A timing cover leak shouldn't be ignored as it can deplete the much-needed oil in your engine while your car is working, and therefore cause big engine troubles. While the replacement of the cover may involve the removal of several vehicle components, it can be done by DIYers with average mechanical knowledge and skills. So if you have basic automotive tools as well as enough mechanical know-how, why not save yourself from the skyrocketing timing cover leak repair cost by doing the task all by yourself?
Here is a step-by-step guide on how you can replace a leaky timing cover:
What you'll need:
- Drain pan
- Gasket sealer
- Gasket scraper
- Automotive tool kit
- RTV silicone sealant
- Vehicle's service manual
- New timing cover and gasket
Preparing the vehicle
Step 1: Before you do any DIY task, make sure that the vehicle is parked in a solid, level ground.
Step 2: Once you're sure that the engine has cooled down completely, disengage the battery cables. Use a wrench to loosen the bolts that hold the battery cables in place.
Draining the engine coolant
Step 3: Locate the T-shaped petcock, which is usually situated at the bottom of the vehicle's radiator, and put the drain pan underneath.
Step 4: Loosen and take out the radiator cap. Get your pair of pliers and start loosening the petcock by turning it counterclockwise. Don't stop turning until the petcock is completely open to allow the engine coolant to drain from the radiator.
Removing the timing cover
Step 5: Remove all the components that may obstruct your access to the leaky cover. Depending on the vehicle model, you may need to remove the harmonic balancer, radiator, water pump, fan shroud, or fan blade. Consult your manual so you'll know beforehand what parts you'll have to deal with.
Step 6: Find the engine oil pan at the bottom part of the engine. Using a socket, loosen the bolts that hold the pan in place and drop the pan down just enough to detach the timing cover's front seal from the oil pan.
Step 7: With the right socket wrench, loosen and remove the bolts that secure the timing cover to the engine, and finally, take out the old and leaky cover.
Step 8: Get your gasket scraper and rid the engine block of any remains of the old gasket.
Installing the new timing cover
Step 9: Apply sealant on the engine side of the gasket and install it on the engine. With the dowel-pins in the engine block, align the dowel-pin holes in the gasket. Spread gasket sealant on the other side of the gasket, where the cover will be installed.
Step 10: Also apply RTV silicone sealant on the side where the oil pan seal and oil pan gasket meet and the surface where the oil pan seal meets with the pan's front lip.
Step 11: Install the new timing cover in place while aligning the dowel-pins in the engine using the dowel-pin holes. Carefully bolt the cover to the engine and make sure all its fasteners are torqued to specifications, as stated in the manual.
Step 12: Put back and tighten the oil pan bolts and torque them to specifications. Also, reinstall all the parts that you removed earlier when you're accessing the leaky cover.
Step 13: Close your T-shaped petcock and refill your radiator with coolant. Reconnect your battery cables.
Step 14: Start the engine and allow it to reach its operating temperature. As the thermostat opens, you may need to add more coolant to the radiator. Observe the front of the engine. There should be no coolant or engine oil leaks.