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How to Replace Valve Cover Gasket 00-07 Ford Focus

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  1. step : Removing the Valve Cover Gasket (0:22)
    • Remove the throttle cable retaining clip
    • Remove the throttle cable end from the grommet
    • Remove the cruise control cable end from the throttle post
    • Remove each cable housing end from the bracket
    • Set the cables aside
    • Twist and pull up to remove the spark plug end of each ignition wire
    • If the ignition coil is not numbered, number the cables according to cylinder beforehand
    • Loosen, then remove, the 10 8 mm valve cover bolts
    • Loosen the vent hose clamp and remove the vent hose
    • Pry up carefully to remove the valve cover
    • Pull the valve cover gasket out of the cover
    • Clean any gasket material off the valve cover
  2. step : Installing the Valve Cover Gasket (9:34)
    • Clean the surface of the cylinder head with a scraper and parts cleaner
    • Clean the valve cover with parts cleaner and a brass brush
    • Install the valve cover gasket into the gasket grooves
    • Make sure the gasket is seated evenly and smoothly
    • Apply RTV to the seams on the cam gear side
    • Seat the valve cover and press it down firmly
    • Install the 8 mm valve cover bolts staring from the center
    • Torque the 8 mm valve cover bolts to 7 nm starting from the center
    • Reconnect the vent hose and tighten or replace the hose clamp
    • Insert the ignition cables where the cylinders are numbered 4, 3, 2, 1, with 4 being the closest to the ignition coil
    • Route the cables neatly, and install the included retaining clips
    • Insert the throttle and cruise control cable housing ends into the brackets
    • Attach the cruise control cable to the throttle post
    • Attach the throttle cable end over the grommeted post
    • Install the throttle cable retaining clip

Hey, everyone. Sue here from 1A Auto, and today I'm working on a 2001 Ford Focus with a 2.0 dual overhead cam, and I'm going to show you how to change a valve cover gasket.

We're going to remove the plug wires. I'm going to remove the throttle cable and the cruise control cable. If you look back here, this cable is held on with this little C-clamp. It's like a C-clip lock clip. A pair of needle nose, I'm going to grab on to that, just pull it out, see? Place it someplace safe, and then alls you got to do is just pull this off of that pulley. Little piton. Like that. Then this one simply comes off by squeezing it forward. Once you've taken the banjo style one off of the rubber bushing and under the slide clip, you're just going to grab firmly and kind of pull it up. It comes right out. Same with this one. Just grab it and pull out. Now that rubber piece, the grommet, will fit through. Just wedge it through, pull the cable right up. Now, you're going to just follow your cable and undo any brackets or clips where it's attached. Just get it out of your way.

Now, we're going to remove the spark plug wires, and that was pretty easy, just twist and pull up, same time. These are all great times that you can take a good visual of your parts that are additional to what you're doing. When you see oil like that on your spark plug wires, they need to be replaced, because what happens in there, the petroleum of oil will break things down and it breaks this rubber down, and eventually that spark is going to find its fastest way out, and that's not going to be on the spark plug, it's going to be off the side of this boot, and you're going to have a running condition and misfire.

Misfires, I'm not good to let them go and just say, "Oh, I know I need a tune up." Because when a car nowadays that's computerized, fuel injected, is dumping fuel because it's misfiring, it's not burning it. It eventually will clog the converter and then you have numerous amounts of endless bills going into the car, where a simple, "I know this is going to be a misfire someday, so I have to get plug wires to replace them while I'm doing this job."

These are all 8 millimeter socket size for these valve cover bolts, and I'm just going to start taking them off. I'm going to release the pressure on the middle first. We have, looks like one bent hose to take off. That's no big deal. I just like to loosen them all up pretty much evenly, and then I'll take all the bolts out and lift the valve cover up. It looks like this bent hose here on the back is either going to be 8 millimeter, which it is not, or a flathead screwdriver. I'm opting for the flathead screwdriver. We'll get it off right away. Factory, if you still have the factory parts on your car, if it's not age of this one, it might just be a clamp with pair of pliers. This looks like it's been replaced at some point. It's no big deal. Just make sure that stays clear back there, and that we can take the bolts off the rest of the way. The last one.

