Replaced my valve cover gasket today so I figured I'd do a write up on it since I don't remember seeing one.
Pretty simple procedure, first pop the hoses out of the holders on the passenger side of the valve cover. Then unhook the throttle cables
and take the throttle bracket off by removing the two bolts holding it in...pull it out of the way and zip tie it to something.
Next, remove the two breather hoses from the crank case vent valve and the plastic breather on top of the valve cover
Next, remove all 15 bolts holding the valve cover in place. Before removing make note of what bolts are where, some of them are actual bolts and some are studs.
14 of the bolts/studs are easy to remove, the last one is at the back side of the valve cover near the firewall and is a bit tougher, it'll require an extension and flex socket (I believe that's what they're called).
Now it's time to remove the valve cover. Mine was somewhat tricky to remove, I had to hit it lightly with a rubber mallet to break it free, then once I did that it didn't seem to want to lift up. The front portion of it tends to get stuck on the upper thermostat housing hose
To avoid this simply squeeze the hose clamp and move it up out of the way....or you can disconnect the hose altogether.
Now the cover is off...make sure you remove the old gasket and any remnants of it and clean the area very well before installing the new gasket
Remove the grommets from the holes in the valve cover, but make sure you keep the metal inserts that are in them because the inserts don't come with your new gasket!
Clean the surface of the valve cover itself as well so that it's free of debris and is smooth
Now that everything is clean, it's time to install your new gasket
Install the gasket, place the valve cover on top and put the bolts back in.
Make sure you secure the bolts from the inside out in a criss cross type pattern...and the next part is very important. DON'T OVERTIGHTEN. The torque specs are very small...only about 7ft lbs of torque. Overtightening can cause warping of the gasket and leaks.
Once you've properly torqued the bolts, just put all the hoses and cables back the way you took them off, top the oil off if you lost any (which you shouldn't have) and you're good to go!
Did you use silicone to seal the gasket? I've heard some say use silicone, others say not to. Also, do you think you could have done it without unhooking the throttle cables? How difficult was it to unhook them, mine look kind of delicate, plastic and all. How long did it take you? Good pics!!
2000 Sport 4X4 4.0 inline six, AW-4 Automatic, stock
Original Owner 297,000 miles
No, after some research I've found that most advise against using silicone or RTV. And quite honestly if you get a quality gasket like the Fel-Pro one, there's no need for the silicone. Yeah, I think it can be done without unhooking the throttle cables, but it made it a ton easier to get the valve cover off without them in the way. It's not difficult at all to unhook them, pull the throttle lever back to give them slack and they literally just pop off. One of them just pulls off, the other two you have to push forward to disconnect them...you'll see what I mean when you look at them.
Well, it took me a bit longer because I was taking pictures...and quite honestly it took me a little bit to realize that the valve cover was getting hung up on the collant hose clamp. So a few hours I suppose...I'm sure an expert could do it alot quicker!
Nice writeup, I was just about to tackle this task on my cherokee tomorrow, as mines is leaking oil from the valve cover right now. Also going to repaint the cover as the paint is nasty all nasty on it.
That's funny you posted this. I just did mine yesterday. I did not have the grommets in my cover though. Might be a year specific thing. My old gasket was shot. I had autozone order the rubber felpro gasket with the metal inserts rather than the cork one they had in stock. Went smoothly.
And to one of the other posters, I did not unhook my throtle cables. I was able to finangle the cover out from under them, just took a an extra minute to get it off.
I was surprised how loose some of the bolts were. I was able to loosen some with just my hand.
maybe thats why it was leaking in the first place lol , nice write-up samger im sure itll help alot of people, after you do it a few times you can get the job down to about 10-15 minutes if you have an electric impact gun (3/8 TO lOOSEN ONLY!!) you might be even quicker, and yes i as well as alot of other people advise agaisnt any type of RTV or Silicone/liquid gasket maker, the way i look at it if they make a gasket for it USE IT!
Since everybody is on this topic I have a quick question lol. My question is . Well first of all my valve cover gasket is beyond bad I was planning on getting a new gasket but I have a bolt broke off on the main back on the left side . I was just wondering would it leak there when I get the new gasket or what are my options to keep it from leaking once I get the new gasket ..Thanks Good write-up also
Well I tried to replace my valve cover gasket Saturday. Got the rubber Fel-Pro one. Couldn't get those throttle cables off but was able to get the valve cover off. Cleaned the surfaces as much as possible with brake cleaner. Put the gasket on, then put the valve cover back on.
I had 3 failures:
1.) I didn't write down which of the 15 bolts/studs that came out went where.... i.e some of these are bolts and some are like studs with a nut half way down it. If someone can look at their 4.0 cherokee and let me know, I would appreciate it. I think I have it in the ballpark now.
2.) I broke off the rear CCV thing trying to remove it. I have a new one ordered, I hope I can get it on without taking the valve cover off again.
3.) I still need to get or borrow a torque wrench for the 5 ft-lbs. This was a fairly prolonged procedure I want to make sure it works right.
Thanks for any response on the bolt/stud positions.
I used a wobbly extension and socket joint attachment for the rear bolt. You don't need to have exact torque on these, since it will change anyways as the gasket becomes compacted, just get the bolts snugged up good, but don't crank on them.
My valve cover did not have the rubber/metal inserts to worry about.
Biggest thing is to tighten them evenly and a little at a time until they are all tight. Then a week later go through and re-tighten them all again.
And the valve cover is a royal PITA to get off, and even worse to get back on. Mine kept catching on the rockers. Ended up using a little palm power to smack it into submission.
1995 XJ Cherokee Sport
4.5" Homebrew Lift, 4.0L HO I-6, AX-15, NP231, D30(Open)/C8.25(Locked)
33x12.5 Mickey Thompson Baja MTZ Tires, 283,000 mi and runnin' strong