Replacing Valve Cover Gasket - DodgeTalk : Dodge Car Forums, Dodge Truck Forums and Ram Forums
 
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#1 Old 09-16-2011, 05:24 AM
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Replacing Valve Cover Gasket

Never replaced a valve cover gasket but need to on my leaky 318. Some smoke comes up from what I assume is oil leaking on exhaust manifold when it gets hot. What do I need to know before I start the job?

I assume I need to move all the hoses, PCV, etc out of the way, lift them off and replace gasket and put back on with as much torque that I can muster.

Is there anything else that I can do while the covers are off besides looking for cracks? Any cleaning I can do while I'm in there? Can I soak the covers in solvent or do I just degrease?

Thanks in advance.

1984 Dodge B250 5.2L 318 in SoCal
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#2 Old 09-16-2011, 08:26 AM
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The torque spec for the valve cover bolts is 80 in.lbs. Be sure to clean the gasket surfaces really well.

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#3 Old 09-16-2011, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by CanyonCruiser View Post
put back on with as much torque that I can muster.

Is there anything else that I can do while the covers are off
Do not tighten the bolt too much. All you will do is bend the cover and squish the gasket. This will lead to premature failure of the gasket.

While the cover is off and after you clean it up, turn it over and examine each bolt hole to see if the hole is bent it inward. For each hole you find bent, place the hole on a flat surface and lightly tap the hole with a hammer to flatten it back out. The bending comes from over torquing the bolts and this will great high spots halfway between bolt holes. These high spots will be the first places oil will leak out in the future.
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#4 Old 09-16-2011, 01:21 PM
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Thanks to both of you. That makes sense now to not overtighten.

How about washing the engine after I'm done? Like with a power nozzle and the dog house on, just spray up in there. Anyone ever had problems doing that?

1984 Dodge B250 5.2L 318 in SoCal
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#5 Old 09-16-2011, 06:49 PM
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Washing can get moisture in the distributor. I did this once at a do it yourself carwash and the aluminum cap electrodes corroded from the spark energy and steam as the engine dried, it dyed in about a block.
Keep water out of the distributor (bag it) with a cool engine and you can do this.
On valve covers, run the engine thru a couple of warmup cycles and recheck to be sure the bolts are snug.

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#6 Old 09-17-2011, 06:55 AM
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Yep, cover the Distributor and carb / throttle body. I usually do the cleaning when I'm getting ready to change the cap & rotor.

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#7 Old 09-18-2011, 09:16 AM
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Many thanks to all. I completed the valve cover gasket job yesterday so I'll be running it this week and testing for leaks. Not really difficult at all. The old gaskets were rigid and broke apart when I took them out.

Valve covers are a lot more flimsy than I expected. The covers were just very slightly bent from the bolts. I didn't feel that I could improve it any by trying to straighten them out. I can see where if the gasket doesn't seal around the bolt area then oil can work its way into there through the bolts and get out. On the second cover I was a little more careful to put some Permatex around the bolt holes between the gasket and the cover. And the way the 318 engine is kinda tilted the lower half of the gasket cover is going to be the problem area and around the corners where its hard to make the gasket extend all the way into the corner.

Anyway, I think its going to hold. At least its clean so I'll be able to recognize any more leaks.

1984 Dodge B250 5.2L 318 in SoCal
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#8 Old 09-18-2011, 12:15 PM
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Not the result I hoped! The smoking is worse than ever. But I did notice some more things...

The smoke seems to be coming from out of the valve cover, not down by the manifold like I first thought. Also, I see smoke now out of the oil filler at the front of the van under the hood, probably was always there just never checked until now.

So.....
Is it blow-by like I was reading from another thread? If so, how do I test for it and fix it?

1984 Dodge B250 5.2L 318 in SoCal
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#9 Old 09-18-2011, 12:50 PM
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Maybe it's just some oil burning off the exhaust that spilled when you removed the valve covers. I'd run it for a bit and see if the smoking starts to go away before digging into anything else.
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#10 Old 09-19-2011, 07:53 AM
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Perhaps the PCV system? I had a similar experience when my pcv valve clogged up.

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#11 Old 09-19-2011, 05:55 PM
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I did a few things and it seems a little better.

1. Took off new PCV and put back the old one. Maybe the new one wasn't operating correctly?
2. Put some additive (engine honey) in the oil to thicken things up.

3. Ran the van to normal temperature level a couple times. I really haven't run the van much in the last year (less than 100 miles) because I wasn't using it and then I've been working to get it to run reliably since. Hope that just running it more will let the valve rings re-seal.

The smoke seems the worst when idling and when decelerating to a stop going down a hill.

I don't think I did a very good job on the first valve cover so will probably have to do that one over again. But I think the issues are not related. The blow-by and the leaky valve cover are not the same issue.

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