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Discussion Starter #1
So here's my second post :)

I've been digging through this and other site learning as much as I can about my newly acquired 1989 automatic Sentra station wagon. The last owner repaired things that came up, but didn't do proper maintenance. Whoops!

So there's what looks like a few years of old oil all over the engine compartment, looks like it's all coming through the head gasket. I took a couple of pics and put them up on flickr here:

Flickr: joestirlingpics' Photostream

It's so bad that the oil has gotten into the distributor cap and I think it's that oily gunk that has broken down rubber inside the cap. There are pics of that on flickr, too.

So I figure I need to replace the gasket, do an engine flush (looks gross from the oil cap), replace oil and filter, clean up the engine compartment and replace the distro cap (and harness and plugs).

Here are my questions!:

Seeing as I'm taking it off anyway, can I replace the header with something else to give me better performance?

What's the best order to do these repairs?

Is there supposed to be oil in that distro cap???

THANK YOU!!
 

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thats not your head gasket leaking. Its your valve cover gasket, easy fix. and for the distributor cap, most GA16 have a seal inside the distributor that lets oil in after it gets some miles on it. you have to take the whole distributor apart to see the seal, its very small.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, greenbean!

I almost ordered the gasket set and set up a resurfacing of a head. I woulda looked pretty dumb bringing in a valve cover! lol

That's great because it was $140 for the gasket set, $60 for the resurface, then the labour.

So for the distributor, do you think I need to replace just the cap, or the whole thing? Maybe I could just clean it up inside?

thanks for the help :)
 

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For your gaskets go here: Gasketpro

And for the distributor; you can clean it out but if the oil seal inside is bad, then it will continue to let oil in. You really need a new cap and rotor button.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
got the gasket, now to do it

Ok, I cleaned the engine exterior to get a better look at everything (ran the engine and lightly pressure washed it). I did this a week ago and no more oil has leaked out. Maybe it was overfilled at some point. I took a closer look at the valve cover and the bolts were really lose. One was ready to rattle out. I tightened them down to about 20 inch lbs. It's supposed to be higher, but I don't have a torque wrench, yet.

I'm still going to take the valve cover off to get a better look inside and to scoop out some of the gunk that I'm sure is all in there.

What do you think of this plan?:

1. Remove valve cover, clean inside of cover.
2. Scoop crud out of top end.
3. Replace valve cover.
4. Add 1/3 bottle seafoam, engine running. Drive for short distance (10km?)
5. Pull oil plug and drain.
6. Remove oil pan, clean crud off
7. Replace oil pan
8. Change oil filter for cheap temporary one
9. Add cheap oil and 1/3 seafoam.
10. Run for ~ 250 kms.
11. Drain oil, change to k&n oil filter.
12. Replace with high quality oil (not sure which kind to use yet, or syn vs mineral).


Does that make sense to you?

Thanks!

Here are some more questions, if anyone's interested:

Should I use locktite on the valve cover bolts? It looks like the rattled off in the past.

The old seafoam debate?

The old oil debate?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
remove cat converter?

Oh yeah, and I heard flushing your engine like this can fill your catalytic converter up, ruining it.

Maybe I should take it off first? Captain Planet is gonna be pissed!

Also, what's this about the 'sump' being clogged? Is this a pump that pulls oil up from your oil pan?

Such a noob...
 

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Oh yeah, and I heard flushing your engine like this can fill your catalytic converter up, ruining it.

Maybe I should take it off first? Captain Planet is gonna be pissed!

Also, what's this about the 'sump' being clogged? Is this a pump that pulls oil up from your oil pan?

Such a noob...
YES! a captain planet comment LOL.

this sounds like a lot of not needed "replacement"

why not go out and get a 5gal (18L) jerry can of diesel, use a big pale, and wash your oil pan and valve cover? fuels have this tendency to just... dissolve... away oil and gunk. gasoline works too, but diesel is way safer. higher flash point. with all the oil gone, they'll be in great shape. replace the screws, bolts, and gaskets to poroper OE specs. borrow a torque wrench if you need it. not torquing those pieces WILL cause either the same thing or worse to happen again.

hell, paint em while they're off too. it'll look sharp, and it takes one night. go to Canadian Tire and get some dupli-color engine enamel high heat paint. works great, and really easy to use.

here's mine: http://www.cardomain.com/ride/3099863
 
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