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2010 Subaru Forester X? Auto, 76k miles
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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys, I haven't been on much lately - to many other priorities and I don't spend as much time loving on my car in the winter. BUT, I have a somewhat annoying valve cover gasket leak I want to address ASAP.

Searching only returns results for the older NA engine - I'm wondering if anyone's done JUST the valve cover gasket on a turbo model? My question is, with the very limited space, can I do this job without moving the engine or anything? Or would jacking it up help (would seem to make the space MORE cramped on the lower side, to get the bolts out). Unfotunately, it's on the turbo/passenger side and I wonder if I need to get the header/uppipe out of the way (and I just replaced the uppipe a few months back - ugh).

It seems to be leaking around the lower rear bolt of the gasket. It's enough I'm having to add more than 1 quart every 3.5k miles, so I want to change it soon. Thanks for any info or advice!
 

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2010 Subaru Forester X? Auto, 76k miles
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Discussion Starter #2
Hey, any insight? I guess a comparison might be - has anyone done head gaskets on a DOHC turbo without pulling the engine?
 

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2011 Forester touring 4EAT
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I've replaced head gaskets with and without pulling the engine. It makes it easier if you pull the engine.

Valve cover gaskets can be replaced without jacking up the engine. If you jack up the engine it makes it easier but requires a little more work.
 

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SG Valve Cover Gasket Replacement

All thanks goes to snoozerxt for this excellent DIY.

DIY Valve Cover Gasket Replacement - Toronto Subaru Club

2004-2005 WRX STi 2.5L & Forester XT
2006-2007 WRX 2.5


2.0 WRX and NA Applications are as well relative with the exception of the part #'s





This DIY will demonstrate what is involved when changing the passenger side (USA) valve cover gasket. Driver's side in Australia!

If you are familiar with your engine and are confident in tight spaces while turning a wrench, changing your spark plugs and exposing your cams as well lots of patience; this is something you can complete yourself.



Tools:

Small Ratchet with extension
Flathead Screwdriver
10mm, 12mm
10mm Gear Wrench
Gasket Sealer – “The Right Stuff” Made by Permatex
Wire Brush
Engine Degreaser/Brake Cleaner
Wash Bucket
Paper Towel
3/8” or 1/2” Drive Torque Wrench; 0-50 lb. –ft.
Trouble Light
Tarpaulin/Cardboard (Ground Cover)
Pen/Magic Marker – Large piece of paper for valve cover bolt identification


Parts:

Subaru Part Numbers Specific to 04-07 STi & 06-07 WRX

13272AA140 - Left side large valve cover gasket x1
13270aa190 - Right Side Large valve cover gasket x1
13293AA051 – Spark Plug Seals x4





STEPS IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER


PREP

Create a clean and safe work environment. Lay out all of your needed tools; assemble your trouble lights and extension cords so that everything is accessible and conveniently available. Underneath the car, place a tarpaulin/large piece of cardboard; or something that will catch the drips.




Remove the air box assembly or intake if you have one. Be careful with your MAF (Mass Air Flow Sensor). They are very delicate and expensive to replace.




Located at the top of the valve cover are two rubber hoses that connect to the valve cover. One will be attached with spring band clamp the other will be an oeticker clamp.




The oeticker and spring clamp can be very finicky when removing




Remove both coil packs. You will need a 10mm socket. There are harness clips which attach to the coil pack; so when removing from the engine bay area, it sometimes can be easier to disconnect the harness prior to removal.




Here is an image of what the coil pack and harness look like.






REMOVING THE VALVE COVER

Once your coil packs have been removed, you are now ready to remove the VC.
Before you dive in and start removing the 8 bolts, a few things need to be said.

1) Bolt location – relative to the valve cover. Each Bolt is a different length. It is imperative you make a diagram indicating where you removed each bolt from.




Photo of a Subaru valve cover bolt. Flange head with a pre determined thread length; relative to its location on the valve cover.




Remove each VC bolt. There are 8 in total. Organize the bolts relative to their location. This is how I arranged my VC bolts once removed.




Wiggle the VC loose from the block. Depending on how much Fuji bond was used when it was installed at the factory will determine how easy it comes off.
I used a flat head screwdriver to successfully detach mine. This is a great shot of the gasket and the VC partially detached.

VC removed with gasket still partially attached




Valve cover removed. Note the burnt oil and residue from where the oil was seeping. STINKY!




Original OEM cracked VC gasket. The culprit.




Cam Photo 1




Cam Photo 2




Clean the VC’s exterior and interior; ensuring that the remains of any old Fuji-bond are no longer evident. This also goes for the engine block. You can pick away by hand to remove any remaining debris.




Remaining Fuji-Bond from the engine block.




Be sure to remove any particles in the VC gasket channel. (Perimeter of VC)




Once the VC and Block are clear of old gasket & gasket maker and the VC are clean, dry and rid of any contaminants. IE degreaser/brake clean. It is time to assemble the new Gaskets.

