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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 01-10-2009, 12:02 AM   #41
sm02463
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Did mine today...I just wish someone would've mentioned to cover up the spark plug holes when the coils are out. Now my #1 spark plug has a valve cover washer between it and the coil. Changing that plug is going to be a pain later on...

Anyways, this is what my vanos looked like at 136000 miles. Don't know what to think of it...anyone care to comment?
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Old 01-10-2009, 09:40 AM   #42
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Originally Posted by sm02463 View Post
Did mine today...I just wish someone would've mentioned to cover up the spark plug holes when the coils are out. Now my #1 spark plug has a valve cover washer between it and the coil. Changing that plug is going to be a pain later on...

Anyways, this is what my vanos looked like at 136000 miles. Don't know what to think of it...anyone care to comment?
Looks good. This is a typical area for residual deposits and those appear harmless. It is NOT sludge. In fact the rest of the valvetrain looks extremely clean. The "gold" staining is normal and comes from additives in the oil. Not a damn thing to worry about.

As for the VC washer, get one of those small parts picker/grabber tools or use a shop-vac to suck it out. No fuss, no muss.
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Old 01-10-2009, 12:02 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by sm02463 View Post
Did mine today...I just wish someone would've mentioned to cover up the spark plug holes when the coils are out. Now my #1 spark plug has a valve cover washer between it and the coil. Changing that plug is going to be a pain later on...

Anyways, this is what my vanos looked like at 136000 miles. Don't know what to think of it...anyone care to comment?
bent hanger. go fishin'
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Old 01-10-2009, 12:29 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sm02463 View Post
Did mine today...I just wish someone would've mentioned to cover up the spark plug holes when the coils are out. Now my #1 spark plug has a valve cover washer between it and the coil. Changing that plug is going to be a pain later on...

Anyways, this is what my vanos looked like at 136000 miles. Don't know what to think of it...anyone care to comment?
That's fine, it's not sludge I ran into a similar problem.

What you want to do to get that out is either:

1) get some wire (wire hanger or w/e), and create a hook at the end so you can pull it out
2) if you can use chopsticks, get two long sticks (nohomo) or a pair of long chopsticks and fish them out (this worked the best for me)
3) buy a grabber tool from homedepot / advanced auto parts
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Old 01-10-2009, 02:20 PM   #45
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What you want to do to get that out is either:

1) get some wire (wire hanger or w/e), and create a hook at the end so you can pull it out
2) if you can use chopsticks, get two long sticks (nohomo) or a pair of long chopsticks and fish them out (this worked the best for me)
3) buy a grabber tool from homedepot / advanced auto parts
I think I'll try to find a better pick today at the store. The problem is there's very little space (<1mm) at the outer edge and none on the inside because I've effectively ring tossed a washer on the spark plug. I can't even get any motion out of it when poking at it with a screwdriver.

The magnet tool I have is too wide to fit all the way down to the washer. It's blocked between the spark plug tip and the hole edge. I tried a magnetized tip screwdriver but the magnet was not strong enough.

I think the washer is slightly wedged on the plug now. I have driven the car like this and it seems fine. I'm just worried about it expanding/contracting with heat and breaking the plug. That would be bad.

The last idea I had was put a tiny amount of epoxy on a spark plug socket and put it in there and glue the socket to the washer then pull it out. I decided not to do that because I was afraid of getting epoxy where it shouldn't be and making my car undriveable.

The spark plugs were just changed a few months ago so these plugs may last the life of the car. Do you see any harm in just leaving it there?
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Old 01-11-2009, 08:04 PM   #46
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Finally, got my washer out. After messing with picks and magnets for about an hour I got it out in about 5 seconds with a RTV on the tip of a spark plug socket. Just neatly coat the edge of the socket with a small amout of RTV and drop in the socket (with extension) and wiggle a tag for a nice seal and take it out. You don't even need to wait for it to dry.
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Old 01-17-2009, 03:19 PM   #47
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I did the same thing with the washer. When I tried to fish it out, it went deeper in and there was alot of oil around the plug so it was stuck. After about an hour of yelling and screaming I went to Autozone, got the smallest magnet they had and notched it with a dye grinder to get around the plug. Came out after about 30 seconds.
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Old 02-13-2009, 11:30 PM   #48
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Hey guys, I'm working on replacing my valve cover gasket and I'm having trouble removing the valve cover. I have a 2004 325Ci and it looks like there is a little less room in the engine than the photos that I've seen.

I got all of the screws off (15 i think) and could not get a few of the nuts off. They were extremely tight and had to do some serious turning to get those bad boys off.

But I quit the job when I realized there was no way I could get to the nuts on the top left edge and some of those bordering the left side of the valve cover. I hate to be so close to getting it off and then pay a BMW place $400 to do it for me. Any suggestions?
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Old 02-14-2009, 01:11 AM   #49
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Advice for cleaning the gunk on the valve cover:

Degreaser - brake cleaner. X2

Degreaser- scrub with brush- brake cleaner X2

Go to car wash and power wash the valve cover.

