The CJ Build – Aluminum Valve Cover Upgrade

Just doing stuff here and there…and disaster strikes!

Ok, so it’s February of ’03 and I’m still farting around with this thing…..geeez this is taking forever! Here’s where I was in Feb ’03:

I gutted the interior of the rig and was just looking around for things to do to it…. decided to do some stuff to the motor and get that thing looking good and hopefully running good sometime in the future! First thing I noticed when looking it over…yeah, the nasty plastic valve cover.

I just didn’t like it for one thing…looked lame, and Jeeps with plastic valve covers are infamous for leaking at the backside and just getting generally nasty. They just don’t seal well, at all. So, I got my sights set on an aluminum valve cover….

I decided to go ahead and take off all the brackets of the motor and paint em up and then go ahead and put on the new 135 amp powder coat black alternator that I got, along with the super pump I mentioned a couple pages back. At this point…I was just cruising along doing things to the motor and having fun…. got the old valve cover off and cleaned up everything….about to put the new aluminum valve cover on.

THEN, disaster struck, as I was preparing to drill and tap the head for the new cover….

I COULDN’T GET TO THE BACK SIDE OF THE HEAD without either taking the head off or moving the jeep body back about a foot!…. MAN o MAN this ticked me off….. so I decided to move the body off instead of un-torquing the bolts of the head and re-doing all of that….

Just wait, it gets worse….how am I going to move that body by myself? Oh yeah, the engine hoist! I got some motorcycle straps and made my own ‘body hoist’….worked awesome!

Ok, so I figured I was ok now…. but NOOOOOOO not yet….there’s more disaster to come! I got the bolts off the body…and as I was taking them off, they basically FELL OUT by themselves…..


Now I’m looking at a body that I had welded metal in to get to the point of not seeing the ground under my feet like Fred Flintstone when I’m driving…and the stinking body mounts are falling out before my very eyes….I guess it’s a good thing I found this out now, otherwise the Jeep may have just driven out from under me somewhere down the road!

SO, all of this happens because I’m just trying to dress up the engine a little and hopefully stop the leaks from occuring….geez, great luck. SO now I gotta find a way to fix the body mounts on the body, or get an entirely new body for this jeep….geeez…no wonder they call them Jeeps… stands for “JUST EMPTY EVERY POCKET”, makes complete sense to me.

Oh well, since I at least got the body moved, I can put the valve cover on…

To put the cover on…you have to drill and tap the head, because the CJs with plastic covers don’t have holes in the head on the outside for NORMAL valve covers, instead they use bridge bolts and nuts on top of the valve cover to tighten it down….gee suprising they leak isn’t it? Anyway, what I did was put the new cover on and use a sharpie to mark the spots where I needed to drill and tap.

You can see, it’s pretty tight there… Worked out fine though. Just use a bottoming tap and it works great…be sure not to drill too far otherwise you’ll penetrate the water jacket in the head and really REALLY be in trouble then. I actually did great on this, didn’t have a major setback with going through the water jacket, thank the Lord! Below is the area I had to get to to finish the valve cover job… the reason I moved the body off the frame.

Ok, after the install here’s what she looked like:


Much nicer look and NO MORE LEAKS!!!!!!

Checkout the new project, a 5.3L Chevy Vortec V8 that I’m swapping into the Jeep here!

Continue On With The YJ Body Tub Swap…

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