I have a 2004 Ford Focus SE 2.0L. There’s some oil leak on the engine. A mechanic told me it could be the engine valve gasket being cracked (the car is pretty old and never had a valve gasket change).

I wanted to open it up and change the valve gaskets. I bought a Repair Manual, and followed the instructions for opening engine valve cover. After unscrewing everything, I could not lift the engine cover. I used a wrench to knock on it a few times, it still would not budge one bit when I tried to lift it.

I watched an online tutorial for the 2005 Focus. In the video, engine cover popped off easily after all the screws were removed. I don’t know what more would I have to do to get mine open…

Engine with valve cover removed from far away Engine from far away

Engine close up after unscrewing enter image description here

Repair Manual Instructions (Haynes) enter image description here

2 Answers 2


Been there, done that on a 2.0L Zetech.

Make sure you got all the bolts. I'm only seeing two holes on the bottom row (should be three, right?). Make sure nothing else is screwed into the valve cover that could be holding it down. Hilsons is right about your manual saying to loosen the timing cover bolts. I managed to get one off without doing so (different year/vehicle) but it probably made it more difficult.

Get a rubber mallet and tap the cover gently to loosen the the gasket. You're not going to be able to pull the valve cover straight up because of the timing belt cover on the left (if you're looking down at the engine standing in front of the vehicle). Start trying to work the right side up a bit and once you've got a gap, use it to break the rest free, then take it out to the right and up. It's possible there may be a few blobs of silicone sealant applied which could make it extra difficult to break free.

When putting the cover back on with a new gasket, watch the torque. You don't want to break any bolts off. You are looking to put inch lbs, not foot lbs of torque on the bolts. I've got a factory manual for a different year (and a different platform), but I think it's about 7 newton meters of torque. Double check that figure with your manual. Too much or too little torque and it will leak.

Might as well change the plugs while you're at it unless they're nowhere near due (factory double platinums should last 100,000 miles).

  • you are right, there are 3 arrows indicated by the manual on the bottom row. Two hole from 2 bolts on the left and right, and in the middle above the metal plate there's a thing (it looks like this feeneyinc.com/Hanger_Bolt_Tool.jpg but not as tall, sorry idk what they're called) I've removed that as well. are you recommending I knock on the engine cover a little more to see if it'd budge (this time maybe with a mallet)?
    – user133466
    Commented Dec 27, 2012 at 0:39
  • 1
    +1 for the rubber mallet suggestion. Worked for me many times. Those Haynes manuals always make it look so easy :)
    – JOpuckman
    Commented Dec 27, 2012 at 19:03

It looks like there's a metal plate in your photo still covering part of the valve cover closest to you. I'm betting that's part of your problem. It's also worth noting that in your repair manuel, the upper timing belt cover is also removed first.

  • i've unscrewed the 4 bolts connected to the cover of the timing belt. The metal plate doesn't seem like it's removable, i think it only covers part of the engine. I think I'll be fine if I yank it in the other direction (up) from the point of view of the close-up picture??
    – user133466
    Commented Dec 27, 2012 at 0:35

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