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Stroked and Blown
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Discussion Starter #1
I opened the hood to check and see how complicated it would be to change spark plugs. (Thunderbird) I noticed there is a bunch of gunky, dried up, tar like substance all on the bottom of both valve covers (where the valve covers sit on the block) This gunky tar-like substance is especially bad on the 3 bolts, which hold the valve cover on. It seems to be worse on the passenger side than the driver side. It also appears that oil has been slightly seeping out from under the valve covers onto the block. What is this and how much am I looking at to get it fixed? My car seems to be running okay when I started it up for a few minutes and let it run. It has about 92K on the clock.

My guess is that its gaskets of some type, but hopefully I'm wrong. Any help is appreciated.

Thanks

Frank
 

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midnight toker
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well the tar like substance sounds like built up oil that has been leaking out for a while. from what I've notice messing around with cars is that, oil gets nasty like that when it's exposed and dirt gets on it with the heat from the valve covers it'll get like that. from what you describe it sounds like you have a very small valve cover leak, possibly the bolts are just a little loose. course I've seen people just drown the covers in RTV when they put them on of use it to "prevent" the gasket from leaking. with your mileage i doubt it but you never know.

do you notice any smoke or anything like that? sometimes if it's leaking it'll leak more at a higher rpm... when my valve covers were leaking they did it much worse at 2000 which made it easier to confirm.. hope this helps shomeone with more experiance should chime in
 

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Stroked and Blown
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Discussion Starter #3
I don't drive it much anymore. The last time I drove it was about a month ago. I started it up today after I noticed the dried up oil on the bolts, and I didn't see any leaks. It did smoke for the first few seconds it was running and then it stopped. I checked the oil, and it was on full.
 

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get urself a valve cover gasket set and change those puppies... not too terribly difficult, and only about 10-15 dollars, and one afternoon.
 

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Stroked and Blown
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Discussion Starter #5
sinhumane said:
get urself a valve cover gasket set and change those puppies... not too terribly difficult, and only about 10-15 dollars, and one afternoon.

What all do I have to remove from the engine to change the valve cover gaskets?
 

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Stroked and Blown
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Discussion Starter #7
FordFanatic said:
uhhhh the valve covers.:rolleyes:

No kidding What I meant were are there other things that need to be removed to get to the valve covers. Alternater, air intake, MAF sensor? Any wires, hoses, etc.
 

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I believe that you will have to remove the upper intake and any other things that will be in the way like the throttle cables and such. You could drive it down here and I could do it for you.
 

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Personally I would hate any type of oil leak, and fix it, EXCEPT on my 89 Cougar it would require a ton of work (rear main seal).

If it doesn't use/lose enough oil to make it probable that you will run it out of oil in a few hundred miles, doesn't make a mess on the ground below it, and even if a little oil burns inside the engine compartment, then I wouldn't mess with it. I don't know what your plans are for the car, I replace the entire valve covers on my 3.8, they got broken in a bunch of places somehow, and the newer gaskets I put on it are better (rubber with brass inserts so you can't overtighten them) and it hasn't leaked since. I would think the upper intake plenum, either disconnect the fuel/return line or just remove the entire fuel rail.
 

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yeah u gotta remove the upper half of the intake and it is a pita just to do a simple valve cover gasket change......... this kinda makes me miss the ol firebird tbi set-up..........
 

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don't those have re-usable gaskets? if they do you could try tightening them up first and see if the leak goes away.

oh, and if you couldnt tell i was being a smarta** in my last response.:D
 

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They may be reuseable, but if they have leaked already, the oil will have to be cleaned off of the gasket surface to get it to seal again.
 

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Stroked and Blown
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Discussion Starter #14
Is it much work involved replacing those gaskets? If I have to remove the whole upper intake, is there anything else I could install in the car? Could any other factory parts be replaced by performance parts? I'm not too concerned with that, but I do want to replace the gaskets and I will probably do so and change the spark plugs at the same time. This stuff can't be that complicated can it? I'm fed up with dishing out money to have service shops work on it. Besides, I need the knowledge.

birds4us, Thanks for that offer and I may consider it, but I want to start learning some of this stuff on my own. Just incase though, what part of Virginia are you located?
 

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Hell, the upper is nothing to take off. I just unbolted it, detached the air intake and moved the whole thing to the side with the throttle cables still attached. Then ya just take out the valve cover bolts, scrape off whatever is left behind of the old ones, put on the new and bolt it back up. :thumbsup:
 
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