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Old 04-13-2004, 12:39 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: New Orleans, LA
Posts: 305
changing valve cover gasket 103 engine

Has anyone done a write-up of changing the valve (timing) cover gasket on the 103 engine? I just did this on my MR2 and it was pretty easy and I was thinking I should do it on my 300E also. I think I've got a little leaking from the timing cover, which I understand is a common problem with the 103 engine. I searched archives but didn't find one. Thanks for any info.

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Old 04-13-2004, 08:05 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Evansville, Indiana
Posts: 8,150
It's out there, but in bits.

Here's what to do:

Buy a new gasket. You will notice that it is u-shaped in cross-section, not flat.

Remove the valve cover. You will have to pull the spark plug wire tray off the cover, and you should tape it together if the clips on it aren't in good shape, it saves time. You can pull the plug wires off the plugs, but I'd not bother, you risk causing problems with the wires if they are stuck. Easy enough to leave them there.

Wriggle the cover out, then pull off the old gasket. Likely rock hard and cracked on the bottom. If it is, you have oil smell from the oil running down on the exhaust manifold.

Clean the valve cover were the gasket fits on with carb cleaner or brake parts cleaner on a rag. Get it completely clean.

Clean off the seating surface on the head the same way -- must be oil free and dry before fitting the cover, or it will leak.

Push the gasket on the valve cover and put it back on. Be carefull not to push down on the cover before ensuring that the gasket is still on. DO NOT use any sealant, anywhere, even to hold the gasket to the cover. If the cover is clean, the gasket will stay in place pretty well.

Check to make sure the cover is inserted into the channel on the gasket all the way around, then press down to seat. Lift cover and gasket about an inch and thump it down on the head. Repeat until the dull thumpgh becomes a sharp "clomp" -- you will hear the difference.

Install bolts and tighten lightly. They need only seal on their copper rings and hold the gasket in firm contact -- overtightening will cut the gasket or warp the cover, and it will leak.

Check the condition of the oil fillter cap seal, too -- if there is a distinct depression in the seal where it contacts the cover, replace the seal or cap, it's leaking oil.

1972 220D ?? miles
1988 300E 200,012
1987 300D Turbo killed 9/25/07, 275,000 miles
1985 Volvo 740 GLE Turobodiesel 218,000
1972 280 SE 4.5 165, 000 - It runs!
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Old 04-15-2004, 10:36 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: New Orleans, LA
Posts: 305
Thanks, Peter.

Will order the gasket and give it a try.

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