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Valve Cover Gaskets Leaking after multiple replacements


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Guys, I am really frustrated with my car. I am so fed up with this VCG issue that I am ready to sell the the car. Everything about the car is in great working shape and I would love to keep it as a daily driver but I am ready to smash it with a sledge.

its an 01 with the 2.5. I have changed the VCG's four times in the last 2 years. They continue to leak oil on the headers and if I drive the car more than an hour it smokes so bad that it looks like a camp fire is burning under the hood. The car leaks about a quart of oil every 400 miles. I have done the VCG's by the book the last two times. I used new gaskets I bought off ebay, put RTV in the places the manual says to and torqued the bolts to spec. I even tried a different RTV the last time and swtiched from red to black. 

What could I be doing wrong? Is this something a dealer should be able to figure out? I cant imagine it is common for the covers to warp, is it? 

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Even with a bad VCG, it shouldn't leak that much. Check the PCV valve. If it's blocked, the crankcase may be pressurised, forcing oil out past the VCGs. And are you sure it's leaking out past the VCG? There are other common places for leaks, especially the oil pressure sensor.

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I've had two $600 oil leaks with my 02 626,I read it's a common problem with this car. Unfortunately those haven't been the only issues and money lost.  Say Nick, I've left a message for you,if you could read it and let me know of any thoughts, would be grand,thanks. Aloise.

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On 10/19/2017 at 8:36 PM, NickR said:

Even with a bad VCG, it shouldn't leak that much. Check the PCV valve. If it's blocked, the crankcase may be pressurised, forcing oil out past the VCGs. And are you sure it's leaking out past the VCG? There are other common places for leaks, especially the oil pressure sensor.

The crank seal is not leaking and all 4 cam shaft access plugs are tight and don't appear to be leaking. What else does that leave? I can visibly see the oil running out from around the VCG's but I agree that it does not look like enough to be the only source of oil leak.

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The oil pressure sensor often leaks, but only when the engine is running, so you might not see it. Look at the front of the engine, about halfway between the oil filter and the alternator. It looks a bit like a spark plug, with one wire coming out of a spade connector.

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The new valve has made no difference. It is now leaking more than a quart every 200 miles. I am throwing in the towel and getting rid of the car. I've been fighting this problem for two years and with what I have spent on oil I could have put towards a used civic or camry.

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  • 1 month later...

I feel bad for making that previous reply. I am making one more attempt to fix the VCG leak. I am replacing the alternator tonight because it finally died from being soaked in leaking engine oil.

I just ordered OEM VCG gaskets from mazda and am taking the car to a friend's garage in 2 weeks so that he can supervise me working. He was a BMW tech for many years. The only thing different about this job from the last few gasket replacements I did will be that I am using OEM gaskets instead of aftermarket and using a new torque wrench for the bolts just in case the other one I used was off. To refresh my memory, torque is 45-70 in/lbs? Also, I can not find where I read the tightening sequence for the bolts. Anyone know where I can find it?

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Thanks.

 

 

I broke the oil pressure sensor so I will have to wait to drop the radiator back in till tomorrow. With whe splash guard off its easy to see the oil leaking from the VCG's. Its actually leaking so much oil that its keeping part of the block clean. 

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Just on the off-chance, check that there is no leak from the oil cooler O-ring (just above the oil filter), while you have the radiator removed.

But I'm still surprised that so much oil would leak from the valve cover gaskets, and still have my suspicions about the oil pressure sensor, so it's good you are replacing that too.

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Im not saying for SURE its the gaskets, but I can see a fresh sheet of oil covering the motor directly beneath the gaskets. Its also all around the top of the timing belt cover. Hell, in this pic you can see where its even coming up around the VCG bolts and puddling on the cover. There was no oil there before I went on a 25 minute drive.

Keep in mind these are ebay gaskets which people on here vouched for in past threads. I'm definitely not saying its for sure the gaskets, but I did everything per instruction of the manual. I will know next saturday after I do it all over again with OEM gaskets.

 

 

 

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Weird. One final thought: the bolts that hold the valve cover down have rubber grommets on them. Those aren't missing or badly damaged are they? Because they can leak too. Maybe put a drop of RTV around each one.

Hoping all goes well with it this time!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Im almost mid way through the bew gasket job. Now that the manifold is off I took some pics of the firewall side of the head and confirmed that my burning oil/smoke issue is coming from the VCG gaskets. You can see where it has been dripping right onto the manifold. 

This time I am going to follow the manual recommendation and use rtv on the entire surface of the VCG gaskets, as well as the grommets.

 

 

 

 

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Bad news for me as I have been wrestling with a bolt broke off in the head. I have drilled it all the way through as big as I dare and can not get it to budge with vice grips, extractors and a torch. I'm not sure what to do about it other than keep drilling and helicoil it. 

 

 

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Bolt is out and I was able to get a new bolt to hold at 50 in/lbs after just running a tap through the hole. No helicoil needed! I will be making a 90 mile trip Friday and will know then if the OEM gaskets did the trick.

 

 

 

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To update, the OEM valve cover gaskets have not leaked a drop in 400 miles since installing them. It is safe to say the ebay gaskets I used the three previous jobs are pure junk. 

 

 

However, I do have another leak from somewhere lower on the motor I need to find. 

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My theory is that the ebay gaskets are made of a different rubber than oem,  which shrinks after a short time of being exposed to heat. Even after only a few months of being on the car, when I removed the valve cover bolts I found two rows of bolts to be at less than 20 in/lbs. I know my torque on the bolts was to spec when I installed them using a calibrated wrench. 

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