you can run without the valve cover but keep it at or near idle, revving increases oil delivery and that can get messy quickI'm still at this. I've been driving around - no miss, no overheating - does feel a bit underpowered at times but I think that may be because of spark plug wires or coils or both. I put eight new plugs in gapped correctly. I'm going to try for a different set of coil packs first, then possibly wires. But I AM going to tackle the driver side valve cover - wish me luck gentlemen. What exactly should I look out for or look to inspect? I'm not going to attempt to run the car without the valve cover (too messy right?) so need to know what to look for with the cover and the car off.
basically you will be looking for something that looks or feels different or unusual ... pop that cover and use good judgment, wiggle stuff and along with eyeball and ears you'll get there
good luck and keep at it