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If you have a mysterious oil leak, if you can smell a strong odor of burning oil after a drive, or if you have whisps of smoke coming out of your engine compartment near the windshield, chances are you have leaking cam oil seals. There are 2 seals, one on the back of each head, directly above the exhaust. They tend to leak, dripping oil on the hot exhaust.
The following DIY will (hopefully) help you replace them. I did mine with basic hand tools in about a half an hour (having never done the procedure before).

Do the work on a cold engine, and to avoid leaks, don't run the engine for 24 hours after you're done.

The seals are available many places, I got mine at GAP:

Passenger side:
For starters, remove the cover that covers the airbox, it will just pull up and off. Loosen the clamps on the intake hose and remove it, for better access I removed the MAF sensor as well, 4 10mm bolts and one electrical connection.

I hadn't removed the MAF sensor at this point:

Look straight down at the back of the head, you'll see just the edge of the seal sticking out, the screwdriver is on top of it:

I took a long, small bladed flathead screwdriver, and using a hammer, drove the screwdriver down into the edge of the seal until it punctured it (you'll want to pivot the handle towards the firewall to give yourself some angle for the screwdriver to grip the seal and drive into it). Once it's in, a little prying and finessing will get the seal out, it's just a press fit:

Use a rag and clean the oil and any seal material from the hole, any debris or oil may cause leaking down the road.

Put a thin layer of gasket sealant on the rubber nibs of the new seal, to promote good sealing:

It helps to have smaller hands when it comes to install, it's a tight fit. Carefully slide the seal down the back of the head with your left hand, once it finds the hole it'll go in with no problems. Press the seal in, making sure it's fully seated. Reinstall the MAF sensor (if removed) and the intake hose, make sure all your connections are right.

New seal installed:

Drivers side:
Remove the 3 Phillips screws securing the coolant overflow tank and pull the tank up and out of the way. You shouldn't have to disconnect anything.

The seal on the back side of the head:

Using the same technique, pierce the seal with the screwdriver and pry it out, clean the hole, apply gasket sealant, and install the new seal (there is more room to work on this side, it should go fairly well).

Reinstall the coolant overflow, and you're done. Again, don't start the engine for 24 hours to let the sealant cure.


3,103 Posts
These should help. Easy project:thumbup:
It's a Good idea to clean the existing cap and the surrounding area before you start.
I had better luck using a small fine blade screwdriver to start the hole and them move to a larger blade.
Just be sure to wait for the sealant to cure for 24 hours before starting the car!!!
Permatex Ultra Black sealant works very well for this.

And there was a thread a while back where the guy took a piece of a wire tie and hot glued a loop onto the back of the new cap. This allowed him to put his finger through the loop to guide the cap into place.

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