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Discussion Starter #1
I just finished rebuilding my 2008 SE R Spec V engine. As it turned out it was an Altima engine with all kind of parts used before I got the car, what a mess. Anyway, it is running smooth as silk, thanks to some of the fellows here, with all their vast knowledge. I learned an awful lot about Nissans.

Where I am right now I am sure I will revisit the engine in my SE R Spec V. The reason is the spark plug tube seals. These seals on none of the Nissans are replaceable as far as I know. They sure aren't replaceable on the Altima, SE R Spec V or the Pathfinder 3.5 Nissan engine.

I have done some research and found there is a way to replace the seals, how well it will hold up, I don't know. That is why I am asking the fellows here who may have tried this. I do know just silicone on the tube seals will not work for long, as our daughter has been down that road. I wound up replacing her engine because of the tube seals leaked oil and the pre-cat situation took her engine down the drain.

The oil fouling the plugs caused raw gas through the already failing catalytic converters and there she went.

I am having the same problem with the tube oil seals leaking on my 2003 Pathfinder 3.5 engine. I caught it just before it started to foul a plug so I really lucked out there. The catalytic converters are new and I sure don't want to replace them.

When I rebuilt the engine in my SE R Spec V, I didn't replace the valve cover and now I am concerned I may have a leak down the road some time.

I have watched a video where a fellow cut the old tube seals out of the valve cover and used seals from a 2010 Honda Civic that fit perfect in the hole, after the old seal is removed. He used a sealer and said it worked for him. I don't know if this forum will allow a member to post a video or not so I won't until I know for sure. If it is allowed, I will post the video so you can see how he did it.

Has anyone else tried this or have another way to keep from buying the high dollar valve covers. I don't trust the cheaper ones and the high dollar ones are really high dollar something like $200 and up.
 

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You can post a video, and I have not seen this fix yet.

I do have a complete oem valve cover for that gen if you want to try it.
 

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The turbo guys have said to pull out the tube seals and flip them around. I have not used that method and unfortunately imo the right way to fix it is the valve cover assembly. Thats a guarantee fix. You can use some good quality rtv on the tube but its a bandaid.

The vcg on the pathfinder is a real bitch, thats why I recommend if you do it, only do it once with a new oem part.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Cricki, I was hoping you would see this. I really appreciate your offer for the valve cover, but the one on the SE R isn't leaking...yet. The one leaking is on my Pathfinder. I don't know of a good Pathfinder forum. Since the spark plug seals are the same on the 2.5 and 3.5 engines and I know y'all know Nissan engines like the back of your hand I decided to post my situation here.

Here is the video. One thing I will do different is I won't use the gray sealer, I will use the high heat oil resistant sealer.


Let me know if you think this will work or not. I really do appreciate your help.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The turbo guys have said to pull out the tube seals and flip them around. I have not used that method and unfortunately imo the right way to fix it is the valve cover assembly. Thats a guarantee fix. You can use some good quality rtv on the tube but its a bandaid.

The vcg on the pathfinder is a real bitch, thats why I recommend if you do it, only do it once with a new oem part.
I do agree that the rtv sealer just on the orignal seals will fail, I have seen that first hand as our daughter's husband had a fellow to do that on his Nissan 2.5 engine. The tubes started leaking within 200 miles.

The option the turbo fellows said will not work on this valve cover, there is no way to flip these seals. Check out the video I just posted and you will see why.

Buddy you aren't just joking about the vcg on the Pathfinder being a real tough job, it really is. Trying to get to a few of the bolts is a real challenge to say the least.
 

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I'll have to agree with Sus Spec on this 1. You're already going through the trouble of taking off that valve cover anyways, may as well slap on an oem one and not worry about it for 75k miles. Your suggested fix could work though, by God I hope it does work and you can be the guinea pig for the rest of us. Then we can all swap in seals that will work better then the dumb nissan ones.
 

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Its a give and take. The valve covers are a bit expensive for what they are but arent hugely expensive to the problems they can cause. They are common failures over time. I just got one for my 04 and it was like $150 or something like that (wholesale price). Especially if you can do it yourself, my shop would charge $1200 for the Pathfinder job. Might as well do spark plugs too if they havent been done. You can do it! Grab a swivel or 2 and itll be over before you know it.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I can tell you one seal that won't work, it is too small everywhere. The ones not to buy is Fel-Pro ES 72967, this is the ones I just bought. I cut the old seals out and these just fell in also there is no way they will fit over the tube, too small, I will return these. What year K series did Joe Monti say will fit, I know they will ask when I return the ones I bought today.

Sus Spec, I really don't have the funds to buy new covers. This Pathfinder and the SE R Spec V rebuild have just about drained our funds. Since the tanker truck totaled our car last April we had to buy the Pathfinder and the SE R Spec V. I have thrown everything we had at these two cars trying to get one of them in as good a shape and the one totaled.

