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How Hard To Replace A Valve Cover Gasket

This is a discussion on How Hard To Replace A Valve Cover Gasket within the External Engine forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; The Passenger Side valve cover is leaking on our 2000 Firebird, 3.8 V-6. Not bad, but it is leaking. Tightened ...

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    The Passenger Side valve cover is leaking on our 2000 Firebird, 3.8 V-6. Not bad, but it is leaking. Tightened it slightly, but that didn't stop it. There is a 'Big Bracket' at the rear of the valve cover itself, and you can't get to that valve cover bolt (Lower Rear). What is the bracket, and how do we remove it to get to the bolt?

    We have our 4 post car lift, and I work on our race cars all the time, so I'm ready for almost anything, but ???

    Any info greatly appreciated.

    MAXX



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    I just replaced our LS1 valve cover gaskets... but am not sure about the V-6. I gave Smittro a shout for you. He's our resident V-6 guru and will post up an answer if he is on-line.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pajeff02 View Post
    I just replaced our LS1 valve cover gaskets... but am not sure about the V-6. I gave Smittro a shout for you. He's our resident V-6 guru and will post up an answer if he is on-line.
    Hey, thanks for the info. Really appreciate it.

    MAXX



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    ???

    If it's this one it's the engine hoist bracket from the factory... 2-3 bolts 14-15mm ratcheting box wrench..
    Last edited by Smittro; 06-02-2010 at 10:50 AM.
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    I removed all my posts except the ones pertaining to the hoist bracket.. I misunderstood the (?) and gave the wrong directions.. my bad.. It's not the harness bracket, but the hoist bracket you want..
    Last edited by Smittro; 06-02-2010 at 10:35 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smittro View Post
    I removed all my posts except the ones pertaining to the hoist bracket.. I misunderstood the (?) and gave the wrong directions.. my bad.. It's not the harness bracket, but the hoist bracket you want..
    Guess they have to leave it on the motor, otherwise, it would be difficult to pull it???

    So, when I get this bracket off, and pull the Passenger Side Valve Cover, what is your recommendation on the valve cover replacement brand???

    Would hate to do all of this, and it still leaked.

    Note that the Drivers Side Valve Cover doesn't leak, and with less than 40,000 miles since the previous owner (Original Owner) had the motor rebuilt, this is not what we like to do, but will do it, as we wouldn't sell it this way.

    Thanks again, and will keep you posted.

    MAXX



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    In the case of pulling the motor,, you may or may not need it depending on how you plan to pull it.. Out the bottom no.. out the top yes..

    Standard valve cover gaskets for the L36 heads will work fine.. You can use spray on("gasket-tack") or permatex brush on to help seal it as well as help hold it steady while you possition the valve cover... The gasket is the rubber loop style and can sometimes be a pain this is where the sticky stuff comes in.. You maybe able to find another style but the loop style is (all I know of off hand) the ones I use..
    Last edited by Smittro; 06-02-2010 at 12:25 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smittro View Post
    In the case of pulling the motor,, you may or may not need it depending on how you plan to pull it.. Out the bottom no.. out the top yes..

    Standard valve cover gaskets for the L36 heads will work fine.. You can use spray on("gasket-tack") or permatex brush on to help seal it as well as help hold it steady while you possition the valve cover... The gasket is the rubber loop style and can sometimes be a pain this is where the sticky stuff comes in.. You maybe able to find another style but the loop style is (all I know of off hand) the ones I use..
    Finally spent the time pulling the bracket, and that's one tough cookie/mess. Pulled the exhaust loose from the headers, and it came down easy, as we cut out the Cat after we purchased the car, as it was plugged (Added this section using SS exhaust band clamps).

    Took 2++++ hours to get my hands in there to slowly loosen the bolts, but that part is done. Trans fluid dripped all over me during this, but that's what working on a car is all about, isn't it? Glad we have the 4 post car lift, otherwise, I might still be under the car.

    It took 5+/- minutes to pull the valve cover bolts, and the valve cover practically 'Fell Off'!!!

    I'll permatex the gasket (Rubber Loop Style) to the valve cover, let it sit overnight, and then permatex the other side of the gasket, and install it, hopefully forever!!!

