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How To- 1st Gen VG33 (Non-SC) Valve cover gasket replacement

43265 Views 127 Replies 58 Participants Last post by  M-U-R-P-H
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A little write-up on what you need to do to change the gaskets on your 1st Gen VG33 powered X.

Estimated time to complete- 4~5 hours.
Parts needed: Valve cover gasket set. Recommend that you replace the grommets as well. I used a Fel-Pro set, PN# VS 50251 R1, which includes the rubber/metal grommets and are available thru Advance Auto. You will get 2 gaskets and 18 grommets with the kit.





Upper Intake Manifold gasket- Courtesy Nissan stocks them for $4.46
Upper intake manifold gasket

Tools needed: Ratchets, extensions, a couple good pairs of pliers, phillips and straight screw driver, a 10mm socket, 12mm socket. Factory Service Manual recommended.

Special Tools Needed: 6mm Hex driver, Torque wrench for 13-16ft/lb. range.


This is completely optional, but removing the hood makes the job a bit easier. You can still access everything with it on, but having it off makes it a bit easier. Also, you don't have to worry about bumping the hood prop out and the hood falling on your head!


-- Passenger side valve cover--

1. Disconnect all of the plugs that are attached to the top of the passenger side valve cover, detach them from the cover itself and move them out of the way. When disconnecting all of the plugs, keep an eye out for the black rubber gaskets that are installed in the female side of each plug. They are not permanently attached to the plug and WILL fall out.

2. Disconnect the 2 rubber breather hoses that are attached to the valve cover.

3. Remove the 9 Phillips head screws/grommets that hold the valve cover to the head.



4. Remove the valve cover and detach the gasket from the cover.

5. Install the new gasket. There are small tabs on the outer lip of notch where the gasket sits. These are there to hold the gasket to the valve cover. Make sure that the gasket sits completely flush. You do not need any sort of adhesive or sealant/RTV on the gaskets. They are pliable and do not require it, nor does the Factory Service Manual call for it.

6. Re-install the valve cover. Nissan calls for the 9 screws to be torqued to 9-26 in/lbs. Since I used the Fel-Pro grommets and they are a bit thicker than OEM, I went to 30 in/lbs all the way around. You just want a snug fit. The gaskets are pliable rubber so there is a bit of leeway.

7. Reconnect the rubber breathers and re-attach/connect all of the electrical plugs.

8. Drink a beer.

--Drivers side valve cover--

1. With a 10mm socket, detach the main electrical harness that runs along the intake manifold. There are 2 10mm bolts that hold the harness down and 2 10mm bolts that hold down the 2 grounds. Once detached, move it aside as best as possible. Zip ties work great.



2. Remove the two brackets/ 3 10mm bolts that hold down the throttle cable/cruise cable. Remove the cable ends from the butterfly pulley.



*Once you have the brackets removed, you can maneuver the cables and give yourself enough slack to remove the cable ends. The cable ends come out of the pulley just like brake cables on a bicycle.

3. Remove the rubber intake tube and remove spark plug cables #2, #4 & #6. The distributor cap should be marked with the #'s, make sure to number your cables. The passenger side cylinders are numbered 2,4,6 front to back. Disconnect the 2 TPS plugs from the side of the throttle body.



4. Detach the small blue/red wiring harness from the bracket on the back side of the intake manifold.

4a. remove the small vacuum hose that is on the rear of the intake manifold


4b. Disconnect the 3/8" rubber line from the top of the intake manifold.

4c. Disconnect the 2 small rubber coolant lines (3/8" ?) located behind and slightly below the intake manifold. These can be a bitch to get to if you have larger hands and you will struggle a bit. You "might" find it easier to disconnect the intake manifold first and then worry about the lines.



Pic of lines with intake removed for clarity


5. Using the 6mm Hex drive, remove the 5 internal hex bolts that hold down the intake manifold.

6. Now that the manifold is loose, disconnect the two electrical plugs that are attached to the bottom of the intake manifold. (Idle speed control)



7. Disconnect the rubber Fuel pressure regulator hose. (see pic after 4c. above ^)

8. If you've already disconnected the rubber coolant hoses, remove the intake manifold from the motor. If not, you should be able to move the intake around enough to get to them now.



9. Remove the rubber breather lines from the valve cover.

10. Remove the rubber vacuum line that runs from the valve cover to the actuator on the firewall.



11. Remove the valve cover and replace the gasket.

12. Relax and drink another beer.

13. Re-install the valve cover and reverse the steps to install the intake. See below for intake manifold gasket installation notes. The intake gasket does not require any sort of RTV or sealant as per the FSM.

~The intake manifold bolts get torqued to 13-16 ft/lbs.

**Notes/Recommendations for intake installation. **

*If you haven't changed your spark plugs in a while, this is the PERFECT opportunity to do so. We all know what a pain in the ass it is normally to get to the #6 plug. Now that sucker is in the open!

