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Valve Cover Gasket Replacement - with pics
Valve Cover Gasket Replacement - with pics
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Old 02-21-12, 01:14 PM   #1
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Default Valve Cover Gasket Replacement - with pics

Hey,

My 2005 STi started smoking badly recently, and after much research I decided it was a leaky valve cover gasket. As has become tradition, my g/f and I took a lot of pics of the process for future reference. Here's my best rendition of the operation.

First off, I disconnected the battery for safety's sake. Actually, I removed the whole thing because my girlfriend wanted to help by cleaning the engine bay while I did the valve cover gasket. She's so awesomely helpful sometimes


Here's the basic playing field. At this point, I've removed the air box and the intake. I have a typhoon intake, for the record. Also, the stainless steel line coming from the connector in the top right of the image is my solution to a cracked AVCS hard line.

There's a few things to note before starting this process. The two black lines coming off the cover vertically (in the top left corner of the image) are a MAJOR pain in the butt. Though I didn't remove these until I already had the cover removed, I suggest considering doing this FIRST so the cover is steady while you yank on the lines to remove them. Then again, you'll have less clearance, so the decision is yours.

While we're here, you can see the spark plug coil covers here, they're the white boxes with a black wire headed. They're important later, so remember how they are laid out before you start pulling them apart. As you can kinda see, the one on the left (which is towards the rear of the car) is doing double-duty as a mount for a blue line as well. Unfortunately, that mounting piece is in the way, so it's the first thing to go.


This is the first bolt I removed, allowing the blue line more slack to get out of the way.


Gone!


Both bolts gone!


This is what the bolts look like. Keep track of which bolts go where, there are three distinct bolts used to attach the valve cover.


Here's the two electrical leads removed. Pull that stuff to the side out of the way.


Next up, remove these bad boys. Since they are so long, make sure you pull them straight out. Someone else said that sometimes you gotta rotate them to get them out, but I didn't have to. Maybe that's because I only did the passenger side.


Here's the holes left behind. Your first glimpse into the motor itself!


Now for the fun part. The bolts that line the front of the cover are different from the rest. Here's what the front bolts look like.


Same bolts, better view.


All the bolts are gone, but the cover does not fall freely. Part of the reason for that is the plastic that sticks off the side of the front of the motor (where you'd generally find the timing belt) sticks out and restricts the way you can peel off the valve cover. Just be careful. You'll also notice that I put some paper towels down underneath the valve cover we are removing, as some oil started dripping out once I removed all the bolts.


Dont forget these two obnoxious fellows. Seriously, this was the most difficult and lengthy part of the process for me.


If you're diligent enough, and careful enough, eventually the cover will come away. What's left behind looks like this. I figured it best not to touch anything in there, lol. All I did was walk my fingers all along the edge of where the gasket will lie to remove some leftover liquid gasket sealant still stuck to the metal.


I got these bits from my local Subaru dealer. Props to Mike from Bird Road Subaru, btw.


Here's the money shot. You can see the home of all three gaskets to be replaced. This is dummy-proof.

::IMPORTANT::
The user manual has explicit instructions for the proper application of fujibond/hondabond and proper torque for valve cover bolts. This is very important! I picked up a tube of hondabond and applied in the specific places instructed by the manual, and a little extra where my leak happened last time.

Once I replaced the gaskets, I just reinstalled everything in reverse order, being VERY careful when setting the valve cover back into place so as to make sure not to screw up the way the gasket lays.

After 36 hours to dry the hondabond (probably overkill, but I was busy), I put in some motor oil and started up the car. No apparent leaks, and no audible drips like there was the last time I started the car. I still had smoke, but possibly just burning off some drips I missed. First short test drive went well, but now I have other things to do. So far, so good.

Edit: 4/3/2012 - images have moved due to server change. I think it's all fixed now. If images dont show, pm me.
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Last edited by maxxell; 04-03-12 at 08:41 AM.
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Old 02-21-12, 01:14 PM   #2
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Default Re: Valve Cover Gasket Replacement - with pics

If you're going to do this job, you might as well do both sides at the same time. I only did the passenger side, on the assumption that the turbo heat caused early decay. However, the driver's side was just as leaky, just not as noticeable. I wound up doing the other side a few weeks later.

