How To: Timing Cover Install - Manual and Automatic Transmissions

To do this install and removal you need a basic socket set. I started my install with all the accessories out of the way since I am replacing my head gaskets too. This is my second time I am installing it in a matter a few days because the first time I messed up and found out how to do it the right way afterwards. This is also on an automatic car so it shows you some tips and tricks on how to stop the crank from spinning.

Things you need are:

Timing cover set by FelPro- TCS45449
High Tack RTV – Yellow
Regular RTV – Red or Black
Tool Set – Deep sockets are needed too

To start off you need something to keep you occupied, like music.


Now this is a picture of my timing cover and you see it has allen head bolts on it because that is what I decided to replace them with. Normally the hex head on these bolts is a ½ socket.


First thing you should start off doing is taking the harmonic balancer off. First you need to break the nut lose in the middle of the balancer. I did this with an impact wrench but here are other ways to lock up the crank so it wont spin (Automatic). On a manual you can just put it into 5th gear and it should lock up. The nut on the balancer is 15/16ths.


Next thing you will need is a harmonic balancer puller that you can find at autozone and it is part # 27019.



This is a way to get the harmonic balancer off with the crank not spinning for automatics.



Then you should start removing the bolts by the water pump. You do not need to remove the 2 bolts that I left in, unless you want to remove the water pump too.


Then you can start removing the lower timing cover bolts. They are all ½ inch. Make sure you have a deep socket for the one with stud on the end.


Also make sure that you take the bolt on the driver side of the side of the timing cover. This is one of the grounds from the battery.


Also there are 4 bolts on the underside of the oil pan that go up into the timing cover. There are 2 on each side. 2 are ½ socket and 2 are a 10mm (that is what I used at least)


Then take the timing cover off…It might take a pry bar to get it all the way off.

Now comes the fun part of taking off the gaskets. Also you should cut the one piece oil pan by the corners (You will see that I already did that and that is where the cork or beige gasket is).


Peel off as much of the gasket as you can and you might want to put a shop towel in the oil pan to keep out as much debris as possible.


In order to get the gaskets off I used a razor and gasket remover. Make sure you get all the gaskets off and RTV. This took awhile the first time I did it.


I then rubbed the surface where the gaskets were going with brake cleaner to make sure there was no debris or grease left on the surfaces.

Now it is time to get the gaskets off the actual timing cover. I did the same thing as I did for the block.





Then you need to cut the ears that go on the corners of the pan so that they fit.


I then installed the timing cover gasket while using High Tack RTV to hold it in place.



I then used some of the High Tack RTV to hold the ears or corner gaskets in place too.


I then installed the new rubber seal on the bottom of the timing cover while I let the High Tack RTV adhere to the block. When installing the new U shaped rubber seal I put some RTV on it.


I then was ready to install the timing cover. To install it I put a nice bead of RTV in the corners where the oil pan meets the new gasket and then a bead by the other side of the cork gasket. I also put some by where the U shaped gasket goes.


Then bolt the timing cover back up and make sure you bolt your GROUND wire back on


Next is to put the harmonic balancer back on.


For people with automatics this the little trick that I use to lock the crank when putting the balancer on. I use a thick allen key that rests up on the timing cover to lock the balancer in place. I use an allen key rather that screw driver because it is sturdier and you can rest one of the flat sides on the fins.


After that is on your timing cover should be on and good to bolt up all the accessories.

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How did you "mess up?"

Great article, Danman! I was wondering how you "messed up" the first time and why you had to re-do your installation. I'm doing the same on my 82 Capri. I have a fairly new motor that had an antifreeze leak. Turns out, the wrong timing cover was installed. You can't use a cover for a clockwise rotation water pump on a motor combo that uses the serpentine/ reverse rotation pump. There is no support for the pump seal (top pass side) between the sheet metal rear pump cover and timing cover. Hence my pesky small leak. Gee, I guess the Ford Engineers didn't design a special cover for nothing!

I got a timing cover leak right on the top drivers side corner. it lasted 3 years from when i replaced it during my H/C/I swap. I used RTV on both sides of the timing cover gasket. Bad idea? should it be left dry? Going to do this in 2 weeks when the car comes out of storage. Looking forward to it