in your ability to drill out small diameter fasteners and helicoil installation.
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Old 12-01-2013, 10:01 PM   #3
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Default Re: DOHC Valve Cover Leak

No you're not fighting a loosing battle. Get yourself a good valve cover gasket set that includes the spark plug tube seals, it will set you back about $25. Should only take about an hour to pull the valve cover and replace the tube seals as well as the valve cover gasket. I usually run a very thin bead of silicone around the outside edges as well just to make sure it doesn't leak, don't use too much you don't want to get silicone down in the engine.
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Old 12-01-2013, 11:55 PM   #4
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Default Re: DOHC Valve Cover Leak

Quote:
Originally Posted by dgeorge View Post
I usually run a very thin bead of silicone around the outside edges as well just to make sure it doesn't leak, don't use too much you don't want to get silicone down in the engine.
Your only suppose to use 2 dabs of RTV right at the timing cover T-Joints using sealant around the whole rubber gasket is not necessary and will more then likely cause a leak sooner or later before the gaskets life cycle is done....
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Old 12-02-2013, 12:01 AM   #5
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Default Re: DOHC Valve Cover Leak

Quote:
Originally Posted by dgeorge View Post
No you're not fighting a loosing battle. Get yourself a good valve cover gasket set that includes the spark plug tube seals, it will set you back about $25.
And then you can have same issue as before..... to be honest its a hit/miss doing it this way..... some have taken a crap load of RTV and built it up...... but to each their own.....

If you can't get that to seal right you are out the $25ish for the gasket..... and still stuck buying the aluminum gasket 25ish plus valve cover cost

My Analysis:

Chance it with plastic gasket
Cost- $25ish for a maybe it will be fixed
Time- Take-off (X1) Install time (X1)


Buy 100% Sure-Fire Fix after messing with plastic cover
Cost- $25ish (X2) + Valve Cover Cost
Time- Take-off (X3) <if bought at a U-pull-it> Take-off (X2) <if bought on They-pull/Ebay> Install (X2)


Buy 100% Sure-Fire Fix- $25ish + Valve Cover Cost
Cost- $25ish (X1) + Valve Cover Cost
Time- Take-off (X2) <if bought at a U-pull-it> Take-off (X1) <if bought on They-pull/Ebay> Install (X1)


You need to do the math for yourself:
How long do you want this fix to last?
What type of money are you looking at spending?
What type of time do you want to spend on it?
and now: Do you feel Lucky?

This is just my thoughts.... you can see that I say do aluminum cover and be done with it
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Old 12-02-2013, 12:30 AM   #6
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Default Re: DOHC Valve Cover Leak

Quote:
Originally Posted by billr View Post
Well crap! It's the '95 SL2 with the auto trans. I pulled off one plug boot and the well was filled with oil up past the top of the plug (other three dry). It's running fine, but I intend to fix it soon. This is a '97 engine, by the S/N on it, and has a plastic valve cover. Am I fighting a losing battle trying to seal it, should I try to find an aluminum one? The salvage yards near me are pretty pricey, so I would like to avoid replacing it...
The Aluminum valve cover is the best bet to permanently fix the leak, Use a preformed gasket and RTV at the T-Joints and it will be good for years..
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Old 12-02-2013, 12:47 PM   #7
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Default Re: DOHC Valve Cover Leak

Okay, I get the hints. I have been resisting the JYs not so much because of price but because they are also kind of snotty. I'll swallow some pride and get an aluminum one (along with the different screws, right?)
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Old 12-02-2013, 01:06 PM   #8
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Default Re: DOHC Valve Cover Leak

Yes, get the matching bolts for the Aluminum cover, Installing that cover on your engine will fix alot of your problems with fighting oil leaks from a wharped Cam Cover, You wont have to worry about that again...
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Old 12-02-2013, 02:24 PM   #9
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Default Re: DOHC Valve Cover Leak

What years do the aluminum covers appear?
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Old 12-02-2013, 02:31 PM   #10
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Default Re: DOHC Valve Cover Leak

The 93-95 fits.

General and specific info and links.

Plastic cover torque is 89in-lb MAX, but 85in-lb will be fine. 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.