*Replace the coolant line clamps with standard automotive "worm" clamps

*Place a small amount of petroleum jelly on the inside of the 2 hoses. This will allow the hard lines that are attached to the intake to slide into the hoses easier.

*Wait to install the intake manifold gasket until you have the 2 electrical plugs, FPR vacuum line, and coolant lines installed. You will then have enough of a gap to slide the gasket in between the intake and lower plenum. Align the manifold and then install the bolts. You do not want to damage the intake gasket.

FSM blow-ups of components below.

EM-68



EM-84



Now that you have everything buttoned back up, check/top off your coolant, start her up and enjoy not smelling burning oil that has been leaking onto your exhaust manifolds!
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Very nice :) Rep for you.
Great write up. Hope I don't need it lol

Sent from my DROIDX using AutoGuide App
bro this is great stuff! is this where you would put that plenum spacer that reduces heat and all that jazz?
Awesome, this should help with removing the im that i need to do soon.
I would like to thank you for the great write up and just like you said those two hoses in the back SUCK HARD CORE!!!! Mine were so stuck on that I had get on top of the X to pull it off!!

I would like to say one suggestion to make the job 10 times easier is to remove your hood! 4 bolts, 2 minutes = easier life.

Also I had to PB blast the H3LL outta the hex bolts.

THanks again, your write up saved me some serious $$$$

TOtal work time about 6 hrs because I was over-cautious and slow taking everything off. The two hoses in the back took over 2 hrs themselves.
Thanks for the comments guys. Figured that about now most 1G owners are getting to the point where the valve covers on their rigs are starting to leak from age. It's one of those jobs that I only plan on doing once hopefully.

I would like to say one suggestion to make the job 10 times easier is to remove your hood! 4 bolts, 2 minutes = easier life.
I forgot to mention this in the DIY, but I did pull the hood off just to make more room. Good tip! I'll add it in.

Thanks again!
what symptoms were your car havingto have to have to replace that gasket?
Phrog, most are replacing the gaskets due to visible oil leaks from the mating surfaces. (Which sometimes turn into burned oil smells from that area, since the exhaust is right below.)

As for the intake manifold gasket, is it nissan p/n 14010A that we need for a non-SC? Rockauto appears to only sell the set of 3 for $40 if you want the 14010A equivalent.
http://www.courtesyparts.com/xterra...echanical/140-manifold/-c-532_14_391_457.html
If it only looks like I need to change the passenger side valve gasket do I need to remove the intake manifold?
If it only looks like I need to change the passenger side valve gasket do I need to remove the intake manifold?
Nope. You only have to remove the intake manifold for the drivers side.

Great write-up by the way PaulsX! I'll be doing this soon
Much thanks to you both, this site has become a huge asset to me personally. Not to mention there is some funny s#!t on her as well.
I get to do this soon. Thanks for the great writeup!
a friend of mine got the gaskets order in ( since its dirt cheap for me) but they didnt come with grommets. I'd like to change them too but just wondering if they dont get changed is that just making the whole gasket replacement pointless?
a friend of mine got the gaskets order in ( since its dirt cheap for me) but they didnt come with grommets. I'd like to change them too but just wondering if they dont get changed is that just making the whole gasket replacement pointless?
In my opinion, no it is not. The grommets hold the VC down, and they are under pressure from the screw/bolt. The actual gasket is what starts to leak. If you buy the gaskets from Nissan, you have to buy the grommets separate compared to the Fel-Pro kit.....I bought my gaskets from Nissan.

Josh
Stripped one of the bolts. Anyone else do this? If so, where did you get replacement bolt. I can order from Nissan parts at about $5 a bolt. Can I just go to the hardware store and pick-up some automotive quality 6mm bolts that are the same length?
I did the same thing, rocco. I drilled the head off with a 1/2" bit, pausing every once in a while to clean the area up with a magnet. Replaced it with a hardware store bolt. I think it was M8x1.25, 25mm long, and a lock washer. Hardware store will be about a dollar, no shipping.
I did the same thing, rocco. I drilled the head off with a 1/2" bit, pausing every once in a while to clean the area up with a magnet. Replaced it with a hardware store bolt. I think it was M8x1.25, 25mm long, and a lock washer. Hardware store will be about a dollar, no shipping.
Cool. Thanks for the info. Thats what I get for screwing around. I had no plans on changing the gaskets until next weekend. I was just doing a "practice run" to see if the bolts came off easy after spraying them the night before. Well, all came out with no stripping except for one :aufkopfhauen-big:
I have been looking for the plastic ziptie clips that hold the wiring looms to the valve cover and have had no luck. I cut them out of lack of patience thinking I could easily find them. The parts guys at my local nissan are worthless...

Any advice on a place to find them?



Looks like I found them but a box of 25 is a bit excessive. Anyone else both with these?

http://www.clipsandfasteners.com/Cable_Straps_200mm_8_Nissan_24225_89960_p/a21259.htm
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