DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS ON YOUR VEHICLE BEFORE DECIDING WHETHER OR NOT YOUR VALVE COVER GASKET IS REUSABLE. OTHERWISE YOU WILL NEED TO GET ONE BEFORE STARTING.
Here is your normal stock valve cover, use it if you forget where some wires go when trying this.
Now first thing you need to do is take off the valve cover. This might take a second, but make sure to keep track of things as you go, so you can put it all back together.
I cataloged each bolt when taking them out, I found that all the bolts on the outermost part of the cover along the edges are gold and 3cm long.
There are about two 5 cm gold bolts in the center area of the cover, one 1cm gold bolt holding a clip near the oil cap. Another four black bolts hold the spark coil mounts on the middle of the valve cover.
Next you will need to unhook two sensor harnesses on the passengerside of the valvecover, they are two little grey sensor clips that need to be unhooked. Also a wire bundle crosses over the cover, and clips into it in two places, this bundle happens to lead to the sensors you should have just unhooked. You can easily pull the two anchors out holding the wire with just a pull, and it snaps out, not to mention back in later.
Next there is a little black wire that leads to the middle of the valve cover, it easily pulls out, so you can place it to the side.
Also it is time to pull each spark wire inserts out from the center of the covers, make sure to number each one with a pen on the bottom-side of them, 1-2-3 and 4, to remember where to put them back, it sometimes can get confusing with all the wires. After numbering, just put them over the strut bar, out of the way.
Next on the farthest-most driverside of the valve cover on the SIDE, there should be a wire leading to it, just pull this off, this should be the breather that comes from your intake.
Now you should be ready to pull off the valve cover, where every bolt was, there is a small gold plate that serves as a grommet for all the wholes, watch these for some of them may be loose now, and when you pull off the valve cover they make fall off. Mine all stayed on until I flipped the cover over to see the underside and 2 came out. Just wait to take them out when you have the valve cover on a towel.
When you take the cover off, this is what you should see, your camshafts, valves, cam gears, and also notice where all the wires are now (spark wires etc.) that were on the valve cover. Make sure NOTHING gets into this area that is now uncovered. If you plan on having this uncovered for a long while, (overnight) put a garbage bag over it. Don't forget to close the hood!
Next step is to clean the valve cover. You must prep the cover to be painted. Best place to do this is in the garage on a towel.
The most important step on this project is the valve cover gasket, the gasket is a small rubber lining along the underside edges of the cover and along the spark plug holes. When I did this, my car had 12,500 miles on it and was 5 months old, and I found my gasket was as good as new. I also race a lot including autocross, and was surprised the gasket was in perfect condition, so I ended up having an extra gasket that I bought from the dealer beforehand - as when you install a gasket, you must wet it with oil a little to provide a seal, and seeing as my original was fine, and already oily, I just re-used it, but eve tho I'm going to re-use it, I still took it out, as shoudl you, it pulls out easily of the grooves of the underside of the cover and requires no tools.
Below is a picture of my original (and oily) gasket on the left, and my brand new dealer bought gasket on the right, bought it for $34.00.
You will need to unscrew a small sensor bolted to the side of the cover, the sensor sticks into the camgear housing. The sensor is pictured above in the bottom left.
Also you will need to remove all the little gold plate grommets that are left over from every bolt you removed, notice the holes where the two long 5cm screws where, there are matching long grommets.
Once the above is done, you will need to remove the large rubber grommet left over from the hose that hooked into the center of the cover on the side that was closest to the dash. I had to put a screwdriver between the black rubber cylinder and the valve cover sides, and scoop it out, shooting it directly into my face.
Next remove the oil cap - duh.
Now that the valve cover is generaly one big piece of metal, I washed it in my bathtub with regular old soap, then high pressure washed it with degreaser at a local wash-it-yourself quarter fed drive up carwash place. It was somewhat clean, but not enough, so I sanded it down with 250 grit paper, to a nice chrome shine - I only did about half an hour of sanding tho, not much of a sander - I mostly concentrated on making the letters shine - so when I sand off the paint where the letters are, they will shine. I then washed all the sandpaper dust off, and dried the cover - time for painting.
I found there is actualy no need to mask off any valve cover holes, just make sure not to concentrate paint near any of the holes, and also NEVER paint from directly above, always paint at an angle.
The paint I used was 1200 degree high heat paint - I chose red. You don't need 1200 degree paint, 500 degree paint will do, bought at your local auto part store, or hardware store. Choose your color and start to painting. I painted the cover with a spray can, and with the first coat, don't get to compulsive trying to get everything the color you want, just get a general covering of paint on the cover, otherwise if you concentrate trying to paint all the silver metal you may get too much on it. Just sweep over the valve cover with about 3 passes, 3 seconds long each. Make sure also to paint the cover from differing angles so as not to miss a spot. I ended up giving the cover about 10 coats, waiting about 10 minutes in between each coat. When I was done, I waited only an hour for it to fully dry, though I suggest you wait longer.
WHen I was done painting, all I put back in the original valve cover gasket, pushing it into the underside grooves with my fingers, and then put it back on my engine - replaced all sensors grommets, bolts, etc etc.