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Old 04-03-2012, 08:10 PM   #1
Chuck H
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Member#: 20442
Join Date: Jun 2002
Chapter/Region: NESIC
Location: Chelmsford, MA
Vehicle:
KTR tuned 2003 WRX
VF34 equipped, 270 whp

Default 03 WRX valve cover gasket

I've developed a pretty big oil leak over the last week or two and finally tracked it down to the passenger side valve cover gasket. Hoping to replace it this weekend.

Couple of questions:
1) Should I bite the bullet and do the driver's side as well, since it also has 140,000 miles on it, or don't mess with it, since it doesn't seem to be leaking?
2) Saw a bunch of threads with partial info, but no complete how-to. Is one available here on NASIOC or Subymods?
3) How many gaskets should I be replacing while I'm in there? Seems like various posts are recommending the main gasket, the two around the spark plug holes, and 8(?) o-rings around the bolts. Is that a pretty complete list?

Thanks in advance for any info. I've done valve cover gaskets before on inline 4 engines, but never on a Subie, so this is going to be a new and hopefully not completely frustrating experience.
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Old 04-03-2012, 08:58 PM   #2
fastnoypi
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i'd just do the leaking side, get the main gasket and spark plug hole gaskets. you can opt to be cheap and re-use the o-rings around the bolts but clean them very good and used a dab of sealer on each if you want. Otherwise they are cheap too.
Tighten up the 10mm bolts in a crossing pattern.
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:39 PM   #3
ManualOverAuto
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2001 Impreza L coupe
Sedona red Pearl

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Definetly what the above poster said. Except I would do both sides to be safe, but obviously not needed.

Just a quick question though:
How did you know you have leak, specifically from the valve cover gasket?

I'm asking because when my VC gaskets and tube seals leaked it was ALL internal. There was no visible oil loss, or dripping from the motor. The only way I found out is because of a misfire, and I checked the plug boots finding them covered in oil.
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Old 04-04-2012, 01:05 AM   #4
Chuck H
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Join Date: Jun 2002
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KTR tuned 2003 WRX
VF34 equipped, 270 whp

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I've been getting puddles of oil under the car for a couple of weeks. Finally put the front up on ramps and looked at everything on the bottom of the motor, and it all looked ok. So I started looking around everywhere in the engine compartment, and the passenger side valve cover gasket is soaked with oil all over the top side. The bottom side is hard to see, but it looks like it's leaking on top. Oil is dripping from somewhere onto the plastic wind tray under the front of the car on the passenger side, and dripping onto the ground from there.
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Old 04-04-2012, 09:52 AM   #5
fastnoypi
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nothing to see, i'm stock

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have you ever degreased the top of the engine before seeing the oil re-collecting? You may want to do this to double check and make sure its not the headgasket or pcv hoses weeping.
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Old 04-05-2012, 08:08 AM   #6
SHOfast
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02 impreza

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The passenger side valve cover gasket goes out before the drivers side - likely from exhaust heat. I bought my car with that one leaking and changed just that side to get it road worthy. I am at 185k miles now and the drivers side is holding up just fine.

I changed the main gasket and the two spark plug tube gaskets.
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Old 04-05-2012, 09:41 AM   #7
ManualOverAuto
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Sedona red Pearl

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Quote:
Originally Posted by SHOfast
The passenger side valve cover gasket goes out before the drivers side - likely from exhaust heat. I bought my car with that one leaking and changed just that side to get it road worthy. I am at 185k miles now and the drivers side is holding up just fine.

I changed the main gasket and the two spark plug tube gaskets.
That's why my motor is making me nervous. Both of mine went up at about the same time somehow, along with the plug seals. I know plugs boots 1,2, and 3 all had oil on them, forgot about 4 haha ( and inside tubes aswell). I feel like there's another internal leak somewhere.

Huge coincidence or underlying leak?

At first I thought it was from the recent timing belt/water pump/thermostat job but I was told on here, that valve covers don't have to come off for that.

Last edited by ManualOverAuto; 04-05-2012 at 09:47 AM.
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Old 05-04-2012, 09:04 AM   #8
Robbfc
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2013 STI
SWP

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Another question about the rocker cover gasket. I changed both of mine last weekend. The passengers side looks to be sealed; however, I'm getting smoke from the bottom of the drivers side gasket. Should i just try tightening the bottom bolts or pull it off and reset it? Thanks Rob
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