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Old 03-08-2012, 03:43 PM   #1
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Default Valvecover bolt lifespan+oil spray

So I got the turbo car fired up yesterday. Everything checked out until I got it back from a quick test drive around the neighborhood. Something is leaking oil on the back of the timing wheel/crank pulley. Just a bit. Enough to make a nice little spay pattern around the pulleys on everything and leave a little puddle on my just made half *** attempt at an undertray. My only ideas are crank or cam seals. Or the valve cover isn't sealing. I did the timing everything last summer and it's only driven a few hundred miles since. I've had the valve cover off what feels like a dozen times. So here is the question for now. How many times should valve cover bolts be reused. Any real stretching like cam cap bolts. I don't torque them like an ape, just good and tight. Like as hard as my F'ed up wrist will go "wrist tight", always been enough in the past for in/lbs measuring. Somewhere like ACE or Lowes has stainless bolts, good enough for replacements?
>what it looks like in there


Sorry for crappy phone pics
Fun fact is since I'm pulling the covers/timing to look for leaks I might as well do my cooling reroute block off plates, mod the valve cover to only vent on turbo side ala Hustler style, and maybe get off my *** and rewire for COPs. One of these days I'll actually get to drive this car and learn to tune it
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Old 03-08-2012, 03:54 PM   #2
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I don't think there is a limit on how many times you can use VC bolts, unless you break one from torquing it to much.
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Old 03-08-2012, 04:09 PM   #3
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Likely culprits:

Camshaft Seals
Front Crank Seal
You've removed your A/C compressor and didn't replace a bolt
The mysterious plug that goes into the oil pump is either no longer there, or you've installed a new pump, and didn't get the plug
The front of your oil pan is not sealed properly

Unlikely culprit:

Valve cover leak.
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Old 03-08-2012, 04:14 PM   #4
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Valve cover bolt torque is 43-78 in-lbs. That's just enough to compress the rubber gasket. The bolts themselves probably don't even know that torque has been applied with a value so low. So, no, there is no life limit. Do take care and torque gradually and evenly though. There is a recommended pattern to torqueing the valve cover bolts. The intent is to evenly compress the rubber gasket.

Sounds like your front main though (or other possibilities listed by Foog).
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Old 03-08-2012, 04:14 PM   #5
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A/C compressor bolt? Never heard of leaving one in after removal. Didn't change oil pump or mess with it. Any pics of said oil pump plug? Just so I know what to look for.
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Old 03-08-2012, 04:27 PM   #6
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https://www.miataturbo.net/showthrea...=oil+pump+plug

I can't see the images from my work computer, so I hope they show up.

https://www.miataturbo.net/showthrea...ompressor+bolt
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Old 03-08-2012, 05:14 PM   #7
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Yep bolts not there. Thanks. Off to find a bolt that fits. I feel like an idiot now. Funny thing is its been gone for a few hundred miles and never noticed the leak until the under tray was in.
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Old 03-08-2012, 05:38 PM   #8
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"Undertrays - for more than just aerodynamics!"
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Old 03-15-2012, 06:41 PM   #9
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So here is news. I deleted the A/C in my '97 over 2 years ago and never put the front bolts back in. Never had a problem (has one now). Couple small drives with the '99 and it's puking oil like a drunk college kid. Put a bolt in it yesterday and cleaned everything the best I could. Seems fixed so far. Went for a short drive and got a little bit of spray on the lower pan, but I think it's just residual stuff I couldn't get off with a rag and rubbing alcohol. So for the moment I call it fixed unless it starts again. Thanks for the help.
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Old 03-16-2012, 12:41 AM   #10
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You can't use brake clean or wd40 etc sprayed all around, thats how i have been cleaning up my oil leaks and stains. A cloth and elbow grease only get in to largish places...

being carefull not to lubricate any belts etc "too much"
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