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Old 12-06-2020, 03:00 PM #1
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Oil leak after getting valve cover replaced

I recently got the valve cover replaced to try and fix an oil leak that had developed. The thought was that the shop could tell that it was leaking from there, but not sure if additional leaks from other areas so just did that a couple months ago. There is still a leak and seems to be getting progressively worse with larger spots developing where I park after driving. Here is a picture from where the oil drips from. There is oil on everything under the car as high as the starter. The shop suggested I bring it back in. Any thoughts on what else could be leaking? This is a 2002 with 154k on the clock.


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Old 12-06-2020, 05:44 PM #2
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Did they replace the Cam plugs and use sealant and remove and reseal the 4 half moons, I could see this step skipped. Or they got a halfmoon crooked and or didn't use sealant over the cam plugs and cam seals where the VC gasket loops over these round locations. The only place oil can come from above the oil pan is the oil filter and valve covers.
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Old 12-06-2020, 06:03 PM #3
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Originally Posted by Malcolm99 View Post
Did they replace the Cam plugs and use sealant and remove and reseal the 4 half moons, I could see this step skipped. Or they got a halfmoon crooked and or didn't use sealant over the cam plugs and cam seals where the VC gasket loops over these round locations. The only place oil can come from above the oil pan is the oil filter and valve covers.
This is my thought too. If the didn't use black sealant (oil sealant) on the cylinder head in the creases it will leak 100% of the time. The spots above the half moons can also be an issue if the mating surface isn't flush, though I've seen the gasket alone seal these ok.
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Old 12-06-2020, 06:15 PM #4
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Sounds like you hired the wrong shop to do this for you. Yet another reinforcing example why it's better to do your own work if you have the time, tools and the space so you know it gets done right.

Watch the video below to learn how the job should have been done and then go back to shop to ask clarifying questions to see where they went wrong. Like others have stated, it's not just the valve cover gaskets that get replaced when you do this job right. You have to replace the cam plugs. You should pull the 4 half moons and reseal them. You should replace the spark plug tube seals. You should replace all 16 valve cover bolt washers. You should replace the plenum gaskets. You should clean the throttle body while you have it off. You need to put Toyota Black FIPG or similar gasket maker at the appropriate spots on the heads. You have to torque the valve covers down properly.

You basically need to either do it yourself or find a shop or independent mechanic that gives a shit the job gets done right.


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Old 06-05-2021, 01:56 PM #5
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I know this is an old thread, but this addresses my issue exactly. The wrong shop DID do my valve cover gasket replacement. They did not replace the cam plugs and reseal them. They did not torque the valve covers down appropriately.

Now, the valve covers are torqued correctly, and, unfortunately, some oil is still leaking from the cam plugs, though very minimal.

My questions is, should I take the valve covers off again (this was just done in April 2021) just to replace/reseal the cam plugs?

I do not have the tools to do this myself, but I do have another shop to go to now that I do trust. I can afford to have this done, though am not excited about paying again 3 months later. The question is for this 1999 4Runner, what is the urgency to fix this pretty small leak given that there is a list of other things to fix and my goal is not perfection but just keeping it running?
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Old 06-06-2021, 12:58 AM #6
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I know this is an old thread, but this addresses my issue exactly. The wrong shop DID do my valve cover gasket replacement. They did not replace the cam plugs and reseal them. They did not torque the valve covers down appropriately.

Now, the valve covers are torqued correctly, and, unfortunately, some oil is still leaking from the cam plugs, though very minimal.

My questions is, should I take the valve covers off again (this was just done in April 2021) just to replace/reseal the cam plugs?

I do not have the tools to do this myself, but I do have another shop to go to now that I do trust. I can afford to have this done, though am not excited about paying again 3 months later. The question is for this 1999 4Runner, what is the urgency to fix this pretty small leak given that there is a list of other things to fix and my goal is not perfection but just keeping it running?
You can get down to the valve covers with nothing more than a $19.99 metric socket wrench kit from Walmart. I say do it yourself!
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Old 06-06-2021, 04:07 PM #7
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I go back and forth on it. As far as all the tools, you might be right, though I've watched several videos of people taking off the valve covers, and some of those bolts look pretty difficult if not impossible to get to without extenders, and my basic socket set has one. I think honestly what I am more nervous about is the multitude of things, including the upper and lower plenum, wiring harness, etc etc that have to be taken off to reach both gasket covers.

Again, I just don't know if it is all worth it (either paying someone or me changing them) for the tiny amount of oil it's leaking.

One opinion (from another 4Runner owner) is that it is worth all of it, even though it is a small amount of oil, because of where the cam plugs are/where the oil is leaking, they need to be changed and resealed, because at highway speeds the camshaft is not properly lubricated.
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Old 06-06-2021, 06:55 PM #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motoraway View Post
I go back and forth on it. As far as all the tools, you might be right, though I've watched several videos of people taking off the valve covers, and some of those bolts look pretty difficult if not impossible to get to without extenders, and my basic socket set has one. I think honestly what I am more nervous about is the multitude of things, including the upper and lower plenum, wiring harness, etc etc that have to be taken off to reach both gasket covers.

Again, I just don't know if it is all worth it (either paying someone or me changing them) for the tiny amount of oil it's leaking.

One opinion (from another 4Runner owner) is that it is worth all of it, even though it is a small amount of oil, because of where the cam plugs are/where the oil is leaking, they need to be changed and resealed, because at highway speeds the camshaft is not properly lubricated.
I would agree with the 4runner owner that said it is all worth it. I just replaced valve cover gaskets, washers, spark plug o rings, cam shaft plugs etc. the valve cover gaskets are not a particularly difficult job but attention to detail is critical. the cam shaft might be harder. I had the dealer do it for me, I didn't feel comfortable nor had the time to leisurely go about the job since this is my daily driver and it needs to be operational. I'm glad I replaced everything at once. the throttle body etc. was cleaned on it's own not too long ago, might as well do that too while everything is apart. if you want to keep your truck for a while longer do the work or have a good shop do it for you
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