As the official start of summer nears, we decided to take a good look at the maintenance items for the wagon. For , we noticed a good sized oil leak at the base of the valve covers as well as a leak in the coolant tank. While we were in , we also took a look around at the other various items. We inspected the timing belt and the pulleys at the front of the engine as well as the vacuum lines and PVC system. We also took a look at the SAI system in an effort to chase down a pesky CEL that has plagued us for a while. After a good once over, we decided to replace the valve covers and coolant tank. We also replaced the spark plugs and the SAI air pump. On top of this we also replaced the old snub mount and the accessory belt and tensioner. We will go over the basic process for each of these items in the order we mentioned them. First we got the car ready for its refresh, which we luckily had the shop for. Service position was first and we began by removing the front bumper, and its two long bolts. Then the front carrier and lock, with the four top torx bolts and two side fender bolts. After that we pulled the bumper shocks and their eight torx bolts. Then it was time to unplug all the wire harnesses, starting with the lower coolant sensor and then the fan and rad looms. Next the lower coolant valve sensor and the headlights. Horns and blinker plugs followed and with that we were able to turn our attention to the coolant system. First we drained most of it through the red screw, and then pulled the pins for the lower and upper hose connections which we popped off. Next came the hood latch which we just pried out and the power steering cooler and its single bolt. Once we had completed all of this, we were able to undo the four bolts holding in the AC radiator and pull that off to the side. We did not disconnect the lines to AVOID releasing the toxic gas into the atmosphere. Now the car was ready for its first round of service.
The first thing we did was the coolant tank. We unscrewed the three screws holding it in place and unplugged the sensor at the bottom of the tank. Next with a set of plyers we removed the hose clamps and slid them back out of the way. After that it was a simple matter of sliding the two hoses off and installing the new tank in the reverse order. Next we tackled the spark plugs and valve covers. The first thing we did was to remove the plastic overs and air box (secured by one bolt). After that we removed the hose clamps on the MAF and unplugged that as well. Next the spark plug wires were pulled out with the provided orange grip tool and the PVC piping was disconnected by squeezing the tabs on either side. With these items out of the way we were able to unbolt the eight 10mm nuts holding the valve covers in place. (Do this with extreme caution. The required torque spec is 7 to 8lbs, so not a whole lot). Once these nuts are removed the valve cover can be pried up carefully. Once the top cover is removed the old seals can be pulled out. The next step is to thoroughly clean the mating edges of the valve covers to ensure that all of the old sealant is removed. After we removed the old sealant and cleaned the covers, we inspected the cams and the tensioners and chain for any abnormal wear. Next we placed a bead of new sealant around the edge groove of valve covers and seat to replace the old sealant. It is important to work neatly and quickly to avoid over spill and pre-drying. Once the sealant is in place, drop the new gaskets in and place the valve cover back on. Tighten the bolts to 8lbs of torque in an outward star pattern to even distribute the cover and ensure a good seal. The gasket seal we used required 24 hours of drying time in order to be fully operational. So while that was drying we changed out the spark plugs. This is a simple job, as all it takes is a deep 5/8th socket and some patience. Be sure to carefully hand thread the old and new plugs to avoid any stripping. Our plugs came pre gapped so we didn’t even need the gapping tool. Once that was done we turned our attention to the rest of the car.
First the snub mount, really easy with the front end off, we tapped it into place with a rubber mallet. The old one was cracked apart and crumbled in our hands. Next we replaced the accessory belt and tensioner. This was easy as it is one 10mm hex that hold the tensioner to the block. Swap that out and make sure to take note of the belt pattern for the reapplication of the new belt. Finally we knocked out the SAI air pump, which is located at the bottom of the engine on the passenger side front. It is held in place with three bolts and a click plug. Once we swapped that out, we replace the two air hoses running to it and put the car back together. The front lock goes on in the reverse of removal, and there are a few tutorials for removing it and putting it back. Next we bled the coolant system via the heater core hose at the top and replaced all the coolant. Finally we replaced the oil and filter as part of the service. We will have more on the PVC and vacuum lines in the next installation of our wagon maint articles soon! We have attached a few pictures of the action as well as a few links to the DIYs. Happy wrenching!