    Thanks for all the help/info, as it's great to see someone ready to help out on problems like this.

    MAXX


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    Quote Originally Posted by MAXX2 View Post
    Finally spent the time pulling the bracket, and that's one tough cookie/mess. Pulled the exhaust loose from the headers, and it came down easy, as we cut out the Cat after we purchased the car, as it was plugged (Added this section using SS exhaust band clamps).

    Took 2++++ hours to get my hands in there to slowly loosen the bolts, but that part is done. Trans fluid dripped all over me during this, but that's what working on a car is all about, isn't it? Glad we have the 4 post car lift, otherwise, I might still be under the car.

    It took 5+/- minutes to pull the valve cover bolts, and the valve cover practically 'Fell Off'!!!

    I'll permatex the gasket (Rubber Loop Style) to the valve cover, let it sit overnight, and then permatex the other side of the gasket, and install it, hopefully forever!!!

    Thanks for all the help/info, as it's great to see someone ready to help out on problems like this.

    MAXX

    No prob.. Glad to help.. Yeah the 90* "v" angle and no cover lip on the head reared part of it's ugly face lol.. Even more so with the bracket you were working on.. The 3800-II is just a little too wide for the engines location.. The 3800 was never really intended for use in f-body. It was more of a touring car powerplant by the time the series-I-II-III arived.. But GM had given it's oun 60* v6 a bad name.. @ one time you could buy a 3.1L 60*v6 with a McLaren turbo charger..... "what happened GM???"lol A 4 cam 60* v6 that the average Joe could'nt change spark plugs on without a specific technique. Also required a special tool they no longer make to set timming. Once considered so complex that to this day mechanics either never heard of one, or will not work on one.. Thanx GM! But that's another story... If you need any help let us know or you can shoot me a PM..
    Last edited by Smittro; 06-19-2010 at 06:24 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smittro View Post
    No prob.. Glad to help.. Yeah the 90* "v" angle and no cover lip on the head reared part of it's ugly face lol.. Even more so with the bracket you were working on.. The 3800-II is just a little too wide for the engines location.. The 3800 was never really intended for use in f-body. It was more of a touring car powerplant by the time the series-I-II-III arived.. But GM had given it's oun 60* v6 a bad name.. @ one time you could buy a 3.1L 60*v6 with a McLaren turbo charger..... "what happened GM???"lol A 4 cam 60* v6 that the average Joe could'nt change spark plugs on without a specific technique. Also required a special tool they no longer make to set timming. Once considered so complex that to this day mechanics either never heard of one, or will not work on one.. Thanx GM! But that's another story... If you need any help let us know or you can shoot me a PM..
    Correction I found a company that makes the tool..

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    Who designs this 'C--P'?

    Had to pop loose the spark plug attachment point below the valve cover, disconnect the battery, remove the wire to the alternator, loosen the small wire that hits the front of the valve cover, remove 2 bolts on the bracket that goes to the back of the alternator, then FINALLY, slid the valve cover forward, up, and OUT!

    Immediately saw how the oil was going right by the 'Rubbery-Snakey-Thingy' valve cover gasket. Keep in mind, this engine was rebuilt less than 40,000 miles ago, so why didn't they RTV-Silicone it??? These things leak all the time, don't they???

    Now, we have another question. My Brother-In-Law bought a '94 Camaro V-6/Auto a year or so ago. He doesn't have a car lift, but from jacking up the car and looking over everything, his 'LEAK' doesn't appear to come from the oil pan, the trans. pan, or at the rear main seal. Valve Cover Leak???

    Thanks for everything to date, sure we're not done asking questions.

    Take care, talk to you soon.

    MAXX (M2)

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    Quote Originally Posted by MAXX2 View Post
    Who designs this 'C--P'?

    Had to pop loose the spark plug attachment point below the valve cover, disconnect the battery, remove the wire to the alternator, loosen the small wire that hits the front of the valve cover, remove 2 bolts on the bracket that goes to the back of the alternator, then FINALLY, slid the valve cover forward, up, and OUT!

