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Old 06-20-2012, 09:30 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Leaking Valve Cover Gaskets

I know there is a walk-through on how to replace valve cover gaskets along with timing belt job, but.... I already have the belt replaced. I just changed the spark plugs on my Subie the other day and noticed some oil on the outside of the plugs. Time for new valve cover gaskets. The walk-through does not mention removing the timing belt cover to do this. Do I need to? Or is it as easy as it seems: get a set of two valve cover gaskets, unbolt the covers, replace gaskets and bolt it back together. Am I correct?
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Old 06-20-2012, 11:58 PM   #2 (permalink)
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yes - it's very simple on the 4 cylinders. remove covers and replace gaskets.

there are also spark plug tube gaskets where the spark plugs go through the valve covers, order 4 of those. they are brittle and leak - that's your issue with the plugs having oil on them.

2 valve cover gaskets (drivers side/passengesr side) and 4 spark plug tube seals

a 10mm ratcheting wrench is a money tool on Subaru valve cover gaskets, i'd get one.
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Old 06-21-2012, 10:48 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grossgary View Post

a 10mm ratcheting wrench is a money tool on Subaru valve cover gaskets, i'd get one.
This.

It's a very simple job, but a ratcheting wrench makes it quick and overly-simple job.
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Old 06-21-2012, 01:31 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Getting the valve covers off is the easy part. The hard part was removing all the stuff in the way in order to lift the covers out of the car. When I did it, it involved removing the air intake tubing on the passenger side, and the battery and windshield fluid tank on the driver's side.

There is also a vacuum hose on each cover that you have to detach.

Be careful when you pull the covers off, because some oil may drip out.

Also inspect the rubber grommets that are on each of the 5 bolts holding each cover to the head. You'll find they're not torqued on very tight, just enough to compress the grommet a little bit.
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Old 06-21-2012, 11:28 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Would I need to take out the spark plugs to do that job? Also, what about torqueing down the valve cover bolts when putting it all back together? Any special tips you guys might want to share?

Last thing, do I go with one of the Rockauto.com kits (it lists four different kits with different prices) or do I get all these pieces from Subaru individually? I know sometimes OEM is a way to go and I don't mind...
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Old 06-22-2012, 11:41 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I'll have to check the service manual after work to see if there are any torque specs for the valve cover bolts.

The other thing that comes to mind, while you've got the valve covers off, is check the tolerances of your valve lifters. I think this part involves cycling the cylinders around, which may be easier if you undo the spark plugs too.

I've personally never done the tolerance adjustment, but it looks fairly simple. Some info:

Replacing valve cover gasket, worth checking valve clearances? - Subaru Forester Owners Forum

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Old 06-22-2012, 06:57 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks. I don't have enough skills to attempt the valve tolerance adjustment.

Any opinions on the Rockauto.com valve cover gasket kits? I don't know which one to go with. Or just go with OEM Subaru parts....
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Old 06-22-2012, 08:03 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I used a Fel-Pro kit on my girlfriends OB when I did the headgaskets. It was around $24 from Amazon and eligible for Prime shipping. It seemed of good quality, the rubber was very supple on the gaskets and plug tubes and it came with new grommets.
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Old 06-23-2012, 01:09 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I see what you mean about the different sets of valve cover gaskets from RockAuto. I can't really say which one will fit either, though I have to imagine all 2003 2.5L SOHC engines must have the same valve cover shapes, so any valve gasket should do. As long as they have 2 cover gaskets, 4 spark tube gaskets, and 10 grommets.

The only one that I would stay away from is the picture with 12 grommets in it. Not sure what that's all about.

You could try some vendor like allwheeldriveauto.com (no affiliation) or something. They sell 3rd party gaskets, which looks to be like what rockauto does anyways. At least they have a phone number / email contact so you can ask them what parts you need.

Ps - my service manual has a diagram that says to tighten valve cover bolts + their grommets to 10 N-m / 7.2 ft-lbs. Or just tighten them snug. Not a lot of force riding on these bolts.
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Old 06-23-2012, 07:36 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Thanks, Storkiln. I looked at allwheeldriveauto.com, as well. Their valve cover kit is bundled with spark plug wires and goes for $169.00. It's nice, but my wires are good for now

Man, I sure hope I can tackle this job myself. I was really worried that I was going to have to take off the timing belt cover as well for this one....
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