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Gaskets fused to valve cover

Hi, I have an 03 Neon that has a few problems. When I was looking into a misfire I noticed that 3 of my spark plugs had oil leaking from on top onto them.

I bought a valve cover gasket kit that came with the spark plug tube gaskets and have everything taken apart, only to find out that I can’t get the old gaskets out of the valve cover. I’ve looked around an a lot of people have suggestions of how to pry / bang them out, but nothing’s worked so far. I’ve tried gasket remover solvent but it didn’t seem to do anything.

I can’t just put it back on and run with it as one of the gaskets broke as I tried to pull it. I can grab the metal ring inside it with pliers but even directly pulling on it can’t get it to budge.

Am I going to be stuck buying a new valve cover? Or does anyone know how to get these things out?

They can’t be “banged” or “pryed” out. They must be scraped. You can pick up a handy gasket scraper at the nearest auto parts store or use a sharpened paint scraper.

'‘Fused to valve cover’'
Might in fact be the way they were made. Not sure about the neon but I’ve seen many molded-in gaskets where the OE replacement is to buy the whole valve cover.
The aftermarket gasket will work when you use a blade to cut the old gasket flat with the facing edge of the cover.

If it takes an hour of scraping (and a big vise to hold the cover that you do not have) it just may work out better to buy the new valve cover. For me, valve covers leaks are one I can put up with for quite a while before I decide to do something. The reason is stuff like this.

I’m assuming this is a stamp-steel valve cover and NOT cast.

Get a gasket scraper…It’ll take time, but it works fine…

When done scraping…I usually get some medium grade sand paper and sand the valve cover.

I also will go around to each of the bolt holes and hammer them smooth. Sometimes they’ll depress when you tighten a bolt down.

And don’t forget to scrape any gasket material off the heads.

Two words: heat gun.

Most things that appear impervious to all methods will yield when softened up with a heat gun. Seems like most manfrs are using adhesive to make assembly easier and limit leaks during the critical warranty period :wink:

I’ll try this first, the auto store didn’t mention this when I asked how to remove them but maybe they just didn’t think of it. Are they easy to use w/o damaging the surrounding valve cover (plastic)?

Gasket might be a bad term, these are maybe a 1/4" thick and have a reinforcing metal ring built into it (which is likely what’s keeping the pressure so tight on it). I have seen photos where someone removed them so I know they come out. Unfortunately these are recessed into the valve cover and are pretty much level with it so I can’t just overlay a new one on top of the old.

Is this what it looks like? Made out of plastic?

Yeah, I thought this would be a quick hour or so project, but when I broke one of the gaskets I figured I really had to replace them. If I could get a new valve cover for < $150 I’d definitely do it, this is such a huge pain.

Yep that’s the one, some sort of hard plastic. I’m worried about scratching it if I get too aggressive pulling the gaskets.

Any idea what temp I should try? It’s a plastic valve cover so I don’t know how hot I could go w/o damaging it…

You’re right to be careful. Steel valve cover on a cast iron head? Go at it with a gasket scraper, you won’t hurt anything. But plastic cover and aluminum heads are another matter!

What would you recommend for a plastic cover? Seems like it would be pretty easy to ding it up

So, I replaced the gaskets (easy once I figured out what I could cut of, where to pry with needlenose pliers, and how much I had to get off before the whole thing would come off) and put the valve cover back on. I used my torque wrench set to 105 lb/in as stated in the Haynes repair manual… and one of the bolts broke, and the bump to the cover broke others (or perhaps the torque wrench broke them and I didn’t realize at the time)!!!

Oh no oh no oh no…