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Old Yesterday, 01:34 AM   #1
Bikelok
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Member#: 254851
Join Date: Aug 2010
Chapter/Region: BAIC
Location: Nor-Cal Bay Area
Vehicle:
2002 WRX wagon 5mt
PSM

Default How to change a valve cover gasket

Part 1

How to change a valve cover gasket for the turbo 2.0 EJ (and similar EJ types).

I know this has been done, but hopefully I've added something that's been missing.

This is on my 02 WRX.

Tools:
•3/8" drive ratchet
•10mm and 12mm sockets
•10mm ratcheting box wrench (swivel head is a plus)
•assorted extensions (locking ones are a big plus)
•5/8" or 16mm spark plug socket
•flat head screwdriver (for hose clamps)
•pliers, long needle nose worked well for me.
•hose hook, like this: https://www.amazon.com/Universal-Rad.../dp/B007Q3HCL4
•brake cleaner/carb cleaner
•RTV sealant (Fuji Bond, or Honda Bond HT, or Permatex Ultra Grey Rigid High-Torque RTV Silicone Gasket)
•Tarp to lay below to catch the leaking oil
•torque wrench. You might as well know it will never fit on the lower valve cover bolts, unless you are pulling the motor.

Relevant torque specs.
•Valve cover bolts: 3.6ft/lbs.
•oil separator bolts: 4.7ft/lbs.
•oil filler bolts: 4.7ft/lbs.
•Spark plugs: 15 ft/lbs.
•coil pack: 12 ft/lbs.

Here are the parts needed for my 02 WRX. OEM gaskets are highly recommended:



Close ups:



This is where I cheaped out and did not go OEM. They are made in Japan. They are slightly different than OEM, but worked great. Again, I STRONGLY suggest you go with OEM gaskets. Especially the main cover and spark plug ones.

OEM left, Beck/Arnley on the right


This is the RTV I used (I really like this stuff).


About the RTV sealants, the Honda Bond HT and I believe the Fuji Bond have long cure times. The Honda Bond HT is a 18 hour cure time. I don't remember the Fuji Bond cure time, but I think its similar. The Permatex Ultra Grey Rigid High-Torque RTV Silicone Gasket) has the shortest cure time (sorry I don't know what it is).
I mention the cure times, because ideally, you should not use or start the car till the RTV has cured.
So if you can't leave your car alone after the work, then find the shortest cure time that works for you.
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Last edited by Bikelok; Today at 02:41 AM.
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Old Yesterday, 01:35 AM   #2
Bikelok
Scooby Specialist
 
Member#: 254851
Join Date: Aug 2010
Chapter/Region: BAIC
Location: Nor-Cal Bay Area
Vehicle:
2002 WRX wagon 5mt
PSM

Default How to change a valve cover gasket

Part 2

To gain access to the valve covers you need to remove the following components:


I won't go into this in detail, as these are simple to remove.
•Battery, you should know how to do this part!!!!!
•Snorkus is two bolts and it pops out.
•Air cleaner assembly is two clips and two bolts way down low. When reinstalling, be sure the two lower tabs of the air box top are well seated in the slots of the lower box.
•MAF and elbow are hose clamps.
•Washer tank, unclip washer pump(s) (squeeze tab(s) and pull up on connectors, remove the two bolts, then lift up.
You should now have enough room to get at the valve covers (barely).

Right side (passenger side) will look like this:


Left side (driver side) will look like this. You need to remove the 10mm bolt that holds the wire loom bracket and pull it all back. The bracket is bolted to the body, just behind where the battery sits. The loom is held up with clothes hanger wire:


WARNING!!!! You are now going to be working on aluminum engine components! Do not gorilla anything!!!! TAKE IT EASY!!!!
I MEAN THAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Right (passenger) or left (driver) side are the same for this part.
Remove the spark plugs.
Unclip the wires that lead to the coil packs. Press clip and slide out. Be careful not to snap the little "clip nubs" (the little wedges on the coil pack, that the clip actually clips on to) on the coil packs. If they break off, the clip can slide off the coil pack while you drive, disconnecting the coil pack.
The white clips are at the front and the black are at the rear. Loosen the 12 mm bolt that holds the coil pack to the head. Pop the coil packs out.
To remove the plugs you will need the spark plug socket and an extension (I strongly recommend a locking extension). A 3" long one works great for me.

Right side (passenger side) specific work:

Squeeze the hose clamp on the black plastic oil separator hose (back upper part of valve cover) and slide it up.
Use the hose hook and carefully work the hose off (don't break the plastic oil separator).

Left side (driver side) specific work:


Remove the three 10mm bolts that hold the oil filler to the valve cover. Then remove the oil filler.


Use the hose hook and work the oil separator hose free. No clamp on this side.