Continued...​


 

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...Continued​


RE INSTALLING THE VALVE COVER / GASKET

NOTE

There is more than one way to skin a cat. My cousin (as my advisor) 15 years of engine builds (performance & daily driving vehicles) under his belt. One might say that this method is overkill, but it has worked well for him in the past. Hence my reason for doubling up on gasket maker and my OEM gasket.

I have good luck using the Permatex brand. “The Right Stuff” provides excellent adhesion and will not deteriorate when used for high temp applications.


The Right Stuff 1




The Right Stuff 2




Try not to be liberal with the application of the gasket maker. The goal is to use the sealant in conjunction with the gasket. If too much sealant is applied, the OEM gasket will not sit correctly in the VC gasket channel.

The Right Stuff & Gasket 1




The Right Stuff & Gasket 2




The Right Stuff & Gasket 3




The Right Stuff & Gasket 4

Be sure to pres down firmly on the gasket after it has been installed; to ensure a proper seat. Wipe off any excess Gasket maker that has made it's way on to the VC




The argument in most cases as well recommendation from “The Hayes Manual” states that certain areas of the VC are more susceptible to “blow out”. That is one of the reasons for using additional gasket maker. I choose to run a thin bead along the entire gasket channel to further reduce the risk of "blow out".




Once the VC has been prepped and is ready to be re-installed, take your time placing the VC on to the block. The space is tight. Line up your Spark Plug seals along with your top 2 VC bolts. The remaining VC bolts should line up.




Using your VC Bolt location as a reference, re-attach each bolt. Tightening in a sequential pattern.




Do not over tighten the VC bolts. They are fragile and can potentially snap. The Spec’d torque, is roughly 5 lb –ft. (SOA - T4 (Valve Cover Bolts): 6.4 N•m (0.65 kgf-m, 4.7 ft. lbs)

Re- Attach the Coil Packs and wire harnesses.




Re-Attach Factory Air-box, MAF as well battery. Top up Engine oil, depending on the amount of oil that was lost. Each instance varies.

Wait 2-4 Hours if you used “The Right Stuff” gasket maker. If Fuji-Bond or another brand of gasket maker was used, the wait period would be roughly 24h.

:woohoo:
 

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2004 Forester automatic
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Valve cover gasket cost

I have my 2004 XT at the dealer for the timing belt etc. They called me and said the valve cover gaskets need replacing. They want $785.00 for the job. From the post below it looks complicated, besides I can't do car work at my apartment. Anyone know of a good Subaru mechanic near Redondo Beach, CA. $785.00 seems high.
 

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2004 XT 5 MT
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Nice

Thanks for the write up I am about to tackle this job and was glad to find this. I see you used the right stuff near the spark plug areas does subaru make a gasket for these or are they expecting you to use Fuji bond or other here? Once again thanks.
 

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2004 XT 5 MT
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Thanks for the write up I am about to tackle this job and was glad to find this. I see you used the right stuff near the spark plug areas does subaru make a gasket for these or are they expecting you to use Fuji bond or other here? Once again thanks.
I guess I should have looked at the photos I see there is an actual spark plug gasket used in conjunction with the liquid gasket
 

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2010 Subaru Forester X? Auto, 76k miles
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Discussion Starter #10
Ha, my old thread back from the dead! That is a great write-up. It is not a hard job, just cramps your hand to get into some of those tight spots to get the bolts out. But I'd do it again in a heartbeat. And $785 is raping you. It's a couple hour job at most.

I personally did not add additional lubricant around the OE gasket. I'm not saying you shouldn't but as he noted, careful to not add too much.

BIG THING that was missed in his tutorial though is the HALF MOONS!!! I copied one of his pictures and put a big yellow circle around where the lower one goes. You have to RTV the half moons. There are two of them, the lower one at an angle and one on the rear. If your gasket is leaking, it is likely it is actually leaking around that lower half moon. Turns out mine was; and dripping onto the uppipe, which is why I was smelling it.

You have to pull them both out, clean out the channels real good (I used a toothpick and mirror) and put them back in with RTV on them. Careful not to put too much and have lumps come loose inside the head. Also, VERY, VERY IMPORTANT: make sure to let the RTV set before adding oil and running it. I did not and guess what: 2 quarts of oil dumped onto my uppipe on the test drive right afterward. OOPS!

 

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2010 Subaru Forester X? Auto, 76k miles
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Discussion Starter #11
Actually, those two areas in the middle of the page of instructions, where it shows to put the RTV, is where the halfmoons are. And you do need to put RTV on the cover/gasket there to ensure a good seal where it goes over the halfmoons.

Additionally, the halfmoons are cheap, so go ahead and pick up some at the dealer. They are a little difficult to get out and the lips on them may break getting them out.

