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Another 1 Hour Job - Valve Cover Spiff


gastephens
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I had a nicely detailed valve cover but it was warped and leaked so I did a quicky swap with a dull but unmolested one I had laying around. That fixed the leak but the new one was pretty ugly.

I lived with it while I fixed everything else but I had some time last week so I decided to make it presentable. Some day I might paint it or polish it but this made a huge difference with a little effort.

While engine was cold, I pulled it off carefully and wiped up the excess oil. Then I took it over to the bench-mounted wire wheel and knocked the tarnish off it everywhere. FWIW, I don't think I would try this with a wire wheel in a drill because you can't be steady enough and exert enough pressure to get in the cracks. Maybe you could make it work. Wire wheels will make trails in the aluminum so you have to treat it like painting:

Do all the nooks and crannies. You might have to do some with a hand-held wire brush. Make sure the wire wheel is going parallel to long lines to get in the cracks. When all the edges are done then work it in long overlapping strokes in the large flat areas.

It will not be perfect but try to eliminate obvious buff marks and get everything shiny at one time. You might have to stop and clean your hands a few times during the process to keep from messing up what you have already done. Patience my young Jedi.

It you want it perfect you could then steel wool the entire thing to get out the small swirl marks. I didn't do this step.

When it looks good, take it over to the trash can and use a can of Brake Clean on the top and bottom to get all the dirt and oil off. Then blow it off with compressed air to get it dry.

Mount it back on the car but don't put on the plug wires so you can get to the whole thing. Here is my secret ingredient - wax. I used Meguires Quick Detailer spray wax. Spritz the whole thing and wipe enough to spread it into all the cracks. Let it sit for a few minutes and then wipe it off. Let it sit a bit more then buff with a cotton cloth. Voila, just enough shine and protection from tarnishing.

When you mount the valve cover make sure your valve cover gasket is in good condition. I always keep a spare laying around in case it gets old. Tighten the nuts and bolt a little at a time in a crisscross pattern to get a good seal. Do not overtighten the nuts! You can look up the torque settings if you don't trust yourself.

I love 1 hour jobs that make you smile every time you look at the car!

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Do this firstl, before all the cleaning and waxing:

Take some wet/dry sandpaper on a flat stick (like a paint stirrer) and carefully sand the raised ribs and lettering--use lots of water from a squirt bottle and progressively finer paper till the surface is nice and flat.

Finish off with polish so the raise portions are nice and shiny. One of the little buffing wheels on a Dremel really makes this part easy.

This finishing was done on the 2000CS valve covers by the factory and really looks slick--for not much work. Took me about 30 mins or less.

cheers

mike

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Do this firstl, before all the cleaning and waxing:

Take some wet/dry sandpaper on a flat stick (like a paint stirrer) and carefully sand the raised ribs and lettering--use lots of water from a squirt bottle and progressively finer paper till the surface is nice and flat.

Finish off with polish so the raise portions are nice and shiny. One of the little buffing wheels on a Dremel really makes this part easy.

This finishing was done on the 2000CS valve covers by the factory and really looks slick--for not much work. Took me about 30 mins or less.

cheers

mike

Funny you should mention that. That is what I had done with my old valve cover but then I had clear-coated it.

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