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Archive for June, 2012

DIY : Honda Civic B-Series Engine Head/Valve Cover Gasket/Seal & Camshaft Cap/Seal/Plug Replacement

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Leaking around the passenger side front of the engine block? Lucky, I’m not the one , probability is, come from valve cover gasket, cam cap or VTEC solenoid gasket, this is common problem for B-Series engine that just exceed 100,000kms old just like mine (me 200,000kms!)

 I just done for my VTEC solenoid gasket problem, replace the valve cover gasket, spark plug seal and VTEC solenoid gasket is just straight forward job, but to replace camshaft cap is dangerous! Especially for VTEC  B-Series engine. The risk is, you could probably to stretching and breaking the camshaft holder bolt or make your cam unbalance and breaking the camshaft itself! Wow! High risk for a  small job, I bear all this in my mind, so, I better not to do any single mistake.

DISCLAIMER: I can not say this is the best or safest way to do. I am not
responsible for any thing you damage, or what ever harm you cause to
yourself or others. This is how I did it and it worked for me.

Locate your valve cover, remove the spark plug cover.

Remove all spark plug wires (do not disconnect from the distributor cap)and the nuts circled in yellow (yellow?) follow the sequence from 1-8, and remove the other thing that attached to the valve cover (green circle). Now the valve cover is ready to come off, just wiggle it a little bit and it should pop right off.

This is the perfect time to check the timing belt condition.

Here we go! This is among the critical part, below is the loosening sequence, I recommend you to loosen the green circle bolts first. It is are good practice to put the crank at TDC, put the cams in with the key-way facing upward to prevent having the camshaft being placed at a full valve open situation causing undue tension. Wait! Before you loosen the bolts, please read the next sentences first…

The most critical part is, when you want to torque it back, I saw many people will break the bolt with their torque wrench, especially the 10mm bolt, even with 3/8″ Snap-On torque wrench which has never been out of spec and torque it properly! I think this is because they overtightened the bolt without realizing it, the torque wrench didn’t reach the target even after the specified torque because the tensile strength, come from the hardened bolt and soft aluminum thread that hold the bolt tight and the bolt itself have a high weakness point because of half thread bolt design, Specified torque : For 12mm bolt : 27 Nm (20 lb-ft) and for 10mm bolt : 9.8 Nm (7.2 lb-ft), so, that’s just a small torque, almost hand tighten,  to prevent I come out with my drilling technique, I used this method, I named it “as know as good configuration technique'” I marking every single bolt, red for bolt, blue for base (camshaft holder plate), I just stretched it a little with flat screwdriver, depend on you, as long as there are markings that permanent or temporary permanent.

Then loosen the bolt with very gently that you can, start from green circle bolts to the sequence, remember, very gently, Leave all the bolts in the holes, and take off the camshaft holder plate and MAKE SURE with all bolts stick with the the original camshaft holder holes, if not, all that you done above is useless.

Next is to remove the passenger side camshaft holder, again, gently loosen this two 10mm bolts, I think, if we frequently practice this, we will become more gentlemen I said!

Don’t pry the camshaft holder using screw driver or something to take it out! Warning, or you will regret, a light tap with a rubber mallet (don’t use a regular hammer!) or wood stick should free these up.


And this is the right time if you want to replace VTEC solenoid gasket. Clean and dry the matting surfaces.

Shopping time!

All the job above is to make sure this thing sit properly. This is metal cap wrapped with rubber. You also can use aftermarket seal make from aluminum and have a double or triple oil ring for more durability, for example from skunk2, blox, etc.

After the cleaning process, apply the liquid gasket, only the area shown below, just lightly…

Put the new cam cap. Properly install, I’m pretty sure you don’t want to repeat every step above.

But, in the end, I end up using Skunk2 Cam Seal

If you want to follow my technique, then, tighten all bolts using three step, first, finger tighten from bolt 1 to 14,

Second, tighten the bolts at the green point (invisible point, just estimated) from bolt 1 to 14,

Third, fully tighten the bolts to the blue point from bolt 1 to 14, if you want to use a torque wrench, there are also three step, for example for 10mm bolts, first : finger tighten, second : 6 Nm and lastly : 9.8 Nm. Good luck!

Install the valve cover gasket, make sure the valve cover gasket is seated securely in the corners of the recesses with no gap. Apply liquid gasket to the valve cover gasket at the eight corners of the recesses, just lightly. Actually, as long as the seal is soft we could reuse them.

Install everything back, just the opposite of removal. Make sure you tighten the valve cover bolts to about 8ft lbs, and follow the sequences, for me, hand tighten is just OK, check the engine oil, refill if needed, check that all tubes, hoses, cables and connectors are installed correctly, wait at least 30 minutes before filling the engine with oil or to turn on the engine, to make sure the liquid gasket is completely dry.

Inspect the valve cover for any oil leaks, and inspect around the cam seal as well. Clean off the area around the cam seal, and inspect later on to see if your oil leakage has stopped. Observe the camshaft cap end over the next few days of normal engine running. If there is a slight leak , you can run a bit of sealant around the end to seal it up. Otherwise do this DIY again and get it right .

Another leaking point is terminated!