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Old 11-25-2012, 11:13 PM   #1
brett192
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Default 2002 WRX leaking oil from passenger side head/valve cover

I have a 2002 WRX with 127k kms (79k miles) which started leaking oil onto the lower up pipe near the header flange around 4 weeks ago. I searched on heres and came to the conclusion that my valve cover gasket had started leaking. I replace the gasket using Permatex Ultra Black sealant. Two weeks later it was still smoking oil on the up pipe. I take the valve cover off again yesterday, scrape off all the sealant and clean up the sealing surfaces. I read the sealant tube and it says to assemble hand tight, wait an hour, torque bolts, then takes 24 hours to cure.

I redo everything with a little more sealant, follow the directions exactly, wait 28 hours and go for a drive to burn off the residual oil... now it is leaking way worse than before. Pretty embarassing with a cloud of smoke following you around.

The whole passenger side undercarriage is coated in oil.. it's dripping off the a-arm, sway bar, steering boot.. it's everywhere. How??

I just read another how-to thread on here and noticed a post saying to use hondabond rather than permatex or else you'll have to redo the job. Is this really that simple or is there something more to this? Thanks a lot
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Old 11-25-2012, 11:40 PM   #2
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You need to use new gaskets and replace the bolt washers.
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Old 11-26-2012, 12:21 AM   #3
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It doesn't actually call for us to use any type of gasket maker on the valve cover gaskets in the factory service manual except for the semi circle cam plugs and around the cam caps.

That being said I always use the grey RTV, which pretty much is equivalent to Honda bond. Make sure you tighten down in a X pattern so the gasket gets compressed evenly.

I have reused my VC gaskets twice already with low miles between each time I pulled them off, they are cheap enough though that if it is leaking again you might as well just get new ones.

I'd wipe down the area and let her run a while without driving around, never know it might be leaking from somewhere else and just getting spread/sprayed around.
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Old 11-26-2012, 01:18 AM   #4
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I already replaced the spark plug and bolt gaskets. This is the second new gasket I have installed so I am thinking that it might be leaking from somewhere else, except for how it is worse now than before.
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Old 11-26-2012, 09:23 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brett192 View Post
I just read another how-to thread on here and noticed a post saying to use hondabond rather than permatex or else you'll have to redo the job. Is this really that simple or is there something more to this? Thanks a lot

It probably was my post you had read regarding that, and that was my personal experience with it. I redid it NUMEROUS times with permatex, every time it leaked. As the FSM calls for very little sealer and a very thin layer, I think the permatex was probably worse than nothing at all! The first time I redid it with HondaBond HT, it sealed perfectly.
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Old 11-26-2012, 01:19 PM   #6
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Perfect, just the reply I wanted to hear.. I will go to the Honda dealership after school and buy a tube of hondabond. Thanks a ton!
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Old 11-26-2012, 03:35 PM   #7
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Forgot to ask, did you just apply the hondabond, assemble, then drive? Or do you need to let it set up a bit, then assemble and let cure overnight? Thanks again
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Old 11-26-2012, 03:52 PM   #8
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Sure its not leaking at the air oil seperator at the top of the valve cover?
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Old 11-26-2012, 04:56 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by brett192 View Post
Forgot to ask, did you just apply the hondabond, assemble, then drive? Or do you need to let it set up a bit, then assemble and let cure overnight? Thanks again
24 hour cure time before I even looked at the car.
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Old 11-27-2012, 12:22 AM   #10
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Ok that's what I was thinking to be safe. Do you let it set for a while finger tight before torquing the bolts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BoboTheMonkey View Post
Sure its not leaking at the air oil seperator at the top of the valve cover?
The black plastic piece bolted to the cover? It isn't leaking from there.. infact the vent hose wasn't even hooked up when I initially changed this gasket last month.

I went to the honda dealership after school and they were all out, and refused to sell me a partial tube.. So I phoned the other 3 honda dealerships (2 car lots and 1 powersport dealer) within an hour drive and NONE of them have any in stock for sale. I have to wait until Thursday at the earliest before it comes in from Calgary..

I get home and take my valve cover off and plainly see that the gasket was hung up on one of the lower cam retainers.. That's why it was leaking so badly Still doesn't explain why it was leaking before I redid it on Saturday


Sadly the gasket is torn in 2 places from when I tightened the cover on it I suppose. I will have to get a new gasket tomorrow..

