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Discussion Starter #1
A while back I changed my spark plugs for the first time and noticed some oil in cylinders #2 and #3. It wasn't an alarming amount and it was mostly up by the top of the plug and not at the bottom, so after a chat with my mechanic friend I decided it wasn't an emergency. I bought the valve cover gasket and spark plug o-rings from Rockauto, but they've been in a box because it's been 90+ degrees every day and I don't have a garage.

Unfortunately, this past week I've been noticing a weird smell while driving. It's faint and intermittent, but it smells like an old cigar someone left lit in the ashtray. I don't smoke, so I strongly suspect the valve cover itself may have busted a leak, or the spark well leaks have gotten worse. The only other thing I could imagine causing the smell is possibly the heat shield above the third cat touching down on the exhaust (the rattle is real, y'all) but I figure the gaskets need to be changed either way; one thing at a time.

I'd like to do this myself, but I wasn't able to find a how to. I might be using the wrong search terms. I know the valve cover needs to come off obviously and that seems simple enough on the GS, but one of the posts I found suggested replacing the spark o-rings is not simple and you need a rope to hold up the cylinders or something?

If there is a how-to, could someone point me at it? If not, if someone could run the process down for me I'd greatly appreciate it. I'm a noob mechanic (spark plugs and CAI install are the biggest jobs I've done) so the more detail I can get, the more confidence I'll have to do this on my own instead of phoning up my mechanic buddy. If anyone can help out I'd be very grateful.
 

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The spark plug o rings are just taken off with the valve cover gasket

U don’t need a timing holder or anything as that sounds like what you’re referring to, we don’t even have a timing chain, we have a timing belt as I’m sure you’re aware

You’re not doing anything with the timing by taking the valve cover off of a GS, just pull your engine cover off, spark plug connectors and coils out, and unbolt the valve cover, remember to torque the valve cover bolts back down in the correct pattern and to the correct torque, check the FSM, and do not drop anything inside the engine
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Glad I don't need to worry about holding anything up. The comment said something about keeping the pistons from dropping or something? Idk, I'll disregard it. Some followup questions, if that's cool;

I think I found the torque spec for the VC bolts on the Tearstone manual, but not the pattern or the location of the o rings. Sounds like they are attached to the VC cover, at the top of the spark wells (sandwiched between the well and the VC cover)? Does that mean it's as simple as pulling them off and popping the new ones on, nothing to remove other than the VC cover?

Do I need to apply any gasket sealer to the VC gasket or the o rings?

Plugs need to be removed to clean the well and the plugs. Is it smarter to do that before I take the valve cover off, or can I easily remove them afterwards?

So, to make sure I've got this before I drive out to an empty parking lot and strand myself for a few hours;

1. Remove spark coils and wiring harnesses
2. Unbolt valve cover
3. Pull off spark well o rings and replace
4. Remove valve cover gasket and clean off residue on engine and on cover
5. Sand and spray paint VC cover like a cool guy should
6. Clean spark plugs and well of oil
7. Attach new valve cover gasket to the cover and seat it back over the engine
8. Tighten to spec in [insert correct pattern whenever I find it] for even pressure
9. Reattach spark coils and wires
10. Victory lap

Let me know if I left out anything important or if one of these steps is horribly wrong. The more clarification I can get here, the less chance I have of being stuck in a parking lot with an open engine and no idea what to do lol.

Appreciate the first advice. Also, what's FSM?
 

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Factory service manual

https://tearstone.com/2006-eclipse-factory-service-manual/

Yes you got it, I say just get the valve cover back on first before pulling actual spark plugs, as far as the o ring seals go, just dip them in some motor oil before putting them on, make sure you clean the engine and valve cover surfaces of old gasket, but do not gouge the surfaces, that’ll be bad

As far as torque order, if the FSM doesn’t say, just do half of the torque spec at first doing diagonals, left bottom bolt, top right bolt, bottom right bolt, top left bolt, middle bottom bolt, top middle bolt, then go back over them in that order again at the final torque spec

As far as pulling the plugs to clean the oil out, no need to clean anything, pull the plugs, might as well replace them unless they’re already super new, NGK laser iridium, and just let the oil fall into the cylinder, that’s what I did, little bit of smoke on first start up for a minute but it’ll be fine
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks very much for the tips! All extremely helpful. Still haven't found the pattern for the valve cover, but I think it'll be okay in the criss-cross order you suggested.

I think the only question I have unanswered is whether or not I need to use anything on the valve cover gasket to seal it? Should I rub motor oil on that as well, or do I need to use some gasket sealant? I've seen DIY videos where they apply something, and others where they just stick the gasket on there by itself and bolt down. Seems like it depends on whether there's grooves for it to lay in or not, but I've never seen what ours looks like.

Again, I appreciate it. I feel relatively prepared to knock this out. That burnt cigar smell is terrible. Really hope this gasket is the cause and there isn't a more sinister leak hiding down in there.
 

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U don’t need to put anything on the outside valve cover gasket, just make sure the surfaces are clean and smooth
 
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