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-   -   Yet another "Replaced Valve Cover gasket and still Leaks" (http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=930168)

alhayek 06-28-2012 01:42 AM

Yet another "Replaced Valve Cover gasket and still Leaks"
 
So I replaced my VCG 8 months ago, and ever since then I just keep revisiting it trying to resolve the minor oil leak it had. So far I've revisited it 10+ times ! I'm getting really sick of this! This is what I did

Attempt 1: Installed the VCG without using an RTV sealant (Used OEM Reinz Gasket). I Oiled the gasket a bit and tightened the bolts to 10 nm.

Attempt 2: Re-installed, tried to replace rubber seals, but I noticed the ones I got are slightly different then those that were originally on the VCG (the neck of the seals I purchased is shorter than those on the car). I Broke a stud in the process, and decided not to replace rubber seals.

Attempt 3 : Reinstalled, replaced the broken stud and the bolt.

Attempt 4: Reinstalled applying a bit of RTV silicone sealant (Black) on the half moons

Attempt 5: (Getting pretty desperate here) Reinstalled and applied sealant to the entire contact surface of the gasket!

Attempt 6: Removed the old Sealant from the engine and the gasket (scraped it off) , used Red RTV sealant instead on half moons.

[FYI: there were various re-installation attempts between the above attempts]

Now, my next attempt will be this weekend. I figured I probably messed up something when I tried to removed the old RTV sealant from the gasket, so I got a new gasket! I'm replacing all rubber seals. I also always felt that some bolts didn't tighten as much as others, specifically the ones on the left side of the gasket, so I'm guessing oil must have leaked somehow to the studs and the lubrication was screwing with my torque wrench's measurement, so I will degrease the studs and the bolts this time! I will thoroughly clean the surface of the gasket and the engine!

Now, before I do this, and I am getting really really really tired already, are there any recommendations to solve this oil leak that has been driving me nuts and making my car smell like burned oil !

postal 06-28-2012 01:55 AM

I'll be doing mine on the weekend - you're making me a little nervous.

Really dumb question, but have you thoroughly degreased the entire engine? If you're going off smell, how do you know there isn't a leak elsewhere? I ask because a) maybe you had a brain fart and the leak is elsewhere, or b) if you didn't have a brain fart, what did you use to diagnose where the leak was occurring if it isn't visible (as I may need to use your trick)?

Bimmer4Lyfe 06-28-2012 02:02 AM

How soon are you starting / running / driving the car after installing the VCG ?

You are supposed to wait several hours if not 24 hrs before running the car when replacing VCG...

alhayek 06-28-2012 02:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by postal (Post 14524724)
I'll be doing mine on the weekend - you're making me a little nervous.

Really dumb question, but have you thoroughly degreased the entire engine? If you're going off smell, how do you know there isn't a leak elsewhere? I ask because a) maybe you had a brain fart and the leak is elsewhere, or b) if you didn't have a brain fart, what did you use to diagnose where the leak was occurring if it isn't visible (as I may need to use your trick)?

I actually did degrease the engine the last time , not all of it though. I know its the VCG for three reasons A. I see traces of oil on the hose right below the VANOS, and B. after I re-install the VCG everytime I go ahead and clean the aluminum bay to the left, and when I check it later on (after I smell the burn) I can see remainders of burned oil. C. Sometimes I would open the hood and I will see smoke coming from the top left corner of the engine (right under the VC) so I'm confident its the VCG.

alhayek 06-28-2012 02:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bimmer4Lyfe (Post 14524735)
How soon are you starting / running / driving the car after installing the VCG ?

You are supposed to wait several hours if not 24 hrs before running the car when replacing VCG...

Soon actually, I'll go ahead and follow your advice this Friday and have this baby sit for 24 hours.

Bimmer4Lyfe 06-28-2012 02:12 AM

After that 24 hrs, you may get a little leakage initally but the VCG should cure ( melt / fuse) after driving for a while... Take it for say, a 1 or 2+ hour freeway drive to get & maintain the engine temp up to cure the gasket.

bighitbiker3 06-28-2012 02:25 AM

I had to do it twice because I didn't tighten down the bolts correctly. Remember, you have to tighten them down in a cross pattern. First time I didn't do this and I still had a leaks, second time I did the cross pattern and it's been fine.

daki_bmw 06-28-2012 02:37 AM

My case:

Attempt no.1: no-name (or unknown brand) VCG (probably some Turkish or Chinese sh!t) + 15 rubber seals. I did it myself as per TIS, except I waited more than 10 mins. for red RTV to dry. (on the box it says 5-10 mins., it must have been at least 30 after I put the VC on). Result: leak (visible)

Attempt no.2 (day-2): Same as above except I cleaned VCG thoroughly, I cleaned VC, it was 100% dry and oil-free, again as per TIS, I was as quick as possible after appplying red RTV (again I couldn't do it in less than 10 mins. because there are 10 damn spots you have to apply it, and you have to be careful not to put too much and not to put too little and to put it in the correct area. Result: leak (visible and at the same spots...basicly the whole perimeter of the passenger side of the engine was wet to touch), except now the leak was smaller and slower.

