Volvo 2000 S70 HAs 205,000 miles: Reseal Valve Cover for $600?

I imagine that is not unusual at this mileage?

Is $600 expensive?

How soon might the whole engine go If I dont repair immediately?

It is only leaking ever so slightly

Should I repair or buy a new car?

If you really mean the valve cover, and not the head gasket, I would say you do not have a serious problem. Most of us grew up with leaking valve cover gaskets, which were simple pieces of cork in those days and vented to the atmosphere. Those old engines would actually run quite well without a valve cover or a gasket, except for the dirt contamination.

Nowadays they are air tight for emission reasons, but some oil leaking does not impair engine performance, unless it leaks on the spark plugs. The $600 to fix it seems high, but that probably is a dealer quote. A leaking gasket is certainly worth fixing IF the rest of the car is in good shape. I would get a second estimate from a good independent mechanic who knows Volvos. On a small economy car this would be a $200 fix at most.

In short, there is no need to buy a new car and a well maintained Volvo with 200,000 miles on it has a good deal of life left.

If you sick of the car, and have $30,000 burning in your pocket, by all means buy a new car.


More Info.

Apparently some oil is in the spark plug wells as I just got new ignition coils which lasted 205000 miles… Not bad at all.
The repairman is an independent whom I have trusted Says The Valve Cover needs to be resealed. AN all day job.
No I do not ahve 30000.00 to burn…

Thanks again

Oh maybe the secretary meant head gasket instead of valve cover.
But if it is leaking into spark plugs I best do something. Any possibility it is just the cap leaking?>

Thanks for the further explanation. Yes, fix it to avoid expensive plug and coil problems. The location of the coils demands it. Volvos cost more to fix than other cars, so $600 may well be what you end up paying.

At least you got a proper diagnosis. Good luck!

The valve cover uses a liquid sealer between two precision machined surfaces. Also, the oil pressure circuit for the lifters travels between this seal. Also, the valve cover holds down the two camshafts. There are almost 28 bolts holding the valve cover on to prevent it from warping.

To reseal the valve cover, the timing belt must be removed to prevent damage to the camshafts. To refit, special tools are required to lower the valve cover evenly on the camshafts and to time the camshafts to re-fit the timing belt.

It’s a fairly complicated job, nothing like a simple valve cover job on a Chevy or Toyota. Since the pressurized oil circuit depends on the sealed valve cover, ignoring this will cause more problems, like mis-fires due to oil contamination between the spark plug and coil, and eventually a pressurized oil leak.

That job is a huge pain in the ass, the cams are attached to the cover and have to be locked prior to valve cover removal, the cams come out with the cover. As busted knuckles stated the mating surfaces use a liquid sealer and an ‘O’ ring per plug.

The $600 you have been quoted is a really good price for that job, check with the dealer for his quote, but make sure you’re sitting down.

Just 1 point - that engine needs NEGATIVE crankcase pressure. If the breather box is plugged up with gunk, oil will get out anywhere it can - usually the spark plug ‘O’ ring seals.

With the engine running remove your dipstick and put a tissue on top of the dipstick tube. If you can see it sucking air through the dipstick tube you’re okay, otherwise there is no vacuum and you’ll need to replace the breather box (PCV equivalent). The inlet manifold will need to come off to replace the box and lines.

Check this before you replace the cover seals since even if you go ahead and replace this it will still leak if the breather box is blocked.

Replacing the box may also fix the oil leak.

Thanks Busted Knuckles; I did not think it was that complicated on a Volvo. In view of that, the $600 price is not excessive.

Yeah, I forgot about the negative crankcase pressure. We had to replace the crankcase vacuum lines on my cousin’s car while we were replacing the head gasket. Luckily, everthing was still sealed up OK, and it tested good.

What a poor design…A money pit for sure. Time to go car shopping…