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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 02-21-2013, 04:45 PM   #1
Rotten Robbie
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DIY M52 head gasket -first timer!!!

I bought a nice 01 325i with a blown head gasket figuring I can replace it this winter. I took the manifolds and valve cover off to discover this double vanos system starring me down, Now I'm afraid...
I saw the video from mybimmerspace removing the cam from an e50 engine witout the special tool 11 3 260. Wonder if I can do this on my M52 engine???
Im a CAD nerd and it seems easy enough to make the flywheel locking pin 11 3 240, and the cam locking plate 11 2 300.
Do I need the vano alignment tool 11 6 150 to re assemble the engine.
Cheers,
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Old 02-21-2013, 10:04 PM   #2
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Lots of info on here and German auto solutions has a set of tools that are quite affordable:
http://germanautosolutions.com/product.php?product=120
Lots of guidance on their site also, there is a great review on here I will find in a few...
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Old 02-21-2013, 10:09 PM   #3
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Here it is: done by Jared Wiesner:
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...auto+solutions

You must also be concerned that if the engine was overheated the heat treating of the block can be ruined, it may require threaded inserts and even those wont hold the torque if the block is soft, you may want to research that before you get in too deep.
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Old 02-21-2013, 10:18 PM   #4
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Of course you can make the tools, but for $50 plus shipping it is more efficient to just rent them from Dr Vanos.
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Old 03-01-2013, 02:02 PM   #5
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Thanks

Thanks for the info ddaniel1 and CaptainBMW.
after watching the videos, and renting the parts tool kit from DR Vanos, I'm officially dangerous...
I'm thinking I can re use my exhaust manifold gasket and buy a FelPro HS26245PT gasket set, plus new head bolts and I should be ready to fix it.
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Old 03-01-2013, 03:06 PM   #6
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Contracts! And welcome to the Club of Dangerous Fanatics.

Remember to test your Head Bolts before removing them. You may have to get a Timesert kit to repair the HB holes in the block if they strip.
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Old 03-07-2013, 12:28 AM   #7
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Trust me - the 1st thing you need to do once you loosen (not take off) the head bolts, is to try and re torque them to see if the threads can hold the torque. If they can't hold torque, you can try inserting new steel threads - before you do anything else like resurface the head, etc...

Putting in time-serts is not difficult (new steal threads). Once new threads are inserted, test with the old bolts and unsurfaced head and old ratty gasket, to see if the bolts now hold torque with the new threads. If any one doesn't hold torque properly - get a different engine. If they do, go ahead and do everything else to finish the job.

Last edited by tommytoyz; 03-07-2013 at 12:31 AM.
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Old 03-14-2013, 11:16 PM   #8
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Wow, you guys are scaring me about the head bolts...
Is it because the engine might have gotten hot, and made the threads brittle??? Ok, I will take the cams out, and then remove and re torque to see if they hold.
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Old 03-14-2013, 11:33 PM   #9
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No, aluminum is a very soft metal, it is made as strong as steel through a heat treating process, when the engine overheats it can destroy this heat treating and leave the aluminum block soft to where the threads will just strip out under torque, the block is basically annealed when it gets super hot. It should be theoretically possible to have the block re-heat treated at a qualified place but I have never heard of anyone doing it, usual answer is to source a used engine. The threaded inserts mentioned above can work, in some case they can pull out also. If you can torque the head bolts to their spec the block is probably ok.
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Old 03-24-2013, 02:18 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the knowledge shared everyone!
Hope I know enought to give back, by the time my car is on the road.
Slow progress because of life getting in the way, but I removed my cylinder head yesterday with the help of a tool kit that I rented from Dr. Vanos, and the step by step cam removal procedure -all went smooth.
I attempted to re torque my head bolts, but quit after one 90 turn. It seemed that I was putting plenty of torqe and my head bolts must already be stretched, so didn't think a second 90 turn would be smart.
Next try is with new bolts and gaskets, so I hope the threads hold...
I'm gonna have my head checked and buy some gaskets now . Anyone have any suggestions on what gaskets are best? I've seen both .07mm and 1mm head gaskets for my car.
Do I need to get the 1mm if I surface the head, and the .07mm is stock(?)

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Old 04-22-2013, 01:15 PM   #11
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Success!

I finished the head gasket, and drove my car for the very first time. Since I bought it with a blown head gasket, and it had sat so long the brakes were seized to the rotors, I had to do a full brake job too. Anyway, I had no history with this car at all, so I didn't know what to expect of it.
It seems to run very well. The only bumps left to figure out are the check engine light is on with a couple codes, I think P0441 and P0171. Maybe I connected something wrong?? Also the low coolant light is on now even thought it seems to be full. I did drop some little electrical thingy that fits into the bottom of the coolant recovery tank and now wonder if that is the coolant sensor and I damaged it (?) I figure as long as the temp gauge stays in the middle I'm not doing any damage.
Thanks again for all the help everyone Now I'm a vested Fanatic!