BTW, I know the halfmoons are major culprits because of my experience. I wasn't expecting them and didn't pull them out to redo the RTV the first time I replaced the valve cover gasket. The leaking/smell continued so I had to do the job a second time to do the halfmoons.
 

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Actually, those two areas in the middle of the page of instructions, where it shows to put the RTV, is where the halfmoons are. And you do need to put RTV on the cover/gasket there to ensure a good seal where it goes over the halfmoons.

Additionally, the halfmoons are cheap, so go ahead and pick up some at the dealer. They are a little difficult to get out and the lips on them may break getting them out.

BTW, I know the halfmoons are major culprits because of my experience. I wasn't expecting them and didn't pull them out to redo the RTV the first time I replaced the valve cover gasket. The leaking/smell continued so I had to do the job a second time to do the halfmoons.
Sweet ! Thanks for the tip. You have to love this forum. Are the half moons plastic or metal ? And or what's the technical name of them or do you happen to have the part number so I can be sure to get them when I order the valve cover gasket.
 

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2010 Subaru Forester X? Auto, 76k miles
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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
They are plastic. I'm not sure about the part number, I sold the Forester so I don't have the receipt for them anymore. The dealership I would use for parts had a SUPER cute girl running the parts counter who could whiz right through all the parts diagrams and point to exactly what you were describing. I miss her - er, I mean that! :icon_redface:

When you pull off the cover, a small but appreciable amount of oil will fall down onto the uppipe. I covered the uppipe in aluminum foil to try and protect it as well as having paper towels to catch/absorb. You'll still likely get some on it, but better than getting it covered.

I remember it took a while to find out anything about them, think I saw the term 'half moons' on an STi or WRX forum.
 

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2004 FXT MT
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I'd like to thank you for posting this tutorial as well. I found it a week or two ago and did my install last night after getting the parts from Annapolis Subaru. After letting the gasket setup overnight, I just took it for a spin - about 20 minutes worth. It stunk like burning oil but during the cover removal oil covers parts of the exhaust, so I think it's just burning that off.

Couple things to note:

Get the halfmoons as pointed out already. Looks like the OP did replace them but didn't mention it.

When he says remove the airbox, he means remove the entire box not just the cover. There are two 13mm bolts that hold it in, and it's nice to have a long (12" or so) extension to get down to the bolts.

That oeticker clamp sucks! I've never dealt with one before so after some googling I found a good way to take it off and reuse it - use a flathead screwdriver and jam it inside one of the "loops" of metal, and twist. That will release the clamp, and some small channellocks will clamp it back together.

The coil packs are 12mm bolts not 10mm as the OP mentions (small detail I know)

The bottom row of bolts are a royal pain to get off, especially the middle one. Be prepared to contort your hands/arms/body to try to get in there and get them off.

My gasket seemed fine when I took it out, but when I bent it a bit it cracked all over the place so I'm pretty sure oil was just seeping through those small cracks.


I haven't noticed any leaking, smells, or smoke out of the drivers side gasket, but I got the parts to have on hand and I'll deal with that if/when it happens. Overall, I probably spent just shy of $100 on parts including the Permatex so it's well worth the time/money over having a shop do it.

I suppose I should post this over at the Canadian forum for their information since that's where the OP is from, but I'm not a member there. If someone here is on that forum, feel free to C&P my comments.
 

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2004 XT 5 MT
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I just finished this job on my 04 XT and it wasn't that hard. My half moon seals appeared to be the main source of my oil leak as both half moons were deteriorated significantly. The gasket placement went well and per the factory service manual I put fujibond in specific places. The bolts weren't that hard to get out using a 1/4 inch ratchet and patience. I was able to get 3 of the bolts torqued in the end.

 

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2010 Subaru Forester X? Auto, 76k miles
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Discussion Starter #16
Wow, I've never seen the hard plastic on the piece itself deteriorated. But I'm glad you were prepared to do them. Like I said, my first time I wasn't prepared and tried to skip them but had to go back in and do the job a second time.

Makes sense though, they sit right above the uppipe so they're going to go through a lot of heat abuse.
 

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I was surprised by the amount of deterioration on the half moons. IMHO plastic like this shouldn't be on a motor. You can see a large chunk of the half moon still stuck to the Fuji bond in one of the photos. So I would echo the other sentiments here to replace these for sure when you are doing the valve cover.
 

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I just did this job myself and all went well, accept that I'm still getting some burnt oil smell coming from the same place. Is that a sign of my failure at doing the job well or are there other leak points that I might have missed in the same vicinity?

Should also mention that the smoke is only coming from the passenger side.
 

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2010 Subaru Forester X? Auto, 76k miles
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Discussion Starter #20
How long since you did it? Some oil will run out onto the the uppipe during the job and will need to burn off. If you think it's more than that, how long did you let the RTV set up before adding oil? If not, it will continue to leak.
 
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