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Stripping and Repainting Your Mercedes Benz Valve Cover
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Stripping and Repainting Your Mercedes Benz Valve Cover

Steve Vernon

Time:

4 hours4 hrs

Tab:

$25

Talent:

*

Tools:

10mm socket, flat head screwdriver, degreaser, paint stripper, tape, high temperature paint.

Applicable Models:

Mercedes-Benz 190E (1987-93)
Mercedes-Benz 260E (1987-89)
Mercedes-Benz 300CE (1988-92)
Mercedes-Benz 300D (1987)
Mercedes-Benz 300E (1986-93)
Mercedes-Benz 300TD (1987)
Mercedes-Benz 300TE (1988-93)
Mercedes-Benz E300 (1995)

Parts Required:

New gasket

Hot Tip:

Where protective gloves, goggles and a mask

Performance Gain:

Proudly show-off your engine

Complementary Modification:

New spark plug wires and vacuum hoses

While I had the valve cover off to replace the head gasket, I decided that it looked tattered after twenty years on the car and wanted to freshen it up. Depending on the state of your valve cover, this can be anywhere from a 30-minute-quick-re-spray to a four-hour-peel-scrap-sand-prep-and-paint ordeal.

The valve cover on our project car turned out to be the four hour version.

To remove the valve cover, start by releasing the cover on top that holds the spark plug wires. You can just stick a screwdriver in the gap between the covers and pop it out. You do not need to remove the spark plug wires from the plugs, just move them out of the way. If you do remove the wires, make sure you label them so you put them back in the right order. With the cover removed, move any of the vacuum lines that run along or on top of the valve cover out of the way. Again, you do not need to disconnect these but if you do, remember to label them. Disconnect the two vacuum hoses connected to the driver side of the valve cover. If these hoses are original, they may be hard and brittle and break coming off, be prepared to replace them.

With everything off, loosen the eight bolts that hold the valve cover on. The cover may stick when you are trying to remove it. DO NOT hit it with a metal hammer or jam a screw driver between the head and cover. The cover is magnesium, and while light, is not as strong as steel. If you can not get it off by wiggling it with your hand, you can give it a couple of taps with a rubber mallet.

Our valve cover was a mess and needed a lot of work. Please be advised that you are going to be using some powerful chemicals and sanding magnesium, so make sure you protect yourself with the proper safety gloves, mask and eye protection. I started by applying a health dose of degreaser to the cover. Once most of the grease and grim where off, I used a scrapper to get off all

the loose and peeling pieces. I then applied what would be the first of several coats of paint stripper. With all of the paint off, lightly sand the areas that need it and then give the cover a good wash with soap and water. Rinse the cover extremely well, wipe it down with a clean cloth and let it dry.

Now you are almost ready for paint, but first you need to mask off the areas that you don't want the paint getting on. Tape off the two vacuum tubes and stick some rags or paper towel under the oil fill cap.

Use a good quality high temp paint and follow the instructions on the can.

Since I was going through all this trouble, I decided I wanted the cover to look really nice, with the Mercedes-Benz Star and the raised ribs a contrasting color. I first painted the top of the cover with good high temperature silver paint. After several coats, and plenty of time to dry, I applied painters tape to the areas I wanted to remain silver and carefully cut away the tape from the areas that I wanted black.

Next, paint the cover with high temperature gloss black paint. After several coats and time to dry, gently remove the painters tape and you will have a great looking valve cover that you will be proud to show your friends when you pop the hood.

Use a screwdriver to pry up the spark plug wire cover.
Figure 1

Use a screwdriver to pry up the spark plug wire cover. Move the wires and vacuum lines out of the way.

Remove the eight bolts holding the valve cover down and wiggle the cover loose.
Figure 2

Remove the eight bolts holding the valve cover down and wiggle the cover loose. Gently move any lines out of the way and remove the cover from the engine.

If the valve cover has oil and other grim on it, give it a thorough cleaning with a good degreaser.
Figure 3

If the valve cover has oil and other grim on it, give it a thorough cleaning with a good degreaser. Then use a scrapper and get off any loose or peeling pieces.

Use a good quality paint stripper.
Figure 4

Use a good quality paint stripper. Be prepared to do this several times until you get all of the paint off, and then lightly sand the areas that need it.

Here is a clean, dried cover after a good soapy wash.
Figure 5

Here is a clean, dried cover after a good soapy wash. Everything has been taped and it is ready for paint.

After several coats of high temperature silver paint, and plenty of time to dry, tape over the areas that you want to remain silver.
Figure 6

After several coats of high temperature silver paint, and plenty of time to dry, tape over the areas that you want to remain silver. Use a new blade to carefully cut away the tape.

After several coats of high temperature, high gloss black paint, and, plenty of dry time, gently remove the painters tape.
Figure 7

After several coats of high temperature, high gloss black paint, and, plenty of dry time, gently remove the painters tape. Voila, a home painted W201 valve cover that you can proudly show your friends

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Comments and Suggestions:
mrmattch3w Comments: Mine was giving me a fight also; I ended up spraying around the entire gasket with wd40 and then gave it a few taps with the rubber mallet in a few places. It sat over night and then I took the thinnest paint scraper I could find and then was able to get under the gasket.

It lifted slightly around the curves of the valve cover and then I was able to pull from the oil cap hole.
March 12, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
John Comments: I'm having the same issue as Ben did. I have removed all the bolts and can't get it to move. I have even sprayed a gasket remover and it still won't budge. I'm going to spray pb blaster now. Do you have any advice.
March 10, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Use a rubber mallet and lightly tap the valve cover edge. That may break it free. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
threejak Comments: Just refurbished mine with one more to take off and Nick is no doubt correct as you have eight screws...Did ya get 'em all off? Sorry for stupid question.
I'd be real careful banging too hard with anything given it's magnesium and tends not to take very well to being man-handled.
February 26, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the input on this one. We appreciate the help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Ben Comments: My valve cover really is stuck. I've tried to pull it off from all directions and grip points while banging hard with the rubber mallet but it won't move. Is there any other way I can solve this? Is it safe to try to put a wide thin metal piece between the gasket and the head just to breake the vakuum or whatever makes it stick?
February 20, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would assume there is still a fastener holding it. Check the perimeter of the valve cover for a fastener. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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