Attempt no.3: went to a great mechanic's shop, I have trust in this guy (when I'm around), he is not BMW specific, he is not cheap either, but he has a lot of experience. By now I have already decided to throw away cheap VCG and bought OEM one. He put RTV along the whole perimeter of the engine cover (similar to what you did in your attempt no.5), except now he used black rtv, he said something about my red one (I brought it with me at the time) that red one is not capable to bond with rubber elements, and that for that particular application, the black one was actually the correct one because it makes good bond with rubber. I said "OK" (I know this is not what TIS recomends and I know TIS also doesn't recomend to put rtv along the whole contact surface, but at that point I was too desparate, so I didn't give a f***, I just wanted non-leaking VCG). Result: non-leaking VCG, but I still smell that oil burning smell to this day. I don't have any visible leaks, except my hand is not perfectly clean when I touch the rear part of the VC (the one that's hard to reach). All the other areas are bone dry. I have to mention that this back area is also not "leaky", just dirty to touch, so it might be leaking there, or it might be just the residue.

I am not sure where the smell is coming from. OFH is bone dry and CCV was completly replaced 20K miles ago. I have to notice that after ANY of those 3 attempts I didn't (and I don't) have oil burning smell inside the cabin with ventilation on, I can only smell it when I go outside near the hood, opened or closed. Unlike with the old, original VCG that I replaced, in which case I could smell burning oil inside too (common VCG failure).

Bimmer4Lyfe 06-28-2012 02:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bighitbiker3 (Post 14524781)
I had to do it twice because I didn't tighten down the bolts correctly. Remember, you have to tighten them down in a cross pattern. First time I didn't do this and I still had a leaks, second time I did the cross pattern and it's been fine.

This is also correct.

ptrcd003 06-28-2012 08:55 AM

Used orange RTV only on the half-moons, works fine, no leaks or anything. Make sure you tighten it down all the way.

jasonbimmer 06-28-2012 08:59 AM

also if your Vanos gasket is old, you might want to tighten Vanos bolts to spec too if its leaking under Vanos.

Mango 06-28-2012 09:33 AM

This happened to me as well. 6 times in one month per TIS, 4 new valve cover gaskets. 3 different sealants.

guess what the fix was? new valve cover. old one was visibly warped. I'm going to do a post on this soon with pictures.. haven't had time

Mango 06-28-2012 09:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ptrcd003 (Post 14525123)
Used orange RTV only on the half-moons, works fine, no leaks or anything. Make sure you tighten it down all the way.

no.

ptrcd003 06-28-2012 10:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by E46Mango (Post 14525211)
no.

Sorry, was "tighten it down all the way" incorrect? Should I go loosen my bolts?

jasonbimmer 06-28-2012 10:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ptrcd003 (Post 14525405)
Sorry, was "tighten it down all the way" incorrect? Should I go loosen my bolts?

no

Mango 06-28-2012 10:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ptrcd003 (Post 14525405)
Sorry, was "tighten it down all the way" incorrect? Should I go loosen my bolts?

Yes and yes.

Stinger9 06-28-2012 10:37 AM

This isn't rocket science.
Make sure our VC is sound without chips or cracks. Clean well and degrease with brake cleaner.
Wipe down the head surface with cleaner.
Use a name brand first line new gasket each time, and install it dry.
No need for a torque wrench. Use a 1/4" drive so as not to use too much muscle, and use a torque pattern similar to doing a head gasket.
Use the Beisan instructions for fine points. Use thin coats of RTV where directed.
Let the engine set for at least two hours before starting.

jasonbimmer 06-28-2012 10:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by E46Mango (Post 14525420)
Yes and yes.

no, you are an idiot.
if you follow the spec torque, you will know the bolts will be bottoming out and then maybe 1/8 of a turn in order to get to the spec torque.:rofl:

Mango 06-28-2012 10:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Stinger9 (Post 14525460)
This isn't rocket science.
Make sure our VC is sound without chips or cracks. Clean well and degrease with brake cleaner.
Wipe down the head surface with cleaner.
Use a name brand first line new gasket each time, and install it dry.
No need for a torque wrench. Use a 1/4" drive so as not to use too much muscle, and use a torque pattern similar to doing a head gasket.
Use the Beisan instructions for fine points. Use thin coats of RTV where directed.
Let the engine set for at least an hour before starting.

He did all that per TIS. Like I said, he needs a new valve cover. It's warped. Read my response again... I'm doing a thread on this soon.

Mango 06-28-2012 10:39 AM

Also people remember that when you do this, you only need a TINY amount of sealant (permatex ultrablack). Just a slither. don't go all crazy on it.


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