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E46 Xi Forum
The E46 XI was produced from 01-05 in sedan and touring body styles. Powered by either a 2.5L inline 6 in the 325xi or a 3.0L inline 6 330xi. Discuss all thing about BMW AWD E46 'Xi' here.

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Old 09-02-2011, 11:52 PM   #1
link101b
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blown head gasket

So my head gasket popped from what i understand this is a common problem with the e46.
I have decided to do the repair myself

I found this guide on pelican parts:

http://www.pelicanparts.com/bmw/tech...ead-Gasket.htm

But im not sure this is for a 2004 330xi. Anyone know if this guide will work?

The head gasket kit from Victor Reinz seems like a good option to go with:

http://www.pelicanparts.com/cgi-bin/...2F%30%32%29%20

Anyone have any advice or a better walkthrough to follow? What special tools will I need? Any other common maintanence I should do while I have this all torn apart? I would appreciate any input.

Thanks in advance!
Bob
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Old 09-02-2011, 11:54 PM   #2
Solidjake
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Yes, the guide will work for your car.
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Old 09-02-2011, 11:59 PM   #3
link101b
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solidjake View Post
Yes, the guide will work for your car.
Great! thanks for the fast reply.
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Old 09-03-2011, 01:07 AM   #4
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Any other advice?

I'm going to start taking her apart tomorrow and get parts ordered. I'll clean everything up during the week and put her back together next weekend if parts get in. I'll try and post some pics throughout the week.
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Old 09-03-2011, 12:06 PM   #5
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Good luck brother. The weight of the head is serious I recommend an assistant.

Care to share the story and your mileage? - like a "this can happen to you" narrative. Did you have an over temp issue that caused it?
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Old 09-06-2011, 12:36 AM   #6
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Well, we are stuck for the time being...wanted to get it all torn apart this weekend but ran into a special tools prob.

As far as the story goes, its not that interesting. I was going over Parleys summit just outside Park City, UT. Got to a gas station on the other side to get gas and it died in the gas stall. No warning indicators or anything came on and I never noticed if the temp was pegged before stall.

Checked fluid levels and coolant was gone, so I got some and it drained instantly, called a tow truck and took it to the shop. They said cracked radiator so I said fix it. After that was fixed the engine still didnt pressurize and dumped fluid everywhere, pretty much screaming head gasket. I didnt feel like dropping 3k + to a shop so decided to recruit my dad and do it ourselves (he is a small engine deisel mechanic).

We started out well, got all the plastic crap off:

Had a little issue getting the coolant overflow off the radiator but once we did the radiator came right out:

Lost my first knuckle with the radiator

Got the belts off:

Got the head cover off and removed plugs:

This is where we got stuck. Everything we have read said the cams are very tempermental. We went over options and decided there was nothing we wanted to do with them until we get a tool. We still decided to continue and get the head off but ran into a problem with the second chain.

The guide difers on many places and we didnt see how to get this off without removing the crankshaft pulley. And off course we dont have a pulley tool...

All the specialty tool shops I could find in Salt Lake were closed for labor day weekend so we decided to call a stop. All in all it went well, and got in many Labor day beers

You guys see anything we missed?
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Last edited by link101b; 09-06-2011 at 12:57 AM.
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Old 09-06-2011, 03:32 PM   #7
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Good luck and keep us posted (with pics, please!)
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Old 09-06-2011, 08:52 PM   #8
link101b
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Have called all over Salt Lake City and cannot find any shop that rents BMW specialty tools, not even the dealership...

Anyone have a suggestion where I might find these? If not I guess i'm buying them then I'll rent them out. This is a little frustrating
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Old 09-06-2011, 09:04 PM   #9
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You need the trick tools for sure.

The head must be sent out for crack and warp inspection. The last concern is the integrity of the head-bolt threads. Some have tried just replacing the head gasket as a quick and dirty fix. It's a bad day when they discover instant fail as the head was warped or they can't quite torque the head down to specification. The block threads under stress stretch as the head may have moved upward (warp) yanking on the bolts. The threads are shot and will never take torque. Some have used tapped thread inserts that hold. New bolts are required.

BEFORE removing the head test to see if the bolts hold torque. Back off the bolts and try to re-torque them in sequence. Now they're used and will stretch a bit but should pull close to spec. You're looking for when it feels stripped or way off from holding torque. For a proper test you would burn a new set of bolts. This will tell you absolutely if any threads are toast.
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Old 09-06-2011, 09:16 PM   #10
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thats a great idea, I was going to get new bolts regardless.

I am really concerned about ruining the camshafts, any thoughts there?
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Old 09-07-2011, 09:32 PM   #11
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Not sure how you could ruin them? You of course have a proper manual as in a Bentley? With the cam positioning/alignment tools you should be fine disassembling and reassembling. If you're winging it with limited resources then yes, you could seriously mess up timing damaging something. Research is everything for this surgery.
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Old 09-09-2011, 12:08 PM   #12
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OK, got my parts ordered, Javier at Pelican Parts was very helpful.

I got coming:
Head Gasket kit (includes all seals from the head up)
Head bolt set (includes washers)
vanos cam timing master kit (includes 5 little irritating must have tools)
Camshaft hold tool with flywheel lock
6 quarts oil and oil filter
1 gallon BMW coolant

Everything was in stock and should be here by mid next week.

Figured out a fix for removing the cams, the dealership said they will remove them, let me take the head to the machine shop and then put them back in for $250. Ripoff but its safer then having to buy new ones for $650 each.

I'll add a couple pics when we get the head off this weekend.
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Old 09-09-2011, 10:59 PM   #13
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That's a deal. They have the liability to time it right. Pelican is great, orders always come through on time well packed and correct.
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Old 10-04-2011, 08:29 PM   #14
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ok, this project has become a nightmare, anything that can go wrong has...just got to keep pluggin along though, i guess...
New question: I accidently broke the plastic timing chain rail guard and will have to replace it. Do I have to take the crankshaft out to get the front plate off to do this?

Thanks again all.
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Old 10-04-2011, 09:15 PM   #15
link101b
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ok we just put serious leverage on the crankshaft bolt and not a budge...what am I missing?
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Old 10-05-2011, 05:37 AM   #16
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Reverse thread??
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Old 10-05-2011, 09:38 AM   #17
Fred The Puppy
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Not reverse thread, but is factory torqued to 300 ft/lbs
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Old 10-05-2011, 10:55 AM   #18
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ok that makes sense, going to need some more leverage. thanks
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