Before I bought this CJ, the PO was up front about the fact that the valve cover leaked. He even had been using this industrial cotton gauze to soak up the leaked oil near the cover (he works at a petroleum plant). I kept an eye on the situation and it didn't look like a fast leak, but it was something I wanted to fix. I bought the replacement gasket and RTV a while back and finally got around to doing the job.
Here we see 3 pics some of the oil pooling on the right side of the engine (near the manifolds):
(I took these shots after pulling the screws out)
Here's the gasket which have been carefully trying to keep flat and straight while it's been gathering dust in the garage:
Wednesday night I pulled the valve cover. There were THREE different kinds of screws holding it on. Also, as a bonus, the PO had used hand-cut washers.
Not only were there 3 different kinds of screws, each of the three kinds used a different head. One was hex, one was allen metric, and one was allen standard. Greaaaaat. Two were 5/16" and one was 1/4".
I made a diagram of the screw layout so I'd know what was supposed to go where:
Before I could actually get the cover off, I had to pull a few connections. By the time I went to reinstall the cover, I had pulled: bypass hose, fuel line, vaccum lines, heater hose, choke wire, and probably more. Luckily I have enough time in the engine bay that I should be able to reconnect it all without any problems.
Here's a shot of the 258 without the valve cover:
I noticed something odd on the rocker arms. At first I thought it was grease, but when I went to wipe it off, I learned it was cured RTV. It must have gotten on there when the PO reinstalled the valve cover. You can see the RTV in red in this photo:
After I pulled the cover, I also learned that the PO didn't use a gasket. He just used RTV. No wonder it was leaking.
BUT, I also learned somthing else: The screws holding on the cover were not tight. Half of them were finger tight. The rest of them were faintly wrench tight. doh! I should have just tried tightening them first before going to the trouble to re-do the whole thing.
I spent the rest of Wednesday evening cleaning the valve cover, using a razor blade to scrape off the RTV. Here's the cleaned final product:
Tonight, I spent an hour cleaning the mating surface of the head. That was a pain, but that was the easy part.
Before breaking out the RTV, I decided to test-fit the screws. Upon doing this, I learned that they would not seat very far. Bingo! That's why the PO used the cut up washers.
Determined not to make shortcuts and mistakes, I drove to ORiley's to get shorter screws. No luck. Then I drove to Lowe's.. Bingo! They had all of the screws in a length that was 1/4" shorter than what the PO used. I bought what I needed and headed back home.
Here's the cover with one layer of RTV and the gasket:
I then applied another layer of RTV and seated the gasket on the head. That was a pain, but I finally got it on straight.
The first thing I realized was that the gasket tended to creep a bit, and i had to work to get the bolt holes lined up correctly. I then realized somthing else: I didn't need the shorter screws because the RTV and the gasket rendered my new screws too short! Da*n!
So I cleaned up the old screws and installed those. It took some work to get the gasket holes lined up. For the front and back screws, I ended up using a 6 x 1/4" bolt with the same sized threads. This made it far easier to get the bolt in, past the gasket. Once I got that in, I pulled it out and installed the correct screws. By the time this was all over I was cursing and had RTV in small spots all over my hands and shirt. If you have the option, please install your valve cover BEFORE you put the engine in the Jeep
By this time I needed some liquid refreshment, so I pulled a cherry-wheat homebrew out of the fridge:
After getting the screws in place, I backed out all the screws a bit and then finger tightened them. An hour later, after cleaning the garage, I turned them 1/4 turn as the RTV directions reccomended.
Tomorrow night I will torque them to 28 inch pounds per the FSM.
What did I learn? Don't fall into the trap that this is a quick repair. By the time you clean the surfaces you're at least an hour into it. Getting the cover on with the gasket lined up correctly is a pain. The rear screw (near the firewall) is a complete pain to get to. You can't really see it, and if you have an 80's CJ with all of the da*n wiring, it makes it difficult to get a wrench over the screw.