I'm assuming the engine's cranking but not firing? When you crank it, does it sound like it is trying to fire at all, as in does it sputter, spit, whatever you want to call it?
As far as how that much oil is getting in, well, it's hard to say. Oil is not, exactly, a rare thing in a motor (like coolant, which only has a few select paths into the combustion chamber).
Valve guide seals, rings, head, block, etc. Basically, the chamber's surrounded by oil. At this point, my main question for you is. "How much is the car worth to you?" Any decent mechanic, or even mechanically-inclined individual, with enough parts/supplies, tools, time (or money) can get the job done. The valve cover gasket, I would have to say, is not what I would say the cause is, it's a cheap fix, yes. I am, I'll admit, more familiar with the V8's, but I have yet to work on a car where the valve cover gasket would actually prevent oil from getting into the combustion chamber, at least in that kind of quantity. Head cracked, shot rings, maybe a REALLY bad/non-existant valve guide seal, but I don't think it'd be the valve cover gasket.
Did this happen suddenly? Has the car been blowing smoke for a while (out the exhaust)?
Keep in mind, once oil gets into the cylinder (in a large enough quantity to do what you're describing) we're talking about other damage as well (granted, not horribly expensive, but damage nonetheless). Catalytic converter, O2 sensors, wouldn't surprise me if the EGR will need cleaning, etc. Etc. Yes, you can try replacing the valve cover gasket, o2, cat, clean the egr, and run seafoam through that motor and hope it cleans 'er up, but still.
Not saying "sell it", but that this might be as good of a time as any to "get out while you're ahead". Others might say try the valve cover gasket, but I'd bet it's coming from somewhere else (and as far as the oil getting into the chamber through the ValveCoverGasket, if I'm wrong about that, correct me; not pretending like I know this engine design at all - more of an OHV guy myself - but just saying iirc it's not likely).
Wednesday, October 20th, 2010 AT 5:46 PM