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Old 09-22-2013, 10:05 PM   #1
makuloco2000
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Leaky Zetec valve cover gasket

I made a new video on repairing this common problem, not only with leaks but with the misfires they cause. Hope this helps those that are intimidated by opening up the engine a bit.....
YouTube Video
ERROR: If you can see this, then YouTube is down or you don't have Flash installed.



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Old 09-25-2013, 03:58 PM   #2
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I hope this has helped some.
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Old 09-25-2013, 08:50 PM   #3
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I would NOT be cleaning surfaces on an assembled running engine with scotchbrite like that, small particles of it come loose to get in the motor, cam bearings won't like it. Like throwing sand in it. I use scotchbrite only on unassembled parts that will later be washed to remove the grit.

The bolts are NOT shouldered, in your video case the COVER is. Look at the bolt holes in the cover, either cover or bolts must have the built-in limit there. Early cars had separate steel washers you put under cover and around the bolts. The bolts used in the vid are standard hex head flange bolts. True shouldered bolts have the shaft of bolt thicker by a lot maybe 1/4"-3/8" down below the head.
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Old 09-25-2013, 09:35 PM   #4
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yeah no no, on the scotch brite I just use a razor blade to clean any stubborn rubber off and then wipe the mating surface with brake clean and put a new gasket go with OEM gaskets the fel-pros ive used leak.

your gasket is ROCK HARD thats why it was leaking

and there is a tightening sequence... I always work slowly from the middle out just from past experience with cam ladders that can snap cams if you dont, but always tighten the bolts down evenly so you dont get a pinched gasket aswell.
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Old 09-25-2013, 10:30 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amc49 View Post
I would NOT be cleaning surfaces on an assembled running engine with scotchbrite like that, small particles of it come loose to get in the motor, cam bearings won't like it. Like throwing sand in it. I use scotchbrite only on unassembled parts that will later be washed to remove the grit.

The bolts are NOT shouldered, in your video case the COVER is. Look at the bolt holes in the cover, either cover or bolts must have the built-in limit there. Early cars had separate steel washers you put under cover and around the bolts. The bolts used in the vid are standard hex head flange bolts. True shouldered bolts have the shaft of bolt thicker by a lot maybe 1/4"-3/8" down below the head.
I watched it again, its hard to see maybe the top 1/2" or 3/8" is what I called shouldered on those particular bolts and is used for locating or centering the valve cover not anti crush as a regualar shoulder bolts that is used more as a pivot point true. Checked this is what Ford calls them in WSM- Bolt, Hex Flange Head Pilot. That pilot part is what I was talking about at the very top of the bolt its thicker for centering. Its a speciality bolt that I have only seen from OEM'S. Put a timing cover on with 20 bolts and you will see where this "pilot or shoulder" comes into play..... When did I state it was anti crush? There are dowwls in the plastic valve cover for that. Also scotch brite is the best to use, it is what ford recommends to us techs over anything else that can gouge the soft aluminum and cause leak points. Yes you need to be professional about it and watch what direction you are cleaning etc so the dirt and or scotch brite material does not end up in the engine. You see how perfect it was after? Geez you guys nit pick everything out then on all points you are wrong. I am not a backyard tech.
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Last edited by makuloco2000; 09-26-2013 at 09:05 AM.
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Old 09-25-2013, 10:43 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qweesy View Post
yeah no no, on the scotch brite I just use a razor blade to clean any stubborn rubber off and then wipe the mating surface with brake clean and put a new gasket go with OEM gaskets the fel-pros ive used leak.

your gasket is ROCK HARD thats why it was leaking

and there is a tightening sequence... I always work slowly from the middle out just from past experience with cam ladders that can snap cams if you dont, but always tighten the bolts down evenly so you dont get a pinched gasket aswell.
From the Ford workshop manual, am I missing a tightening sequence? Yes you shouldn't just tighten one side, the way ford taught us in technical school was if there is no sequence specified to start in the middle and work your way out in a counter clockwise swirl. which I also mentioned in the video.

Install the valve cover.
Tighten the bolts in two stages.
Stage 1: 2 Nm
Stage 2: 7 Nm
Attach the PCV hose to the valve cover.


Also Yes the gasket failed from many heat cycles and was rock hard yes. I never said that in video? I just watched again, yes I said it was very hard "look I broke another piece off" it was such a pain to get out because of that.
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Last edited by makuloco2000; 09-28-2013 at 07:49 PM.
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Old 09-25-2013, 10:53 PM   #7
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+1 for no to scotch brite... You say ford recommends it to "us techs", however like AMC said small bits of unwanted things can get into the engine and if scotch brite is used that could be more than you bargain for.

You are making a video for people that couldn't simply look at a valve cover and have a pretty good idea on the work involved, how can you expect them to use scotch brite properly without flaking things into the engine or messing up the smooth flat mating surface... when really all you need is a plastic soft fiberglass style scraper to make a nice mating surface... Unless something is messed up...


