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How to Paint Your Valve Cover

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Painting your valve cover is a fun and artistic way to express yourself through your vehicle and really make the engine bay pop. People do it for fun and to improve their cars, and with a little instruction in an hour or two you can do your own! If you don’t know, the valve cover is the aluminum plate on top of the motor head. The spark plug wires go into the valve cover, and it is used to keep dirt from entering the motor and oil from flying out of it. They can be plain or come with some kind of logo like “Ford Company” or “Honda Motor Co.” that you may want to keep.


Above is an engine bay with painted valve cover and other components to make it stand out.
 
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Step 1: Materials

The first step is to gather all the materials you will need to prep and paint it. Most can be found at an auto parts or hardware store. You will need:
a socket kit,
paper towels,
aerosol paint stripper,
a grill brush,
a water hose,
drying towels,
engine enamel spray paint in your chosen color,
heavy gloss spray paint,
super fine sand paper,
and a piece of 2x4.
Once you have all the materials it’s time to get started.
danzo3211 year ago
Why would baking a valve cover ruin an oven for food? Surely the solvents escape as vapor -?
What does "To cure it set it near a fire but not directly on it, about 2 feet away is good." mean? Only way to heat it is to have it above the fire, right? You never say what temperature you're trying to hit.
The vapors are going to deposit themselves on the interior of the oven. A cleaning cycle will not clean them off, and mixing them with other cleaning supplies might result in unwanted side affects. DO NOT PUT IN AN OVEN YOU USE FOR FOOD

When you sit around a fire, you get warm right? That is radiant heat, and that is what you are trying to use to heat the cover. And there is no temperature as each paint/cover is going to be different.
Now I know!
john33471 year ago
Many automobiles do not use gaskets on valve covers, and several other locations. Instead, they just use a bead of silicone available at numerous retail outlets. As some here mention, proper torque and tightening sequence is very important on some applications.
chuckyd1 year ago
In addition to using the proper torque, some covers require a specific sequence of tightening to avoid warping the cover and ruining the seal. However, with 4-bolt covers, as the last one shown, simply tightening them in a diagonal manner would work.
adunster1 year ago
You should find out what torque specs those bolts need when you put them back in before you remove them. On my f22b2 they are pretty specific and easy to break by overtorquing, but of course you want to have them tight enough to keep the gasket snug. Speaking of which chances are unless it's just been done that you'll want to replace your valve cover gasket also. Find out whats needed for your specific vehicle to remove and replace the valve cover before you get in there to try and paint it!
danzo3211 year ago
May as well use a new gasket, I'm thinking
clazman1 year ago
Improve your car? The weight of the paint is going to reduce 1/4 mile et's!

Sorry, just couldn't help that comment.

Nice project!! Really enjoyed reading this one.
weldor1 year ago
Great ible! liked th warning about the oven usage. wise of you to put that in there.here are a couple of more things to think about-

1. try using a d/a (dual action) random orbit for this sort of thing. It works great!.
2. for small parts you could probably use a toaster oven .
3. ook up DURACOAT on the internet. needs a airbrush but there is a tone of colors!
4. when painting aluminum it is typically best to use an etching primer. It will take a better "bite" and will result in a more durable finish.
5. reds and colors that have red in them (including orange) tend to fade when exposed to heat. Have not seen a really good cure for that one yet. :( best i have come up with is to put wd40 or cooking spray on a rag and wipe it all down. it will bring back the shine for a little while at least.
The_Tom1 year ago
I know that should just be oil build up but it looks like rust haha. scary thought.
A very good instructable in my opinion, and a very handsome motor there.



One criticism, however: Be mindful of the torque specs for the valve cover. While it does not happen often (and will be different with every vehicle) if the cover is under-torqued (or over-torqued) it can cause the gasket to not seal properly, which will allow oil to escape (and, possibly, allow dirt in the engine).


Torque specs can typically be found on the internet, as well as in a repair manual for your vehicle (I prefer Haynes Techbooks personally, but any good repair manuals would have the torque specs)
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