How to Change the Valve Covers on a V-6 Buick

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The valve covers (rocker arm covers) on a V-6 Buick are stamped steel covers attached to the top of the cylinder heads. The valve covers protect the rocker arms, valve springs and valves, and allow oil to circulate and lubricate these parts. Occasionally oil may begin to leak from the gasket that sits between the valve cover and cylinder head, and the gasket may need to be replaced. In addition, aftermarket companies offer specialty valve covers for Buick owners who want customize their engine bay.

Things You'll Need

  • Wrench set
  • Socket set
  • Flat razor blade
  • RTV sealant or valve cover gasket
  • Replacement valve covers

Removing the Valve Covers on a V-6 Buick

  • Disconnect the ground cable from the negative battery terminal by loosening the retaining bolt and pulling the clamp off the negative battery terminal.

  • Loosen and remove the wing nut that secures the air cleaner assembly to the carburetor, and lift the air cleaner straight up and out.

  • Label and disconnect any emissions or vacuum lines that are routed over the valve covers.

  • Remove the four retaining bolts that attach each valve cover to a cylinder head.

  • Pull the valve covers off the heads. Do not use a screwdriver or any tool to pry between the valve covers and the heads; this can damage the mating surfaces and cause leaks.

  • Clean the valve cover mounting surface on each head, using a flat razor blade.

Installing Valve Covers on a V-6 Buick

  • Either apply a continuous bead of RTV sealant to the mounting surface of the valve cover or install a valve cover gasket in the mounting surface of the valve cover. Use the same method of sealing the valve covers (RTV sealant or gasket) as was used previously; otherwise you may have to find valve cover bolts of a different length.

  • Drop the valve cover into position on top of the cylinder head.

  • Reinstall the bolts that connect the valve covers to the cylinder head.

  • Reconnect any emissions or vacuum lines that were disconnected to facilitate removal of the valve covers. Be sure to follow the labels you made during disassembly.

  • Lower the air cleaner assembly into position above the carburetor and reinstall the wing nut that secures it.

  • Reconnect the ground cable to the negative battery terminal; tighten the retaining bolt.

  • If you used RTV sealer to seal the valve covers, follow the instructions listed on the sealer, and allow enough time for the sealer to dry before starting the engine.

  • Run the engine and visually inspect for leaks.

Tips & Warnings

  • Tighten the valve cover bolts evenly to avoid distorting the new cover.
  • When cleaning the valve cover mounting surface on the cylinder head, make sure no gasket material or sealant falls into the area around the rocker arms. This material can clog small oil passages in the engine.

References

  • "Haynes Buick Oldsmobile Pontiac Full-Sized Models 1970 thru 1990 Automotive Repair Manual"; Ken Freund and John H. Haynes; 1999
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