If you own an Aston Martin with the 4.3 V-8 Engine the Timing Cover gasket will probably leak.
Aston Martin designed an improved gasket that made its debut with the introduction of the 4.7 engine. Even though this continues to be somewhat of an issue with a small number of 4.7 engines, this improved gasket has, for the most part, fixed this problem.
It seems Aston Martin's strategy for this issue was to delay the inevitable. If a customer brought in a car with a leaking timing cover, the Aston Martin technicians were instructed to apply an external sealant.
This was not only rubbish, but an absolute waste of time. (see photographs below)
Invariably, the leak would re-appear at some point, in most cases when the car was out of the Factory's warranty.
The only solution is to replace the gasket with the revised version.
Labor estimate for this job is approximately 20 hours. Itís expensive whether itís done by the dealer or an independent shop. Get estimates from both, the difference might be less that you think.
As part of this fix, the dealer will change not only the timing cover gasket, but the valve cover gaskets as well, which are also prone to weep oil. The oil reservoir needs to be removed so an oil change will be part of the process.
If you are thinking of doing this yourself, note that special tools will be needed for this project. In addition to an engine support beam, the following tools are needed. (See photograph below)
Flywheel locking tool
Crankshaft damper removal tool.
Crankshaft seal install tool.
Engine support brackets that attach on to the engine support beam.
One other thought, you want this done right; the dealer will have the necessary tools and expertise.
The repair starts with protecting the front half of the car with a huge bra like covering.
Engine strut brace, coil packs, spark plugs and both valve covers are removed.
The engine is supported from the top of the engine bay with an engine support beam secured at each shock tower. (green arrows photograph below)
The car then is put on a lift and the necessary underbody panels removed to gain access to the engine's timing cover.
Wheels, brake rotors, suspension arms, shocks, inner fenders etc. are removed. A specially designed support is put under the front steering rack cradle.
With the front steering cradle bolts removed, the car is then lifted up to reveal removed cradle with front sway bar and steering rack attached.
This now allows unfettered access to the bottom and front of the engine (photograph below).
Serpentine belt, pulleys, oil reservoir, crankshaft damper, alternator, power steering pump, oil filter etc. Everything is removed to gain access to the timing cover.
Photographs below show Timing Cover removed.
The Timing Cover is re-installed with the revised Timing Cover gasket.
A new crankshaft seal is installed. Note seal install tool in photograph below.
Suspension cradle with sway bar and steering rack is re-installed by lowering car down onto rack.
Suspension parts, shocks, springs, rotors, calipers, inner fenders, wheels etc. re-installed.
This gives you an idea of why replacing the Timing Cover gasket is so damm expensive, itís the labor.
I would like to thank the Orlando Aston Martin technician for taking these photographs.
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