Now, as you go around and you take these out, every car is different, so good practice is to check the length of every bolt, which I did with all the other ones, and I know that these are all the same length, so I don't have one valve cover bolt that's longer than the other or shorter, so we're safe in that. Now, we can just lift this right up. If it doesn't lift right up and break free, I get a flat head screwdriver, a good size one, or a pry bar. You're just going to slightly put pressure on an edge, because that's a hard plastic cover and you don't want to chip it. These stick pretty good because around each edge cam lobe for where the rubber gasket meets, a lot of people put RTV. Sometimes they put so much of it that it really sticks down, so be careful and don't damage the actual cover itself. You don't want to crack it, you just want to try to break that RTV free. Find a safe way.

I found this little spot up here, or shall I say the camera guy did, so I'm going to put the flat screwdriver in there and see if it will lift up without breaking that plastic here. Look at that, genius. Let's lift her up. Notice I didn't flip it on top of that engine, because of all the road grime that's in there, you don't want that going inside your top headed cams, head of your engine. Definitely take it aside before you tip it up. Here we have the valve cover. The first thing I'm going to do is take the old gasket off. You can see somebody used a lot of RTV, black RTV here. So, experience, one rubber gasket and RTV don't like to mix. The RTV should only be used, if you look on an engine, already RTV with a rubber gasket, and even a cork gasket, should only be used where there is a seam in the aluminum or the steel. You have a seam here because you have caps, bearing caps. So you put a dab there, there, there, there, like an eighth of an inch and that's it.

You don't put it all the way around this way. This is not the proper way. If you buy the correct gasket, and you torque the cover to the manufacturer's specifications, you do not need to put RTV all the way around. This actually expands the rubber sometimes, and causes damage, and it also makes it so it's harder for the next person, because now I have to clean all the silicone out, to do this job properly. I'm going to take a small screwdriver, pull out the valve cover gasket, which is a one piece system. It goes all the way around. You see what I mean by the RTV is holding it in there? That's just, that's not a proper way to put this gasket in. You should only have sealant here and here, dabs where the seams meet. If you had a split head and there's a seam here, put the RTV there also. So wherever there is a seam on the surface, in that seam, I mean by where the two pieces of metal meet. Wow. So, more is not always better.

This is a hardened fiber plastic cover. It's not a metal cover, so the best way to get this out is if you have a brass brush, because the brass brush bristles, will not crack the plastic or eat away at it. They're soft metal, so that's a good way to clean this out, or you could take your time and do what I'm doing here. I'm going to run a small screwdriver along inside the channel and see if I can get all of this out of here. Then I'll put it in a parts cleaner that I have. If you're at home and you don't, you're going to have to spray it with parts cleaner and just keep scraping and don't give up, because you want to do the job right.

That's why these chambers in here are probably filled with oil. People were thinking, "Oh, the rubber gasket wasn't sealing," so they probably took it apart and they just filled this with RTV along the tracks here, so that the oil would stop going in there. As you can see, it didn't work. More than likely, they didn't have the proper torque specs for this and they over torqued it. And when you over torque something, it actually squeezes the gasket flatter, which can make oil go past it.

Now, we're going to clean up the top of the head here where the valve cover meets, and I have a scraper. I'm just going to lightly run it across here and I'm going to remove all this RTV that was placed in its place, and please do not get anything inside the heads. That's the goal here, is to not have it go down inside. I'm always going to try to scrape away from it, and the road dirt and the oils that get left behind, or you can use a razor blade if you're really gentle, because aluminum, the razor blade's nice and sharp, so it will actually stop and gouge the aluminum. You don't want that. So this rubber piece, makes sure it goes away. If it's a big piece of silicone or RTV that falls down into the pan, it won't damage anything as far as metal goes, but what it does is, it clogs the pickup screen and then the pickup screen, the oil doesn't go past it, and then you lose oil pressure, and then that will damage the metal.