    Immediately saw how the oil was going right by the 'Rubbery-Snakey-Thingy' valve cover gasket. Keep in mind, this engine was rebuilt less than 40,000 miles ago, so why didn't they RTV-Silicone it??? These things leak all the time, don't they???

    Now, we have another question. My Brother-In-Law bought a '94 Camaro V-6/Auto a year or so ago. He doesn't have a car lift, but from jacking up the car and looking over everything, his 'LEAK' doesn't appear to come from the oil pan, the trans. pan, or at the rear main seal. Valve Cover Leak???

    Thanks for everything to date, sure we're not done asking questions.

    Take care, talk to you soon.

    MAXX (M2)
    Welcome to my world....lol.... Yes it's loads O' fun just getting "One" off.. Yes, they commonly leak, like right out of the box or soon after.. Rtv can cause the gasket to float sometimes, or if applied too heavily can pinch off peices that can find their way into the oil gallies.. Many folks have used it though with no trouble.. Their just a total PITA anyway ya cut it... Damn' 90* V's..

    Now on to the 94..It has the 3.4l SFI v6 it's prolly comming from the oil pump drive cap o-ring.. The oil is pressureized there so when they leak,, they leak now.. There's an updated version of the O-ring it is tan in color.. You have to ask for the updated one or you'll just get the black one and be doing it all over again..

    This is the oil pump drive location common leak area. It's where the distributor would've been on the 2.8L 60* v6.. The 3.4l is a 2.8L factory bored out with the stroke of a 3.1L 60* v6..


    I see you guys like all the easy jobs jk.
    Last edited by Smittro; 06-21-2010 at 09:13 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smittro View Post
    Welcome to my world....lol.... Yes it's loads O' fun just getting "One" off.. Yes, they commonly leak, like right out of the box or soon after.. Rtv can cause the gasket to float sometimes, or if applied too heavily can pinch off peices that can find their way into the oil gallies.. Many folks have used it though with no trouble.. Their just a total PITA anyway ya cut it... Damn' 90* V's..

    Now on to the 94..It has the 3.4l SFI v6 it's prolly comming from the oil pump drive cap o-ring.. The oil is pressureized there so when they leak,, they leak now.. There's an updated version of the O-ring it is tan in color.. You have to ask for the updated one or you'll just get the black one and be doing it all over again..

    This is the oil pump drive location common leak area. It's where the distributor would've been on the 2.8L 60* v6.. The 3.4l is a 2.8L factory bored out with the stroke of a 3.1L 60* v6..
    Click for full size

    I see you guys like all the easy jobs jk.
    This is worse that we thought!!!

    My B-I-L likes to make a car look great, mechanically, he could care less.

    It bit him 'Big Time' with his last car, a '70 Camaro. Bought it from a friend (???), 327/350. First the trans went out, and he wouldn't listen to his friend, who was a good mechanic (???), and wanted my B-I-L to pull the engine/trans, rebuild whatever needed rebuilt, and it would be good to go.

    No, ended up pulling the trans. only, nothing on the engine.

    You Guessed It. Engine blew, and this is after a $3,500 Paint Job. He and his other B-I-L had to pull the complete front end, and of course, they chipped everything. He did install a 350 GM Target Crate Motor, but again, take a guess (???). They used a 327 Balancer on the 350, and a year or so later, the balancer bolt fell off!!! They had cross threaded the balancer bolt into the crank. Fixed (???) it, and he sold it to someone. OUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I'll email your details and the picture to by B-I-L, but he won't listen, and you and I fully know what happens next, don't we!!!

    MAXX (M2)


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    Just talked to him, and he isn't going to fix this. What happens if he leaves this as is???

    MAXX(M2)

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    Quote Originally Posted by MAXX2 View Post
    Just talked to him, and he isn't going to fix this. What happens if he leaves this as is???

    MAXX(M2)
    It will get worse.. Way worse..

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    Quote Originally Posted by MAXX2 View Post
    This is worse that we thought!!!

    My B-I-L likes to make a car look great, mechanically, he could care less.

