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EJ255 Valve cover bolt... tips/tricks?

2480 Views 8 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  ruby2012
So I'm finally getting around to replacing the valve cover gasket on the driver side of my 05 XT.

That lower rear bolt is pretty much impossible to get a wrench on. It was bad on the passenger side. It's even worse on the driver side.

I was finally able to get a box end wrench on it from below coming at it from behind the cross member, working blindly. Then after getting it backed out a bit, I was able to get that same wrench on it from in front of the cross member. 1/12 of a turn at a time. VERY TEDIOUS. Probably took 90 minutes. And my forearms now look like I was defending myself against a knife attack.

I even tried a flex-head gear wrench, but the head was too bulky to get on the bolt head.

I'm just about to start cleaning and putting it all back together, but I'm really concerned about getting that bolt back in.

There has GOT to be an easier way....
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Did you raise the engine any?

Unbolt the two mounts on the frame and the dogbone on the top and you should be able to use a jack on the transmission to raise the engine just a couple of inches, but helps immensely.
I got mine on from the bottom but no Turbo on my car
get some wood or something to spread the pressure on the trans pan!
I ended up finishing the job without raising the motor, but in retrospect, that would probably have been quicker.

I just got the bolt to back out with a good old fashioned combination wrench, and lots of little turns.

Getting it back together, I discovered there isn't enough clearance to insert the bolt with the valve cover in place. You have to pre-load the bolt into the VC before final placement.

With the VC off, I chased out the hole with a bolt and some assembly lube to insure it would thread in as easily as possible.

I was able to get on it with a gear wrench once I got it partially threaded. Other than that, the project went off without a hitch, and now I have one less leak.

What a PITA though. If I ever do it again (hopefully not) I'll jack the motor.
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How long total did it take you to do the entire job? I am getting ready to do mine in the spring.
I had a lot of interruptions (text msgs from wife, calls from work, etc). So it's hard to say. Probably over 4 hrs start to finish, but that included a lunch and trip to the hardware store. I also replaced the spark plugs, which is easier with the VC removed. That one bolt, and deciding my approach definitely required a disproportionate amount of the time.

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Sounds good thanks, did you use OEM gaskets or aftermarket. I have a dealer Subaru mechanic go private with his own shop and he said he sees OEM seals and gaskets fail less.
I used aftermarket. OEM gaskets aren't too terribly expensive though.

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