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DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 09-17-2006, 09:49 PM   #1
sidefly
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Smile DIY - 2001 BMW 325Ci (E46) Valve Cover Gasket Install

My DIY has been sent to the site admin, so here is a preview. If you want a word doc copy with pics let me know. Or if there is some way to attach a 3mb word doc somebody tell me.

Required Tools:
Flat head screwdriver
Socket wrench
8mm socket
10mm socket
T30 Torx bit and driver
Spark plug socket

Suggested Tools:
Torque Wrench capable of 7.5ft.lbs
3/8inch and 1/4inch socket sets with extensions
Plastic gloves
Protective towel to lean against car
High-temp gasket sealant
Anti-seize compound for spark plug install
Flashlight and new batteries
Multiple containers to store small parts
Digital camera to take pictures before you take it apart (reassembly help)
Phillips head screwdriver
Floor-jack

(The Philips and floor-jack are for when you (and you will) drop a socket or screwdriver in the engine bay. The plastic panels under the car can be easily removed. Mine automagically appeared in the one-screw panel this will make sense when you jack it up.)

Parts used:
One 11 12 9 070 990 Valve Cover Gasket Set
Fifteen 11 12 1 726 537 Valve Cover Bolt Rubber Seals
Six 12 13 9 067 831 Spark Plug Rubber Connector Boots
Six NGK-6418 IRIDIUM Plugs
Gasket sealant
Anti-seize compound

Time taken:
About 3.5 hours I was deliberately very slow and careful. I could do it again in about 2 hours.

This is an easy install, just go slow and be careful.

DISCLAIMER: I am not a mechanic, so there are no implied or expressed warranties, or implied or expressed validity to these instructions. I suggest you consult a BMW dealer for questions on this installation. I do not recommend that these instructions be followed. Proceed at your own risk. Nothing in these instructions should be considered valid. This should only be considered a journal of what I did to my own car.

Good luck.


1. The entire cabin filter assembly should be removed for easy access to the engine. This is very easy, and only takes about 15 minutes.

2. The cabin filter lid is held by three strange fasteners. Just gently twist them counter-clockwise about a quarter turn, and they have a spring that will pop them up.

3. The filter lid fits between some of the rubber seal, so gently pull out on the entire filter lid, and it should slide out.

4. Take note of how the filter fits in the assembly, and then remove the filter.

5. The wires running in front of the cabin filter assembly are covered by a flat lid. Each side of the lid has simple snap connectors. Just gently lift the tabs while working the lid off. Once the top side connectors are undone, just gently roll the lid off the channel holding the wires.

6. Remove the four TORX bolts using a T30 bit. The screws are about an inch long, so keep twisting until they are all the way out. Lifting on the front of the filter tray, gently work it out of its spot. This part is done.

7. Using a flat head screwdriver, gently pry off the engine cover bolt caps. Using a 10mm socket, remove the bolts and nuts. The right side engine cover should be pulled to the left as it is removed (remember to reverse this procedure when putting everything back together). The engine is now exposed.

8. Tim P.s spark plug replacement instructions do a good example of showing how to undo the clip holding the coil wire in place. I did not need to use a screwdriver, but you might. The metal clip just slides up, and you can easily pull the coil plug out from the side. Just be very gentle (a common theme).
http://www.e46fanatics.com/howto/pic...g&directory=44

9. Take note of the ground strap on the 1st and 6th plug coils. You need to be sure to reassemble everything exactly as it is removed.

10. The 8mm nut holding both of the ground straps to the valve cover is fastened to one of the valve cover bolts. The 8mm nut should be removed to expose the 10mm valve cover one.

11. Remove the middle wire with also; it too has an 8mm nut. Once it is off, you will notice that there are four 10mm bolts now exposed on the valve cover top. One was covered by this wire, two were covered by the ground straps. All four of these will need to be removed, they look like nuts, but they are really 10mm bolts.

12. Using a 10mm socket, remove the two bolts holding the plug coils in place. Once the bolts are removed, just pull up on the coil to remove it. I dont think it is necessary to keep track of which one was which, but I did so I could put everything back the way I found it. Upon reassembly, this is good time to replace the spark plugs and plug boots. I torqued the plugs to 18-ft.lbs

13. For lack of a better description, the vent tube needs to be unfastened. It is very stiff, brittle, thin plastic, so be very gentle. Squeeze the plastic clip on the top and bottom while pulling back on the tube. Dont pull hard, because it only gives about one inch. The tube will break if you pull it hard. I had to wiggle mine for a few minutes to get it loose. This was about the worst part of the entire install.

14. All of the coil wires are tucked into a nice tidy plastic channel. The entire channel (top and bottom) come off as one piece. Do not remove the cover. Just gently pull it free by pulling up on the entire assembly. There are a few clips holding it down, so you might need to use a flat head screwdriver to negotiate the thing out. When reinstalling the assembly, just make sure it is lined up and press it down. It will click back in place. This was pretty slick, BMW did this right.

15. Once the coil wires are moved, you can pull up gently on the wires underneath. These are just held by some simple U-clips. Only the silver metal one is tricky, just lift the tab and pull the wires out from the side (this is right above one of the oxygen sensors, so dont bust the wire off the top of the sensor). As a note, I did not disconnect any wires, I just moved them out of the way. These wires I twist-tied to the heavy battery cable running above the engine.

16. Now you can finally start removing the valve cover hold down bolts. All of them are 10mm. Every bolt has a metal washer, then a rubber gasket. Replace the gaskets on your install, mine looked pretty used. Once all the bolts are removed, pull the valve cover up to remove it. I had to gently pry mine in a few places.

17. If you are not lucky enough to pull the entire gasket like me, be sure you get it all. Some people report theirs as very brittle. Mine was just stiff. Not at all like the soft rubber replacement.