Cheers,
Rob
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Old 04-22-2013, 07:10 PM   #12
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Congrats on making it to the Dangerous Fanatics Club. Great job on completing your HG!

Did you have to do the Timeserts?


Clear your codes first. They could have been set before.

Did you check your CVV and hoses for any air leaks?
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Old 04-23-2013, 06:02 PM   #13
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Head Gasket done!

No my block held torque luckily. What is the CVV? I did clear the codes and the light came back on, just wonder if I have something mis connected etc., however the motor runs very good with no drivability problems
The only other problem is that I dropped my low coolant sensor, and now that light is on too, plus the wind shield washer tank has a leak, so that that light is also on...
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Old 04-23-2013, 06:22 PM   #14
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You can take out your windshield washer level sensor and use it for your Exp tank sensor. They aree the same.
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Old 04-23-2013, 06:27 PM   #15
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CVV - crankcase vent valve. Found under your intake manifold. Remove your airbox and take a flashlight to see if there are any hoses cracked. There is one on the bottom that connects to the oil dipstick.
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Old 04-26-2013, 04:12 PM   #16
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Thanks, I'll take a look at it, I remember most of it from putting it back together.

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Old 05-06-2013, 09:21 PM   #17
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Congrats! Join the HG club.

Hope everything is running good. Keep an eye on the cooling fluid level for a few months to make sure there are no issues.

I hope you took the opportunity to also change the 2 cooling pipes running under the intake manifold and a bunch of other stuff that is super easy, since it's all apart anyway.

When I did mine, I did that and a ton of other stuff. Took advantage of the opportunity.

Some little tips, any vacuum leak what so ever on these engines and you'll get a light or have running issues. Recently I had my light come on indicating too lean a fuel mixture, but only when running on the freeway. I changed out the DISA gasket ($3 bucks and 2 torx screws) and that put an end to that.

The 1st time I did the HG, it ran fine for about 6-9 months and it started failing again. I thought I had done something wrong. When I went to do it again, I found that the real problem was that the block was butter. Pulled out my metal thread inserts like teenaged pimples - even though they held torque when I tightened them down.

If your block looked good and your did it all correctly, you should be fine. If she holds for 7,000 miles without any coolant loss, you'll be fine.

I am amazed that my replacement engine loses zero coolant, every time I check it. Except for once when I slightly overfilled the coolant, it spit the excess out and went back to it's desired level. You could see where the coolant had trickled out and down. Then it stays there. That's how it should be.

The mechanism that regulates this is the coolant cap, which releases excess pressure when it's too full.

Anyway, if she held torque with no steal thread inserts, just straight into the aluminum block, that's good. You'll probably be fine.

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Old 05-13-2013, 03:58 PM   #18
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Yea, I was able to torque it down without inserts. I think everything is good, I check water and oil often and no problems. The only thing that gave me a scare was when I had to idle a long time the temp rose up a bit, but I think my electric fan is not coming on. Now I wonder if that is related to my P0414 code problem of my secondary air pump not turning on during cold starts. -Well if it was easy, it would be boring right...
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Old 05-13-2013, 04:10 PM   #19
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If your fan is not turning on, it's probably the fan itself, or a connector. If the secondary air pump is not turning on , it's probably the vacuum hose that goes around the back of the intake manifold. That hose gets old, cracks or falls out, etc...make sure there is a good vacuum on the line, when cold, that's how it opens the pump. There is also an electrical connector at the back of the intake manifold that opens the vacuum line....maybe loose?

Look at your engine harness wires in general. I had problems with a lose ground by the engine mount, and a connector for the throttle body. My low oil light would also come one.

Then again, my engine wire harness looked like total crap. Somebody before me had really manhandled it. I changed out the harness with a used one that looked much better, cleaned all the connectors with electrical spray cleaner before hand. Now all that is gone.

Glad to hear your HG is OK. I am sure if it remains tight after a few thousand miles and you didn't need metal inserts, you'll be just fine.
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Old 05-14-2013, 01:22 PM   #20
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Would a bad vacuum line prevent the electric air pump from turning on? I think it worked before I did the head gasket, at least the check engine light was not on, and I did drive the car home a few miles with the bad HG after buying it from a CL add.
I'll take a good look at it tonight, and test for vac cold. I did have it off, and I think it looked ok, I trimmed a 1/2" off the ends so it would fit tighter when I put it back together.
I just wonder if I didn't get something plugged in to the right spot when I did the HG... It all seemed to all go back together with no mysteries etc.
Is there an easy way to test the electric fan? I think I heard to remove the connector in the lower rad hose and it should come on or something.

-Oh yea, I did replace the plastic cooling tube that goes from the head to the hose under the intake manifold. I sure wouldn't want to tackle that one with out the intake manifold removed...

Thanks again for the help
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