    It bit him 'Big Time' with his last car, a '70 Camaro. Bought it from a friend (???), 327/350. First the trans went out, and he wouldn't listen to his friend, who was a good mechanic (???), and wanted my B-I-L to pull the engine/trans, rebuild whatever needed rebuilt, and it would be good to go.

    No, ended up pulling the trans. only, nothing on the engine.

    You Guessed It. Engine blew, and this is after a $3,500 Paint Job. He and his other B-I-L had to pull the complete front end, and of course, they chipped everything. He did install a 350 GM Target Crate Motor, but again, take a guess (???). They used a 327 Balancer on the 350, and a year or so later, the balancer bolt fell off!!! They had cross threaded the balancer bolt into the crank. Fixed (???) it, and he sold it to someone. OUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I'll email your details and the picture to by B-I-L, but he won't listen, and you and I fully know what happens next, don't we!!!

    MAXX (M2)

    My younger brother is kinda the same.. He'd rather pay or have me fix his stuff rather than get greasy himself.. If he can't figure it out in a few minutes he'll ride his 600rr instead .. Or @ least till he talks to me about fixing his auto issues.lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smittro View Post
    It will get worse.. Way worse..
    It always does with him.

    As to progress on the Firebird, it's almost finished???

    When I pulled the valve cover up and off, the gasket stayed on the head, but of course slid down. I am just amazed that the valve cover didn't leak a quart a day, as the grove in the head is micro minimal at best.

    I did super clean the valve cover, used the RTV, and installed the gasket into the grove on the valve cover. I am very patient, so I watched very carefully to make sure the gasket didn't move up/down until it set.

    Will do a dry run tomorrow to make sure I'm ready, as I don't want to have any interference from the plug wires/wires, etc, then RTV the bottom of the gasket, and then bolt it down to the head.

    Should do the trick, and then it's up for sale.

    Have found two (2) "Roller" cars/parts cars in Las Vegas, and hopefully will get both of them in the Copart auctions. We are working a broker on these, as they are not 'No License Required' sales. The broker is refunding our $$$s for sponsorship on the final race car/highway driver we will build.

    Thanks again, sure this isn't the last question.

    MAXX (M2)


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    Quote Originally Posted by Smittro View Post
    This is the oil pump drive location common leak area. It's where the distributor would've been on the 2.8L 60* v6.. The 3.4l is a 2.8L factory bored out with the stroke of a 3.1L 60* v6..
    Click for full size
    if I remember correctly, on your favorite DOHC 3.4 V6, that oil pump drive is under the cylinder head a bit and requires head removal to replace it. How do you like those?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cutlass View Post
    if I remember correctly, on your favorite DOHC 3.4 V6, that oil pump drive is under the cylinder head a bit and requires head removal to replace it. How do you like those?
    lol The cross over water jacket and the bolt hole for the "floating" lower manifold is there @ that corner... I've heard of folks removing the keeper to get the "hat" up just enough to replace the o-ring. Some folks will also use a paper gasket in conjunction with the updated o-ring.. Pita anyway ya cut it.. TDC head bolts/gasket have to be replaced everytime one gets it wrong.. Neat huh?

    The 3.4L in the earlier 4th gens is a pita to get to aswell.. Older TDC's use metal gears on the (factory high volume) oil pump drive.. Guess what they use on the 3.4L ohv for a gear?... Plastic......
    Last edited by Smittro; 06-25-2010 at 06:17 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smittro View Post
    Correction I found a company that makes the tool..
    I'm very patient, did everything correctly, and the Valve Cover doesn't leak. Lots of test runs, so we feel comfortable that we have solved this problem.

    Thanks for all the help on this.

    Now, because so much oil was coming out of the back lower corner of the passenger side valve cover, it 'Masked' the oil leaking from the Oil Pan (?). We can see drips from the back 4-6 oil pan bolts, so this could be/must be the oil pan leaking? If it is, then the oil pan gasket is next. Nothing above the oil pan shows any signs of leaking, so are there any particular details on pulling the oil pan? Remember, we have our Bend Pak 4 post lift, so that really helps for working on the car.

    Take care, talk to you soon.

    Richard (aka MAXX) and Judy White



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