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Old 10-15-2011, 06:01 PM   #1
shahbaz99
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Changed my valve cover gasket and now I have a CEL and a rough idle. Please help!

(SOLVED)


I changed my valve cover gasket and spark plugs. After putting everything back together I now have a rough idle and a slight rattling sound from the engine bay, as well as a CEL. Heres what went down.


While i was tightening the first bolt i had my torque wrench on the correct spec. It was so little torque that i didnt even feel the click and i ended up breaking the screw underneath.

heres the one that broke and the screw im taking about.




I tried to remove the broken screw without removing the cover again. I pushed my ratchet down and i then ended up expanding the hole and it cracked slightly. Its a vertical crack in the plastic around where the screw goes. its only about a quarter of an inch and the crack is outside of the gasket itself. So I then removed the valve cover and swapped the screw with one at a higher point in the engine to avoid a leak temporarily until i can replace that screw.

So heres where my valve cover doesnt have a screw in place right now.


I took the car for a drive and its fine whens its moving, torque is good too so i dont think its vanos. its only rough at idle. I also checked around for leaks after driving and there is nothing, neither around the missing screw or around the part that i cracked. I will replace the broken screw asap. Could missing that one screw at the top cause the issue? I dont think the crack in the cover itself is the problem because its sooo small and its outside of the gasket, plus i put RTV in that area just in case before i tightened so the seal is definitely good. What else should i check for that would cause a rough idle and a slight rattling sound after doing a VCG job?

please any info or thoughts would help. This is really pissing me off and i have no money right now to go to the dealership, im a student. My buddy has a scanner so i will pull the code and post it when i get the chance. for now im not going to drive the car until this is fixed.
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Last edited by shahbaz99; 10-18-2011 at 06:42 PM. Reason: SOLVED
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Old 10-15-2011, 06:12 PM   #2
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What's with the moldy green engine and brown screen wash ? I think it's karma at work.
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Old 10-15-2011, 06:23 PM   #3
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I can bet that one of your spank plugs is loose. Or you forgot to tighten one of your ground straps


Your problem with VCG had nothing to do with the problems you';re describing.


If it turns out your spark plug is loose and I win, I want a courtesy prize rushed out by air mail.
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Old 10-15-2011, 06:25 PM   #4
shahbaz99
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoingNuts View Post
What's with the moldy green engine and brown screen wash ? I think it's karma at work.
do you mean the dust on the engine? i dont think that would cause the issue. and the washer fluid is purple, its actually great stuff.
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Old 10-15-2011, 06:27 PM   #5
shahbaz99
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blocked Out View Post
I can bet that one of your spank plugs is loose. Or you forgot to tighten one of your ground straps


Your problem with VCG had nothing to do with the problems you';re describing.


If it turns out your spark plug is loose and I win, I want a courtesy prize rushed out by air mail.
I put back all the ground wires correctly, and i put in the spark plugs with the correct torque from the bently repair manual.
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Old 10-15-2011, 06:32 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoingNuts View Post
What's with the moldy green engine and brown screen wash ? I think it's karma at work.
You mean you dont use swamp water in yours?

Sounds like you got a vaccum leak, did you plug all the hoses back on right. double check. Could also be from that cracked valve cover bud. Oops
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Old 10-15-2011, 06:39 PM   #7
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I change out my VCG every 100,000 miles just did my third VCG a couple days ago, I however have never trusted torque wrenches for anything except wheels. Just too darn unreliable in my opinion. I've been working on my bimmer for 12 years and ~327,700 miles to date...
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Old 10-15-2011, 06:49 PM   #8
shahbaz99
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vic328CSi View Post
You mean you dont use swamp water in yours?

Sounds like you got a vaccum leak, did you plug all the hoses back on right. double check. Could also be from that cracked valve cover bud. Oops
it was only the one hose that had to be disconnected from the front of the engine. i put it back correctly. how can i check if its got a leak? i cant see anything.
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Old 10-15-2011, 07:24 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoingNuts View Post
What's with the moldy green engine and brown screen wash ? I think it's karma at work.
Hmm. Yes, indeed. I think also he should buy a Honda.
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Old 10-15-2011, 07:45 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shahbaz99 View Post
it was only the one hose that had to be disconnected from the front of the engine. i put it back correctly. how can i check if its got a leak? i cant see anything.

Well one cheap quick way is you can do is pull a vaccum line (near the break booster) and see if your idle changes. If it gets WORSE then its probably not a leak, if it stays the completely the same then its probably a leak somewhere. If you understand the logic behind that, it makes sense.

Better way is Vaccum leak tester. $10-14 bucks at Harbour freight. Tap the gauge into a vaccum line and see what it says. There are tons of videos on youtube on how to do this, pretty easy.

Thats just my gut feeling since there isnt much else you could have wrong. Assuming you checked all the other items people have mentioned like your spark plugs and ignition coils. If you changed your plugs, did you make sure they are properly gapped?

How big is this "crack" exactly on your VC?
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Last edited by Vic328CSi; 10-15-2011 at 07:48 PM.
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Old 10-15-2011, 08:29 PM   #11
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I had the exact same issue. Broke a screw, then slightly cracked the valve cover, and got a CEL. You'll have to replace the valve cover. I took my old one off 2 times and resealed it, checked sparkplugs, all wires, etc. The only thing that fixed it is a new cover (well, not new, from a crashed E46). My crack was tiny, I couldn't even see it, just heard it.
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Old 10-15-2011, 09:01 PM   #12
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I'm just trying to cover all bases

That one hose in the front runs down to the Crankcase Vent Valve. It cracks easy when old, and is not a 1-2-3 to replace. If you were not gentle with it when removing or replacing, it may have cracked, especially on the ribbed flex section. Also make sure it's pressed on till the connection snaps on.
Checking it is a bear; 'cause in checking it you may crack it.

