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Left (Driver) Side Valve Cover Replacement Help

mbrando1994

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May 17, 2015
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Year, Model & Trim Level
2003 Ford Ex XLT
4.0 V6
Hi all,

2003 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0L SOHC V6

Right now my left side valve cover gasket is seeping oil. I heard this can leak onto the exhaust manifold and cause a fire so replacing this is fairly urgent to me.

Also, the fitting that the PCV valve screws into appears to not have any thread whatsoever. The valve will not 'screw' in at all. If anything it just sits there and eventually falls out. (Causing more of a leak), so because of that I also ordered a new valve cover to replace while switching out the gaskets. Below I have outlined a few concerns/questions I have with this process:

1. I understand the bolts holding the intake manifold on are T30 torx screws. Will a regular torx screwdriver work best or would a 3/8 or 1/2 drive ratchet with torx socket heads be best?

2. The cruise control and accelerator cables- how do you get these disconnected? I have inspected the connectors through and through and can't seem to figure it out.

3. EGR pipe/fitting: I remember reading somewhere that a 'pipe' had to be removed with a crescent wrench... I can't seem to find this pipe when looking at the engine. Does this have to be removed on the 03' model? Tips for removal?

4. To replace the right (passenger) side valve cover, my Haynes manual instructs me to drain the coolant. I am doing a coolant flush anyway so figured this is a good time to do both. Problem is, is that the radiator does not have a cap. I have never done a flush with such a setup. How should I go about refilling the system with new coolant?

5. I will also be replacing the gaskets around the intake manifold inlets. Is there any maintenance other than what is described here that I should be performing while having the valve covers off? I'd prefer not to have to dig into this again for a little while. Any recommendations are surely appreciated!

Thanks again everyone!
 


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Stick4503

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City, State
Winder, Georgia
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1996 & 2004Explorer 4x4
I have a 2004 4.0 they are almost the same if you had a picture of your engine I can help more.

Pcv should be like a quarter turn to lock into place.

1. The T30 bolts are not torqued very tight but a 1/4 or 3/8 drive with extension and T30 bit works best.

2.the cables should have a small cylinder on the end of the cable in the cam on the side of your throttle body. Turn the cam to open the butterfly valve in your throttle body and you should be able to slide the cylinder out of the slot on the side of the cam. You then depress the tabs on the plastic outer sleeve that mounts the cable and push this out of the mouning bracket.

3.Erg pipe will be off of one of your exhaust manifolds. Should be either drivers front or passenger rear.

4.I think you need to drain your coolant because you need to move you heater hoses from the firewall to remove the cover. You fill your cooling system back by way of the plastic reservoir. It's not just an overflow.

5. Not sure of additional items. Make sure all is torqued correct and not over tightened. Make sure all vacuum lines and electrical connections are re connected. Depending on your engine bay plugs and wires are easier to change with all this top plastic off.

Good luck should not be that bad.
 




mbrando1994

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Year, Model & Trim Level
2003 Ford Ex XLT
4.0 V6
I have a 2004 4.0 they are almost the same if you had a picture of your engine I can help more.

Pcv should be like a quarter turn to lock into place.

1. The T30 bolts are not torqued very tight but a 1/4 or 3/8 drive with extension and T30 bit works best.

2.the cables should have a small cylinder on the end of the cable in the cam on the side of your throttle body. Turn the cam to open the butterfly valve in your throttle body and you should be able to slide the cylinder out of the slot on the side of the cam. You then depress the tabs on the plastic outer sleeve that mounts the cable and push this out of the mouning bracket.

3.Erg pipe will be off of one of your exhaust manifolds. Should be either drivers front or passenger rear.

4.I think you need to drain your coolant because you need to move you heater hoses from the firewall to remove the cover. You fill your cooling system back by way of the plastic reservoir. It's not just an overflow.

5. Not sure of additional items. Make sure all is torqued correct and not over tightened. Make sure all vacuum lines and electrical connections are re connected. Depending on your engine bay plugs and wires are easier to change with all this top plastic off.

