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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 01-01-2010, 10:17 PM   #201
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Great write up. I just did my VCG when I replaced my VANOS seals. This thread was very helpful
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Old 01-02-2010, 12:06 AM   #202
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Just did this today! I was getting oil on the exhaust heat shield, which was the cooking off and putting a burnt plastic smell into the cabin after spirited driving. It was obvious where the leaks were coming from once the cover and gasket were off. This is a great DIY with lots of good info in thoughout the thread. Only thing I did differently was use a little red RTV in the half-moons.

The process was very easy, until I got to the old gasket. My gasket was just about as hard as the cover itself, and broke like cheap, brittle plastic. It would just crack and chip every time I got the putty knife under the edge. Finally got a section that started coming up in one piece, and the rest of the gasket was a breeze. Next obstacle was the spark plug grommets. Took about 45 minutes to get them out. It was also nice to see NO sludge anywhere. Didn't drop a single thing down into the engine, either!
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Old 01-03-2010, 02:52 PM   #203
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This looks like a great DIY write up, thanks for taking the time to put this together. I started to look at the gasket kits sold. Some come with the bolt grommets and some don't. I'm just wondering if anybody has the part number for a kit that brings the extra grommets that would fit my 04 330CI? I just have to find the seal kit for the Vanos as I want to do it all at the same time.
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Old 01-03-2010, 04:34 PM   #204
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newtuner View Post
This looks like a great DIY write up, thanks for taking the time to put this together. I started to look at the gasket kits sold. Some come with the bolt grommets and some don't. I'm just wondering if anybody has the part number for a kit that brings the extra grommets that would fit my 04 330CI? I just have to find the seal kit for the Vanos as I want to do it all at the same time.
Get the seals here: http://www.beisansystems.com/index.html
Best price and free shipping over $50 for most everything else here: www.autohausaz.com
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Old 01-03-2010, 09:19 PM   #205
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Dude you probably get this a lot, but this thread here is going to live forever. I love this so much you have no idea how much i appreciate your time on photoshop getting this to make sense for all of us noobs... i truly appreciate this a lot.

thank you
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Old 01-04-2010, 01:07 PM   #206
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Next obstacle was the spark plug grommets. Took about 45 minutes to get them out. It was also nice to see NO sludge anywhere. Didn't drop a single thing down into the engine, either!
I've seen it recommended to replace those at the same time...where do they go? Do you have to pull the plugs to get to them or do they just sit in the circular part of the valve cover?

for my m3 it looks like I need:
1 gasket - 11 12 7 832 034
15 grommets - 11 12 1 437 395
and 6 spark plug grommets - 11 12 7 831 271

Is that it?
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Old 01-04-2010, 05:03 PM   #207
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Originally Posted by rares View Post
Dude you probably get this a lot, but this thread here is going to live forever. I love this so much you have no idea how much i appreciate your time on photoshop getting this to make sense for all of us noobs... i truly appreciate this a lot.

thank you
Haha, glad you are happy with it.
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Old 01-06-2010, 07:59 AM   #208
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As an update, I still seem to be getting that burnt oil smell, so I need to take the aesthetic cover off this weekend and check for leaks. I may need to tighten the VC bolts a little more, even though I had to torque them to 10lbs.


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I've seen it recommended to replace those at the same time...where do they go? Do you have to pull the plugs to get to them or do they just sit in the circular part of the valve cover?

for my m3 it looks like I need:
1 gasket - 11 12 7 832 034
15 grommets - 11 12 1 437 395
and 6 spark plug grommets - 11 12 7 831 271

Is that it?
All the rubber should be replaced at the same time. Every piece you listed, including the 15 small grommets, was like hardened plastic when I removed them from the cover. The spark plug grommets are linked together in sets of three (cylinders 1-3, and 4-6,) so for the six spark plugs you only have two pieces of rubber. They sit in the valve cover. You don't have to pull the plugs but if you haven't changed your plugs in a while, this is a convenient time to change them. Once you pull the cover, it's very easy to see how eveything sits. Good luck!
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Old 01-06-2010, 05:16 PM   #209
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As an update, I still seem to be getting that burnt oil smell, so I need to take the aesthetic cover off this weekend and check for leaks. I may need to tighten the VC bolts a little more, even though I had to torque them to 10lbs.



