Replacing the valve cover gaskets on a Small Block Ford is bound to happen at some point in the car's life. Sometimes, this happens multiple times, depending on the quality of work and the quality of the gasket that was used in a previous repair.
We have an additional article on removing the upper intake manifold for 1986-1993 fuel-injected Fox Body Mustangs. For those that have a carbureted application, this is pretty straightforward since you'll have plenty of working room. Of course, depending on your setup, you may have to remove the air cleaner and the associated components.
Follow along as we show you how to install a new 5.0L/5.8L Small Block Ford valve cover gasket on your 1979-1998 Fox Body or SN95 Mustang.
- Socket Set
- Ratchet Wrench or Power Tool
- Torque Wrench
- Flat Head Screw Driver
- Straight Blade/Gasket Scraper
- Scotch Brite
- Microfiber Cloths and Rags
- Cleaning Supplies
Need To Order Your 5.0L/5.8L Gaskets?
- Before you begin disassembling, we recommend degreasing and pressure washing the engine bay. Be sure to hit the areas underneath the valve cover. This will decrease the time you spend installing the valve cover gaskets.
- To begin, disconnect the battery cable and remove the upper intake. You’ll then want to clean the lower intake with some brake clean and cover the ports with some tape.
- Working on the driver's side, disconnect the inlet air temp sensor, fuel injectors, oil pressure sensor, and the TFTI module. You’ll want to position them out of the way.
- Don't forget to remove the spark plug holders from the valve cover studs.
- Remove the coil cover.
- Disconnect the four plug wires in the ignition coil and then position these wires over the front of the engine.
- If it's still intact, remove the factory engine support bracket. It's held in place with (2) 9/16 nuts.
- Start the cleanup process by vacuuming the large chunks of crap near the valve cover. Depending on how dirty the area is will ultimately dictate how much cleaning you have to do. We had to do quite a bit which involved some degreaser, brake clean, a small brush, and several towels. Compressed air will also help dislodge some of the hard-to-reach crud.
- Locate the (6) valve cover retaining bolts, loosen and remove these bolts with a 7/16 socket.
- When all the fasteners have been removed, carefully dislodge the valve cover with a small pry tool. The valve cover can now be removed from the car.
- Use a sharp razor blade and a gasket scraper to remove the old gasket. We recommend covering the valve train with clean towels to ensure that none of the old gasket gets inside (Loosen the hold down nut on the dipstick bracket and position it out of the way for easier access).
- Whenever all the gasket material is removed, cut some scotch brite into small squares and thoroughly scuff the surface until it is nice and smooth. Wipe down the mating surface and clean the (6) bolt holes.
- Now that the cylinder head mating surface is ready, take this time to clean the valve cover and associated hardware thoroughly. Lay out and organize all the clean hardware. Ensure that the valve cover mating surface is clean as well as the new gasket.
- Position the new gasket over the valve cover in the correct orientation and insert one of the fasteners through the bolt hole in the valve cover.
- Position the valve cover in place and loosely install the fastener.
- Install the other five fasteners making sure they pass cleanly through the valve cover and gasket. Run all the fasteners down by hand and then torque them to 15 to 20 pound-feet, working from the inside out.
- Repeat these same steps for the other side. You'll find that the heater tube will prevent you from cleaning the lower intake manifold. Flush it the best you can with compressed air.
- Now that both valve covers are reinstalled, you can reinstall and reroute all the previously removed components. Reconnect the negative battery cable, start the car and take it for a little drive to get the engine to operate in temperature. You can then check for leaks. After that, you're good to go.
Depending on the individual situation, we’ll be willing to bet that you'll probably spend more time removing components and cleaning than actually replacing the valve cover gaskets. But hey, on these older cars, that's just par for the course. To see more how-to and install videos for the Fox Body and SN95, be sure to head over to our YouTube channel and subscribe today!
As always, make sure to keep it here with the real Mustang Enthusiasts at LMR.com.