To top it all off I dropped my iPhone and shattered the screen

Last edited by brett192; 11-27-2012 at 12:30 AM.
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Old 11-27-2012, 10:31 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brett192 View Post
I went to the honda dealership after school and they were all out, and refused to sell me a partial tube.. So I phoned the other 3 honda dealerships (2 car lots and 1 powersport dealer) within an hour drive and NONE of them have any in stock for sale. I have to wait until Thursday at the earliest before it comes in from Calgary..
Non-automotive honda dealerships are more likely to have it and are usually more friendly also! (ie, honda motorcycle/powersports/lawn equipment dealers)
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Old 11-27-2012, 11:35 AM   #12
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Fugibond.
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Old 11-27-2012, 04:28 PM   #13
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I phoned the subaru dealership this morning and they don't have a gasket in stock so they had to order one, should be here on Thursday, same day the hondabond should arrive. Subaru dealership wants over $40 for a tube of fujibond, the honda equivalent is 'only' $23. Typical stealerships.
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Old 11-27-2012, 04:34 PM   #14
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I would double check the oil drain line on your turbo.
It is only made out of rubber with small, weak clamps. Over time the heat cycling of the turbo will cause the drain line to harden and crack, I wouldn't be surprised if that is the culprit of your oil leak.

Take your up-pipe out and look around your turbo oil drain, I'd be surprised to hear that there isn't any grime or buildup around it.
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Old 11-27-2012, 05:05 PM   #15
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If that doesn't fix it, it could be your cam seals...
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Old 11-27-2012, 05:38 PM   #16
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Did you run your fingers along the lines of which the gasket sits for any dried up sealant? Not doing this will damage your new gasket.
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Old 11-27-2012, 09:33 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhyHelloOfficer View Post
I would double check the oil drain line on your turbo.
It is only made out of rubber with small, weak clamps. Over time the heat cycling of the turbo will cause the drain line to harden and crack, I wouldn't be surprised if that is the culprit of your oil leak.

Take your up-pipe out and look around your turbo oil drain, I'd be surprised to hear that there isn't any grime or buildup around it.
I will be taking my stock catted up pipe out and installing a catless up pipe in the next little while, so I can check the line then.

I did scrape all of the old sealant off the sealing surfaces, but that doesn't do much good when the gasket gets hung up on a bolt and isn't even close to sealing properly..

The Subaru dealership doesn't have any gaskets in stock so I have to wait until Thursday, which works out because that's when my Hondabond is supposed to arrive. Should have the car back on the road on Saturday.
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Old 11-27-2012, 10:18 PM   #18
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I just crawled under the car and tried to locate the oil drain line for the turbo. Is it about 4 inches long and connects to the passenger side head? If this is it, mine is not leaking.

There is no oil residue around my cam seals, I believe it was initially leaking from the bottom rear corner of the valve cover.
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Old 11-27-2012, 10:46 PM   #19
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I use permatex grey on everything and never have any problems. I'm positive it is way cheaper than $23 a tube. Put it just on the half moons and a dab in the hard corners. If the gasket doesn't slip you definitely won't have a leak.
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Old 11-28-2012, 03:06 PM   #20
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Well I already have a tube of permatex ultra black @ $9, I might just say screw it and forget the hondabond. I talked to alcoolaid and he uses ultra black or grey with good results. I will be *carefully* installing a brand new gasket tomorrow evening. Crossing my fingers.
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Old 12-08-2012, 08:13 PM   #21
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So it has been a week and 1100 kms since I redid the valve cover gasket, no more leaks there.

However, I am still getting a small amount of smoke off the headers when I drive the car hard around left corners. Much less smoke than I have seen in the past, but I still lost a 1/2 qt. of oil in the past week. I jacked the car up today to look underneath, I don't see any drops of oil accumulated anywhere like before, but now there is a burnt oil stain on the header crosspipe. I remove my headers (pretty easy actually) and see 3 drops of oil on the timing belt cover.

Here's a photo of where the drops were if it matters:


Would redoing a seal in that area require the motor to be pulled or are they accessible with the motor in place? Thanks a lot
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Old 12-12-2012, 09:35 PM   #22
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Bump, still leaking
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Old 12-12-2012, 10:55 PM   #23
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You need the actual new gaskets not some RTV type solution, it's probably $20 in parts.
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Old 12-12-2012, 11:00 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brett192 View Post
So it has been a week and 1100 kms since I redid the valve cover gasket, no more leaks there.

However, I am still getting a small amount of smoke off the headers when I drive the car hard around left corners. Much less smoke than I have seen in the past, but I still lost a 1/2 qt. of oil in the past week. I jacked the car up today to look underneath, I don't see any drops of oil accumulated anywhere like before, but now there is a burnt oil stain on the header crosspipe. I remove my headers (pretty easy actually) and see 3 drops of oil on the timing belt cover.

Here's a photo of where the drops were if it matters:


Would redoing a seal in that area require the motor to be pulled or are they accessible with the motor in place? Thanks a lot
Did it look like it was coming from inside the timing belt cover? Or just like that is where it has accumulated.

If it's coming from inside it could be the crank seal, if outside it could be the oil filter seal or your oil pan seal.
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Old 12-13-2012, 01:52 AM   #25
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Watching this thread closely, I'm currently losing maybe 1 quart of oil per month. I sometimes see a small (half dollar) size spot of oil underneath the passenger side of the motor too... I'm hoping it's just the valve cover gasket
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