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General E46 Forum
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Old 03-20-2016, 09:07 AM   #1
ssyoumans
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Should my rebuilt Vanos look like this?

I replaced the valve cover gasket and did the Besian Vanos repair about 5 years ago at 90k on my 2001 BMW. Today, 5 years later and about 35k miles, got to do the valve cover gasket again. When I took the valve cover off, the cams and the rest of the engine looks great, but the Vanos area looks nasty.

Any thoughts on this? I don't recall it being nasty like this 5 years ago.









Everything else looks great.


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Old 03-20-2016, 09:38 AM   #2
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Ill try to run some engine flush. That should help.
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Old 03-20-2016, 09:50 AM   #3
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I'm not an expert on this engine. It looks like cooked on oil to me. Are you changing oil often enough, and using an approved oil? I would not worry about it too much, but would start changing oil more often, and make sure it met ll1 specs. Maybe clean off whatever you can while in there.
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Old 03-20-2016, 09:52 AM   #4
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That happens to these. Just keep changing the oil frequently. The 15k oil change interval is too long. Also the BMW oil isn't all that great, even though it is 'approved'. Try using an oil that has more detergent qualities, like something with an ester basestock. Or just scrub it off and put the cover back on and don't worry. It's nothing to worry about as long as you're changing the oil per usual.
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Old 03-20-2016, 09:54 AM   #5
ssyoumans
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I use Castrol Syntec 5w30, changed every 7.5k miles. Everywhere else on the Engine looks minty fresh.
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Old 03-20-2016, 09:54 AM   #6
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What oil are you using? I use M1 0w-40 and I don't get that baked on cake over the vanos.

Here's my coupe when I opened it at 83k. You can see the RTV traces from when I first cracked it open to change the VCG at 46k :

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Here's at 112k when I opened it again to change leaky Victor Reinz gaskets :

Untitled

I don't think the stain means anything but it is possible not to have it.
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Old 03-20-2016, 10:16 AM   #7
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I've been running either Castrol or M1 0w-40 for the last 40k in 7.5k intervals and mine has the gold varnish too, but no "burned on" oil like that. Try shorter intervals, but anything below 7k is a waste. Synthetic oil doesn't even reach it's peak lubricant quality until around 7k. Tons of reading on the subject on the bobistheoilguy forum.
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Old 03-20-2016, 10:28 AM   #8
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Almost looks like blowby to me, another reason to use an ester-based oil. Good stuff. Rings & valve seals are probably a little gunked and letting the blowby gases into the upper cylinder area. Ester oil gets rid of this and prevents it from forming anew.
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Old 03-20-2016, 10:37 AM   #9
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Mostly Mobil 1, 7-10k OCI, 160k miles:


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Old 03-20-2016, 10:51 AM   #10
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That is just oil dried up on the vanos. Oil is not circulated on top of the vanos. It got on top of it and dried out from the heat. A little oil can get by the valve cover and get on the vanos like that.

Nothing to worry about.

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Old 03-20-2016, 11:02 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ssyoumans View Post
I use Castrol Syntec 5w30, changed every 7.5k miles. Everywhere else on the Engine looks minty fresh.
I'd switch to every 5k miles, or once a year, which ever comes first.
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Old 03-20-2016, 11:05 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ssyoumans View Post
I use Castrol Syntec 5w30, changed every 7.5k miles. Everywhere else on the Engine looks minty fresh.
I don't know oil. Is the one you are using ll-01 approved?
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Old 03-20-2016, 11:20 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by hitbyastick View Post
Almost looks like blowby to me, another reason to use an ester-based oil. Good stuff. Rings & valve seals are probably a little gunked and letting the blowby gases into the upper cylinder area.
Maybe the CCV is not functioning properly?
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Old 03-20-2016, 11:42 AM   #14
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Seems like that could just be an issue with either the vanos gasket and/or not using rtv along the seam when doing vcg.
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Old 03-20-2016, 12:16 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by BMWCaptain View Post
That is just oil dried up on the vanos. Oil is not circulated on top of the vanos. It got on top of it and dried out from the heat. A little oil can get by the valve cover and get on the vanos like that.

Nothing to worry about.

.
+1

Mine looked a bit like this though it was to a lesser extent. This is no issue at all.

No idea why some people have grey color and others get the gold/brown color though, even amongst those who use the same oil.
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Old 03-20-2016, 03:50 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by cvx5832 View Post
What oil are you using? I use M1 0w-40 and I don't get that baked on cake over the vanos.

Here's my coupe when I opened it at 83k. You can see the RTV traces from when I first cracked it open to change the VCG at 46k :


I don't think the stain means anything but it is possible not to have it.
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Old 03-20-2016, 08:24 PM   #17
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I would not worry about it. Mine looks the same. It's because the oil does not circulate in that area.

M1 0W40 is a better oil than Syntec 5W30 though.

M1 0W40 is approved to go 15k OCI, Syntec 5W30 is not.

Last edited by camrydriver111; 03-20-2016 at 08:26 PM.
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Old 03-21-2016, 08:37 AM   #18
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I had very minor caked up oil when I did my VCG couple years ago on the VANOS area. Could be from the previous owner waiting 15k for an oil change who knows. But I've been using BMW 5W-30 and had the gold varnish on it as well. Lets hope there is no caked up oil when I do my VCG again in another 50k miles o so.
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