Good luck should not be that bad.

Okay, thank you. So for Question #3 , Will the EGR pipe even need to be removed? Question #4 , Is it safe to run the vehicle when I refill the reservoir to cold fill? I'm guessing I'll need to keep adding fluid as it cycles through the system?
 




Stick4503

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1996 & 2004Explorer 4x4
#4 fill the resivor as much as possible. It will drain down int your radiator. Then crank the vehicle and turn your heat on high then fill some more. If it does not immediately have room for more let the thermostat open and then it will. I always fill as far as i can then put the cap back on and drive for just one or two minutes making as many left and right turns as i can to work the air out of the system then refill the rest of the way. MAY BE HOT AT THIS POINT DO NOT OPEN CAP IF YOU THINK IT IS TOO HOT!!!! Let it cool then top off. You won't hurt your vehicle as quickly as you will hurt yourself.

#3 Erg pipe if its on the drivers side should enter your plastic intake plenum from the bottom and most likely will not be in the way. If it is on your passengers side then it will have to be removed because it connects to the intake just behind the throttle body and comes over the passenger valve cover. Mine was rusted solid and could not be removed from the exhaust manifold so I had to carefully bend it out of the way. This can cause problems realigning it and can cause damage to the pipe. I bent it without collapsing the pipe and only bent it because i was willing to comment to replacing it if damaged. I don't think you will cause damage as long as you take your time but I'm not willing to say it can be bent without a chance of damage. Mine has however been done this way atleast 3 times in 12 months without problems.
 




mbrando1994

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Year, Model & Trim Level
2003 Ford Ex XLT
4.0 V6
#4 fill the resivor as much as possible. It will drain down int your radiator. Then crank the vehicle and turn your heat on high then fill some more. If it does not immediately have room for more let the thermostat open and then it will. I always fill as far as i can then put the cap back on and drive for just one or two minutes making as many left and right turns as i can to work the air out of the system then refill the rest of the way. MAY BE HOT AT THIS POINT DO NOT OPEN CAP IF YOU THINK IT IS TOO HOT!!!! Let it cool then top off. You won't hurt your vehicle as quickly as you will hurt yourself.

#3 Erg pipe if its on the drivers side should enter your plastic intake plenum from the bottom and most likely will not be in the way. If it is on your passengers side then it will have to be removed because it connects to the intake just behind the throttle body and comes over the passenger valve cover. Mine was rusted solid and could not be removed from the exhaust manifold so I had to carefully bend it out of the way. This can cause problems realigning it and can cause damage to the pipe. I bent it without collapsing the pipe and only bent it because i was willing to comment to replacing it if damaged. I don't think you will cause damage as long as you take your time but I'm not willing to say it can be bent without a chance of damage. Mine has however been done this way atleast 3 times in 12 months without problems.

In regards to the EGR Pipe, what size wrench am I looking at here. I have a set and the largest is 26 mm. It looks like It will fit but I can't get clearance with the throttle being in the way.
 




Stick4503

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Not sure of the size. What side was your pipe on? I assume the passenger side. If so than the two 10 mm bolts out holding the egr to the intake and then remove the intake. Should be 8 t30 bolts holding it on but yours could be different. Then you will have room to turn your wrench
 




bansheerider064

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derry new hampshire
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02 explorer xlt 4.0
I did this job last night both valve cover gaskets and intake mainfold gaskets took me about 10 hours non stop the back passengers side valve cover bolt stripped, 168 bucks later and a trip to the Ford dealer I got all new valve cover bolts, the worst parts of this job by far is the hidden intake manifold bolt and the egr valve I just bent the tube out of the way and bent it back after worked out good for me no more oil leaks!
 




Blackonblack02

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02 Explorer 4.0L SOHC 4WD
Ditto on the time spent. Here is a breakdown I did with tips:



    • I've just completed this job on my 2002 4.0L V6 4WD, and wanted to throw in my findings.

