Retorquing bolts after gasket replacement

So, I just had the valve cover gaskets and the exhaust manifold gaskets in my 2003 Dodge Caravan SE (3.3L flex fuel engine) replaced. After a bit the car started experiencing a rough idle, where the car would vibrate when idling. When first started, the vibration would be faint, but once the engine was warmed up, the vibration at idle would be very pronounced.

I read that when replacing the valve cover gaskets or exhaust manifold gaskets, that you’re supposed to retorque the bolts after about 100 miles, because the material compresses and settles. I’ve only driven it 30 miles since they were replaced, but still.

Anyway, I’m bringing it back to the shop to have them address the issue. I asked the service manager why they didn’t mention to come back after 100 miles to retorque the bolts, since that’s what you’re supposed to do.

His response was that retorquing isn’t really needed, since “that’s normally not a thing on valve covers or cast iron manifolds.”

Interested in hearing people’s opinions on this.


Which engine?

3.3 L Flex Fuel. I’m edit the post with that info too.

Once a fastener has been properly torqued, there should be no reason to have go back and torque it again.


So, basically, if the car is vibrating at idle (and the vibrations are VERY pronounced!) that would probably mean that they didn’t properly torque the bolts in the first place, right?

I mean, you can sit in the driver’s seat at a light and feel your whole body vibrating from it. LOL Only started after about 30 miles after the work was done.

Right. I highly doubt it would shake enough to back off a few threads.

Anyways the service information does not mention to go back to retorque after driving it, so I wouldn’t bother. Listen to the manufacture service information. If it was required it would say it.

What did they do when you brought it back, anything?

I just dropped it off tonight. They’re going to look at it in the morning.

As I just posted right before your comment, if the car is vibrating at idle (and the vibrations are VERY pronounced!) that would probably mean that they didn’t properly torque the bolts in the first place, right?

I doubt it. It would likely just be leaking oil. Or you would it vibrate, but that vibration shouldn’t shake the whole car, from an improperly installed valve cover gasket.

Is it leaking oil after installation of the new gasket?

I didn’t look under the hood after it started vibrating, so not sure

Also, keep in mind that they also replaced the exhaust manifold gasket. So if that was the cause of the vibration, there wouldn’t be any oil.

Yea id check. I mean maybe if there is no valve cover (omg) because they forgot to put it back on. it would be very loud and maybe vibrate a lot. Not sure. Never been in a car that had the valve cover completely missing lol.

I don’t think that’s it. It’s not very loud. And the problem didn’t happen right away. Only after I drove it about 30 miles. If it was missing a valve cover, I’d imagine the problem would start right away.

You have no idea what the hell you’re talking about.



This is true! LOL

Yea I highly doubt an exhaust leak would vibrate the whole car, it would just be very loud while accelerating, especially up hills.

Let us know what they say. Likely an unrelated issue to valve cover and exhaust manifold gasket replacement.

Seems like an awful big coincidence if it’s not related. I should note they also replaced the catalytic converter. I didn’t mention that because I didn’t think it was significant. But maybe it is.

But, yeah, definitely not loud when accelerating.

None of the work recently done to your van would cause that severe vibration at idle

Maybe you have a bad mount . . .


Well, that could be. Is it possible that the mount might have gotten damaged when they did the recent work? I’ve had the car for 17 years, and I’ve never felt any vibrations at all, not even slight vibrations.

Possibilities are endless. Find a new shop.

No, it more likely means you have a new problem