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Driveline, Engine & DME Tuning
Talk about driveline improvements, NA tuning and DME tuning your E46 BMW here. This includes diffs, intakes, exhausts, chips, software and OBD tuning.

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Old 08-15-2009, 10:56 PM   #1
WilkesE46
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Angry Valve Cover Gasket replacement PROBLEMS

Alright, so I have spent the past two days attempting to get this gasket seated and leak free. As this is already much too much time spent on this project, I have called on the forum to try and give any helpful hints you might have in tackling my problem. After taking the valve cover off, I replaced both the valve cover gasket and the spark plug gaskets with my new pieces, and also installed new rubber grommets around the valve cover bolts. Unfortunately, each time I went to go start up the car, I ended up getting light smoke from the passenger, rear area (if you look down, you see the second O2 sensor directly below the smoke)!! What might I be doing wrong??

1st time: Used sealant, but didnt wait more than 15 minutes to start up. Result: smoke

2nd time: Used even MORE sealant, especially around the entire half of the head that is closest to the exhaust manifold. Replaced all pieces and waited 6 hours for sealant to cure. Result: Smoke.

What might I be doing wrong? I bought my valve cover gasket kit from Tischer, and I noticed it was thicker than my original, so is that potentially where the problem is? What brand is the best, because I am about to buy another set from Pelican once I know which brand should work. Any helpful tips would be thoroughly appreciated!!

-David W.
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Old 08-15-2009, 11:05 PM   #2
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Are you sure you didn't just spill oil on the manifold before you installed the gasket?
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Old 08-15-2009, 11:09 PM   #3
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it might be oil from before just burning off..i had smoke after i changed mine. Just clean where the oil leak was.
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Old 08-16-2009, 01:45 AM   #4
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what kind of sealant did you use?
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Old 08-16-2009, 05:11 PM   #5
WilkesE46
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what kind of sealant did you use?
I was using Permatex's high-temp red sealant. I just went to O'Reilly's and bought some permatex ultra black; since this stuff is for maximum oil resistance, hopefully that will help out.

Also, I will go out tomorrow and try to clean off the manifold to get rid of any potential oil that could have spilled. Oy, so much hastle!
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Old 08-16-2009, 05:26 PM   #6
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Since you're seeing smoke after waiting 15 minutes, and after waiting 6 hours I'd bet that its from old oil still on your manifold heating up and smoking. It should burn up eventually but theres nothing like some spirited driving to speed up the process.
I doubt you still have a leak.
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Old 08-17-2009, 10:13 PM   #7
WilkesE46
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Originally Posted by SaaDiesel View Post
Since you're seeing smoke after waiting 15 minutes, and after waiting 6 hours I'd bet that its from old oil still on your manifold heating up and smoking. It should burn up eventually but theres nothing like some spirited driving to speed up the process.
I doubt you still have a leak.
Well, I bought that ultra black permatex, so I'm going to prep the area tomorrow morning, apply the sealant, and clean the manifold as much as possible, and then wait until the next morning to start up the car. If it truly is oil on the manifold, what's a good approx time to keep the motor going before it's definitely just plain a leak?
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Old 08-17-2009, 10:36 PM   #8
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let it get to temp. have you thought about checking your oil before and after running the car for awhile
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Old 08-17-2009, 11:16 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by WilkesE46 View Post
Unfortunately, each time I went to go start up the car, I ended up getting light smoke from the passenger, rear area (if you look down, you see the second O2 sensor directly below the smoke)!!
Can you see where the smoke is coming from? If it looks like it's coming from the bottom and it doesn't go away any time soon - you may have a leaky oil pan gasket. This may be a little bit more obvious if you go under the car and there's quite a bit of oily residue on the under side of the block but none on top.

Was the burning oil smell the reason you replaced your VCG in the first place?
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Old 08-18-2009, 01:33 AM   #10
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Can you see where the smoke is coming from? If it looks like it's coming from the bottom and it doesn't go away any time soon - you may have a leaky oil pan gasket. This may be a little bit more obvious if you go under the car and there's quite a bit of oily residue on the under side of the block but none on top.

Was the burning oil smell the reason you replaced your VCG in the first place?
Nah, I replaced the VCG as preventative maintenance, since the car was just rolling past 75k. Absolutely no smoke / smell before I started changing it out, so I'm guessing it's just not getting a good seal and oil is leaking out OR there is in fact oil on the manifold that is burning as it gets up to operating temp. Hmmm, I'll check it all out tomorrow and check the oil before and after
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Old 08-19-2009, 09:13 PM   #11
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Alright guys, I finished up sealing the gasket, and it's been 24 hours since it was put in, but there's a little problem:

I broke one of the bolts by over tightening it

Where can I get another one of the four special bolts that go in the spark plug area? I accidentally broke a bolt on the engine block. The nut that go with this bolt is also needed since the broken piece is stuck inside the nut and there is no way to take it out. Where can I order these pieces in a jiffy???
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Old 08-19-2009, 09:32 PM   #12
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Scratch that, just ordered all I needed from ECS...2nd Day Air!
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Old 10-13-2009, 10:56 PM   #13
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Don't know if you have gotten this problem solved but when I changed my VCG after install I had a leak from the same area that you did. When I took the VC off and looked closer there are the studs are just above the cams (circled in picture) on mine there was some old gasket that was left behind that I had not noticed which I believe was causing it to sit up and allowing the oil to leak out. removed the old gasket gasket and reinstalled and now the leak seems to be gone.
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Old 10-13-2009, 11:04 PM   #14
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did you make sure the bolts are fully tightened? you basically tighten them until they stop turning as it is only threaded to a certain extent.
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Old 10-14-2009, 03:44 AM   #15
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Sealant must be used in the VANOS housing to Cylinder head spot, on sharp angles and on front/rear half moon areas as directed by BMW. If you see smoke then something's wrong. You have to torgue the cover evenly to prevent warping and other unpleasant issues. Also, make sure before applying sealant that surfaces are clean and free from any oil residues.
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Old 10-15-2009, 11:34 PM   #16
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i build alot of engines and have done a few of these gaskets. By appling sealent to the gastek that really does need it (maybe around the half circle cut outs at the back of the head), you create another seal that could leak. If you think about it, by having the single rubber gasket you have 1 gap that could leak between the gasket and head. If you place sealent there and do a bad job you end up with 2 seals that could leak. As the seal is pressed into the valve cover you have to gasket sealent to (gap 1) sealent to head (gap 2). Once the valve cover is off take brake clean and clean the mating surface on the head. Visually inspect it for remains of the old gasket and old sealant, take a razor blade to remove anything on the head that cant be wiped off. Be sure to check any oil that could have leaked out of the head or left over from the old gasket, dont be afraid to spray this whole area (side of head and exhuast manifold)with brake clean (be sure not to get any in the engine though). This might be where the smoke is coming from. Place the gasket in the valve cover. Install and torque to spec in the correct bolt pattern! you should not have any leaks!!!

Last edited by small_m; 10-15-2009 at 11:36 PM.
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