      First, the longest part of this job is removing the upper intake manifold. You might as well replace the intake manifold gaskets while at it. All in all I think it cost me about $70 for all the gaskets, PB Blaster, two large wrenches, and silicone sealant. I did a free rental at Autozone for the torque wrench ($55 with tax), and would suggest that to anyone without one.

      The EGR tube was the toughest part for me, and I'd suggest the PB Blaster on both ends and then both a 1" (25mm) and a 1 1/16" (27mm) wrench. You have to remove the EGR tube to remove the passenger valve cover, I bent mine to get it out and took the fuel rail off, both causing extra work where the right tools and patience would have sufficed. Spray it down and let it sit for a bit before getting your grip ready to bear down on it. The 1" to hold double ended nut that holds the EGR tube to the exhaust manifold, and the 1 1/16" wrench to loosen the nut on the EGR valve. While working on the top nut, I loosened the bottom nut from the manifold rather than the top but from it, as the rust held them together. Make sure to re-tighten the bottom nut on re-install. Once you break the rust it will slip right off. Do not bend the EGR tube, which some recommended, because it will take you hours to get the right bend back on re-install. It is much easier to access through the passenger wheel well than from the top. Here is a pic of the bottom side: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BxQ5fv5-U3pgSHY5R0ZTYmRnVi1JeG9KMElmd3pseFJfQVNr

      Second, to access the back torx bolt on the intake, I found the perfect combination of extensions. A 3/8" drive torx bit on a 6" extension, a 3/8" to 1/4" drive adapter, and a 1/4" drive rachet. Basically, 8" will get you over the intake and under the firewall without a universal or swivel bit. Here is a pic of that: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BxQ5fv5-U3pgSVdYWDdjVzhHRVF6UDlYcWR1OFNPZWRKNzdB

      Lastly, take photos and/or label your vacuum lines to ensure a quick and correct re-install of the intake manifold. I got mine all back together, cranked it, and had a bad seal on one of the new intake manifold gaskets, causing me to re-do half the job. I've had numerous choice words for the ford engineers in this job, and hope to never see this part of this car again. If I never see the term "EGR tube" again in my life I won't be upset, but it did save over $300 to do it myself.

      It took mine a few minutes to burn the extra PB Blaster on the exhaust manifold off, but watch the connections and listen for hissing and leaks in the vacuum.

      Thanks to all who posted, giving me valuable instructions before jumping headfirst into this!
 




Blackonblack02

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City, State
Montgomery, AL
Year, Model & Trim Level
02 Explorer 4.0L SOHC 4WD
#4 fill the resivor as much as possible. It will drain down int your radiator. Then crank the vehicle and turn your heat on high then fill some more. If it does not immediately have room for more let the thermostat open and then it will. I always fill as far as i can then put the cap back on and drive for just one or two minutes making as many left and right turns as i can to work the air out of the system then refill the rest of the way. MAY BE HOT AT THIS POINT DO NOT OPEN CAP IF YOU THINK IT IS TOO HOT!!!! Let it cool then top off. You won't hurt your vehicle as quickly as you will hurt yourself.

#3 Erg pipe if its on the drivers side should enter your plastic intake plenum from the bottom and most likely will not be in the way. If it is on your passengers side then it will have to be removed because it connects to the intake just behind the throttle body and comes over the passenger valve cover. Mine was rusted solid and could not be removed from the exhaust manifold so I had to carefully bend it out of the way. This can cause problems realigning it and can cause damage to the pipe. I bent it without collapsing the pipe and only bent it because i was willing to comment to replacing it if damaged. I don't think you will cause damage as long as you take your time but I'm not willing to say it can be bent without a chance of damage. Mine has however been done this way atleast 3 times in 12 months without problems.

Bending can definitely damage the pipe and cause a real headache. Over $200 new, or lots of time at the junkyard... Or a rough-running, non-emission-passing, fuel guzzler with a "Service Engine Soon" light.
 




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