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Old 11-01-2002, 10:29 PM
Posts: n/a
1988 560 SEL Valve Cover Removal

Having read what I could on this Forum and considering the issue re finding out why I get the "blue smoke", I think it best to take the valve covers off and see if anything looks amiss.

I didn't see anything on the Forum respecting this and would appreciate some guidance.

I haven't been able to find a Haynes Manual for this car nor do I have the CD. Should I get the CD? Does it deal with valve cover removal?

Anywhere else I can look for instructions on how to remove the valve covers?

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Old 11-02-2002, 12:18 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Princeton, NJ
Posts: 44
I have a 88 560 SEL and there was plenty of smoking .....

You need to basically get the valve cover gaskets changed and make sure that you covers themselves are straight and true.

As for as removal - I have not done it myself but, should be quite straight forward ... am not sure what your question is exactly.

I will say, remember where all the vacum lines go - that is KEY!!

This is an awesome car when you get it all right ..... takes a while ... am not there yet ....

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Old 11-04-2002, 01:14 AM
MikeTangas's Avatar
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: So. Cal
Posts: 4,430
Valve covers are a snap

First remove the air cleaner assembly( both intake tubes plus the tube from the air pump, plus the single 10mm nut, lift assembly off).

The starboard (passenger) side cover is easiest. Remove all four plug wires and the four 10mm bolts (do not loose the tiny copper washers). Pop valve cover off.

For the port side (driver's). Remove the four plug wires, then loosen the fitting for the fuel cooler lines at the fuel distrubutor (17mm nuts I believe). Lift the lines away from the distributor and wire them in an up position (so they don't continue to leak fuel). Might also need to disconnect the vacuum line to the EGR valve at the left exhaust manifold. Next remove the four 10mm bolts and pop off the valve cover.

Assembly is the reverse. Do not over tighten the valve cover bolts or the new seals will leak like a sieve.
Mike Tangas
'73 280SEL 4.5 (9/72)- RIP
Only 8,173 units built from 5/71 thru 11/72

'02 CLK320 Cabriolet - wifey's mid-life crisis

2012 VW Jetta Sportwagon least its a diesel

Non illegitemae carborundum.
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Old 11-05-2002, 03:36 PM
Thomaspin's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: CA
Posts: 531
This may help

Some of this stuff is superfluous to your question, but I did put in quite a bit of detail on valve cover removal/replacement which may help. The original is at The omessage below is edited.

Replacing fuel injectors and camshaft oilers in a U.S. 1990
560 (117.968) engine

This note addresses the
5.6 litre U.S. V8 engine (117.968) fitted to the 560
SEC/SEL 126 chassis.

Parts list with factory part numbers:

8 Fuel Injectors 0 437 502 054
8 Fuel Injector Holders 117 070 04 55
8 Fuel Injector Seals 116 070 00 77
2 Idle Air Distribution Hoses 116 094 25 82
2 Camshaft Oiler Kits 116 180 01 84
1 Left Valve Cover Gasket 116 016 13 21
1 Right Valve Cover Gasket 116 016 14 21
2 spark plug wire holders (attach to valve cover) 110 159
05 40 (6 prong) (116 159 03 40 is the correct spec but the
factory no longer specifies these – 4 prong)
8 copper washers for valve cover bolts 915035 000016
12 cable ties to help with valve cover replacement


8 Bosch Super W9DCO copper spark plugs

Special tools:

Fender covers
Matco SP824 Spark Plug Wire Puller (from –
approx. $20 shipped)
Napa 5mm T Handle hex wrench
12mm and 17mm line (“crow’s foot”) wrenches for injector
and fuel lines
10mm nut driver for valve cover bolts
2 golf tees


Replacing the injectors:

<big snip>

Installing valve covers with new gaskets:

It is difficult to see that the valve cover gasket is
properly installed so follow these simple precautions. It
is very easy to dislodge the gasket when replacing the
cover. To maximize your chances of success, make sure all
obstacles to replacement are tied back with cable ties.
This is a huge time saver. Do a dry run without the valve
cover gasket in place to make sure you can slip the cover
into place easily. Before replacing the valve cover,
replace the gasket (these are different for each side) and
first removing all oil from the cover with a rag to permit
the gasket to grip better. Then clean the engine block
mating surface to ensure a good seal. Once you have
replaced the cover, with gasket in place, run a finger all
the way around the base where the gasket mates with the
engine block – you will immediately detect any pinched
sections this way. Do this before tightening the retaining

The recommended torque for the valve cover bolts is 3 Nm
(2.5 ft.lbs.). That is very little torque. Imagine
applying a five pound weight to your six inch ratchet
handle. I use a low range torque wrench from Home Depot
under the Husky brand which maxes out at 250 inch. lbs.
(20.8 ft.lbs.) - model # 39102 if it’s still available.
Use new factory copper washer under the bolts. These crush
when tightened. Do not use steel washers. If you
over-tighten the cover (diesel owners are used to far
higher tightening torques, so be careful) you will flex it
and oil leaks will be the result.


Left side valve cover – special precautions:

Some special precautions are in order for the left side of
the engine, viewed from the driver’s seat. Five additional
obstacles to removal of the valve cover exist.

The first two are the fuel supply and return hoses. These
attach to the fuel distributor – one goes into the base of
the distributor and points forward (from driver’s seat).
The other enters the distributor at 45 degrees and attaches
to the distributor through a female to female threaded
coupler. You will be disconnecting these from the
distributor, thus allowing you to move them out of the way.
This is important. The supply hose can be removed with a
17mm line wrench, (plug the open end with a golf tee to
avoid fuel spills). However, the return hose should only
be removed by first placing a 17mm wrench on the coupler as
a counter-hold, then using the 17mm line wrench on the
attachment nut. If you fail to do this, you run the risk
that the coupler will unscrew from the distributor, kinking
the metal fuel line in the process.

The third obstacle is a vacuum hose. This runs to the
firewall and is uncoupled at the firewall with a 19mm
wrench. Use a 17mm counter-hold on the captive adjoining
nut to make removal easier – just squeeze the two wrenches
together to avoid bruised knuckles.

The fourth is the narrow diameter vacuum hose to the
advance unit, which is simply pulled off at the rubber

The fifth is the breather hose attached to the top of the
valve cover. Pinch the spring clamp with thumb and
forefinger, pull it off and swivel out of the way.

The use of cable ties to get everything out of the way is
highly recommended when replacing the left-hand valve



Last edited by Thomaspin; 11-05-2002 at 03:43 PM.
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Old 08-03-2003, 10:18 AM
Registered User
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Washington, D.C.
Posts: 395
Though this thread has started some time ago, for future reference I'd like to point out that the warning about potentially bending a fuel line while removing the driver's side valve cover should be heeded. I must point out that the line discussed is not the the fuel return line - it's the actual fuel supply line. Kinking it will reduce the fuel supply to the distributor. Just as Thomaspin suggested - make sure you use two wrenches.
Henry Bofinger
1989 560 SEL (black/black)
2001 Audi TT Roadster (silver/grey)
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