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Old 01-28-2013, 09:23 PM   #1
TonyJ
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VGC and VANO

Ok now my car is at 125,000 km and I started to discover an oil leak. It all started after a 2,000km holiday drive, half freeway half moutainous roads where I drove pretty hard (Great Alpine Rd, Mt Buffalo and Snowy Mountain HWY for the Aussie). I lost 0.5-1L oil.

I think the oil leak/burn is related to how the car is driven. Most oil leaks come from driven hard. I once even smelled burnging oil (but just once). That was on a freeway right behind another E46. I wish it was coming from that poor chap!

I have checked the usual suspect. No oil dripping on the floor or on the splash shields. Under body, as fas as I can see, is dry. On the left side, after taking off the air box, I used a flash light and stretched my arm as far as I could but everywhere is bone dry. All CCV hoses and connector and dip stick tube are dry. I can't see the side of OFHG but since there was no oil dripping it should be fine.

Ran my fingers around VGC cover. Most places are dry. There was only one spot at rear side of the engine, that I can feel some semi wet oil spot. Is it the cause of the leak? I was expecting more oils based on my loss rate.

And I read someone had VANO leak. The VANO unit is inside the VGC, isn't it? How can I confirm it without take off the VGC?

Is there any other places to look?


I think I will probably replace VGC anyway, but is it worth doing the VANO seal? My car idles smoothly and takes off strongly. I do notice some slight surge past 3,000 rpm, but very slightly, not as obvious as Beisan described. Is it a smypton of VANO seal problem or just normal engine torque curve?

Thanks in advance.

Last edited by TonyJ; 01-28-2013 at 09:31 PM.
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Old 01-28-2013, 10:16 PM   #2
tech4tech
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It's your VCG (don't forget the 15 rubber grommets too). Your VANOS seals are certainly bad too at this mileage, but they don't cause an external oil leak. It will take an extra 4 hours or so on top of the VCG job, and extra tools, but you should consider doing that while you're there.

VANOS is not "inside", it's at the front of the engine with the Valve Cover front edge on top of it
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Old 01-28-2013, 10:44 PM   #3
chillinhardinanE46
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I think this might help.



http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=882732



as tech4tech mentioned. You might wanna do your seals as well.

http://www.beisansystems.com/procedu..._procedure.htm
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Old 01-28-2013, 10:55 PM   #4
TonyJ
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Thanks. But it still puzzled me why so little oil residue? It could be burnt out on the exhaust manifold but I didn't smell it during the long drive, and also not smelling it now.

Last edited by TonyJ; 01-28-2013 at 10:56 PM.
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Old 01-29-2013, 01:46 AM   #5
tech4tech
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Originally Posted by TonyJ View Post
Thanks. But it still puzzled me why so little oil residue? It could be burnt out on the exhaust manifold but I didn't smell it during the long drive, and also not smelling it now.
Burning oil under the hood is almost always from the VCG leak; it drips onto the hot exhaust and burns. One of the tell-tale signs is dark spots on the heat shield (it look like a "skirt" along the passenger side on the engine). At this age/mileage it's not really a question if your VCG needs to be replaced as that's a given, but rather what else might be going on that you need to take care of. From experience, your VCG is fried, and your VANOS seals are fried. BMW put parts made out of BUNA rubber in these cars and it does not stand up to the heat and turns into brittle plastic over time. Try not to drop any pieces into the open engine when the old VCG crumbles in your hands.
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Old 01-29-2013, 06:47 PM   #6
TonyJ
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Is it necessary to remove the fan to do the vano?

Also it seems too messy that oil will spill out when removing vano. I think it maybe better to drain the oil first so that it won't be messy.
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Old 03-04-2013, 07:12 PM   #7
tailspnr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chillinhardinanE46 View Post
I think this might help.



http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=882732



as tech4tech mentioned. You might wanna do your seals as well.

http://www.beisansystems.com/procedu..._procedure.htm
Excellent reference thread!
Thanks
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Old 01-28-2013, 11:59 PM   #8
Steven747
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oil seperator is bad?. i would replace.
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Old 01-29-2013, 07:55 PM   #9
TurnersInOz
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Yes, you'll want to remove the fan and shroud.
You do not need to drain the oil. There might be some residual oil sitting in the VANOS, but you can easily catch it with some rags.
Draining the oil will not empty the VANOS of all oil anyway.
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Old 01-29-2013, 08:32 PM   #10
tech4tech
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No need to drain, but use a small catch container and cover the belts/pulleys with some plastic bags. Last time I did VANOS seals I didn't have to add any oil back in. Just follow the procedure here: http://www.beisansystems.com/procedu..._procedure.htm

And yes, it will be a bit messy anyways. You'll have to clean the mating VCG surfaces, and vanos, and use oil for vanos re-assembly. Also, if you want to avoid future leaks, make sure that the parts of VC and engine touching the new gasket are reasonably oil-free. Always replace the grommets -- they dry up just like the VCG itself.

