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I own a (fairly stock) 2003 Nissan 350z with the VQ35DE. My z has about 123,200 miles. When I replaced my spark plugs and coil packs around 117,000 miles, I noticed in the #5 cylinder (I believe, it was the far back passenger cylinder, if facing the car) spark plug was submerged in oil. I am not seeing any oil leak outside the cover and that spark plug was the only one with oil around it. I have been scouring through the internet to see if I need to replace the valve cover gaskets or if I need entire new valve covers and gaskets. I am really confused on what to do and haven't found a straight answer. Do you think I should just replace the gaskets or replace the gaskets and covers to be safe?
 

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If it were me, and I'm by no means an authorized mechanic, I would clean the area really well. Then, I would retorque the valve cover bolts, maybe give the ones closest to the oily spark plug an extra half pound of torque. I have a 4Runner and they are notorious for having their valve cover bolts loosen up over the years. If that didn't work, I would replace the gasket.
 

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Normally, you would just replace the gaskets unless a valve cover is cracked.

I don’t know if your valve covers are aluminum or plastic. The plastic ones are more prone to crack.

If you just have oil in the spark plug tube/s and relatively clean valve covers, I wouldn’t worry about them.

Just make sure your gasket kit comes with the tube seals and pay attention to which way they go and possibly the depth they are if they don’t have a shoulder to rest on.


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