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Old 03-17-2018, 09:12 PM   #1
Suthe245
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Default 02 wrx valve cover gasket will not stop leaking

Around a month ago my car started leaking oil fairly quickly. Whenever the car was running there would be continuous drops coming off the uppipe. After taking a look I determined it was the passenger side valve cover gasket so I replaced that along with the half moons and spark seals. It was completely leak free for 3 weeks and then one day the exact same leak came back.

The drops come off the uppipe but has made its way to the center of the engine along the bottom of the timing belt cover. I have determined that the leak is coming from the area where the valve cover goes into the back of the timing cover.

So far I have
-spread a thin layer permatex ultra grey on half moons and the surface around the cams.
-used no rtv at all
-Always cleaned valve cover and head to the best of my ability
-Always tightened bolts in the correct order, however I did not use a torque wrench because I couldnt get it to fit on the lower bolts.

At this point I am completely at a loss. Does anybody have suggestion because I have run out ideas.
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Old 03-18-2018, 09:38 AM   #2
zoe60
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Same thing happened to me. Buy valve cover gaskets from the dealer. The are noticeably thicker. Aftermarket ones leak. Dealer ones are more expensive but worth it.
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Old 03-18-2018, 01:59 PM   #3
fleezy
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i have failpro gaskets in my car and they don't leak. i used permatex RED on mine and spread it across the entire contact surface.
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Old 03-18-2018, 03:14 PM   #4
Suthe245
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Quote:
i have failpro gaskets in my car and they don't leak. i used permatex RED on mine and spread it across the entire contact surface.
I got all the gaskets and half moons from the dealership but ive taken it on and off so many times now that maybe its been damaged. Ive looked over the surface of it and dont see anything wrong with it im probably going to buy a new one just in case.
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Old 03-18-2018, 03:18 PM   #5
Suthe245
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Quote:
i have failpro gaskets in my car and they don't leak. i used permatex RED on mine and spread it across the entire contact surface.
I actually used permatex red the first time when it help oil for a few weeks. Then right after the leak came back I cleaned off all the rtv and used the red again. After that I bought the ultra grey hoping that would fix it...it didnt
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Old 03-19-2018, 12:56 PM   #6
fleezy
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just had a thought: valve covers won't drop onto your up-pipe, they will drop onto your manifold; are you certain it's from your valves?
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Old 03-20-2018, 01:54 AM   #7
Suthe245
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So the main drops are coming from where the exhaust header meets with the up pipe and more drops come farther down the header as well. I think it is the valve cover is because while the car is running there is a stream of oil that starts towards the front of the engine and runs along the valve cover gasket towards the read of the engine. I was thinking maybe there is a crack in the header or valve cover but I wasnt able to find any. Can you think of anything else in the area that would cause a leak like this?

I have also stuffed paper towels in the area where the valve cover extends inside the back of the timing belt cover. When I started the car with the paper towels stuffed in that groove the leak stopped because all of the oil was being soaked up into the paper towels. Sorry if that was hard to understand lol its a hard place to describe.
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Old 03-20-2018, 12:52 PM   #8
fastnoypi
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check these two areas https://goo.gl/images/3JFSQx
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Old 03-20-2018, 03:11 PM   #9
Suthe245
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I checked those areas the best I could but it is pretty hard to see with the engine in the car. I felt around with my hands and didnt feel any oil though.
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Old 03-20-2018, 04:50 PM   #10
fleezy
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do you have heat shields on the manifold? take off the timing belt cover and run the car, maybe you'll get a better view of the leak. my only thought is a) something isn't seated correctly, or b) the valve cover bolts aren't torqued all the way down.
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Old 03-20-2018, 06:20 PM   #11
Suthe245
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I took the heat shield and timing belt cover off last week which helped a little. I did notice some oil inside the timing belt cover but it didnt look like enough to cause a leak this big. Im wondering if I have another leak coming from either the oil pump, cam seals, or main seal. When I tighten the bolts I try to make them all as even as possible and tightening in the right order. Ive heard that those bolts like to snap so once it snugs up I only tighten in a little bit more.

P.S...I really appreciate all of you helping me out!
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Old 03-20-2018, 09:02 PM   #12
turbo sol
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FWIW i'm pretty sure I also have a oil leak from my VC gaskets on the passenger side.

I just haven't knuckled down and replaced it yet…
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Old 03-20-2018, 09:20 PM   #13
Fierysun
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There's a cover on the back of the engine where oil can also leak from, it's behind the flywheel/flexplate.
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Old 03-20-2018, 09:23 PM   #14
fleezy
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if oil is on the inside of the timing cover, you may have a leaking cam seal on the lower exhaust cam.
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Old 03-20-2018, 09:27 PM   #15
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The best thing to do is just pull the motor and replace all the gaskets
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Old 03-20-2018, 09:48 PM   #16
Suthe245
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Quote:
There's a cover on the back of the engine where oil can also leak from, it's behind the flywheel/flexplate.
Are you talking about the rear main seal? From what I can see the leak starts at the front of the engine and works its way towards the back.

Quote:
if oil is on the inside of the timing cover, you may have a leaking cam seal on the lower exhaust cam.
There is only a thin layer of oil inside the timing cover, not even enough for it to form drops. Your right though if it is the lower cam seal then it would leak onto almost the same place where it looks like the valve cover is leaking. I just think it seems weird that when the leak first started replacing the valve cover gasket completely stopped the leak for a few weeks and the leak I am having now looks the exact same. Of course its possible that I am just unusually unlucky and the 2 leaks are unrelated.
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Old 03-20-2018, 09:54 PM   #17
Suthe245
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Quote:
The best thing to do is just pull the motor and replace all the gaskets
With the amount of time ive wasted on this so far I probably could have by now lol. But in all honesty ive only ever had the engine out once a few years ago when I replaced it. My uncle who used to be a mechanic for 15 years helped me do that and he also had access to a lift and engine hoist. I could probably do it on my own but it would take me a while so I think im going to see what I can do with the engine in the car for another week or so.
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Old 03-20-2018, 11:46 PM   #18
fleezy
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remove as much cover as you can so you can see the bottom of the valve cover, drive it on to ramps, start the car and stick your head under it; see if you see where it's coming from.

not much else anyone can say i dont think
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Old 03-21-2018, 03:20 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suthe245 View Post
Are you talking about the rear main seal? From what I can see the leak starts at the front of the engine and works its way towards the back.
He means there is, besides the rear main, another plate off to the passgr side of the main that is RTV sealed and is known to leak with age; I think they were originally PLASTIC then FHI changed to a metal plate that lasted longer and sealed better. GL man...
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