questions about leaking valve gasket?

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car: 1994 honda accord 4 banger. I pulled some of my spark plugs the other day, and noticed a small amount of oil on them and a small amount of oil residue at the bottom of the cylinder. The engine now has 190k, and converted to syn at the 170k range. no burning of oil, but I think it may have leaked a small amount the first time I switched over. Should I just replace the head gasket and valve gasket for good measure? thanks
 
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Is this a twin cam, with the plugs on top, and long tubes going down the valve cover to get at them? Leaking valve cover gaskets are a common problem on this design; the oil winds up on the plug wire boot and deteriorates it. When you remove the spark plug the oil will get its threads and then fall into the cylinder. The head gasket is not involved in this, leave it alone. Just change the valve cover, should be some little "donut" gaskets or RTV around each spark plug tube.
 

Ankur

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no this is SOHC design. Altho, yes the spark plugs are on top, with the plugs at the end of a tube. thoughts?
 
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A sometimes-effective remedy is to simply re-tighten the valve cover screws. It may hold for a day or forever. Longer term and real fix is to replace the valve cover gasket and the tube seals (they seal around those plug wells.
 
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How do we know its not a head gasket problem? Because you would normally be leaking coolant or combustion gases. You may also leak oil (and perhaps coolant into the oil) ..but it shouldn't end up in your sparkplug towers.
 
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