It's pipe #2
http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...94&hg=11&fg=15


Quote:
Originally Posted by shahbaz99 View Post
it was only the one hose that had to be disconnected from the front of the engine. i put it back correctly. how can i check if its got a leak? i cant see anything.
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Old 10-15-2011, 09:58 PM   #13
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how did you break the bolts?
7 ftlbs is almost like nothing...
either way, you need to replace the VC and fix the screws so its sealed up nice, or you will get a vacuum leak.
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Last edited by jasonbimmer; 10-15-2011 at 10:03 PM.
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Old 10-15-2011, 10:02 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonbimmer View Post
how did you break the bolts?
7 ftlbs is almost like nothing...
"I must break you"
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Old 10-16-2011, 02:59 PM   #15
shahbaz99
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vic328CSi View Post
Well one cheap quick way is you can do is pull a vaccum line (near the break booster) and see if your idle changes. If it gets WORSE then its probably not a leak, if it stays the completely the same then its probably a leak somewhere. If you understand the logic behind that, it makes sense.

Better way is Vaccum leak tester. $10-14 bucks at Harbour freight. Tap the gauge into a vaccum line and see what it says. There are tons of videos on youtube on how to do this, pretty easy.

Thats just my gut feeling since there isnt much else you could have wrong. Assuming you checked all the other items people have mentioned like your spark plugs and ignition coils. If you changed your plugs, did you make sure they are properly gapped?

How big is this "crack" exactly on your VC?
the crack is only about a quarter of an inch and a hair line wide at the bottom of the wall surrounding this bolt.


It happened because i pushed down a ratchet that was just a bit too wide in the hole while trying to remove that broken bolt. the crack is tiny, and the bolts hole is surrounded by the valve cover gasket itself. and i put gasket sealer around that area just to be sure. I highly doubt its that.

i took out all the coils and plugs and put them back in. the plugs are the exact same as the OEM NGK ones that came out.

where is this vacuum line that i should use to check if i have a leak? can you post a pic?


Quote:
Originally Posted by ptrcd003 View Post
I had the exact same issue. Broke a screw, then slightly cracked the valve cover, and got a CEL. You'll have to replace the valve cover. I took my old one off 2 times and resealed it, checked sparkplugs, all wires, etc. The only thing that fixed it is a new cover (well, not new, from a crashed E46). My crack was tiny, I couldn't even see it, just heard it.
what where the codes and symptoms when you had that? also where was your crack?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Stinger9 View Post
That one hose in the front runs down to the Crankcase Vent Valve. It cracks easy when old, and is not a 1-2-3 to replace. If you were not gentle with it when removing or replacing, it may have cracked, especially on the ribbed flex section. Also make sure it's pressed on till the connection snaps on.
Checking it is a bear; 'cause in checking it you may crack it.

It's pipe #2
http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...94&hg=11&fg=15
i do remember hearing a few cracking sounds when i pulled it off. when i first started the car after i actually forgot to put that valve back on. thats when the CEL came on the the engine was running VERY rough. I put it back on and it got a bit better but still not ok. How can i remove this pipe and inspect it? if it breaks ill replace it i guess.

i also pulled my codes last night. all these came up. i know most of them are missfires from when i first started it, but its hasnt done that since the first start after the job.

p0300
p1348
p1352
p1351
p0171
p0174
p1344
p1346
p1342

i then cleared them all and let the car run for bit. the only ones that returned were

p0174 and p0171

the car is idling much better than when i first started it. its just a bit rough in intervals and theres still that little rattly pop corn sound. its much quieter than before as well.
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Old 10-16-2011, 03:13 PM   #16
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Is your idle rpm bouncing?
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Old 10-16-2011, 04:09 PM   #17
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inspect the hose that goes on the valve cover when you took it off.
over time it could become hardened and when you pull it off, it breaks/cracks causing vacuum leak.
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Old 10-16-2011, 04:41 PM   #18
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Here's a Bavauto video

Part 1 that will give you a better idea of just how big a job it is to get to the lower portion of the tube that connects to the valve cover.



Sorry to tell you that if you do all this work, I'd consider replacing all the tubes, and maybe the CVV too. Also called the oil separator.
I feel your pain.




i do remember hearing a few cracking sounds when i pulled it off. when i first started the car after i actually forgot to put that valve back on. thats when the CEL came on the the engine was running VERY rough. I put it back on and it got a bit better but still not ok. How can i remove this pipe and inspect it? if it breaks ill replace it i guess.
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Old 10-16-2011, 04:50 PM   #19
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Ok so i inspected the breather hose and i cant see any damage. i tried taping off the top elbow and starting the car up and nothing changed. as the car was running i pushed my finger down really hard into the hole with the missing bolt on the valve cover. the popcorn sound went away and the idle seemed much smoother. as soon as i let go of the hole the rpm drops down a bit and the popcorn/rattling starts again! i will buy the new bolt from bmw tomorrow and replace it. ill have to be sitting in the car while its idling to know for sure that the problems gone. i will post an update once i replace the missing bolt.
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Old 10-16-2011, 11:50 PM   #20
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Roughness @ idle and not during acceleration is usually a vacuum leak. Are you getting a bunch of misfires? If so, which cylinders?
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