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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I think it’s the front valve cover gasket, and I was able to crank some valve cover bolts a tiny bit more. I was surprise how tight they were.

Is this a common issue? Might mine be over tightened from previous valve adjustment or timing belt service?

It’s got ~160,000 miles on this 2007 AWD EXL.

 

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First (and least expensive) order of business: Pour in the requisite amount of AT-205 and drive for a good five hours. If that doesn't do it (and it might not), we can take it from there.

More Information for ATP AT205


Of course, you could replace the gasket and rebolt using nominal torque specs. Do you know what torque spec were used on the valve cover bolts?
 

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Oil on top could indicate leaking from the grommets (gaskets around the bolts). You can gently see if these bolts are tight.
My next question would be.., is there any oil in the spark plug tubes?
Id avoid the AT-205 for now.
 

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Is this a new vehicle? Doesn't look like it was serviced in a while. Check your fluid levels. Make sure you're on level ground. Make sure you are between the marks. Not over, and not under. Trans fluid you check at operating temp (fan comes on) and between 60-90 sec. after you turn off the engine. In that 30 sec. window. Do not check cold, you will overfill. Use Honda trans fluid. What was the last service done?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Use a torque wrench to tighten the bolts to spec. Do not overtighten. That is an aluminum head, and the last thing you want to do is strip out the threads and have to fix that.
I typically tighten to “feel” and think my small ratchet that’s about 7-8” overall is what I used. I was surprised that most were quite snug. My HF torque wrench is a POS that doesn’t work correctly. I broke too many bolts trying to tighten things to spec with it.

I would expect that if anything, these are already overtightened. My gut doesn’t tell me that loosening and re-torquing is the solution to this problem.

I’m feeling that cleaning the engine would be the thing to do next, so when I do have noticeable leaks in the future, they can be traced.

I guess the fan and wind could be blowing oil on top of the motor, but my gut tells me that usually thing go down, not up.

Any typical culprits for a dirty front valve cover?


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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Is this a new vehicle? Doesn't look like it was serviced in a while. Check your fluid levels. Make sure you're on level ground. Make sure you are between the marks. Not over, and not under. Trans fluid you check at operating temp (fan comes on) and between 60-90 sec. after you turn off the engine. In that 30 sec. window. Do not check cold, you will overfill. Use Honda trans fluid. What was the last service done?
I’ve been doing oil changes and economizing on lots as this is a 16 year old vehicle now. My friend is a mechanic and has done the transfer case fluid, etc.

About 3.5 years ago my wife crashed into a parked car on the left side at which time I had planned to replace the radiator to avoid SMOD and gave the radiator to the body shop to install while they had the car. I’m guessing that’s far too long ago to be related and haven’t noticed any issues with trans fluid.

I replace the PS pump seal and did notice it whining when trying to teach my daughter how to park a car. That PS pump was really working though.

I’m sitting in the car and it’s really raining. I can check the fluids more closely later, but I feel pretty confident it’s oil.

Last service? Uhm… besides an oil change by me, it would be transfer case and differential fluid. Seems far fetched for that to reach the oil pan and top of valve cover. I could be wrong. Honestly, that was my first thought after thinking maybe it was just the oil pan plug, as the oil pan was the first place I noticed dripping, and not long after I’d done an oil change. So I guess it’s possible that it’s getting blown all the way up the motor.

The apparent oil in the front motor mount seemed like it has to be dripping down the front though. Is it possible for the oil to get sucked forward and up from the pan or transfer case?
 

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I would make sure the trans fluid is correct level. I was curious when you did the valve lash last. Do not wash your engine bay. Looks like someone has already been spraying it down in the past, you can see by all the rust on the bolts and clips. You run the risk of damaging electronics. Not that you will, but that you can. The oil doesn't exactly look wet, so it's not a constant supply coating it. When you remove the cover clean it up real good. I would just use dawn or purple power or some other grease fighter.

This is what I would do.
-Valve cover gasket kit. Don't forget the grommets for the bolts.
-Valve lash
-Throttle body cleaning and new gasket
-EGR and associated passages, channels, ports cleaning and new gasket
-Serpentine belt (I can see yours is getting old)
-Check the pulleys while the belt is off (Spin and listen/feel. Should be smooth and not free spin or come to abrupt stop)
-PCV valve (if the cover has been leaking, the PCV valve is likely gunked up from thick oil)
-check cabin/engine air filters (should be able to see light through them)
-I personally would change all the fluids, but at least change engine fluid, and if Trans hasn't been done in a while, I would also do 3 times drain, fill, drive through all gears low miles, repeat. Honda fluids only except engine oil. Critical you use honda fluids. Add ATP AT-205 once finished.
-If radiator overfill is empty, or if the coolant is not up to the cap, fill and burp the system.
-check and replace spark plugs if they look bad (should be 100k miles if OEM iridium)
If you go with a mechanic to do all these things, make sure you go to someone that knows Honda vehicles. Do not under any circumstance go to an all-in-one mechanic that just knows cars in general. It is very easy for a mechanic to screw up our vehicles. Especially when it comes to valve lash or fluids. It will end up costing you in the long run when you have to have someone else fix their mistakes.
Let us know what you plan to do. At minimum you're going to have to remove the valve cover to see what is going on with the seals.
 