18. I took this time to spray the entire cover with some Simple Green grease remover and then spray it with the hose. By the time I was ready to reinstall, the sun had dried it for me.

19. Now you will notice the spark plug gaskets. Mine were stuck pretty good. You dont need to remove the bolts that appear to be holding them down, but I did.

20. Once all your gaskets are off, clean the entire gasket area. Gasket sealant is not supposed to be required, but everyone says to use it on the half-moon areas (this will make sense once you get it apart). I used a high-temp sealant.

21. To get the gaskets back on, I just placed them in the cover (there is grove that holds them in place) and set the cover back on the engine. Seems simple enough, but it took me some time I was super careful that everything went back in place correctly.

22. Now put it all back together. I torqued all the valve cover bolts down to about 10-ft.lbs, I think BMW says 7.5-ft.lbs (that wasnt an option on my torque wrench, plus less seemed to lose).
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Old 09-20-2006, 10:43 PM   #2
sidefly
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Smile

The full document has arrived! Thanks Tim for the server space!

http://www.e46fanatics.com/pdf/2001_...eplacement.pdf
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Old 09-20-2006, 10:51 PM   #3
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Awesome write up, props to Tim for hosting the file too.
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Old 09-24-2006, 05:37 PM   #4
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nice man - this is one of the first DIYs that I ever learned how to do on my old Saab - it's often an issue on other cars as well, so it'll be useful with other cars down the line.
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Old 10-04-2006, 12:54 PM   #5
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Why did you replace the coil to plug connectors? Typically you replace plug wires because they are carbon wires to reduce noise and therefore do wear. These are just straight wires, so they shouldn't wear. Noise isn't a problem in the plug bore.

Does someone call for them to be replaced? If I am wrong let me know and I'll replace them as I finish replacing my HG.

Thanks
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Old 10-05-2006, 07:02 AM   #6
NoVaDreier
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Check out this link about the coil to plug connectors.
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Old 10-07-2006, 09:43 PM   #7
sidefly
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geoffct View Post
Why did you replace the coil to plug connectors? Typically you replace plug wires because they are carbon wires to reduce noise and therefore do wear. These are just straight wires, so they shouldn't wear. Noise isn't a problem in the plug bore.

Does someone call for them to be replaced? If I am wrong let me know and I'll replace them as I finish replacing my HG.

Thanks
Geoff
I reviewed many write-ups similar to the one posted by NoVaDreier. They are not that expensive, so I figured after 6 years they could probably stand to be replaced. Entrie coil packages are available, but $$$. There is some new coil technology on the market prob worth the price, but not worth it for my 325 - maybe if I had an M3.

Good luck with your DIY.
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Old 08-30-2007, 05:37 PM   #8
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Question

ummm....this may be a stupid question, but...I replaced the valve cover gasket and the spark plugs. in the process of putting everything back together I dropped one of the bolts that secures the ignition coil things (the black square shaped objects that connect to the spark plugs). I couldnt find it and I have no other way of getting to the store to get a replacement. Is it safe to put everything back together and drive to the dealership to get the bolt?? I'm only missing one, so the other bolt in the ignition is holding it down.
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Old 08-31-2007, 10:35 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ghost8786 View Post
ummm....this may be a stupid question, but...I replaced the valve cover gasket and the spark plugs. in the process of putting everything back together I dropped one of the bolts that secures the ignition coil things (the black square shaped objects that connect to the spark plugs). I couldnt find it and I have no other way of getting to the store to get a replacement. Is it safe to put everything back together and drive to the dealership to get the bolt?? I'm only missing one, so the other bolt in the ignition is holding it down.
It's probably fine. It's an electrical part so the key is the electrical connections - wiring harness and the sparkplug "boot."
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Old 09-08-2007, 06:05 PM   #10
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Good write up. I did mine yesterday. Took about 2.5 hours. $50 for parts. Have no idea what the dealer would have wanted to do it.
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Old 09-09-2007, 07:22 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by 4rwheeler View Post
Good write up. I did mine yesterday. Took about 2.5 hours. $50 for parts. Have no idea what the dealer would have wanted to do it.
The dealer told me $250 for the valve cover gasket. So, I went and bought new spark plugs ($108) and the valve cover gasket ($38) and probably saved myself around 400-500 dollars.
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Old 09-10-2007, 12:01 PM   #12
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Oh, one thing to be careful with is pulling the valve cover off. I pryed up with the flathead until I could get my hand under there to pull it up some more, I pulled up on the cover with some force and sliced my fu***** hand in half. The gasket was very hard and brittle. It had turned from rubber into plastic.
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Old 09-15-2007, 02:47 PM   #13
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Also, make sure you guys dont overtighten the little bolts that bolt down the valve cover. I accidently did that. I did a smoke test afterwards, and sure enough.. there was a hairline crack and thats where it leaked from.

So, I ordered a new valve cover from tischer.. lol
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Old 10-08-2007, 10:11 PM   #14
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will be doing this soon!
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Old 10-18-2007, 04:11 PM   #15
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thanks for the DIY

did it today!

super easy
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Old 10-18-2007, 04:22 PM   #16
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very thorough nice work.

what is the life expectancy of a valve cover gasket anyway?
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Old 10-18-2007, 04:34 PM   #17
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nice write up....cant wait to tackle this challenge
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Old 10-18-2007, 04:49 PM   #18
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i think they are supposed to be changed at 100k?


mine was leaking BAD
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Old 11-21-2007, 02:04 PM   #19
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Awesome DIY article man!!
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Old 01-24-2008, 10:56 AM   #20
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Very Nice!!! I will do mine soon as I've been getting a burning smell. My car only has 78k miles on it. You think I should change the spark plugs too? I was going to wait until 100k.
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