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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
The reason I replaced my valve cover gaskets was because my oil was leaking into my spark plug well and it caused my car to have a really hard idle and misfire. After switching the gaskets, sparkplugs, and wires the leak stopped and my car has been driving better than ever. I'm not responsible for anything that happens to your car. I just made this post to assist anyone that wants to replace their valve cover gaskets because I could not find much information on doing so for my year mustang.
First I removed the negative battery terminal with a 5/16th wrench and set it aside so it won’t interact with the battery when you’re working.
Next I removed the coil pack. First I removed all the spark plug wires from the coil pack, then unclipped the plug on the top, and then proceeded to remove the 3 bolts with a 7 mm socket wrench. I took the screws and put them in a plastic bag and wrote “coil pack” on it with sharpie because I didn’t feel like having to struggle to find the screws later.
Next I removed the air intake. There are two screws that need to be removed, you can remove them with a flathead screwdriver. I believe there is a wire that needs to be unplugged towards the front of the car. The hose connected to the air intake and the valve cover needs to be removed also. When it is all loosened it just needs to be maneuvered out.
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Next I removed the throttle body. There might be another way to get the valve cover out without having to remove the throttle body but I found it to be easier to just remove it. First remove the connector on the left side of the throttle body.
Next remove the cable by pushing back on the throttle and sliding it off.
Next remove the 4 bolts on the throttle body with a deep 10 mm socket wrench and then pull it off.
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Then I moved back to the driver side and removed the hose that is connected to the valve cover.
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I moved hoses on the passenger side around to give the most room possible. I’d recommend taking picture before you start moving them because then you have a point of reference for when you begin reassembling everything. Also be careful that you don’t break any of the tubes. I moved a skinny hose that went to the intake manifold so I wouldn’t break it and a few wires. There was one tube that I didn’t want to remove so I just turned it and it was out of the way.
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At this point I felt like I had enough clearance so I moved on to removing the valve covers. I’ve seen people recommend to clean around them first just to make sure you didn’t get a bunch of gunk in your engine. There are 5 bolts on each side, 3 on the bottom and 2 on the top. Some of the bolts need a deep socket and others don’t. Remove the bolts with an 8 mm socket wrench. Take a picture of which bolt went where for later reference.
On the driver side the only bolt that needs a deep socket wrench is the one on the bottom in the middle. The rear one is a pain in the butt due to the brake booster giving you no room to work. I didn’t have a regular wrench that was 8 mm so I had to use standard which was 5/16 and it came off easily.
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The Passenger side doesn’t give much room to work, I believe the top rear bolt was the hardest to get off.
When removing the valve cover BE CAREFUL. I would do it slow just in case so you don’t drop anything into your engine. My valve cover gaskets did not have any metals rings to fall into the engine but I read some stories of people who did, it just doesn’t hurt to be careful. The passenger side is hard to get off, I had to just move it around for a while until I finally got it out.
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After the valve covers are taken off make sure you have all of the gasket off and then go and clean the valve covers. Get some of the sludge off, I used simple green and water but it was mostly just elbow grease. Don’t scrub too hard where there is paint though because my paint was previously bubbling and it started cracking in a few places where I had cleaned it.
Next go to where the valve cover gaskets were and try removing as much of the residue as possible. This is probably the part that takes the longest. I just kept on scrubbing until I got most of it off. The cleaner you get them the more reliable your new gaskets will be when you put them on. Make sure you don’t get a bunch of dirt in the engine though.
If you bought the gaskets that came with the little circle pieces then remove the bolts and the assembly and there will be little rubber circles on the inside. Slide them off and put on the new ones.
(If you’re replacing these you most likely had an oil leak that may have leaked into your spark plugs. If so I’d recommend to replace the spark plugs and wires since you already have everything moved to easily access them. American Muscle has great deals on spark plugs and wires.)
After everything is cleaned and dry then put on your new gaskets and put your valve covers back on. Make sure that they lay on flat. When tightening them make sure you do not over tighten them. If you tighten them too much then they may leak even more than they did before and you might even need to get new gaskets. I read to make them just snug. When you’re tightening them try to keep the pressure equal. Go from one corner then to the opposite corner. (Top left, then bottom right, then bottom left, top right, and lastly the bottom middle) This will help them go on evenly.
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Next reinstall everything, make sure that all your hoses are put back and that everything is plugged back in. When reattaching your spark plug wires to your coil pack here is how they should be set up. http://1.cdn.lib.americanmuscle.com/files/guide-50201_14232-cust-05.jpg Check your pictures from before to see that everything lines up. Then re attach your negative battery terminal and you’re done.
If anything is wrong just comment and I’ll try to fix it, this is my first write up.
 

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Forgot to add, Dont eat a bowl of lucky charms cereal and put it on top of the intake, cause you could spill your cereal into the engine.
 

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Thanks for the great write up

What I'm wondering is do you _always_ have to replace the gaskets- might pick some up before removing drivers side valve cover, and if gasket looks good I wont replace heh
 

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Discussion Starter #5
No problem! You might not need to but it's only a $20 part so if you're going through all that to take off the valve covers it seems practical to just replace the gaskets while you're at it. Save you the time in the long run.
 

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I have only been on this forum a week or so since I bought my mustang...When I look at some of the older posts such as this I am amazed at the professionalism involved with some of the writing....Very well done!!! It is difficult to try to explain something to someone as complex as a car but you have done a great job detailing the steps involved....
 

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Thanks for the great write up

What I'm wondering is do you _always_ have to replace the gaskets- might pick some up before removing drivers side valve cover, and if gasket looks good I wont replace heh
I would recommend always replacing gaskets especially ones with rubber or paper materials. When you remove them your pretty much destroying the seal that they make. Most metal gaskets like you find on exhaust can be reused.

And to the OP thanks for the instructional. I was just thinking today that it would be a good idea to remove them polish the outside up and get new gaskets but was wondering what the best way would be. Mine too have signs they have leaked but not as bad as you have experienced.
 
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