1994 Geo Prizm



October, 6, 2009 AT 9:27 PM

Engine Mechanical problem
1994 Geo Prizm 4 cyl Front Wheel Drive Automatic 128000 miles

I recently had the timing belt and water pump replaced. After coming home I checked under the hood and found out that the new valve cover gasket they installed seemed wet-oily.I was able to put my fiinger on where the new gasket is and my finger had the oily residue on it. My old gasket was ok, it as not leaking at all. It was actually sealing it.

What did they do wrong? They told me it was not leaking. A leak does not have to be flowing. It makes my finger oily when I touch it, I can see the oil on my finger.

What should I do? What can be done to really seal between the valve cover and the rest of the engine block?

I paid for a service and now I have a problem I did not have before. Timing belt looked like new after 128,000 miles. So I did not even need to pay and have it replaced. : (




7 Answers



October, 6, 2009 AT 10:04 PM

Im thinking mayby they just done a sloppy job and didnt clean the old oil off the inside of the valve cover. Try cleaning the area of all oil and drive it for awhile and recheck.
Now if there is still a leak afterwards remove the valve cover clean gasket and cover as well as possible apply a very thin layer of rtv sealant to the valve cover and place gasket on to cover and reinstall



October, 7, 2009 AT 8:32 AM

Yea, probably just a sloppy job, but you can take off the valve cover and make sure they did not overtorque it. Lay on a flat surface.

They should have used a good gasket like a FelPro perma-dry.



October, 8, 2009 AT 4:36 PM

Thanks for your replies, jeepfan, mmpriince.

I keep cleaning the gasket area (mostlly the area on the side of the exhaust manifold), especially the area with most seepage- corner of the valve cover next to the distributor. But after driving the car it becomes moist-a little wet with oil.

Today I went back to the shop and asked what they can do, if they are willing to do anything to correct the problem. The guy who worked on the car, not the owner, saaid since I brought my on parts it may be the problem.I do not think so.I bought good parts. But the gasket is made by ABI (?), A US company. It is not FelPro. But it should not matter.

Anyway, I told him I am going to buy a quality gasket, FelPro or better Ishino and some good Permatex RTV sealant. He said they do not use RTV since it is a rubber gasket, they have not used it in installing the new gasket. Is that the norm? If not, is this the reason why there is oil seepage? My old gasked did not even need to be changed, it did not leak even a ml of oil after 16 years of service.I take pride in keeping my engine clean and in good operation condition. That is why I can not live with this leak.

I read that one kind of Permatex RTV sealant is oxygen sensor safe and creates a good sealing barrier against oil, ATF at very high temperatures up to 700 degrees F and it resists engine vibration.

Shoukld I do the gasket replacement myself or have it installed at the same shop by the same people? Is this a difficult procedure? I am not a mechanic, I only do simple maintenance like oil changes, spark plug replacements etc. And that started with my distrust in some quick oil change places.

What tools do I need for this job? What should I be careful about? I would be relieved if you could suggest a step by step instruction.

I have the Haynes and Chilton manuals and also the GM's shop manuals for the car. But what I need is more practical advice. I do not have a torque wrench, I do not know how to use one, if I need one, for example.

Thank you.



October, 8, 2009 AT 10:01 PM

With a good rubber gasket theres really no need for the sealant im thinking your problem may be what the 2carpros tech. Mentioned which is they may have over torqued the valve cover he also told how to check for the warpage that may be the problem.
The repair is not difficult all thats needed is basic hand tools the thing to remember here is clean, clean, clean. Keep the area clean. You can access a online repair program on this site for very cheap I think its something like twelve bucks for a three day period and it will give detailed instructions for the repair and it will be for your exact type of vehicle



October, 9, 2009 AT 8:48 AM

PermaDry and other rubber/Viton gaskets do not need RTV. They are installed dry.

Another area of leaks on this engine is the distributor " O" ring.



October, 17, 2009 AT 1:06 PM

Thanks a lot to both of you.I replaced the gasket myself on the street on a rainy day.I had ordered FelPro and Ishino gaskets both.I did not know Fel Pro was made in Japan.I installed Ishino.

When I removed the cover I saw several pieces of old sealant in two different colors, one grey, the other black. Since the shop said they do not use sealant, it must be from factory. But it shows that the shop did not clean the mating areas at all. On 4 corners of the engine block mating surface there are 4 holes (like a thick screw hole) in total, and they were filled with oil.I cleaned them, cleaned everything with a carb cleaner sprayed rag. I cleaned the inside of the cover with it too.I could not remove the spark plug gaskets.I had given the shop new black spark plug gaskets.I see that the shop could not remove them either. Because they are orange in color, not my parts. Needless to mention the shop did not return my new parts.

I cleaned these spark plug gaskets too. Is it OK like this, not replacing them?

I used RTV sealant only on the sharp edges, very little, very lightly.I waited an hour or so before I started the car after I completed the job. So far no visible leaks, not dampness on the gasket area. Hopefully there is no leak under the cover to timing belt area. I do not want the timing belt to be soaked in oil. Is it a common occurrence? How to tell if it is leaking there?

Thanks again for your replies.



October, 18, 2009 AT 8:42 AM

The timimg belt must remain dry, oil or coolant will quickly ruin the belt.

Oil contamination would come from cam seal or front oil pump seal, generally not from valve cover, but possible.

There is a rubber inspection port in plastic timing belt cover, remove and inspect.

You can reuse the spark plug crush washers, as long as they are not cracked.

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