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  #1  
Old 14th January 2010
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Joomja Joomja is offline
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Question Saab 9-3 Valve Cover Gasket Replacement

Hey all,

I went to the mechanic a few weeks ago to repair my exhaust system and he said that I had an oil leak......most likely from a broken valve cover gasket.

Anyway I have a couple of questions:

1. How exactly do I replace the valve cover gasket on my 2002 Saab 9-3 SE?
2. Do I apply dielectric grease or is tightening the bolts enough?
3. Is 20 ft lbs of torque sufficient??

-pictures would help-
Thanks a bunch,
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Last edited by Joomja; 14th January 2010 at 08:08 PM.
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  #2  
Old 14th January 2010
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Jeremy R. Jeremy R. is offline
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The gasket just fits on the bottom of the valve cover. Remove the DI Cassette, unbolt the valve cover, and put on a new gasket. You'll need to stick it on with a little grease so the gasket doesn't fall out when you flip the valve
cover over. No grease is needed on the bolts, and 20 lb-ft is way too tight. 11 lb-ft is all Saab recommends. The tightening sequence and torque is on the last page of this service bulletin: http://www.TownsendImports.Com/Saab_..._1704_utg2.PDF
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Old 14th January 2010
busaboy busaboy is offline
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You first said "...a broken valve cover...," then you asked about the gasket. Is the cover itself cracked, or is the gasket "broken?"
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Old 14th January 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeremy R. View Post
The gasket just fits on the bottom of the valve cover. Remove the DI Cassette, unbolt the valve cover, and put on a new gasket. You'll need to stick it on with a little grease so the gasket doesn't fall out when you flip the valve
cover over. No grease is needed on the bolts, and 20 lb-ft is way too tight. 11 lb-ft is all Saab recommends. The tightening sequence and torque is on the last page of this service bulletin: http://www.TownsendImports.Com/Saab_..._1704_utg2.PDF
Thanks for the information. Much appreciated.
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Old 14th January 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by busaboy View Post
You first said "...a broken valve cover...," then you asked about the gasket. Is the cover itself cracked, or is the gasket "broken?"
Hey.Sorry for the ambiguity.

The mechanic said that the "Valve Cover Gasket" is broken and not the "Valve Cover" itself.
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Old 14th January 2010
busaboy busaboy is offline
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Well, then...what Jeremy said....
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Old 16th January 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeremy R. View Post
No grease is needed on the bolts, and 20 lb-ft is way too tight. 11 lb-ft is all Saab recommends.
It seems like there is a lot of conflicting information:

"11 lb-ft" is all Saab recommends.

"20 ft-lb" at the saab site
http://www.thesaabsite.com/Valve%20C...placement.html

My Chilton Mechanic service Manual says about.."72 inch lbs = 6 ft-lb" of torque

so...which one is correct?
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Old 3rd June 2010
Hardeepone Hardeepone is offline
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I've more than a handful of times "72 inch lbs = or 6 ft-lb" of torque. Thats what I used on my car, and no cracks.
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Old 3rd June 2010
Tweek's Turbos Tweek's Turbos is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joomja View Post

Nope,
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheSaabSite
Remove the Red DI Cassette by removing the 4 screws in the middle of it.
Remove all bolts in the valve cover both on the inside of the cover and around the outer rim of the valve cover
Remove the valve cover,
Flip the valve cover upside down,
Clean the valve cover and reinstall the new valve cover gasket, the tabs on the gasket should hold it in place
Be careful when turning the valve cover back over so that the gasket does not get pinched during the reinstall
Tighten the valve cover bolts to app. 11 ft lbs of torque
Re-install the DI cassette and you done!
Definately also says 11 ft pounds.