Replace warped plastic 96-98 cover with 93-95 aluminum How-To
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=165939

New gasket installation.
The gasket has to be installed into a clean dry groove with no sealant. To install you poke the tab into the 2 left end corners and the the 2 right corners. back up to the right end of the long side where they turn outward and tuck those corners in. The corner tuck is maybe an inch to an inch and a half. Now go to the middle of any run and tuck in another inch. Keep splitting the difference until all is tucked in. What you are attempting to accomplish is to compress the gasket linearly was you press it into the grove. Turn cover face down on a clean smooth surface and press down all around the edges to seat the gasket. Turn it back over and wipe the gasket face of with acetone and wipe off the mating surface on the head. Apply 2 1/2" thin blobs of sealant(RTV) across the timing cover./head joint. Set in place and torque bolts in order in stages to 85in-lb. If it leaks buy a 93-95 aluminum cover as it is warped.

Black composite cam cover gasket: FEL-PRO Part # VS50454R 96-98


How to check for a warped black cover.
First get the gasket surfaces clean, carb cleaner, purple power, flame thrower -- whatever works.

Set cover right side up on a clean flat surface such as a table saw table or known flat surface. Now check all around the cover and verify all the perimeter gasket surface is touching the flat surface, if not the cover is warped or racked and not going to seal. Next turn cover over and lay a straight edge along the front, back, and left end to see if the gasket groove is not either bowed inward or outward. Pay particular attention to the left end as it is where the cover usually bows out and leaks. If it is bowed it will not seal and will leak.


93-95 aluminum cam cover gasket: FEL-PRO Part # VS50451R
Aluminum cam cover bolt part number 21000823
Aluminum cam cover bolt washer part number 21006513
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Old 12-02-2013, 02:32 PM   #11
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Default Re: DOHC Valve Cover Leak

Quote:
Originally Posted by proveniebam View Post
What years do the aluminum covers appear?
The Aluminum covers were installed on the 93-95 Twin Cam Engines, I believe 91-92 had their own Aluminum cover however with more mounting bolts, 96-mid 99 I were the troubled plastic covers that wharped bad in the rear, Mid year 99 the head changed to a more narrow version, I dont believe the gen 3 covers had issues at least that Im aware of.
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Last edited by SL19302; 12-02-2013 at 02:44 PM.
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Old 12-02-2013, 07:40 PM   #12
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Default Re: DOHC Valve Cover Leak

Quote:
Originally Posted by SL19302 View Post
The Aluminum covers were installed on the 93-95 Twin Cam Engines, I believe 91-92 had their own Aluminum cover however with more mounting bolts, 96-mid 99 I were the troubled plastic covers that wharped bad in the rear, Mid year 99 the head changed to a more narrow version, I dont believe the gen 3 covers had issues at least that Im aware of.
93-95 Valve Cover (3) Bolts- What you need


91-92 Valve Cover (4) Bolts- Will NOT work for you




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Old 08-29-2022, 02:26 PM   #13
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Default Re: DOHC Valve Cover Leak

Great info:

**I'm surprised no one mentions/recommends to use RTV form a gasket sealant INSIDE each spark plug holes AFTER the cover is reinstalled, in the seam/crack where the cover and engine meet, to help assure oil does not leak into the spark plug galleys.
That's what I did with my gasket kit install.
3 of my spark plug wires had oil in them, luckily still sparking.

I'll see how it goes and report back.

Take care
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Old 08-30-2022, 11:10 AM   #14
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Default Re: DOHC Valve Cover Leak

When I did my leaking plastic valve cover it was warped a bit on the drivers side edge so I placed it on the flat cement with lead weights to press down on the warped area overnight. This eliminated about half of the warping, then I added some gasket maker where it was warped and it hasn't leaked since.
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Old 09-19-2022, 02:22 PM   #15
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Default Re: DOHC Valve Cover Leak

Quote:
Originally Posted by C52 View Post
When I did my leaking plastic valve cover it was warped a bit on the drivers side edge so I placed it on the flat cement with lead weights to press down on the warped area overnight. This eliminated about half of the warping, then I added some gasket maker where it was warped and it hasn't leaked since.
I'm having the same issue with my 97 SL2. Going to see where the warping is when I get home from work.

Question is how much gasket maker did you use where it was warped? I really just need to keep the car for another 8-9 months at the most and then I'm getting rid of it. My high school senior is the primary driver.
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Old 10-05-2022, 02:04 PM   #16
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Default Re: DOHC Valve Cover Leak

Back in 2005 I had the dealer reseal my leaking valve cover under warranty. They used a light grey RTV instead of a gasket. It's still hanging in there!
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