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It's not getting blown on the cover. You would see it cover everything else. It is just on the cover, so it is leaking from the cover, or at least getting on the cover from somewhere, somehow. Likely from the grommets to the bolts like Nail Grease said. Your valve cover could also be cracked from the accident.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
It's not getting blown on the cover. You would see it cover everything else. It is just on the cover, so it is leaking from the cover, or at least getting on the cover from somewhere, somehow. Likely from the grommets to the bolts like Nail Grease said. Your valve cover could also be cracked from the accident.
After aligning the wheels and prying the fender away from the driver door with a shovel, the car was completely drivable after the accident. I think the control arm and perhaps the frame got bent a little. The body shop was expected to replace the control arm. The car didn’t pull when I sent it in for the body work. My friend and I kept adjusting by eyeball and using alignment plates we borrowed, and the car would drive straight down the highway with no hands on the wheel. The Honda dealership body shop did the work and did an alignment at the dealership service center, and the car has pulled ever since and been maybe eating the front tires a bit. I haven’t taken it back to my friend’s shop to redo the alignment, but it sucks having to pull on the steering wheel going down the highway. I find myself getting in the lane that’s tilted in the direction that makes it so I don’t have to pull so hard on the wheel. It’s not that bad, but I’m just sensitive to that and hate when the steering wheel shakes or I have to pull on it in one direction. Total BS when it’s clear that I can fix this on my own balancing tires and adjusting tie rods. My wife decided to have the body shop fix the car when I was willing to buy body panels myself at a junk yard bc the car wasn’t worth the $7000 that it cost the insurance company to fix it. I have her handle her own cell phone bc I don’t want to be responsible for the issues she ends up having with it. She made her own decision on the body work.

I don’t think there is any reason to believe the valve cover was cracked… unless it’s due to over tightening the bolts.
 

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Pretty easy to take off the front valve cover. If you have never opened it up before, and just the front is leaking, I'd check the PCV valve while you are at it. I see some mess under the car from your video, when engine mates to the transmission. Hopefully a clogged PCV didn't blow out your rear main seal.

Get a Mahle valve cover gasket kit, and replace the front valve cover gasket, tube seals, and grommets. You may want to check valve clearances while the patient is open. If the rear (Bank 1) valve cover gasket is fine, leave it alone, as you would have to take off the intake to get to it.

It is very important to use a torque wrench when tightening the bolts, as it is very easy to overtighten and flatten/pancake the gasket, and/or break the bolts. You don't need a lot of force to properly tighten then with a "new" gasket in place. Cranking down the bolts on old and hardened gaskets may make it worse. If you don't have a torque wrench, use 1/4 inch drive, choking up on the wratchet, or using a T-handle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
This talk of the PCV didn’t catch on with me at first. With the concept of the rear main seal, I now understand that it’s not just gravity that could be causing oil to come out, but perhaps spraying out anywhere it can find a path due to positive crankcase pressure. Ahh… that would make sense as to why I’m now experiencing it too. No work has been done to disturb any seals. So the PCV getting clogged could be the change that caused this.

Ok. So now to learn how to replace the PCV.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I now see where the PCV is located and that I can replace it before the valve cover job is done. So I will do that and maybe try to clean things up an bit and see if it’s still leaking after the PCV is replaced (arrives tomorrow, easier than going to the dealer and bought OEM for <$28 delivered on Amazon.
 

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In case of emergency, break glass click link. :)

 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
In case of emergency, break glass click link. :)

Yeah. I was fishing around today looking at things and did this, right after ordering one on Amazon, but my wife needs to drive this to work in the morning. So I got a PCV and gasket kit lockally, but now I’ve got another problem. Do I need to get a torch to get these coil gaskets out? I’ve ruined two of them already.

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Take your time with the spark plug tube seals - make sure you don't score the bore the seal goes into in the valve cover. Once they get a little hardened/brittle they are difficult to get out - a seal puller or curved prybar can help.
I bitched up the top of those bores big time. I suck. I did try to make sure I didn’t mess up the bottoms of the bores though. I’m not posting a picture of what I did bc I’m embarrassed. But I think all the damage is on the coil pack side of the gasket.

I think it was the valve cover gasket and PCV. I will post pics of the broken PCV tomorrow, but the car is back together with a new PCV and valve cover gasket. I didn’t feel like spending time on the bolt gaskets. I can do them one at a time later if I feel it’s needed.

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I wonder if that dark discoloration on the top of the throttle body is a leak. It's pretty wide though. Is it oil, or carbon?
If you don't have the tool to remove the spark plug tube seals, you can get to them from the other side, with a flathead and hammer. What you did was grab them too high up. You need to get completely underneath them. The removal tool makes the job easier, but you have to be careful any way you decide to remove them. It's easy to scratch up the mating surface. You don't have to show me what you did, I can already see it in my mind. lol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I wonder if that dark discoloration on the top of the throttle body is a leak. It's pretty wide though. Is it oil, or carbon?
If you don't have the tool to remove the spark plug tube seals, you can get to them from the other side, with a flathead and hammer. What you did was grab them too high up. You need to get completely underneath them. The removal tool makes the job easier, but you have to be careful any way you decide to remove them. It's easy to scratch up the mating surface. You don't have to show me what you did, I can already see it in my mind. lol.

I’m pretty sure Santa has me on the naughty list. Fortunately it’s only January. I was at the point where I figured it shouldn’t be too expensive to buy a replacement valve cover. I needed this car back on the road this morning. I really didn’t intend to get into this job until I broke the PCV at which point I had to pull the valve cover.

I believe that there is evidence that the oil was getting past the seal right here.
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