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Stroked and Blown
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Discussion Starter #1
Hey gang

Are the valve covers from all the 89-97 3.8 n/a the same? A while ago, I was at a junkyard and decided to pull some valve covers. I have a 1993 Cougar 3.8 passenger side valve cover and a 90-91 Tbird 3.8 driver side valve cover. I would like to clean these up, paint them blue and replace them when I do my swap. I think it would help "decorate" the engine bay a bit. Anyways, will these valve covers fit onto a 1996 3.8? (The heads will be from a 98 3.8) Are the bolts on the valve covers all located on the same spots in the different year 3.8's or are they different.

Also, what is the best type of "spark plug wire support thingy" I noticed on some custom cars, there are these chrome things that somehow connect to the valve covers, which keep the plug wires off of the valve covers themselves, so the heat doesn't burn through them. Which are the best ones for our cars?

Thanks

I may clean those valve covers up tomorrow and paint them but if they won't work, I'm not going to waste time.
 

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Administrator
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Shouldn't be a problem.

Joe
 

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Stroked and Blown
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Discussion Starter #3
Okay, i was able to remove all the old paint from one of the valve covers with a power/pressure washer. For some reason though, I can't get the paint off of the other valve cover using the same pressure level.

Anybody know what is the best way to get all of this old paint off?
 

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Moderator, Iowa Chapter Director, Uber Luber, TCCo
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they are different. 94+ valve covers use a push-in beaded gasket, and the oldre ones use a gasket about 1/2" wide that has alignment tabs to line it up with the head. If you install the older gaskets on the newer heads they will tear. I ran in to this with my PC'd covers. You can use the newer covers on older heads, but not the other way around. At least, not with the rubber gaskets. RTV might work fine.
-Thomas
 

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Stroked and Blown
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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Thomas

I'm confused here. I'm using the 96 3.8 Fel-Pro Gasket set. The heads are from a 98 3.8. The valve covers are from a 93 3.8 and a 90 3.8. Will this work?


Thanks
 

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i would use rtv. oh and to get the paint off try some wheel acid etch, let it set up for a bit, or you could try air craft paint stripper remover.
 

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Stroked and Blown
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Discussion Starter #7
i would use rtv. oh and to get the paint off try some wheel acid etch, let it set up for a bit, or you could try air craft paint stripper remover.


I got all the old paint off, and I have already painted them blue. Now I'm trying to figure out if these valve covers will work on my car.
 

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i wouldn't see y not as long as there not off a split port motor. but i'm not to sure, it been a long time since i had a 3.8 thunderbird. if you dont figure it out tonight. i'm going to my dads shop tommorrow and we have a couple 3.8's up there and i'll do some cross matching.
 

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Stroked and Blown
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2,395 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
i wouldn't see y not as long as there not off a split port motor. but i'm not to sure, it been a long time since i had a 3.8 thunderbird. if you dont figure it out tonight. i'm going to my dads shop tommorrow and we have a couple 3.8's up there and i'll do some cross matching.


Okay thanks. i will be at work today so I won't have the time to research it.
 

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Moderator, Iowa Chapter Director, Uber Luber, TCCo
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the 94+ gaskets WILL NOT work on the older covers. You would have to use the older style gaskets. And just as soon as you tighten them down the new head design will rip them apart.
 

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Stroked and Blown
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Discussion Starter #11
the 94+ gaskets WILL NOT work on the older covers. You would have to use the older style gaskets. And just as soon as you tighten them down the new head design will rip them apart.


Okay, but my 96 Gaskets and valve covers will work on 98 heads, right?
 

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I have a set of '96 valve covers coming that I'm puting on a '92. I take it from reading this that I need to ask for a 94 gasket set.

I will be having the '96 valve covers powder coated to put on my '92 Cougar when I do the head gaskets.
 

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Moderator, Iowa Chapter Director, Uber Luber, TCCo
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Yes 94+ gaskets will work, but you would really be better off finding valve covers for 89-93 3.8. They seal much better with the same year heads.
-Thomas
 

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I'm confused. I didn't think I could use the older style gasket on the newer valve covers form what I read above.

Is it the heads that are different and not the covers?
 

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sorry typo, its fixed now. I meant you'd be better off finding 89-93 covers.
-Thomas
 

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They were free so I'm not out any money. That's what I get for assuming that they were the same from 89-97.
 

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Stroked and Blown
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Discussion Starter #17
I will be having the '96 valve covers powder coated to put on my '92 Cougar when I do the head gaskets.

This is what I should have done...had my valve covers powdercoated. Instead I stripped off the old paint, and spray painted them blue. It doesn't look bad, but it certainly doesn't look professional either.
 

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The bolts are different also so make sure you get the bolts for the covers. I lost a bolt for my 96' when I was adjusting my rockers and one from a 93' parts engine I had didn't work with my 96' covers.
 
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