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Old 07-27-2003, 11:54 AM   #1
whitet777
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Question Valve Cover Oil Leak

I am pretty sure my driver's side valve cover is leaking a little oil on the exhaust causing the oil smell when I stop the car. I have a 98 OBS.

Can anyone tell me the procedure for replacing the valve cover gasket? I am too cheap to buy the service manuals. How hard is it to do? How long should it take?

Thanks,
Tim
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Old 07-27-2003, 01:22 PM   #2
whitet777
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Actually, I just changed the oil and looked under there and it looks like the leak is on the passenger side, not the driver's side. It could also be the head gasket after looking at it further. Do the Subaru head gaskets leak over time?

Still need some maintenance instructions for either the valve cover or the head gasket.

Thanks
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Old 07-27-2003, 04:03 PM   #3
Albert
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Quote:
Originally posted by whitet777
either the valve cover or the head gasket.
Thanks
If it's oil it's likely the valve cover.
Clean up the valve cover all the way around on a cold engine with a can of brake cleaner first.

Retorquing a leaky valve cover usually doesn't work but it can't hurt at this stage. Use a torque pattern and retighten to 36-48 in/lbs.
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Old 07-27-2003, 07:30 PM   #4
whitet777
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Albert,

Thanks for the info. I will clean it up and look for leaks. I didn't think there would be much chance for oil in the head. Should only be coolant and air/fuel at the head if everything is working right.

I will keep an eye on it. Any advice on a new valve cover gasket???
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Old 07-28-2003, 02:28 PM   #5
ciper
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The hardest part about replacing the valve cover gasket is having enough room to take it apart!

The valve cover gasket is VERY easy,

Remove valve cover
Remove old gasket
Install valve cover
Install new gasket

Yours might also have rubber "washers" under the valve cover bolts that need replaced. The valve cover FLOATS between the two rubber parts, realize that the bolts have a torque spec of 14 INCH POUNDS, thats like 4 foot pounds.
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Old 07-28-2003, 02:50 PM   #6
whitet777
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Not to be a smart ass, but isn't 14 inch pounds equivalent to 14/12 or 1.2 ft-lbs?

2 more questions: It looks like the valve covers have weird star shaped bolts. Will a standard socket work with these? Also, should I drain the oil first before working on the valve covers or will no oil be in there to drain all over my face?
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Old 07-28-2003, 03:53 PM   #7
BlueTDimly
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whitet777 - can you take pictures/document the process while you're doing it? I'm interested.
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Old 07-28-2003, 04:47 PM   #8
ciper
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whitet777: I dont know what the heck I was writing, now Ive confused myself Ill look when I get home.

No need to drain the oil, it drains back to the pan. A small amount will be still inside the valve cover, just put a few paper towels under it.

Im pretty sure the bolts you speak of are 12 sided. A majority of tools are designed to fit them, usually you have to specifically get 6 sided.

I seriously suggest replacing both at the same time. Even if the other side is not leaking.
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Old 07-28-2003, 05:56 PM   #9
Albert
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Quote:
Originally posted by Albert
Use a torque pattern and retighten to 36-48 in/lbs.
48 in/lbs same as 4 ft/lbs
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Old 07-28-2003, 05:59 PM   #10
whitet777
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Albert,

I saw your torque pattern, just had to give ciper a hard time with his math
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Old 07-28-2003, 09:44 PM   #11
ciper
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Dang, I thought I was so smart

I didnt even read Alberts post, he isnt supposed to steal my thunder!
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