For small leftover gunk:

Simple Green( penetrate for 5 mins) and power wash. X2 or 3

Now you got yourself a brand new valve cover.
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Old 02-14-2009, 01:34 AM   #50
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Hey guys, I'm working on replacing my valve cover gasket and I'm having trouble removing the valve cover. I have a 2004 325Ci and it looks like there is a little less room in the engine than the photos that I've seen.

I got all of the screws off (15 i think) and could not get a few of the nuts off. They were extremely tight and had to do some serious turning to get those bad boys off.

But I quit the job when I realized there was no way I could get to the nuts on the top left edge and some of those bordering the left side of the valve cover. I hate to be so close to getting it off and then pay a BMW place $400 to do it for me. Any suggestions?
Did you remove the cabin air filter?

Cause if you do, the only tools you might need are an extension to your ratchet and/or a U-joint.
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Old 02-14-2009, 11:20 AM   #51
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Yes, I removed the cabin air filter but still could not get to the certain nuts in the left corner or on the left side. It sounds as though you guys are having no problem with it, but it was a bit of a struggle for me.

I even used a hammer to take in the socket wrench further into the plastic (so I could get to the nut on the bottom). After that, once I got to the nut itself, I had to put a ton of pressure behind it, but eventually got them off. \

Is there a specific socket wrench that I should use?
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Old 02-14-2009, 12:32 PM   #52
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I can't wait to do this DIY.
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Old 02-14-2009, 03:57 PM   #53
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Yes, I removed the cabin air filter but still could not get to the certain nuts in the left corner or on the left side. It sounds as though you guys are having no problem with it, but it was a bit of a struggle for me.

I even used a hammer to take in the socket wrench further into the plastic (so I could get to the nut on the bottom). After that, once I got to the nut itself, I had to put a ton of pressure behind it, but eventually got them off. \

Is there a specific socket wrench that I should use?
you should be using a hammer for anything this...

You only need a metric socket and the nuts should only be hand tight. I really don't know what is going on in your situation.
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Old 02-15-2009, 07:38 PM   #54
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what is the part number for a new VCG? Or do you just clean the old one?
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Old 02-15-2009, 10:52 PM   #55
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what is the part number for a new VCG? Or do you just clean the old one?
You have to get a new one since the old one turns hard and brittle and doesn't seal.

You can order one here

If you still want this part number, it is 11129070990
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Old 02-16-2009, 12:28 AM   #56
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You have to get a new one since the old one turns hard and brittle and doesn't seal.

You can order one here

If you still want this part number, it is 11129070990
thank you very much
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Old 02-16-2009, 12:40 AM   #57
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thank you very much
No problem!
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Old 04-02-2009, 02:22 PM   #58
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Ordered the parts. Gonna try doing mine this weekend. Thats a nice writeup but I got all these extra seals that I dont know where they go?
See the attached picture... the 15 washers and those 3 hole gaskets int he center.


Also TotemDependeate earliar mentioned "He regrets not doing Vanos Seals"... Well how do you tell if you need it done.. and how much more work is it? If its couple of extra hours I would like to do that as well.... I have about 88K on my 330 right now.

Any comments appreciated.
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Old 04-02-2009, 06:04 PM   #59
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Okay, hold on a minute. Isn't that what oil looks like when you have a blown head gasket? Preliminary research tells me it is. Also, I see no reason for water vapor (let alone that much of it) to be inside your valve train in the first place, so even if it's cold and you drive it short distances you shouldn't have that kind of condensation build up...remember, water vapor has to be there in the first place.

Definitely check your head gasket, dude. After 140k my valve cover looked a little sludgey, but it was all very dark. I should also point out that there is no point spending lots of time cleaning that stuff off...it's just going to get covered again anyway, and it's not doing any harm as long as it's chilling there on the plastic. I like to clean just about everything, but with a little old crud like that on a part like a valve cover, it's more risk than it's worth to clean a little bit, and more trouble than it's worth to clean it all the way.

I'd be willing to bet on it though: I think you need a new head gasket.
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Old 04-02-2009, 06:22 PM   #60
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Anyways, this is what my vanos looked like at 136000 miles. Don't know what to think of it...anyone care to comment?
Hey, if it works, it works

I had a little bit of the same baked-on crud on my VANOS unit, I don't think it's anything to worry about. If your VANOS starts to go bad, then you have a problem. Until then, don't worry about it



Also note the lack of chocolate milk in my engine. Here's a closeup of where there isn't chocolate milk:



Unfortunately, I didn't take a picture of the valve cover itself, but I assure you there was no chocolate milk there either

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