Replacing valve cover gasket on 98 SL2, where does rtv sealant go?

Tiny
DUDE77
  • MEMBER
  • 1998 SATURN SL2
  • 4 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 120 MILES
A while back I had to replace a leaking valve cover gasket on a 98 sl2. Today the gasket blew around one of the spark plugs.

When I installed the new gasket, I had cleaned all surfaces with mineral spirits and a toothbrush. I think the reason it failed was I didn't put the rtv sealant on in the right places or right way.

The instructions I've found on how to do it have been conflicting. I put a bead of rtv sealant in all grooves on valve chamber, then laid the rubber gasket on top of that, then placed the cover back on and used a torque wrench to tighten the bolts to spec.

What may have gone wrong was:

1.) You're actually only supposed to put rtv sealant around two of the corners and not in all the grooves?

2.) The sealant needs to sit for 12 hours before starting the car. I had to use the car and wasn't able to do that.

Does someone have access to a saturn manual and can let me know what the official story is on where the rtv sealant goes and does not go? In particular, is it not supposed to go around the spark plug holes?
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Sunday, July 31st, 2011 AT 12:04 AM

7 Replies

Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
Here is the official scoop on that the only place you put silicone is where the front cover meets the head on both sides of the head called the T joints I recomend permatex ultra grey silicone since the saturn silicone is harder to get. Put a nice bead on the side facing you and the one facing the fire wall. There is no need to put any around the spark plug holes if its leaking around there then you have a warped valve cover. If you use the permatex ultra frey you can just put the two beads at the T joints put the valve cover back on and drive. If you have anymore questions let me know.
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Sunday, July 31st, 2011 AT 12:14 AM
Tiny
DUDE77
  • MEMBER
Thanks for your fast reply! If you could answer two quick last questions:

1.) Could the blowout have been because of the rtv sealant around the spark plug holes?

Or, could that not have caused it and there's another problem?

2.) I've replaced the blown out spark plug but am waiting for a new gasket in the mail. How bad of an idea is it to drive the car even a few miles with the blown spark plug gasket, for instance if I need to go down the road to the parts shop?

Thanks, this site is great!
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Sunday, July 31st, 2011 AT 12:21 AM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
So the spark plug blew out the head or you just repalced the oil soaked spark plug?Make sure you dont use a platnuim spark plug in that engine they will carbon foul use stock ngk plugs work best. If the valve cover gasket is still there then you could run to the parts store your just going to be soaking the spark plug wire with oil and possibly end up ruining the wire with oil. As far as silicone causing the like unless it caused the gasket to not seat in the channel correctly etc then I wouldnt see it causing the leak. You could have a warped cam cover but I would double check the gasket first those valve covers arent cheap.
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Sunday, July 31st, 2011 AT 12:32 AM
Tiny
DUDE77
  • MEMBER
"So the spark plug blew out the head or you just repalced the oil soaked spark plug?"

When it blew, it loosened the spark plug wire from the plug but didn't blow the plug out itself. The plug was damaged and wiggles in the middle now. I drove it home and replaced the spark plug but haven't driven it anywhere else.

"You could have a warped cam cover but I would double check the gasket first those valve covers arent cheap."

Where can you buy a new valve cover? I can't find it anywhere on the web.
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Sunday, July 31st, 2011 AT 12:41 AM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
Ok the spark plug just cracked then. As far as a valve cover goes I saw a new 1999 one on ebay but that wont fit your car. They have some used ones on there reasonable a 1996-1998 will fit your car.
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Sunday, July 31st, 2011 AT 1:01 AM
Tiny
DUDE77
  • MEMBER
Thanks a lot!
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Sunday, July 31st, 2011 AT 1:08 AM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
Your welcome thats what were here for.
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Sunday, July 31st, 2011 AT 2:02 AM

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