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How-To: Replace the Valve/Camshaft Cover (1.4L Turbo)

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How-To: Replace the Valve/Camshaft Cover (1.4L Turbo)

Overview
The valve cover of the 1.4L Turbo engine houses the PCV system. Whether due to a leak in the gasket or a failure in the PCV system, this valve cover may need to be replaced. It is covered under the 5 year, 100,000 mile warranty from GM, but you may choose to perform the service yourself under certain conditions. The valve cover was at one point redesigned due to a high rate of failure. As my dealership is a significant distance away from me, it is more cost-effective given the value of my time to order this part and install it myself. In addition, I like to replace known defective parts ahead of time as preventive maintenance.

The following image compares the primary cosmetic difference between the old design and the new one. The old design is on top, new design is on the bottom. The new design has a ramped vent.

Part Number & Cost
GM part number 25198874 (Camshaft cover with bolt and seal), Available on Amazon.com. The valve cover comes as a kit, which includes gaskets and bolts pre-assembled. You will also need some RTV silicone or engine sealer.

Required Tools
Flathead screwdriver
T-30 torx screwdriver/bit
E-10 socket and ratchet (Available on Amazon.com)
In-lb torque wrench (Available on Amazon.com)

Procedure
The procedure is in fact rather simple, but I will walk you through it step by step.

The first step will be to remove the ignition coil cover. It's that piece of plastic on the top of your engine that "ECOTEC." Once you lift it off, you will see the ignition coil assembly. Remove the two torx screws with a T-30 torx bit/screwdriver.



Once you remove the screws, set them aside in a safe place. You will need to remove the coil assembly. This has to be done carefully as it can break. Do not use a screwdriver. Grab the assembly with two hands as shown, and lift evenly. Apply a very slight see-saw motion as you lift if necessary.



Once you have the coil bar removed, you will need to disconnect it from the wiring harness. To do this, you will need to slide back the connector lock. This will be an orange tab on the connector. Be careful while sliding this out as it can break easily. Once you have slid back the lock, you should be able to press down on the tab to disconnect the connector from the harness. The following image shows the connector with the lock slid back.


On the rear right of the engine, lift the harness out of its seat:



When you reach the left side, you will need to wedge a screwdriver in the snap retainer to free the harness.


Underneath the snap retainer, there is located a plastic vacuum line. Remove this as well. It will simply pop out of its retainer.


On the left side of the cover, lift the harness out of the retainers:


Below the harness, there will be a plastic bar that holds some additional wiring. You will need to use the screwdriver to hold back the retaining clips so you can remove this. It took me a little while to figure out which way to push the tab, but once you have it right, the bar should should lift up and out.


Using an E10 socket, loosen all of the bolts until they can be lifted.



Remove the oil fill cap and dipstick:
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Looks like I also have the old style valve cover that should also be replaced, but no leaks as of yet. And really hate for this to happen 300 miles from home. And running the engine lean is not a good idea, combustion chamber temperature increases drastically that can cause other problems like head gasket failure and burnt exhaust valves.

Was wondering how you explained this to your dealer, couldn't find a recall or even a TSB on this subject. Did you just tell your dealer your valve cover is bad, even if it isn't? And just give him that 55573746 part number and say I want a new one?

Ha, already told my dealer prefer to do this myself, least I know its done right. Heck, a lot easier than on a Supra, have to remove half the engine just to get at the valve covers.
 

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Response from my dealer on this valve cover issue:

"Good morning Nicholas,

Unless it's a recall we cant replace it unless there is a failure to the
part. Im thinking it's a very small percentage of the vehicles out there. I
havn't seen it yet but that doesn't mean there isnt a potential problem. At
this point I think its best if you just keep and eye on it and if a leak
shows up we should address it at the Neillsville location.
Please let me know if you have any questions at all.

Sincerely Jerry"
 

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This got me thinking when I didn't have a problem with GM valve covers. 30 Olds was not a problem was a flat head, didn't have a valve cover. But 33 Buick on up were problems, First were using a cork gasket, if you tightened the bolts to tight, would put dents in the bots holes. Always had to use a hammer on a flat surface to make those flat. Too loose, the bolts would come loose and get leaks.

If just right, that cork would compress and give leaks, a thick coating of RTV would help them. On my 454, Fel-Pro solved this problem with a composite gasket and spacers embedded in the gaskets, this way you can properly torque the bolts down without putting dents in the bolt holes.

Got that 33 Buick in 1955, this is 59 years later, still having problems with valve covers. Or at least potential ones for the moment.
 

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For the heck of it, checked all 15 torx screws on my 1.4L valve cover. All 15 had to be turned at least an eighth of a turn before I hit 79 in-lbs.

If they came that loose from the factory, no wonder why we have valve cover leaks.
 

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For the heck of it, checked all 15 torx screws on my 1.4L valve cover. All 15 had to be turned at least an eighth of a turn before I hit 79 in-lbs.

If they came that loose from the factory, no wonder why we have valve cover leaks.
What if I told you that the bolts have a sleeve that tightens against the head and that the pressure isn't actually placed on the valve cover itself? There's even less pressure than that. There are three ridges that oil would have to pass by to get past the valve cover. With the exception of a PCV failure, we haven't seen a single one leak.

Sent from AutoGuide.com App
 

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Do these sleeves or metal spacers extend out the bottom of the valve cover? If I compare this with the Fel-Pro gaskets using sleeves or spacers, they were not as thick as the gasket itself. So with the bolts tight the amount of compression of the gasket was limited. Without the spacers could crush the gasket.

But would stand to reason if all the valve cover bolts were loose, gasket wouldn't have any compression whatsoever. Another problem using plastic, is typically the rate of thermal expansive with temperature is greater than said cast aluminum.

Did read some post where oil leaks were noted, in particular on the inner part of that U. Loose bolts could be the cause, RTV would definitely help.

Didn't go that far to even remove a bolt, just that they were all loose. See what happens. But still wonder how the new valve cover differs from the old one.

Positive crankcase ventilation was a welcomed change when they came out in either the late 50's or early 60's. When a breather pipe was used, crankcase would have a vacuum that sucked up road dust when you took your foot off the gas. Would help if you shifted into neutral when coming to a stop. When overhauling an engine, you literally needed a shovel to get rid of the sludge in an engine.

Was fed back to the base of the carburetor so the carburetor would stay clean, but this all changed when manifold fuel injection was used. This crap from the crankcase would pile up on the face of the injectors and cause spray problems. So by fixing one problem, created another. All deals with having carbon in our fuel, very poor heating value with a host of problems.

Carbon build up always has been a major problem, not only this, but outputs CO2 and CO that is a killer. We tried to change this in the early 70's, but congress said, NO! Still saying NO!
 

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thank you so much...this really made me confident on doing it myself. hardest part was getting the **** cover off. thing was on there lol. easy fix...saved me 150$ in labor!
 
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