And yes no tightening sequence is specified in the shop manual that I have seen, however it's best to work in a pattern none the less... I think the shop manual assumes that "us techs" are familiar with working in patterns...
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Old 09-26-2013, 07:12 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CotyM View Post
+1 for no to scotch brite... You say ford recommends it to "us techs", however like AMC said small bits of unwanted things can get into the engine and if scotch brite is used that could be more than you bargain for.

You are making a video for people that couldn't simply look at a valve cover and have a pretty good idea on the work involved, how can you expect them to use scotch brite properly without flaking things into the engine or messing up the smooth flat mating surface... when really all you need is a plastic soft fiberglass style scraper to make a nice mating surface... Unless something is messed up...


And yes no tightening sequence is specified in the shop manual that I have seen, however it's best to work in a pattern none the less... I think the shop manual assumes that "us techs" are familiar with working in patterns...
Yes that's why I stated in video work from center in a counter clockwise swirl pattern outwards.
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Old 09-26-2013, 09:09 AM   #9
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sorry for all the confusion on the bolts being pilot bolts and not technically shouldered same thing basically....... I am sure the average guy that is fixing his old focus zetec engine oil leak in the driveway is gonna get hung up on this too.......yeah right. Thank you for watching the video, I hope it helps those intimidated by this repair.
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Old 09-26-2013, 11:15 PM   #10
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No problem..............

Actually, LOTS of people get hung up on the bolts. They try to put non-shouldered bolt with a different non-sleeved cover and then ten pages of posts before they finally get it after cover gasket squeezed into pieces there. Sometimes on 2 or 3 gaskets.......

I could care less what Ford calls the bolt, take the bolt and put it in the hole, it is NOT a pilot if you can wobble it around. A pilot has no wobble in it. The bolt you show clearly is not shouldered and the small increase in size is almost imagined, or silly. That doesn't pilot squat. Look at say a true shouldered bolt for comparison. A definite step that you don't have to imagine to see. They pilot as well as limit. The earlier zetec gaskets also piloted and 100% since the grommet at bolt hole was forced into a smaller space. At one time even the bolts had separate rubber bushings to pilot. But Ford decided too much piloting going on there, can't change covers quick like that. Too many gaskets getting torn up. I can clearly see the bolt holes in cover are way bigger than the bolt, that idea here is dead. The more bolts you have in the pattern the less need for piloting anyway, or the opposite of what you say. ALL bolt patterns on the planet, except for maybe the space shuttle, have variance in them, that variance becomes the pilot as each bolt being slightly off interferes with others. The more bolts you have in place the tighter the part gets as far as it moving around. Pull like some covers or trans cases that have lots of bolts, loosen all bolts but leave them in and see how much you can move the cover case sideways, then pull all but maybe 2 or 3 and do it again. it becomes razor sharp and clear that more bolts equals less cover slop on virtually anything even unpiloted. If you have the shoulder provided for in the cover you can easily use off the shelf hardware store bolts to replace the Ford expensive ones and cover won't leak a drop, just get all bolts in and put hand on cover and wiggle it a bit to settle in the pattern and tighten them up.

Scotchbrite IS gouging the aluminum, or you couldn't remove material to be dead clean there........................more concerned about the miniscule bits of scotchbrite that come loose, used to have a printing supervisor that I had to choke until I convinced him the scotchbrite he had us cleaning cylinders with was fragging small little bits into rollers to later scratch up printing plates. Get rid of scotchbrite, BAM! (thank you, EMIL!) problem gone. 'Course they had to fire him for other stupid things before I could change that policy. Again, I do not care what Ford says there, I've seen the trash come off scotchbrite. If used at all it gets harder to clean with it just like sandpaper after a few minutes, why? Some of the abrasive came loose and gone. But where? Yes, I'm anal retentive, but I use a razor blade as well, drag it across with sharp edge TRAILING and no material removal but nice clean aluminum just like the vid. Stroke biased toward out and no material the blade removes ends up inside the gasket line.

Biggest trouble people seem to have is the new gasket leaking (you address that pretty well, or not cleaning the cover good enough) and then breaking bolts off to make nightmares. (NOT so well). I NEVER bother with a tightening pattern, rather jumping around to the high points to get them lower like the others, but the main thing is NOT TO OVERTIGHTEN the bolts, they break easily and anyway the stop limit prevents you from coming back and tightening down harder to stop a leak because you didn't clean cover properly. But they always insist on doing it and broke bolt city. I always stop at the bolt hit down solid on the sleeve and even them all up then. After that I go around and tighten just a smidge more to guarantee no bolt backoff, you CANNOT tighten more to seal after that hit. Not understanding that will get you broken bolt every time. Doing that, no torque wrench needed ever, and cannot remember the last time a gasket leaked, been years.

If you do torque, no more than 7 ft.lbs., the aluminum pulls thread at around 10. When I think about it I'll work in a circle from center out.

No insult implied or intended at all, just some real world thoughts. Yes, I micromanage, I do not have to do it lightning fast like the old days, but I DO know how to make it go right and last forever. Building lots of race engines makes you start nitpicking everything, I did plenty of that. My flaw is being a perfectionist in a world that hates them, somehow I managed to make my way through that pretty well, although I had to change some as well.
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