Valve Cover Gasket replacement - Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-02-2006, 08:10 PM Thread Starter
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Valve Cover Gasket replacement pics

Thought I'd share some pics and thoughts on my 96 OBW valve cover gasket change. I bought the car about a month ago and have slowly been going through the small things that I wanted to do (engine/tranny/differential oil change, new belts, brakes & rotors, etc). I love the boxer motors (have a 95 BMW boxer m/c as well), but it's not as easy to work on them when they're stuffed into an engine compartment. Anyway, a few thoughts about the valve cover change in case anyone is interested:

-For the driver side gasket, remove the battery and windshield washer reservoir first. This will make valve cover access *much* easier. Five out of the six bolts holding the cover on are relatively easy to get to. The front and middle bolt on the bottom are easier to get to from underneath the car. The rear bottom bolt is the biggest problem. One suggestion here may save you a lot of time and frustration. *Buy a wratcheting 10 mm box wrench* if you don't have one already. I have a Craftsman set that I don't use very often but it definitely came in handy here. There's not enough room down there to fit a socket and wratchet in the gap, and a traditional box wrench will be a PITA because you'll only get a small amount of rotation before you have to take it off and reposition within a very small space. Thankfully I have little girl hands and wrists.
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-02-2006, 08:16 PM Thread Starter
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One of the good parts about pulling off the valve cover is that the spark plugs are much easier to get to. I didnt' know when the last time the plugs had been changed, and even if it had been recently it makes sense to put a new set in since it's relatively easy at this point, so I pulled the old ones out. This pic illustrates how stout these engines really are, these plugs were in there for so long that the electrode was worn away to pretty much nothing. The gap must have easily been double the .040" spec.
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-02-2006, 08:19 PM Thread Starter
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This pic illustrates how much more room there is if you take the battery and reservoir out first.

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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-02-2006, 08:28 PM Thread Starter
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After cleaning off the valve cover gasket surface and mating surface on the head, I put a bead of silicone on the valve cover and put the gaskets into place. Didn't take a pic of that unfortunately but nothing special about that. Give it 15-20 mins to partially cure so the gasket is held in place, and slowly slide the cover into the engine compartment and mate w/ the head. It fits back in pretty easily if you remove the oil filler neck when before pulling the cover out of the engine compartment. While waiting for the bead of silicone to set, I replaced the front passenger spark plug which isn't too bad w/o removing the valve cover. The rear one is a PITA from the looks of it due to restricted room, and I didn't have time to replace that gasket today, so that plug will have to wait until I pull off the passenger side valve cover. Pics to come when I do that side.

Joe
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-03-2006, 07:58 AM
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OK, that gap pic is pretty funny!

I'd like to move this to the DIY section, this is the kind of thing I had in mind for that.
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-10-2006, 06:28 PM Thread Starter
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I finally got a chance to change the passenger side valve cover gasket today, and replace the rear passenger spark plug I couldn't get to easily before. As you can see below, it's much easier to get to the valve cover bolts if you unclip the air box cover and swing the top out of the way to the back of the engine compartment. The 3 bottom bolts are more easily accessible if you work from underneath the car with a socket or wratcheting box wrench. The top 3 aren't too difficult to get to either.
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-10-2006, 06:32 PM Thread Starter
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Again, make sure you change the plugs when changing the valve cover gasket, it's much easier to get to them when the covers are off. You can actually get a socket and extension w/ wratchet into the rear passenger spark plug hole with the cover off.

The fish in the ocean are probably happier now that my Suby has stopped hemorrhaging oil into the driveway and storm drain.
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-23-2008, 12:07 PM
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98 Valve Cover Gaskets

Thanks very much for the good pxs. I have leaking valve cover gaskets on my 98 Outback (~100K) and want to replace. Do you know if there are any differences that make a 98 harder. One post indicates that the engine has to be partially removed?

I assume that if one follows your procedure, one won't have to partially remove the engine.

Besides the spark plugs, is there anything else that should be considered doing with the valve cover gaskets.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-23-2008, 02:29 PM
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New Spark Plugs

While you are at it, replace the spark plugs with some NGK platinums. You will notice a performance increase.
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-24-2008, 12:06 AM
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you didn't really kill fish did you
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