BMW E46 3-Series DIY: Valve Cover Gasket Replacement
This DIY article will help you successfully change the Valve Cover Gasket in the E46 3-Series. This was done on a 325xi so there might be a few variations between the different models, but all should be closely related.
This is also a very good time to do your Spark Plugs if it is time to have that done. If you are looking for the Spark Plug DIY please follow the link below:
E46 Spark Plug Replacement DIY
Flat Head Screwdriver
3/8 Extensions (6"+)
TORX 30 Socket
Optional: RTV Red High Temp Silicone
OEM Valve Cover Gasket: 11129070990
Valve Cover Grommets (15): 11-12-1-437-395
First thing we want to do is remove the cabin filter housing
There are 3 securing tabs holding the cabin filter cover on. They are outlined in the picture below
To release the tabs, simply twist them counter-clockwise
Here is a shot of the tabs in the released position
Pull the cover off the reveal the cabin filter
The cabin filter just sits in the housing. Simply pull it out to remove. Note the orientation so you put the new one back in correctly
Removing the cabin filter will reveal four (4) TORX30 bolts holding the carbin filter housing in place. Grab your 3/4 Ratchet and loosen these up. They will not come out from the housing, but will become loose as to where you can remove the panel
Below are all four bolts outlined for your convenience
Before we remove the cabin filter housing let's take the battery line and the coil pack harness line out of the front holder. These wires are secured in this plastic housing. Simply pop the four (4) clips as shown below to open the compartment
Remove the two wires (coil harness on top / battery line on bottom)
We can now remove the cabin filter housing by pulling forward and placing it out of the way.
Let's get the battery line out of the way. Pop the cover shown below next to the passenger shock tower to reveal the 19mm bolt holding it down
Grab your ratchet and 19mm socket and remove it
Place the 19mm bolt back on the screw to ensure you don't misplace it. You can now move the line out of the way
Now we can work on removing the engine dressing covers. Grab a flathead and locate the two caps pointed out below. By popping these off you will reveal the two 10mm bolts holding the cover to the valve cover.
Remove the oil fill cap by rotating counter-clockwise
Grab your 10mm socket and remove the two bolts holding the engine dressing on
We can now pull the cover off and place it out of the way.
Same thing for the top cover. Remove the two covers shown below and remove the two (2) 10mm bolts. Then pull the engine cover from the engine bay
Let's remove the line at the top right of the valve cover. To do so pinch the areas shown below to release the connector and pull
By now you should be looking at something like this
Next step is to remove the coil packs.
Note: I believe some of the early model E46 coil packs might be secured to the valve cover via bolt design. If so you can easily enough just unbolt them and pull them free from the valve cover
First step to the coil pack removal is to release the coil pack harness from the coil pack itself. This can be done by sliding the locking mechanism upward as shown below
The with lock mechanism released you can grab the connector and pull away from the coil pack. Repeat this step for all 6 coil packs.
Here is a shot of the connector free from the coil pack
The coil packs are suctioned into the cylinder head so i found the best way to remove them was with a small extension. Grab your extension and slide it through the release connector as shown below. Apply and equal amount of pressure on each side to prevent snapping it. Pull upward gently to remove the coil pack
With the coil pack loose you can slide it out of the cylinder head
Here is a shot of valve cover with all of the coil packs removed
Next we want to remove the O2 sensor plugs and all of the wires that are connected to the bottom of the valve cover. All of this stuff is secured via clips and can just be popped free
Grab a 8mm socket and remove the bolt holding the ground wire to the valve cover
Here is a shot of the wire removed
Last edited by joeycannoli; 11-16-2011 at 08:06 AM.