Its good to recheck and tighten everything after a week or so sometimes when things warm up they loosen a bit.
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Old 3rd June 2010
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Over-tightening is the common problem; if 72 inch pounds work, stick with it.
Miscommunication is another...for the Saab valve cover, 20 ft pounds would be far too much.
VW used spring clamps for years; Chevrolet (maybe as aftermarket) used springs and thumbscrews.
Happy Torquing
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Old 3rd June 2010
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Exactly right - my '74 VW bug had these spring clamps that held the valve covers on. You just needed a big screwdriver to pry the clamp up. I did make a bad decision to use cork gaskets instead of rubber (maybe rubber instead of cork) and the bottom edge of the gasket absorbed oil and expanded, and developed a big leak. I ran out of oil on the Penn turnpike and a trucker was nice enough to stop and give me a couple quarts of oil. That was back in '81... Ron
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Old 2nd February 2011
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Default Don't forget!

I replaced my valve cover gasket thinking it would stop all the oil leaks only to find out the there is a "plug" with an O-ring on the right side of the motor (if you are facing it from the front) that is still leaking. Now I have to take it back down again and replace the O-ring. What a mess!!!
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Old 2nd February 2011
busaboy busaboy is offline
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Isn't that part of the gasket?
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  #14  
Old 2nd February 2011
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The plug is separate, and doesn't have an o-ring on it. When you replace it, seal it up with some black RTV sealant. Those dumb things don't stay leak free for long without sealant.
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Old 2nd February 2011
sunday_rider08 sunday_rider08 is offline
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Default O-ring

I bought an O-ring for it from the SAAB dealer. I guess if there is no O-ring on it I will just take it back but there was one in the schematic so......
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Old 2nd February 2011
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While your in there I would also replace the distributor plug gasket, it leaks as well, its the little circle guy on the front drivers side of the engine and costs $5 or less. Knock it out using the spark plug socket and a rubber mallet. Install the same way.

While open see how clean your head is and if there is any sludge. If you see any black gunk buildup run an AutoRX flush through it to clean it up.

Also, when you take the screws off the valve cover, don't expect it just to pop off. Have a properly weighted rubber mallet available to give it a couple of whacks. You'll know when its ready to pop off because the sounds will change tone.

Also, when reinstalling it, use a little vaseline in there valve cover grooves to hold the gasket in place when you flip it over. Trust me, it will make your life 1000 times easier putting it back on.
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Old 15th March 2011
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Hi all. I replaced my valve cover gasket with the one I got from thesaabsite.com as part of the 120000 mile service kit. Now it's leaking from the front of the cover. I took it off again to make sure it was seated in the grove properly and it was. Torqued it in order to 11 ft-lbs like the Haynes manual says. Any ideas what the problem could be? I don't see any cracks, and the leak seems to be even along the whole front, not concentrated around the bolts. Their gasket fits around the bolt holes as well.

I have no idea what to do, I figured something like this would "just work"
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Old 15th March 2011
busaboy busaboy is offline
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It does "just work." The only possible problem I could imagine is that it is coming out of the groove somewhat when you flip it over.
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Old 15th March 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by busaboy View Post
It does "just work." The only possible problem I could imagine is that it is coming out of the groove somewhat when you flip it over.
Very weird. I'm positive that's not the case, because when I took it off again, it was all "stuck" in the groove, and if it had been out of it, there would have been evidence where the gasket was squished.

Is there another model that has the same size valve cover but a skinnier groove? Maybe I've gotten the wrong gasket? I've emailed thesaabsite to ask them if that's the case.

To what extent does the cleaning of the mating surfaces need to be done? I mean the old one only stuck in one or two small spots, and I scraped it off mostly, but now I'm wondering if I needed to like polish the surfaces, especially inside of the groove. My intuition says that it's leaking way too much for that to be the reason though....

Last edited by meelash; 15th March 2011 at 08:28 PM.
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  #20  
Old 15th March 2011
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"Mostly?" This "gasket" is an o-ring-type, right?

If there is old gasket material, bits of old sealant (put in there previously by a clueless mechanic) or any other type of dirt or crap in the groove or on the head surface, that could affect the sealing. The groove should be completely clean, and the mating surface on the head should be clean and shiny.

The gasket goes in without any sealant; sometimes people will put a TRACE of gasket adhesive or grease in the groove to adhere the gasket when they turn over the valve cover to put it on the head.
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