[200q20v] valve cover gasket ...questions along the way

Phil Rose pjrose at frontiernet.net
Thu Aug 10 18:21:45 EDT 2000

I'm finally getting around to replacing the valve cover gasket, which I've
put off for several months.

Removing the throttle body was a snap..oops, bad choice of words: A
"cinch", yea that's it. And then five out of the six valve cover Allen
&^@$#%^! -head bolts loosened pretty easily. However the middle bolt on the
passenger side--the one just adjacent to the wastegate--was a real
son-of-a-bolt. It was extremely tight and soon threatened to strip out (the
horror!!!). Deperate, I decided that an impact wrench was the way to go.
However, to get enough clearance for the impact socket I had to remove the
steel crankcase-breather pipe, which runs snugly alongside the edge of the
cover. But removing that pipe first required removing the turbo inlet
hose....ya know how these things go. So, that done and with the 5 mm allen
socket firmly planted, I held my breath, took hammer in hand and started
some love-taps on the impact tool. After a few not-so-tentative swipes, the
bolt started to move. Hurrah!!!!!

Releasing the lower retainer of the timing-belt cover has been the most
tedious thing so far. But once the timing cover was free, I could pull off
the valve cover and peer at the cam gear for the first time. Everything
shiny and oily. Some wear marks were visible on certain cam lobes, but
nothing unusual (as if _I_ would know the difference.)

Some questions come to mind:

(1) How loose is "too loose" for the timing belt? I can reach in a finger
and very easily deflect the belt (near the top) by almost 1/2". I expected
the tension to be much greater than that. It was installed at dealer about
33K miles ago.

(2) Is there a safe,  painless, non-abrasive aluminum cleaner that will
brighten up the valve cover? I've sprayed the outside of it pretty
thoroughly with brake cleaner and scrubbed with a cloth. The excess oil and
dirt are gone, but the cover still has a somewhat dingy look, which I
suppose is probably unavoidable--given the oxidizing tendency of aluminum
and the roughness of that casting.

(3) Would applying anti-seize compound to the valve cover bolts be a
bad/good idea?

Phil Rose				Rochester, NY
'91 200q				mailto:pjrose at frontiernet.net

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