Here, I have piece of emery cloth and it's 400 grit, so it's not too course, and I'm just going to clean the surface because I want a smooth surface for my new gasket. I'm going to do this all the way around the whole top of the head here where the cam cover meets. So to clean up that mess, I'll take a clean rag, spray some parts cleaner on it and just rewipe after that I've sanded, to pick up any grit and make it a clean, smooth surface. I'm going to do that all the way around, so I get a nice surface. Then I'll install the valve cover.

All right, so now if you don't have a parts cleaner, obviously it's not something you would carry. This is a parts cleaner. What I would do is I'd spray in here, and here's that brass brush I was talking about, and I would just work this back and forth. You could see how it just slowly eats up the RTV, the rubber gasket. You want all of it gone, which I've already done. Make sure you get it out of the actual grooves where the gaskets sits. You don't want anything interrupting this proper seal. Clean that part, and then clean all the grime out of here. How clean it is on the surface for looks, that's up to you. You got to let it dry. So what I like to do is I'll just hose this off, and then let it dry, blow it dry with the air gun or air dry.

Now we have our valve cover. It's nice and clean and I'm going to install our new gasket. I'm going to start down here, you can see the pattern, how it has the inverted down here, and then the expert half loops, the half moons, and see how it's curved. It's pretty simple to figure this one out. Just push, tap it down lightly, follow it around, and there's a little notch right there. Make sure that goes right in that groove. You're going to end up going back around, confirming everything a couple of times. It's just like cutting wood, right? Measure twice before you cut. You don't want this gasket just thrown in there, because if it folds over, you're going to have a mess. Follow it all the way around and I'm going to show you the points of where to place the RTV. Not like the last person. That was a mess. That took some time to clean. And it will pop back out, so I like to just level it firm down. There's notches right here and there, there, and there. Make sure it's all down in place. It feels good.

Now, I'm going to get the RTV. I'm going to, because it doesn't have a funnel piece on it, going to put it on the end of my screwdriver, about that much. I'm going to place it right where I want that RTV, right on the cam cover right there. There's four places to put it, because it's a dual cam. If you have a single cam, you're just going to do it twice on the cam cover. Put a little more there. Okay. Now, you only get a few minutes, like five to 10 minutes, before that starts to congeal, so make sure you get your cover all ready to place down on it. Now, I've already sanded clean that area.

Before we get ready to place our valve cover down, we're going to take oil out of those cylinder, the spark plug holes. I'm just going to take a rag down there. This is what I ... I don't want to make a mess and blow a blow gun down there, because that'll be not pretty. I'm going to try and get most of it up this way. If you have a little vacuum system that you can put down there, not like a car vacuum but an actual liquid vacuum, go ahead and use it, but mostly you probably won't have that, so I'm just going to use a rag and a screwdriver.

Wherever there's oil, try to soak it up and then we'll, once we know it's soaked up, you can feel free, as long as the spark plug is tight, to spray some parts cleaner down there, and a rag over it, and just give it a little bit shot of air if you have some. If not, let it evaporate in time, so I'm going to get another rag. Find a clean spot or something. Make sure you pick up after yourself on that. You don't want to leave anything. This oil will burn, smell, and you just did a job. You want to take pride, make sure it doesn't smell or, heaven forbid, you don't ... You know, if you don't pick this up right, it's going to ruin the spark plug wires, and then you're going to say, "Geez, do I have a leak after the job I just did or is that the old stuff?" So, obviously you want to pick it up.

The area's all clean, our spark plugs back in, our RTV is down, and I'm ready to place this valve cover right back in the spot. Push it down firmly. Then we have all the bolts, and they're all the same length. It's an 8 millimeter socket, and we're going to go from the center out with torquing. 8 millimeter socket and I'm just going to literally snug them down. The torque is 7 Newton-meters, so you just want to literally bottom that bolt on that cover. You go from the inside out pattern, and then we'll get our torque wrench, do the same, but torque it at seven. This says the first stage is two Newton-meters. I don't know about you, but torque wrench doesn't go down that low. It's pretty low, so we're going to go to the second stage, which is 7 Newton-meters. Okay. 7 Newton-meters, 8 millimeter socket.

