: Pulling camshaft cover - can it be done w/out dropping engine?



chubbyranger
02-23-08, 02:23 PM
So I'm trying to pull the rear (right) camshaft cover on my 99 STS. Finally found the correct procedure in FSM that says lowering the engine cradle is required. :banghead: Does anyone have any experience trying it without that step? It looks like I should be able to pull the bolts and work the cover out but I don't want to get myself caught having the cover loose, gasket f'ed up and not be able to get it out, thereby creating an oil leak and a tow to a shop (or worse, to a dealer :nono:).

JC316
02-23-08, 02:44 PM
The back one, yes, the front one NO. I got the back one off with a little bit of work on my 98 with it still in the car, but it wasn't easy. The front one is IMPOSSIBLE, you have to lower the sub frame down. So you are in luck, you can get it with a little bit of work.

chubbyranger
02-23-08, 02:49 PM
Thanks for the quick reply - sitting here staring at it now. Did you replace the gaskets or reuse them as FSM suggests (unless they get screwed up coming out)?

El Dobro
02-23-08, 03:50 PM
Since the gaskets are 9 years old, you may as well change them. Using them over and having them leak means you do it all over again. I did the front and rear on my 98 and there was no way I was going to rip it all apart again. I really didn't have a problem with the back (right) cover, but the front (left) valve cover was a real pain because not only do you have to drop the cradle, you have to pull the water pump drive pulley and mine was really on there tight.

chubbyranger
02-23-08, 05:03 PM
So I pulled the bolts out and went to work. No joy. Coming to the conclusion that tune ups, serp belts and electrical problems are about the limit of my ability and time. I give you big points for getting that bad boy out but I could not solve the riddle. As the gasket started shifting around I quickly came to the conclusion that I was headed for the oil leak scenario in my original post. Put the beach back together and at least it runs again, but still ticks. Pulled the serp belt just for sport but still the same. Got grasy hands and bloddy knuckles to show for my effort but not much else. Having read some posts here on the same problem I'm about ready to give up on taking it to the dealer either since the standard answer seems to be that it would cost less to replace the motor. Fortunately I have a fresh bottle of John Barr mechanic lubricant, must be time for a dose of that. Thanks again for your help JC.

JC316
02-24-08, 08:47 PM
So I pulled the bolts out and went to work. No joy. Coming to the conclusion that tune ups, serp belts and electrical problems are about the limit of my ability and time. I give you big points for getting that bad boy out but I could not solve the riddle. As the gasket started shifting around I quickly came to the conclusion that I was headed for the oil leak scenario in my original post. Put the beach back together and at least it runs again, but still ticks. Pulled the serp belt just for sport but still the same. Got grasy hands and bloddy knuckles to show for my effort but not much else. Having read some posts here on the same problem I'm about ready to give up on taking it to the dealer either since the standard answer seems to be that it would cost less to replace the motor. Fortunately I have a fresh bottle of John Barr mechanic lubricant, must be time for a dose of that. Thanks again for your help JC.

Sorry that you couldn't get it out. It was a bastard when I did it, but I was hoping that I could change the head gasket with it in the car, so I had more motive I guess.

Now that I have done it, I would probably rather drop the engine.

tateos
02-25-08, 04:54 PM
Put a jack under the front of the cradle. Take out the front bolts, loosen the rear bolts, drop the front of the cradle down a little, the rear valve cover will come out easily

Rafterd
02-28-08, 11:00 PM
Hey Chubby, forget the John Barr, get the Jim Beam!!!!!

Bill

chubbyranger
02-29-08, 05:10 AM
Hey Chubby, forget the John Barr, get the Jim Beam!!!!!

Bill

:thumbsup:

I am an equal opportunity employer: John Barr, Jim Beam and Jack Daniels are all welcome at my house. :alchi:


Tateos, JC and El D: thanks for the pointers and advice. I may end up going in again and will give that a try. The part I got stuck on is that I have to force my floor jack underneath the front crossmember to jack up the front of the car, so I have no room to lower it. Therefore I'd have to raise the whole car a few inches in order to gain the clearance I need. All possible with some planning and experimentation, but when I started this thread I had just run out of propane in my bullet heater and was only trying to do an 'eyes-on' inspection to see what I'm dealing with since I had no parts to repair at that point anyway. For me I think lowering the cradle sounds more intimidating than it probably is. Tateos, your tip may be the icebreaker - FSM does not explain how to drop the cradle for us DIYers THANKS :thumbsup:

tateos
02-29-08, 12:21 PM
Chubby - jack up on the front of the cradle - loosen the bolts in the front - loosen the bolts in the rear - put jack stands under the rear of the cradle near the bolts or wherever it is convenient. Now, take out the bolts in the front and gradually and carefully drop the front of the cradle down a little (maybe 6-8"?) with the jack. I think that was what I did to remove the rear valve cover on my HG project before I realized the advantages of removing the entire cradle out the bottom.

By the way, are you opposed to Dewars - my personal favorite?

RM

El Dobro
03-01-08, 10:38 AM
When lowering the cradle, do it very slowly because there's brake lines and sensor wires all over the place and you don't want to screw any of them up.

chubbyranger
03-01-08, 11:38 AM
By the way, are you opposed to Dewars - my personal favorite?


Absolutely not - I drink Dewars at the bars because their house brands are usually hangover roulette. Will stock up when I can find it on sale. Old Smuggler is another personal fave, but we've sworn off Cluny, Inver House and a few other $9.99 a gallon brands.

Thanks to all for the tips and cautions. The weather is for chit here this weekend and I've been running around for the past 2 days dumping $500 into my truck (ABS wheel speed sensor and windshield) so I can get it inspected and drive it for now. I have one lead on a Caddy mechanic, but if he doesn't call me back on Monday I'm likely ordering the tool and tackling it next weekend. AJ found me a price on lifters and was working on the cam - I'm assuming if one or more lifters are gone the cam isn't in any better shape, especially after driving it for at least a month that way. At this point I'm guessing its the exhaust lifter(s) around #5, but if I have to pull the cam I think I'll replace them all. Might do the intake lifters too even if the cam looks OK. At $24 a pop, why not?