It's not that different of a process, just pull the battery, disconnect the washer fluid reservoir, and undo a wiring mount for clearance (you'll see what I mean once u get past the battery & reservoir).
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Old 02-22-12, 06:21 AM   #3
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Default Re: Valve Cover Gasket Replacement - with pics

I had a guy at subaru tell me you have to remove the up pipe to do the passenger side.. didn't look like you did. Am i correct?
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Old 02-22-12, 12:01 PM   #4
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Default Re: Valve Cover Gasket Replacement - with pics

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I had a guy at subaru tell me you have to remove the up pipe to do the passenger side.. didn't look like you did. Am i correct?
You are correct. I did not remove the up-pipe.

When I called Subaru to order the gaskets, the guy in the parts department told me not to do this job myself because when they do it, they TILT THE ENTIRE CAR. But when I got to the store to pick up the gaskets and actually asked the mechanic about it, he said that was baloney.
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Old 02-22-12, 12:32 PM   #5
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Default Re: Valve Cover Gasket Replacement - with pics

Ha, its no big deal to change them. The only problem I had was putting the valve cover back on with the new gaskets. I was doing it by myself so it was hard to line everything up while the gasket kept popping out of place. Had to use a flat head screw driver to put it back in place.

And once you get everything on, put some more Fugi bond/Honda bond all around the outside of the half-mood gaskets. Mine leaked a little bit because I forgot to put some fugi bond around the outside of it. So I smeared the stuff all over it, waited a couple hours and started it up and wasn't leaking any more.

2nd person would have been good to have though.
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Old 02-23-12, 06:54 AM   #6
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Default Re: Valve Cover Gasket Replacement - with pics

I think I'm still seeing a bit of oil coming from the bottom of the valve cover gasket. With an extendo-mirror, I can see a drop of oil forming underneath the bottom - rear - most bolt on the cover. Though the amount of smoke has significantly dropped off.

Should I pull the cover and try to re-seat it? Should I use more hondabond? Is there anything wrong with applying hondabond all the way around the gasket (as opposed to only where the manual says to apply some)?
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Old 02-23-12, 06:57 AM   #7
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Default Re: Valve Cover Gasket Replacement - with pics

Nice writeup.
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Old 02-23-12, 08:25 AM   #8
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Default Re: Valve Cover Gasket Replacement - with pics

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Originally Posted by maxxell View Post
I think I'm still seeing a bit of oil coming from the bottom of the valve cover gasket. With an extendo-mirror, I can see a drop of oil forming underneath the bottom - rear - most bolt on the cover. Though the amount of smoke has significantly dropped off.

Should I pull the cover and try to re-seat it? Should I use more hondabond? Is there anything wrong with applying hondabond all the way around the gasket (as opposed to only where the manual says to apply some)?
Its probably not seated right, it happened to me a bunch of times because their was no one helping me. Its got to be perfectly wedged in its slot. Might look like it is from the outside but if its leaking then it isn't. Would've been awesome to have had someone holding the valve cover at the top while I slowly aligned everything but no...

What about your half-mood gaskets, they good?
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Old 02-23-12, 08:32 AM   #9
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Default Re: Valve Cover Gasket Replacement - with pics

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What about your half-mood gaskets, they good?
Those are the ones surrounding the spark plug assembly, right? I see no oil forming near those at all, nor are there any oily drip marks running down the front of the cover itself. So I think those seals are solid.

I went for another, longer drive today, and there was no visible smoke at all. By the end of the drive, I couldn't even smell smoke. Yet, when I got back to my garage I peeked under the gasket with an extendo-mirror and I again see little bit of oil droplet forming at the bottom-rear-most bolt.

Should I go back in? If I do, can I put hondabond all the way around the valve cover gasket?
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Old 02-23-12, 08:42 AM   #10
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Default Re: Valve Cover Gasket Replacement - with pics

The half-moon gaskets are the D-Shaped ones on the back of the valve cover.

I would take it off again, I did it so many times that the time it took to do it the first time was cut in half for all the other times...hahaha

I guess you wiped it clean and after awhile checked it again and their was oil there? Leave your skid plate off until it stops leaking, you want the oil to hit the floor so you can easily tell its leaking, mirror is good for where its specifically coming from. I think the driver side will still hit the floor if the skid plate is on, but I just left it off for ease of access if I had to get back under there, ones less thing to do.
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