I guess you could really, really snug it down. I just didn't want to over torque it. The reason why they go from the center out on things with gaskets is that you're pushing everything outward. Where this is a rubber gasket, you want to make sure it doesn't fold over and it seats properly. Then, you're always going to check your torque twice, so once you're done, you've gone around once, start again, the center and just double check your torque. Always try to keep the same pattern. If you have to write it down, write it down. Some places, some parts on cars, they have a schematic already for you. This one didn't , it just said from the center out. Then what I like to do on the corners, I'll just alternate from this side to that side. Okay, so we're going to start again real quick. Center. Make sure we get nothing out of it. Wonderful.

Last thing is, don't forget to hook up your PCV line to the valve cover, and this one's just a flat head screwdriver. You might have a pair of pliers style. Kind of snug it down, it's kind of stripped. There we go. Perfect. Now I'm going to install the plug wires. Now, if your vehicle, examine the parts obviously before you put them back in. This particular car, I'm going to replace the plug wires, because see the oil that was where that chamber was leaking into? Oil soaked. This is going to swell up, and it's going to cause the spark to shoot down the loosened rubber and ground out on the block. That'll cause a misfire eventually. Plus, it looks like it had an animal living, and ate a little bit of rubber right here, so we don't know what else is compromised, so we're just going to replace these plug wires and go from there.

Shortest one, I'm going to say that's going to be the closest cylinder right here, which is cylinder four, so I'm going to pop that right down till I hear it click. The next one, this is the next shortest one, and I'm going to alter the angle of the plug wires. Install that one. Then we're going to come over to our coil, and this one has been marked for us, so that's nice. If you didn't have one that's marked, then mark on a piece of paper, or some people put a Sharpie on the back of the wires here, they follow it and trace it, place one, two, three, four. This one has been done. See how it says four here, two there, they marked it with lines, single one line there. They got a lot of silicone on that end, so I don't have to add any. Here we have number four, that's the shortest one. That's going to go right here. Push down. Cylinder three is right here, and I'm going to run that wire over, click it in. Cylinder two's going to run down to the back here, and then cylinder one, I'm going to run it right in through here.

Now, this package came with a new plug wire clips. It's pretty important to keep your plug wires separated and not overlapping and touching. In the old days, they told us that that would actually interfere with the spark. I'm going to bring this underneath. Keep it separated. See? It makes it look clean too. Now we're going to put our cruise control and our throttle cable back on. It's actually the kickdown cable, I do believe it's the shifter kickdown. That one's going to go on this notch that's right here, lock it in. This is going to get pushed in like that. Then we have the throttle cable. Same thing. Run that down.

Now, see the rubber boot stuck to the actual throttle? I couldn't get that off, so I don't want to damage it. I'm actually going to get some silicone spray and I'm going to spray this square so I can get it to squeeze in a little bit easier. Flathead screwdriver to help. Perfect. I'm going to spray that little grommet. Hopefully, I can get this to slide, snap right down on. Yep. Perfect. You can see this little cable burr. He does need a new throttle cable. That's a good sign that needs it, but it's not here yet, so I'm just going to show you how to take one off, and put it back on, and once it gets here, I'll replace it. So here is our C-lock. It's a little clamp-like, and that's going to go right there. Good to go.

Thanks for watching. Visit 1AAuto.com, your place for DIY auto repairs, for great parts, great service, and more content.

Tools needed for replacement:

    General Tools

  • Razor Blade / Gasket Scraper

  • Materials, Fluids, and Supplies

  • RTV

  • Ratchets & Related

  • Torque Wrench
  • Ratchet

  • Screwdrivers & Related

  • Pry Bar

  • Sockets - Metric

  • 8mm Socket


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