We, this past week, finally got the Spec V where it runs great and doesn't throw a code any more. I went from hating a car to loving it.

I do have new plugs, O rings for the injectors and new vacuum hoses and a catch can on the way now. If there is any doubt in my mind that this will not work, I will let the car sit until we can afford new covers. I reallllllly don't want to tear back into this one again.

If I can't find which K series Honda Civic to buy the right seals to go that route. I think I have come up with a way to make the orignal seals work with a little modifying. If I go that route I really believe it will work because the orignal seal will be in place and it will be captive using part of the valve cover that is there now instead of depending on just the high heat oil resistant sealer to hold the seal in place.

As I was telling another fellow, envision a head light bulb, how the tabs have to line up to go in, then turn the bulb to lock it in place, catch my drift. I can modify the seals and the socket it fits into. I don't want to cut too much metal off the seals as it can weaken it. So leave as much as possible on the seal, then place the seal on top of the hole and scribe around the seal.

Use a Dremel and carefully cut the first layer off from the cover. You just want the seal flange to go into the slot that the metal flange was in. Once in, turn so the flange will turn under the existing ledge of the seal hole.

I will put the good sealer under the seal so it will not turn further and seal all the oil away from the tube. I will take photos of how I do it and post it so someone else may benefit from this. If it doesn't work, I will post that it doesn't work. I don't see how it can keep from working as it is going to be exactly in the same position as the orignal seal. It can't come out as there will be the same part of the valve cover holding the seal in place as is with the orignal seal, plus sealer.

Sorry for the book. lol

 

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Discussion Starter #12
I bought the new seals today which are supposed to be orignal. They are not like the ones I took out of the valve cover. The ones that were in the cover had a metal lip sorta like a mans hat bream. These I bought today do not have that lip. Without that lip, I can not do like I had explained in the post above, so back to square one. I will figure out something. I will post as soon as I figure out what I am going to do.
 

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Please update us with what you find out. A cheap alternative would be great. Joe just mentioned any K20 civic si, which would be 07-11.
 

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I gotchya big jim Im sorry for the loss. The best rtv I always recommend is called Right Stuff made by Permatex. It alittle pricey but they sell smaller tubes for maybe $10, perfect for the job. If they dont have that use grey rtv by permatex. Never ever use black rtv. As long as the surface is clean and dry its a reliable fix, especially with Right Stuff. I use when I have to and I dont have come backs for oil leaks. Hope you figure it out my man!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks Molten, I appreciate the information.

S S, thanks buddy, I appreciate it. I haven't given up yet, I already bought some sealer but don't remember what it is called. I will let you know what I come up with.
 

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hey buddy what’s up. On the speak tube seals ALWAYS go OEM not aftermarket bcs they will fail right way. Even the aftermarket valve cover with seals fail and it DOES NOT have the Nissan 3D stamp on it like it
“Advertises” and (says) it does, only OEM. I’ve done these seals before on many Sentra and if your racing, you’ll also want to stuff gasket sealer or marker in the grooves where the o ring meets the plastic
“ looking at it from above”... And ONLY if it’s turbo built you’ll also need to do it on the underside of the valve cover and install it while it’s fresh so it sticks to the spark tubes. I did that and that’s when it finally stopped but it’s a 20psi build and I messed up by getting an aftermarket valve cover with the seals already installed. The quality of the product was sooo cheap, that the housing underneath which lets it breath properly was just tacked together by a few dots of plastic instead of being a seamless design. Go oem my friend.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Sicklotus, I did check out the after market cheap valve covers and they have a very bad rep, I wouldn't buy one of those as it is just asking for trouble.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I got the pathfinder back together today and it runs great. Time will tell if the spark plug seals hold out or not. It was a lot easier to put back together than it was to take apart. I have one problem. Doing a test drive, when I tried to accelerate, the engine did a really bad hiccup. I really don't know how to explain it. The truck didn't speed up, it actually seemed to begin to stop until I let off the accelerator peddle.

As far as running it does great and as long as I accelerate normally it does great, it is when I try to pass is when it messes up. I think the cross up is in the power valve as I feel it is the power valve not working when I try to accelerate.

I think I have a couple of the vacuum hoses crossed. I replaced almost all of the hoses as they were really crumbling. I have looked trying to find a schematic of how the small hoses run but the ones I find aren't really in detail. Any suggestions for the 2003 Pathfinder 3.5 engine small vacuum hose set up.

I did take photos but not enough detail. I do have the factory manual but it is about as clear as mud. lol
 

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Glad to see it back together. There should be simpler vacuum routing sticker somewhere under the hood.
 
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