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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Went to change the spark plugs on my 1992 Camry and found oil on the wire boots so I guess the valve cover gasket and tube seals should be replaced first. Looking over instructions it looks like it is something I could do with no special tools. It looks like the 4 cylinder 1992 Camry needs a bit of RTV in four corners and two flat spots. Can I use some clear permatex RTV that I happen to have or do I need to use the black, high oil and high temp RTV?

Anything else I should watch out for when replacing these seals and gasket?
 

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I used a little black RTV all round. Also, I recommend an OEM gasket over an aftermarket one. We had to replace the aftermarket one after 6 months. The OEM gasket is a little thicker and IMO that makes a better seal. 30mm socket needed.

Change the PCV valve whilst you are at it.
 

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Generally, you need to use a gasket making material that is correct for the application. Toyota sells a FIPG (form in place gasket) RTV that is the best to use for your high temperature - oil application. Clear RTV has a silicone base, I believe, which will not handle high temps or oil.
 

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Non-automotive grades of RTV can give off vapors when curing that kill O2 sensors. I've read that a number of places, but don't have any personal experience with it. Just about any RTV at the auto parts stores will do. I've used Permatex ultra-black.

Other advice:


Thoroughly clean the surfaces and wipe down with alcohol or other solvent.
Remove and reseal the half moon plugs.
Replace the distributor o-ring.
Remove the cap where the distributor goes, and clean/reseal where it mates to the head.
 

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1. What are your torque specs on the VC. My back is recovering from doing our 2001 4 Cyl.

2. It took me 4 hrs, 2 hrs off and good cleaning along with other inspections in the area and a little learning (tricks of the trade w/o moving any extras off).

3. 2 hrs back on due to Pics to verify all RTV seals and torquing ALL vs not having a feel for just tightening. If others are doing the job in just over an hr as mentioned, I feel they are not cleaning All Good, not Resealing All plugs/Etc, not Retorquing All vs tightening to feel from experience.

4.My Haynes showed 33 ft lbs on VC nuts and I knew that was too much from the feel. 17 ft lbs were suggested here, 15 ft lb at the Dealer. I went with 17+ ft lbs since that felt so light. I had a drop of oil to show on the floor in 2 wks. I added approx ¾ turn to 1 nuts ½ turn to 3 and h/n seen a drop in approx 3 wks. It could have been a lack of cleaning orig oil but the nuts needed the snuging.

5.Is the adding a little RTV to all the around the gasket vs the 8 locations shown in Haynes the trick to not adding so much torque. Plus the need to re-torque in a few weeks? I doubt the dealer have you coming back for re-torquing.

6. A 1-3/16” or 1-1/4” socket will work if you do not have the large MM sockets.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I guess I will find some high temp/oil RTV made with a valve cover in mind.

I was going to replace the distributor O ring so I got one at the same time but Haynes says to remove the distributor you need to "Turn the engine to align the rotor with the #1 spark plug terminal". Since I don't have a way to do that I was going to let it go.

Do you need to use a torque wrench to tighten the valve cover nuts? I don't have one and that would be a break even with a 2.8 mechanic charge.
 

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Good choice! Many disagree, but I think Toyota FIPG is by far the best sealer out there. I have used various RTV's and Right Stuff (which is outstanding), but nothing beats Toyota FIPG. It is excellent to work with and works extremely well. It is well worth the few extra bucks especially when you consider you will be replacing VC gaskets one time during the life of the vehicle.
 

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I was going to replace the distributor O ring so I got one at the same time but Haynes says to remove the distributor you need to "Turn the engine to align the rotor with the #1 spark plug terminal". Since I don't have a way to do that I was going to let it go.
No need to do that. The distributor has a tongue-in-groove coupler that's offset from the centerline, so it'll only go in one way. That is, it cannot be assembled 180 degrees off. But, it *is* a good idea to check/adjust the ignition timing after reassembly. You can scribe a mark before removing it and get it back in close enough to run. But it's best to set it using a timing light.
 
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If you have a good feel for tightening against gaskets, you can snug it in steps (2 centers, 2 outsides) ¼ turns until they are snug vs tightened hard. Tightening hard with or w/o a torque wrench can cause damages.

I actually snugged to torque specs before I determined I needed to replace and reseal my VC. Snugging is a standard practice when you see oil seepage sign where a gasket should be sealing oil in. My initial notice was along the back edge (passenger side) went away and were basically hand tight (too little vs 17ft lbs or good snugging (in sequential steps stated above to tighten down even). Oil signs hard to see on the dist end and back of motor still existed. Our 2001’s dist had been removed and a plug was sealed in the VC at that point behind coil packs.

Please get a trained experienced mechanic to show you the snugging process. It’ll be probably if he feels you’ll bring some business back to his shop.
 

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Harbor Freight has torque wrenches (1/4, 3/8 and 1/2") on sale once in a while for about $12 each coupon price. Sign up to be on the mailing list on their website. And check the torque of the cover nuts (30 mm, borrow a axle nut socket from Autozone's free loaner list with refundable deposit) again after a few warm up/cool down cycles. The grommets can let go of some torque. This is the self loosening design. ;) You can use the calibrated elbow, but these torque wrenches are cheap enough not to have them.

You can use any of the Permatex Ultra series RTVs (Ultra Grey, Ultra Black, Ultra Blue, or the high-temp but softer Ultra Copper). I've even used the Permatex Water Pump and Thermostat RTV (well, had some leftover and didnt' want to open a new tube). Worked well for this purpose (sealing the thin joints and cap bends). Or check your local dollar store for $1 Pro-Seal sensor safe RTV (made by Superglue Corp) for the little amount you'll need.

Just make sure the surfaces are clean and free of oil so RTV can stick.
 

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1. Good info on the Permatex Ultra Black RTV. The Dealer recommended it over their larger tubes twice the 7.00 tubes at the dealer mechanics used for many jobs vs a VC.

2. From my experience Cheap Torque Wrench have not been that accurate (holding it correct). I had to return a few after testing against “Sun” one of the best. Test them against another dial, snap/click against a pointer, Etc. A certified mechanic will probably have one of the best and probably be glad to check your wrench.

3. Have or get one for your job. The ft lb wrench is too hard to read 17 ft lb accurately on a VC Sealing. An inch lb wrench will do a better job IMO.
 

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What about a torque wrench? Can I get away with 3/4 past snug on the VC nuts or do I need a torque wrench?
I highly recommend purchasing a torque wrench. IMO, one of the first purchases that should be made after basic tools.

That being said. I've never used one when tightening valve cover gaskets, oil pan gaskets, and some other gaskets. It's an experience and feel thing. Can't really describe it in a post. There are other things that should never be installed installed without the use of a torque wrench.
 

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1. Good info on the Permatex Ultra Black RTV. The Dealer recommended it over there larger tubes twice the 7.00 tubes at the dealer that their mechanics used for many jobs vs a VC.

2. From my experience Cheap Torque Wrenchs have not been that accurate (holding it correct). I had to return a few after testing against “Sun” one of the best. Test them against another dial, snap/click against a pointer, Etc. A certified mechanic will probably have one of the best and probably be glad to check your wrench.

3. Have or get one for your job. The ft lb wrench is too hard to read 17 ft lb accurately on a VC Sealing. An inch lb wrench will do a better job IMO.
 
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