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Premium Member
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Am thinking of replacing my old corroded head covers on my '98 SE.
Can anyone tell me if new gaskets are likely to be needed and do I really have to remove the timing belt and camshaft pulleys like my Clymer manual suggests? Seems to me by looking at the job with a beer in my hand that that might just be overkill?

Cheers!

T.
 

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Busdriver
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The valve covers come off by removing the 6 bolts visible. There is a neoprene gasket inside, but depending on it's condition you may be able to reuse it. If your engine guards are in the way you may have to remove them first.
No need to touch the timing belts, pulleys etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks busdriver................suspected the manual was trying to make it a bigger job than it really might be!

Thanks again!

T.
 

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I didn't replace the gaskets when I removed mine, they were in good condition and went back on with the covers just fine. have you considered having the covers professionally polished rather than replace?..mine came up beautifully..
Cheers,
Peter.
 

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Premium Member
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The valve covers are so easy to remove and replace, you can always replace the gaskets later. If you do, don't overlook the bolt grommets...they're responsible for compressing the gasket and are often the cause of the leak to begin with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I didn't replace the gaskets when I removed mine, they were in good condition and went back on with the covers just fine. have you considered having the covers professionally polished rather than replace?..mine came up beautifully..
Cheers,
Peter.

Thanks for the suggestion Peter. I think I will cast around for a quote on have them polished, although I suspect that the cost will approach the price of new chrome one.

T.
 

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Premium Member
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tnoort .... I think that you will find that the cost of new chrome valve covers is going to cause you sticker shock. If yours are not chrome now, I would really consider having mine polished. The cost of a set of new gaskets is not that bad at all, but i would replace the rubber bushings on the bolts because as someone above said .... they are what put the resistance against the bolts, and keep the pressure .... thus holding the covers tight.
 

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Ageing Disgracefully
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Thanks for the suggestion Peter. I think I will cast around for a quote on have them polished, although I suspect that the cost will approach the price of new chrome one.

T.

They are pretty easy to do yourself if you don't mind getting dirty doing it.

1. Take them off, remove the gaskets and give them a good degrease and wash.
2. Put gaffer tape over the badges (they are hard to take off and expensive to replace).
3. Score round the edge of the badges through the gaffer tape with a Stanley knife and remove the excess.
4. Use paint stripper on the lacquer, they dont take more than 10 minutes to work and then wash off with lots of water. Leave to dry.
5. Most hardware store (or ebay) will sell a polishing mop set with wax finishing grits and a polishing stick. You can mount these in a drill and mount the drill in a bench vise for a fixed installation.
6. Carefully at first (until you know how the mop can grab the piece you are working on) and using coarse grit stick take out the blemishes and salt damage and corrosion.
7. Using the medium mop and fine grit, finish off the removal of the blemishes.
8. Using the cotton mop and polish produce the finished masterpiece.
At this point you could stop and re-assemble everything and they will look good for approx 3 days and you will have to have the polish out almost as often.
9. Failing that set them up on a bench and give them a coat of clear heat proof lacquer. Not too much as it reduces the sheen a little and can go a golden colour when heated.
10. Assemble and ride. I did mine last season and they are still as good as new.

Check out the attached photo that shows the before and after condition of the covers I did last winter.

Also you can to the cam shaft end covers very easily as well at the same time and they look just as good a chrome set (and the chrome will not last as long or be re-polishable once the chrome starts to bubble up and it will if you ride your bike anywhere you get rain and salt).

Steve
 

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Wild Rhino - Canadian
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I remember seeing a thread here somewhere about someone that powdercoated their valve covers, looked awesome.
 
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