Valve cover polishing – Part 1

Many of you might just drive your car without knowing what actually happens underneath the hood. Some of you might know how to change your tyre, change your oil, fill up the radiator water and battery water. That is probably what all non-technical drivers know how to do. If you are more technically-inclined, you may know how to adjust your air-fuel ratio, your ignition timing, change the spark plugs, service the carburettor/adjust your ECU and bleed your brakes. But if you are not in those 2 categories, and you’re crazy and have too much time to spare, I might just have the thing for you : valve cover polishing.

The cover on top of your engine is called the valve cover. It basically covers the valves and the cams if your engine has an overhead camshaft (which most engines now have). It’s the first thing people see when they pop the hood. So why don’t make it look more attractive?

After removing the valve cover, you see the cams and valves. In this case, you see 2 camshafts because it’s a DOHC (pronounced dog) engine. Double OverHead Camshaft. The brown colored liquid is engine oil. On the left is the timing chain. If that breaks, you can be sure that your repair bill won’t be below 4 figures.

Here’s the underside of the valve cover. The holes are for the spark plug cables to fit in. It’s coated with engine oil too.

Top view of the valve cover. Nissan Twin Cam 16 Valve. 4 valves per cylinder. 2 for intake, 2 for exhaust. The black thing is the cover for refilling the engine oil.

Here’s the BEFORE picture that can be used for future reference when I’m done with it.

Due to the lack of professional equipment, I had to improvise a bit. Notice the purple and black thing with sandpaper taped to it and connected to the battery?

This is an aeroplane engine starter. Don’t ever try to stop it with your bare hands. You can’t. So this makes the perfect sanding tool. Takes mere seconds to sand. Great that it can be put to good use after that plane has crashed =D

A little polishing has been done on this part. Note that this was polished using 280 grit sandpaper. I haven’t use the 360 and 800 grit sandpaper yet. You can see the difference with the unpolished surface behind it.

Looking at the results now, I can’t wait till it’s finished. Partly because now the car is dead, and partly because of my mom’s constant direct hintings that the house has become a workshop hehe. Part 2 and part 3 will come tomorrow and the day after tomorrow (hopefully).

Awww.. ain’t she cute? Continue reading