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2001 Outback Wagon
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16 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I know this is not the usual way to do things, but I am wondering if a valve cover can be removed and the gaskets replaced without removing the spark plugs?

Due to a spark plug blowing out and taking the threads with it I had a shop put a helicoil or something equivalent in the engine of my 2001 4-cyl manual Outback wagon. That was probably 60,000 miles ago and my plan was to leave that plug in place and not touch it as long as humanly possible since I'm guessing it would be rather risky to remove it now. However I've been living with a slow oil leak for quite awhile and it's starting to be an issue, oil on the plug wires and misfire codes, as well as a fair amount of smoking from the engine during and after driving. So I'd like to replace the valve cover gaskets since at least one is leaking for sure, but I don't want to create a major engine problem trying to solve a relatively minor one. So just curious, is it possible to do without taking the plug in the damaged socket out?

I'd appreciate any advice I can get,

-justaguy93
 

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01 Outback H6 VDC, 97 GT wgn w/ ej22, 98 OBW w/ej22
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1,401 Posts
no problem.

you have to pull the wires off of the plugs, but you do not have to remove the plugs. and i don't think it would be a good idea to do it either. i don't like the idea of working around an open plug hole. ''oops, i dropped a small screw and it went into the cylinder.''
a long shot i know but you get the idea.
 

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2000 OBW, AT, 290.5k miles when I sold it
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61 Posts
It's been a while, but I am sure Canubaru is right, I don't think it will cause any problem at all. You put some anti-seize on that plug though, right?
 

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Premium Member
2001 VDC/SC One of a Kind
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14,289 Posts
The plugs recess in to the head and inside the tubes that the cover seals on top of. Unless the plug with the heli-coil is the one causing the misfire, you should be good with just a gasket change.
 

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2001 Outback Wagon
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16 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for all of the replies, I really appreciate it! It's a relief to know I don't have to open that potential can of worms just now.

I had a local shop do the helicoil fix as most wouldn't attempt it without tearing the engine down and I've been very happy with the durability of their repair. But since I didn't do the fix myself I really don't know what I'm in for when I try to pull that plug for the first time. I'm hoping I can put off messing with it until the time comes to replace the head gasket at which time I'll just replace that head all together, assuming the rest of the car is holding together at that point.

Thanks again,

-justaguy93
 
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