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Discussion Starter #1
So since today is a beautiful mid-50's day, I figured today was a great time to change my spark plugs. Due to recent "Your oil is low" comments from mechanics/shops, I decided to cover my a$$ and get a valve cover gasket... just in case.

Well upon taking the far right one out I saw the pool of oil covering the spark plug/boot. I've disconnected all of the necessary connections, pulled away the harnesses, and unscrewed all the required bolts to remove the cover. Only problem is that the cover won't come off.

I have now triple-checked all the screws to ensure that I'm not losing my mind and from what I see, they are all either out or I can pull them up and down (since some don't leave the cover). I also made sure that I got the two in the center.

I've tried to get a flat head driver and also picks in to wedge it up but nothing is working. Since my car is an '06, and the cover has never needed to be off before, I believe that this is really gunked on. Most of the seam appears to have oil around it in the back and driver side of the cover.

Anyone experience this before and if so, how were you finally able to get the cover off??? I'm terrified that going too hard at the cover will either break something or fly oil everywhere when the cover gets thrown off!!!

Thanks everyone for your help.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Well, I got it off with a piece of wood and a rubber mallet.

That was the least of my worries apparently. When I got it off, the passenger side corner cracked off a little and when I got it off, the piece fell into the gear portion of the engine. So when it is back on, a small portion of the gasket is visible to the outside. I'd say it is probably 1-2mm high, 4-5mm long. I cranked the bolts down when I reinstalled it so I'm hoping that there is enough pressure to prevent any leaking.

Of course that is not all. The center bolt, next to the coolant reservoir on the passenger side, dropped down inside the vehicle and I cannot find it. I tried to get lights in there, rock the car, slap the wheel well in hopes to hear any moving and I cannot find it. I have no problems getting a replacement for it but want to make sure the vehicle is safe to drive. I checked as much of the engine's pully system as I could visually and with my hands and could not feel anything.

This repair couldn't have gone any worse. Now I'm freaking out that either the piece of plastic is going to screw up the engine in some way, the lost bolt is going to screw the vehicle in some way, or the cracked corner is going to be an easy path for oil to flow out. I will buy a new valve cover but need my vehicle to be dependable while it ships in. Any thoughts or suggestions?

I'm worried now and could use some insight.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Here are some pics of what I'm describing...

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Old Phart
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Chipped corner might be OK, try pulling the coolant reservoir (don't detach hoses) for a look at the mount area where that bolt could be resting on top of the chassis.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Chipped corner might be OK, try pulling the coolant reservoir (don't detach hoses) for a look at the mount area where that bolt could be resting on top of the chassis.
Ok. Thanks sailor. As I said I will buy a new cover from the parts store here if need be. I don't anticipate oil to be flying out, but I will monitor the entire cover to watch for any leaking.

The screw is what has me worried. Even if I do not find that bolt, you think it will be ok to drive without that one holding down the cover for a couple of days until I can get new one(s)?

I'm nervous to start the car, lol.
 

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Old Phart
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Worst from not having it installed is some oil seepage, hardware store will have replacement bolt/washer you could use. Just match the metric size/thread/length, it should be standard size (guess 6x1.0 x length needed to get you in the right ballpark).

Dropped bolts are a PITA, after spending lots of time looking you get very careful of them in the future.

Now you know why extension magnets and mirrors are such useful tools in the box.
 

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Valve cover is OK at the crack.

Did you ever think to look on the floor for the bolt? Often they go all the way through and when wrenching and you drop something you ALWAYS listen for the quality of the drop noise hit as it often tells you how far bolt went.

Like tinkle, which means hit and stopped. Tinkle, tinkle, hit and rolled or tumbled to drop slightly more. Tinkle............tinkle, hit then bounced off and then dropped further to floor.

ALWAYS chase the offender down while that is clearest in your head, I never look later for the bolt or nut and find it 99.5% of the time, you may have to look for a bit though.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Valve cover is OK at the crack.

Did you ever think to look on the floor for the bolt? Often they go all the way through and when wrenching and you drop something you ALWAYS listen for the quality of the drop noise hit as it often tells you how far bolt went.

Like tinkle, which means hit and stopped. Tinkle, tinkle, hit and rolled or tumbled to drop slightly more. Tinkle............tinkle, hit then bounced off and then dropped further to floor.

ALWAYS chase the offender down while that is clearest in your head, I never look later for the bolt or nut and find it 99.5% of the time, you may have to look for a bit though.
Yeah I listened to it and it wasn't a short drop by any means. It was a long enough trip that I felt it made it to the ground. But when I looked under the car I didn't see anything. I tried to run my hands along the entire pulley system to ensure that the bolt wasn't resting on the belt. I don't think it's there but I also couldn't get my hand all around the entire belt. I will look around tomorrow and Sunday for the bolt more. But I wanted to make sure that I'm good with the cover to drive.

I don't know why but I am always worried when it comes to my vehicle. I don't want it to be the cause of damage to itself, me, or others...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Ok we'll I'm about to start the car with the following:

- Piece of the valve cover that feel into the gear area of the engine that broken off at the valve cover
- missing a bolt to the valve cover that has fallen somewhere and I can't find it. I've looked the past two days and can't locate it.

As an ignorant car guy, I'm worried. But if it was going to be a problem I'm sure you'd all have said something. I'm going to start her up to burn off any oil that fell in. I'm going to order a new cover and install that, probably from Andy. Thanks all

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Discussion Starter #10
Well. . . Started her up and backed up and forward quickly. . . Heard a couple of tinkles. Bolt feel to the ground. :) I'll monitor the cover to see if a new one is needed. Thanks all!

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Old Phart
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Yay!

The lost bolt came out - big worry over.
 

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Old Phart
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Not really, you couldn't see it & were worried where it might end up.

Valid concerns, solved when it dropped out without getting somewhere it shouldn't.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks sailor. Thanks for your and amc's input on it all.

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Discussion Starter #15
Well.... odd thing now.

I've mentioned in another thread here that I would hear a kind of "crackling" or quick "sputtering" sound when I quickly hit the gas, and only when the car was in gear. In neutral, the sound never happened. This odd sound would only happen at the very beginning of pressing down the gas and would quickly stop as I applied more pressure.

Since I've replaced the valve cover gasket and cleaned everything out in the spark plug area, all crackling has stopped??? I'M NOT COMPLAINING! Just an oddity that I would not have thought may have or could have contributed to cause that kind of sound. Do you car gurus have any thoughts about (if that was in fact the cause) why that sound would have been produced and what it could have been???

Just a little info for all to think about. Otherwise, I'm a happy Focus owner :D
 

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Old Phart
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How scuzzed was it?

Doubt you could hear sparks arcing where they shouldn't from oil on the plugs/boots from the driver's seat.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I needed lumber and a mallet to free the cover off

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Old Phart
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I meant inside the plug wells, where the oil gets on plugs etc..
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Gotcha. Yeah the only thing I did was clean out that one spark plug well and all the crud where the gaskets sit. Otherwise, I ashe with you. Just thought it odd

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