Engine Mechanical problem
2000 Dodge Stratus 4 cyl Front Wheel Drive Automatic 135000 miles
So a few days ago I noticed that my engine started missing, It was a small problem at first but now it is occurring at high speeds. I decided to pull out my spark plugs to see if they needed to be replaced, and to my surprise the spark plug wells were full of oil. So I have come to conclude that I need to replace my valve covers.
What is the best way to get to the valve covers? Does anyone have a walkthrough available on this? There is a lot of stuff connected over and around the cover, so I don't want to cause a bigger problem by doing this myself.
I have purchased new plugs, and a gasket set, and some RTV black for engine components.
1. Disconnect battery cable from the driver side shock tower.
2. Remove the ignition coil pack from the valve cover.
3. Remove spark plug wires. (Mark them so you know which one is which).
4. If you have the 2.4L, remove the ground strap from the valve cover.
5. Label and then disconnect hoses attached to and over the valve cover.
6. Remove all 10 valve cover bolts and lift the valve cover off. If the cover sticks to the head, place a wooden block against the cover and tap on the wood with a hammer.
7. Using a gasket scraper, remove all traces of old gasket material from the valve cover. You may want to clean the cover with some solvent (brake cleaner works great, wipe it dry afterward.)
8. Install new spark plug tube seals.
9. Install new gasket on the cover using RTV sealant to hold it in place.
10. On 2.4L engine, install the half-round seal, RTV sealant to camshaft cap corners and at the top edges of the half-round seal.
11. Place the cover on the head and install the bolts. Tighten the cover using a criss-cross pattern starting in the middle of the cover and working outwards. Torque them to 105 inch (not foot)/lbs.
12. The rest is reverse of removal.
I don't have any pictures, should you need some you may want to get a Haynes manual 25015, page 2A-4.
March, 19, 2009 AT 4:26 PM
I know this is probably a dumb amateur question, but I assume that I take the spark plugs out prior to removing the valve cover?
March, 19, 2009 AT 8:03 PM
You can, but you don't have to. You know what. If the plugs haven't been replaced for the last year, this is a good time to replace them.
March, 19, 2009 AT 9:21 PM
I pulled the plugs since they were old, there is oil on them, after inspecting my gaskets they look ok, they were not brittle. Is there any other reason for oil to be on them?
Also, with the corroded coil tower, could that be what is causing my misfires?
March, 19, 2009 AT 10:19 PM
If the plugs are full oil, the spark plug tube seals (the circular seals around the spark plug holes) are leaking and need to be replaced. Although the valve cover gasket doesn't look bad, it should be replaced once removed.
Corroded coil towers will not deliver enough current to the spark plugs and with the plugs fouled with oil, misfire will likely to happen.
March, 19, 2009 AT 10:40 PM
Alright, I've got everything cleaned and ready to reassemble. But I opened my new gasket only to discover that it is torn. : ( Back to autozone tomorrow for a new one. Hopefully I didn't screw anything up.
March, 20, 2009 AT 2:47 PM
Ok, I got everything reassembled and I let the engine run for about 30 seconds, no immediate leaks, and it seemed to idle fine. Should I wait until the RTV fully cures before I road test it?
Also, I didn't have access to a torque wrench, and autozone only has loan-a-tool tourques that measure in foot pounds, so I tightened the valve cover bolts in a star pattern just beyond hand tight, I assume I should just monitor the seal for leaks and tighten as necessary?
March, 20, 2009 AT 9:14 PM
You got it. You don't have to wait until the sealant cures to test drive. I believe you are done.