Last edited by tech4tech; 01-29-2013 at 08:37 PM.
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:20 PM   #11
TonyJ
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ok, so VCG, all 15 grommet, red RTV and VANO seals. Will be fun the next few weeks...

Removing fan is not really a big deal, I have done it 34248 times so will only take 2 minutes...

Should I also invest a small torque wrench? My current one won't be accurate at 10nm or below.

Last edited by TonyJ; 01-29-2013 at 09:21 PM.
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:17 PM   #12
tech4tech
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I use a different sealer (non-hardening Permatex 85409), but whatever you use, apply just a very thin coat; the goal is not to create bulk, but to provide extra tack for the tricky corners. Don't forget to apply the sealer on the back side of the engine too (halfmoon corners).

Get the new washers for the VANOS oil line bolt. They are cheap and are not supposed to be reused.

Be careful with the reverse-threaded inner VANOS bolts as it's really easy to snap them going the wrong way.

For the VCG nuts/bolts, I first torque them by feel, starting from the central row, then alternating right and left sides of the outer ones, tightening progressively in 3-4 stages. In the final stage, I tighten them (gently!) till full stop using a short ratchet as it's really easy to over-torque and snap one. That has worked without leaks on the 3-4 cars I've worked on.

You might want to think about replacing the spark plugs (100k maintenance), but those are fairly easy to do afterwards too.

All materials and tools are listed in the beisan link I've posted earlier.
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Old 01-30-2013, 03:34 PM   #13
TurnersInOz
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The VCG is really easy, and the VANOS isn't as bad as it seems.
Feels really good to get them done.
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Old 01-30-2013, 06:46 PM   #14
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If I just replaced the VGC and grommets at 105k and have 121k on now should I just get a new VCG and grommets if I'm looking to do the VANOS? Or is it ok to reuse them?
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Old 01-30-2013, 09:42 PM   #15
tech4tech
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Originally Posted by Mulrich07 View Post
If I just replaced the VGC and grommets at 105k and have 121k on now should I just get a new VCG and grommets if I'm looking to do the VANOS? Or is it ok to reuse them?
Hard to say, but a set of new VCG and grommets is about $30..
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Old 03-01-2013, 09:15 AM   #16
TonyJ
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I started work tonight. Was smooth at the start but now I'm stuck.

I bought the VictorReinz VCG (11120030496). It fits the cover ok but the "ridge" is too high. The gasket can't be fully inserted and flush to the cover. The old gasket fits flush. Here's the photo shows the new gasket is obviously thicker than the old one. I know there are 2 versions but the 11120030496 is the new one starts from 09/2002. And my car is 11/2003.

Have you encountered this situation? So what do you think is the problem? Will it be compressed after the cover is bolted down? I highly doubt it.

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Last edited by TonyJ; 03-01-2013 at 09:17 AM.
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Old 03-01-2013, 05:11 PM   #17
tinman831
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It will compress. Make sure you use the right torque for the cover bolts so you don't snap one.



Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyJ View Post
I started work tonight. Was smooth at the start but now I'm stuck.

I bought the VictorReinz VCG (11120030496). It fits the cover ok but the "ridge" is too high. The gasket can't be fully inserted and flush to the cover. The old gasket fits flush. Here's the photo shows the new gasket is obviously thicker than the old one. I know there are 2 versions but the 11120030496 is the new one starts from 09/2002. And my car is 11/2003.

Have you encountered this situation? So what do you think is the problem? Will it be compressed after the cover is bolted down? I highly doubt it.

Attachment 493219
Attachment 493220
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Old 03-01-2013, 06:13 PM   #18
TonyJ
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Thanks guys. That's a relief. I will start working on the vanos and then close it off. I was so worried that my old gasket was damaged and I have no suitaable gaskets at all. Hope it works.

And like everyone said, the old gasket is indeed hard and brittle like plastic. I'm actually surprised it lasted to now and still does not leak much, if anything. I am still not convinced that the leaking is from VCG but the change is good anyway. The gasket is dry, the metal below it is also dry. There are no black spots on exhaust mani and I haven't smelled burning oil for the last month (only once on the freeway behind another E46).

Last edited by TonyJ; 03-01-2013 at 09:45 PM.
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Old 01-30-2013, 09:07 PM   #19
TurnersInOz
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Personally I would not re-use them.
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Old 03-01-2013, 04:31 PM   #20
TurnersInOz
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The new gasket will be taller than the old one. When you bolt the VC back on, the gasket will compress which is where the sealing comes from.
Exactly the same as what I experienced.
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