All the rubber should be replaced at the same time. Every piece you listed, including the 15 small grommets, was like hardened plastic when I removed them from the cover. The spark plug grommets are linked together in sets of three (cylinders 1-3, and 4-6,) so for the six spark plugs you only have two pieces of rubber. They sit in the valve cover. You don't have to pull the plugs but if you haven't changed your plugs in a while, this is a convenient time to change them. Once you pull the cover, it's very easy to see how eveything sits. Good luck!
I would strongly recommend NOT torquing down the valve cover bolts more, just to fix a leak. This is probably how most people end up stripping the studs out out of the top of their cylinder head.

If he has an M3, so for him the spark plug grommets are individual. Also this valve cover change process would not be the same.
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Old 01-06-2010, 05:38 PM   #210
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkodama View Post
I would strongly recommend NOT torquing down the valve cover bolts more, just to fix a leak. This is probably how most people end up stripping the studs out out of the top of their cylinder head.
Absolutely right! That's why there are torque specs. The gasket is rotted where it's leaking
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Old 01-06-2010, 05:42 PM   #211
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Absolutely right! That's why there are torque specs. The gasket is rotted where it's leaking
Well, by the way he stated things, I'm assuming he has a relatively new gasket. I'm thinking there might have been a place where the gasket buckled, or maybe a vacuum line got caught underneath, or maybe just some old oil that is still on the side of the engine.
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Old 01-06-2010, 05:47 PM   #212
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkodama View Post
Well, by the way he stated things, I'm assuming he has a relatively new gasket. I'm thinking there might have been a place where the gasket buckled, or maybe a vacuum line got caught underneath, or maybe just some old oil that is still on the side of the engine.
My bad, I didn't read all the details. Yeah, could be that or a pinch, dirt, etc...
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Old 01-07-2010, 03:54 PM   #213
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I would strongly recommend NOT torquing down the valve cover bolts more, just to fix a leak. This is probably how most people end up stripping the studs out out of the top of their cylinder head.

If he has an M3, so for him the spark plug grommets are individual. Also this valve cover change process would not be the same.
I have an M3, but I also have the Bentley so it can help me figure out the differences.

Thanks.
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Old 01-08-2010, 07:32 AM   #214
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Well, by the way he stated things, I'm assuming he has a relatively new gasket. I'm thinking there might have been a place where the gasket buckled, or maybe a vacuum line got caught underneath, or maybe just some old oil that is still on the side of the engine.
The gasket is brand new, and I used a clean cloth to wipe dirt and oil away from the gasket mating surface of the head. Looked clean to me. I'll double check all the wires because I did get them caught at first but after realizing that, I was much more careful to not get one pinched. Not saying there's no chance that's the case but I think I would have lost a lot of oil after driving the car over 600 miles since the replacement. I did use some red RTV in the half moons in the front and back...
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Old 01-08-2010, 01:55 PM   #215
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Have you inspected the gasket to make sure it is not defective or damage? Also you are replacing the grommets, (15 I think).
Consistent torque is very important, so that there is equal pressure all the way around.
Last thing I can think of is that your valve cover may be warped. You could try placing the cover on a surface known to be perfectly flat and look for warpage.
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Old 01-10-2010, 09:53 PM   #216
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The 15 grommets MUST be replaced. I didn't replace them when I first did my valve cover, and the leak never stopped.

Dont mess with the torques. It's not the nuts that holds the cover down. It's the resilience of the grommets squeezed between the nuts and the valve cover. Just compare your new grommets with the old ones and you will see the difference in thickness.
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Old 01-11-2010, 01:21 AM   #217
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The 15 grommets MUST be replaced. I didn't replace them when I first did my valve cover, and the leak never stopped.

Dont mess with the torques. It's not the nuts that holds the cover down. It's the resilience of the grommets squeezed between the nuts and the valve cover. Just compare your new grommets with the old ones and you will see the difference in thickness.
I probably should have included that in the DIY. I completely blanked out on the grommets. Luckily mine were still quite soft for some reason.
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Old 01-12-2010, 01:15 PM   #218
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Anyone know how many foot pounds of torque the valve cover nuts need?
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Old 01-12-2010, 04:44 PM   #219
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Anyone know how many foot pounds of torque the valve cover nuts need?
It's been posted already, but you need a special low-range torque wrench if you want to even attempt to use it.

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Tightening torque is 89 inch pounds, or 10 Nm. I simply do it by feel. The nuts turn pretty freely, and then will suddenly get a lot harder to turn when they bottom out. Stop at this point. Be careful, and preferably use a very small ratchet if you are doing it by hand.
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Old 01-15-2010, 04:48 PM   #220
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Great post! I just did my valve cover gasket today and reviewing this thread before the job made it a piece of cake!
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