Again, right (passenger) or left (driver) side are the same for this work.

Now you can remove the eight 10mm valve cover bolts. You can use a socket for the upper bolts, but you will only fit a ratcheting box wrench on the bottom ones. IT'S A TIGHT FIT ON THE BOTTOM.
You can now pop the valve cover off and CAREFULLY wiggle it out. A good amount of oil will pour out.
Once the covers are out, remove the three 10mm oil separator cover bolts and remove the plastic oil separator cover.

Remove the half moons from the rear of the head with the pliers. The red arrows show the locations.


Now clean up up the valve cover and oil separator. Brake cleaner worked well for me.
Clean up the head surface. Be sure to remove the remaining factory RTV off the head surface. DON'T SCRATCH THE SURFACE! Brake cleaner sprayed ONTO a lint free rag worked great for me. I would recommend NOT spraying directly onto the head.

Last edited by Bikelok; Yesterday at 02:20 AM.
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Old Yesterday, 01:35 AM   #3
Bikelok
Scooby Specialist
 
Member#: 254851
Join Date: Aug 2010
Chapter/Region: BAIC
Location: Nor-Cal Bay Area
Vehicle:
2002 WRX wagon 5mt
PSM

Default How to change a valve cover gasket

Part 3

Once everything is clean you can start reassembly.

Install the oil separator and gasket onto the valve cover. New gasket and the three 10mm bolts. Snug the bolts down, but not too tight or you will crack the plastic.



Lay the gaskets firmly in the grooves of the valve covers. The gaskets go in dry on this side (no RTV).
This is a dirty cover just to show you the grooves.


Installing the half moons (cylinder head plugs).
Apply a thin layer of RTV on the curved section of the half moon and set it in the head.
Here are examples on my spare head without the RTV.




Now it's time to lay down the RTV sealant on the head and this is where things get funny depending on your source. My three sources are 02-03 FSM (I have two copies), a Hanes manual and the way I do it.

I applied blue tape to the areas where the RTV is applied.

The FSM areas:


The Hanes areas:


And how I do it:


Take your pick I won't push any one method. Or make up your own.

APPLY A THIN LAYER!!!!! THIN!!!!!!!!!
The RTV is applied to the head, not the gasket. If you try to put it on the gasket, you WILL scrape some off as you install it so don't bother.

Follow the directions of your RTV choice. As to a wait time to join parts.
Honda Bond HT is about 1 minute or so.

Install the grommets onto the valve cover bolts.

CAREFULLY ease the valve cover (with the gaskets FIRMLY seated in the grooves) down onto the cylinder head.
Be careful not to catch the gasket and twist it or cut it on the sharp bits of the head. Go slow. It will fit even if you think it won't.

Once it's on, I like to push it and wiggle it slightly to evenly spread the RTV.

Hand tighten the bolts to hold on the valve cover.
Once you have all the bolts threaded on hand tight, then you can use tools.

Left side installed:


Right side installed:

Last edited by Bikelok; Yesterday at 01:48 AM.
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Old Yesterday, 01:37 AM   #4
Bikelok
Scooby Specialist
 
Member#: 254851
Join Date: Aug 2010
Chapter/Region: BAIC
Location: Nor-Cal Bay Area
Vehicle:
2002 WRX wagon 5mt
PSM

Default

Part 4

The Hanes manual shows a tightening sequence pattern. I've seen mention that some FSM show a tightening sequence pattern. I for the life of me can not find one in either copy of my 02-03 FSM.
So here is the Hanes version.
Right side (passenger):


Left side (driver):


Now these have a very low torque spec (see part 1), so tighten to snug only!!!!! You will never get a torque wrench on them with the motor in the car.

Once they are all snugged down, you can reassemble everything in the reverse order. Time to put it all back together.

One last note. As and older dude (who exercises regularly), this job was not difficult, but It WAS A BACK BREAKER though. I had to do the right side one weekend and the left the next weekend and recover in between. In my younger days I could have knocked them both out on the same day. Just a heads up for the creaky boned people out there.
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Old Yesterday, 08:38 AM   #5
dev6565
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Join Date: Jun 2015
Chapter/Region: NWIC
Location: Tacoma, WA
Vehicle:
2006 WRX Limited
Aspen White

Default

Good thread bud. I did this twice on my 2.5 when my passenger side didn't get seated right. This same process will work for a 2.5 just be aware that there will be 2 breather hoses on each head and you won't run into any bolt seals or those longer black seals on the 2.5. everything is pretty much the same.
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Old Today, 08:20 AM   #6
roccotrapani
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Chapter/Region: Tri-State
Location: sj
Vehicle:
2004 STi
wr blue

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bump .. I want to do the gaskets on my forester.
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