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Pelican Technical Article:

Replacing Valve Cover Gasket

Mike Holloway


1 hour1 hr


$15 to $40




10mm socket wrench, 6-inch extension

Applicable Models:

Mercedes-Benz R107 (1972-89)

Parts Required:

Valve cover gasket

Hot Tip:

Make sure the engine is cool and do both gaskets

Performance Gain:

Reduce oil leaks

Complementary Modification:

Adjust for valve lash, intake manifold inspection, valve cover inspection

Before you do any work on your car it is important that you wear safety glasses, work gloves and dispose of all fluids in a safe manner. Coolant is poisonous and should be treated with great care. Animals and small children have been known to die from ingesting coolant. If you have to jack up your car, make sure to use jack stands and chock your wheels as well as applying the parking brake. Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. If you're working with the electrical system, disconnect the battery before beginning. Always catch fluids in appropriate containers and properly dispose of any fluid waste. Recycle parts, packaging and fluids when possible. Never work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability.

The Mercedes Benz 450SL is considered by many to be one of the most attractive cars Mercedes produced. It is a stylized combination of power, grace, and comfort and was sold under the model designation R107. At over 3,600 pounds and designed to meet (and actually exceed) strict safety regulations, the 450SL was nicknamed "der Panzerwagen", which means "the armored car", by the engineers who designed it. The 450SL was produced from 1973 through 1980, after which the R107 became known as the 280, 380 and 500 SL.

The SL variant was a 2-seat convertible/roadster with standard soft top and optional hardtop and optional folding seats for the rear bench. The designation SL derives from the German Sport Leicht, or Sport Lightweight and was first applied to the infamous gullwing 300SL. The 450SL was the third generation SL. The SLC (C107) derivative was a 2 door hardtop coupe with normal rear seats. The SLC is commonly referred to as a 'SL coupe', and this was the first time that Mercedes-Benz had based a coupe on an SL roadster platform rather than on a sedan, replacing the 280 and 300 SE coupé.

The robust, V-8 powered coupe is a joy to drive and many drivers test the power of the 450SL. While the speed off the line is questionable, the top end performs smooth and responsive giving the driver a sense of security. The 450SL cruises comfortably at speeds in excess of 75 mph.

In order for an engine to function it needs engine oil to lubricate reciprocating parts. This means that the engine covers need to have seals to prevent engine oil from leaking out. One of the most common jobs to perform is replacing the valve cover gasket. Mercedes-Benz uses a rubber seal to form the valve cover gasket. This seal can shrink as a result of the heat cycles that the engine generates as the car is used. This will allow engine oil that is thinner from the engine to seep past the seal and form a layer of oil coating the engine. In this tech article we will go over all the steps to replace the valve cover gasket.

The valve cover gasket is one of the most common places to have an oil leak on your W211. If you have an oil leak down the exhaust side or front of your engine, start at the top and replace the valve cover gasket. When the valve cover gasket leaks, it can create quite a mess and seem much worse than it is.

Engine oil can also leak from the breather covers and looks a lot like a valve cover leak. If you suspect the breather covers are leaking, remove the ignition coils and inspect the area around the breather covers for leaks.

The valve covers are easy to take off but it will require removing the air box and brackets. Once the air box is off it provides a great opportunity to inspect the intake manifold. Refer to for air box removal as well as intake manifold inspection.

Using a 10mm socket, loosen and remove the 4 bolts that hold the cover in place.
Figure 1

Using a 10mm socket, loosen and remove the 4 bolts that hold the cover in place.

It is recommended that both gaskets be changed.
Figure 2

It is recommended that both gaskets be changed. The cover will lift off.

The gasket is easily removed.
Figure 3

The gasket is easily removed. The new gasket will fit in place. Installation is the reverse of removal.

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Comments and Suggestions:
John Comments: Thanks for the follow up.
April 29, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: No problem. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
John Comments: Torque on tightening?
April 27, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I don’t have that info.

I would grab a repair manual. It will have the procedure, special tools and torque specs.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. - Nick at Pelican Parts

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