Replacing valve cover gaskets

Own a 2000 Camry XLE 6-cyl. Both valve cover gaskets are leaking. Rear one leaks onto manifold and causes stench. Have been quoted $350. to replace because the job is complicated. Have any of you done this on your own, and if so, would you recommend it or go to a qualified mechanic?
S V Tribute

I would try it, see at the auto parts store what they cost, it is simple remove bolts, put in new gasket, then torque bolts (I think but there are no guarantees), that does not just mean a torque wrench as a free loaner from the auto parts store but in addition a sequential progression of tightening bolts a bit at a time. If you are really lucky you might get away with just snugging up the bolts.

valve cover gaskets are pretty easy to do. You need to get a gasket kit, a socket set and a manual. The whole thing will be a lot less than the $350 they want to charge you.

If you get a 3/8" ratchet and socket set and hold the ratchet by the head as you tighten the bolts, you will put on about the right torque for the cover bolts.

You will need to temporarily disconnect or reroute any hoses, wiring or cables that go over the valve covers. IIf you have sparkplugs that are in the center of the valve cover, the there will be a seal or two for each plug location, they will be in the kit.

Don’t use any additional sealant unless the manual calls for it.

I’ve done several…you need to remove the intake runners of the intake manifold…I do believe that they separate rather nicely at some halfway point? I’ve done (3) 95-96-7 models…not a 00’ tho but I dont think they are much different at all…prob the same actually. Its obvious when you look at it…but Im fairly certain this is the one and only way you will ever even see that rear valve cover…is with that intake partly removed… Just take your time and label the hoses and connections if you don think you will remember them…a digital camera is a HUGE FRIEND in these cases…take as many snaps as you want b4 you touch it…this has saved my ass more than a few x when I took something apart for the first time and go to finish the job a week later bec of a parts screw up…lol


$350 is right in the ballpark for price. You’ll need to remove the upper intake manifold, a few vacuum hoses and solenoids, small coolant hoses and the ignition coils to get to the valve covers. Might as well replace the spark plugs while all that is out. Take your time and you’ll be fine.

With side-winding V6’s, its usually an access problem getting to the fasteners on that back cover…

Thanks to ALL who offered advice on valve gaskets. I’m not unfamiliar with engines, so I’m going to give it a sho
P.S. Honda Blackbird. The digital camera pics is a great idea. I’m assuming that your experience was on Toyatas and not Hondas, as your name would indicate, right? Caddyman: by side-winding, do you mean engine facing fenders vs. radiator? I’m not familiar with that term.

I’d get a Chiltons or Haynes to help, along with the digital camera. Nothing major, but lots of small steps you want to get right. And yep, that’s what sidewinding means.

Do you have a good selection of ratchets/extensions/swivel joints?

No my experience is ALL over the place in the Auto world… The name I chose on here is from the Speed Machine that I ride… a CBR1100XX or the Honda Blackbird. I usually find myself working on Honda, Toyota, Nissan, BMW, Audi etc…probably due to their popularity more than anything else. Everyone has one or the other it seems these days. I work on everything…I’d say if I had to put a label on it that I favor the foreign makes from A to Z . I can work/service ANY vehicle, the make is irrelevant.


After much reading and studying the bolt layout for the covers AND the plenum, I decided to tackle this job. Big mistake! Broke my new 1/2" hammer drill on second (allen wrench head) bolt I tried to remove from plenum. As a professional handyman, and having had some experience working on cars, I cannot agree that this is not a big job to undertake. I decided this effort wasn’t worth the angst it was causing, so I gave job to Toyota. They did it in about an hour-and-a-half. As much as I hated paying almost $400., I think saving my sanity was worth it. I’ll stick to oil and plug changes. Roger