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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 04-28-2015, 03:46 PM   #1
Gus-CO
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Head gasket job

Hi guys,

Nice forum here, I am writing this in hopes to help the community a bit, of course any help is also greatly appreciated. I have got so much information from this board already.

I am having problems with my gf car's head gasket and thought I would put the information here. There is plenty of information scattered online about this DIY, so I am not actually putting much new stuff here. Mostly compiling information in case anybody eventually finds themselves in the same boat.

The story of this car is:

At 110k miles the plastic heater inlet pipe under the intake manifold cracked and leaked all the fluid in a nice white cloud. I was driving and stopped the car immediately. I completely overhauled the cooling system. She have had a job one last year already. But the plastic pipes and a few hoses were not replaced. now everything is one year old max. All parts are Reinz.

However, even shutting the car off immediately was not enough to avoid the head gasket to blow/cylinder head to warp - still to find out.

Last weekend I did a compression test to evaluate if I would get the engine fixed or replace the whole thing. All cylinders are between 120-130PSI. The lowest one is #3, where I believe the gasket went, since I have P0303 code after fixing the cooling system. A compression test usually does not tell about head gasket failure but as these two things point to #3, it might be the culprit.

Decided I will get the engine fixed. I recorded the amount of gases escaping to the cooling system.

With the thermostat closed:



With the thersmostat open:


The pictures show the compression for all cylinders:

Bmw compression test 6

Bmw compression test 5

Bmw compression test 4

Bmw compression test 3

Bmw compression test 2

Bmw compression test 1


I will rent the tools for taking the camshafts/Vanos/head out and start tackling this down in a couple weeks as I have a friend visiting for the next couple weekends.

While in there, I am changing:

-Vanos seals
-All the gaskets including oil filter housing gasket
-DISA o-ring
-Air equalizer o-rings
-Fuel injector o-rings
-Head Bolts

Also will have the head checked at a head shop

Anybody has any suggestions of what else would be smart to replace?

She is planning to keep this car for a long time, as long as it is reliable.

Will update soon with some pictures and comments to the write-ups I found, both on here and on other websites. Also I'm hoping I don't get any stripped threads on the block. I couldn't find a decent place renting a time-sert bmw-specific kit.

Last edited by Gus-CO; 05-08-2015 at 01:59 PM.
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Old 05-08-2015, 12:57 PM   #2
Gus-CO
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Got the master gasket kit yesterday. I haven't seen any post showing clearly what it contains so I'm posting some pictures here. For the 230 dollars it costs I found it to be a very good deal, You have new gaskets, seals and o-rings for pretty much everything you'll disassemble to get to the head gasket:

Other than the kit I bought the oil filter housing gasket and of course the head bolts.

Decided to first check the Vanos seals before replacing them. Also see how much trouble is to take the Vanos out. If too troublesome I will change them anyway.



exhaust manifold gasket, head gasket, head cover gasket, Vanos gasket, and a gray tube I'm yet to find out what's for


Valve Seals


A lot of o-rings gaskets and seals. I ca identify the throttle body red o-ring, the air equalizer o-rings, the sparkplugs seals, exhaust gasket (useful for reomving the hole exhaust manifold attached to the cylinder head instead of facing the pain of unbolting it in place)


Intake manifold gasket FOR SALE since I just replaced it when changed the heater pipes.

Last edited by Gus-CO; 05-08-2015 at 02:00 PM.
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Old 05-08-2015, 01:12 PM   #3
mikeetastic
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subbed - keep the pics coming
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Old 05-08-2015, 05:50 PM   #4
Kye7
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This gonna be a good one
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Old 05-11-2015, 10:19 AM   #5
Gus-CO
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And the tools arrived this weekend. We had a lot of rain and snow in the past few days so I will restart working on the car today. I hope to have the head out in the in two days.

The tools pictures:


TDC Pin and head bolt long socket


Dummy chain tensioners (That you actually don't need for the job, but it is easier if you have'em


Sprocket tool


Pin for locking the secondary tensioner. Always lock the tensioner before removing the chain.If it overextends it will be trashed


Cam locking tool used for locking the cams for timing them.


Compressed air adaptor used to activate Vanos for disassembly and reassembly


Cam timing plate on the right and sprocket assemble tool on the left. Easier to mark where the chain and sprockets align with a sharpie beffore taking them from the head, so you just put back the same instead of refitting them

Last edited by Gus-CO; 05-11-2015 at 10:22 AM.
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Old 05-12-2015, 10:45 AM   #6
Gus-CO
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Well, I continued taking the car apart last night. Nothing specially hard or that's worth been noticed so far.

Not related to the job, I took the intake manifold apart and will get it cleaned. That is a lot of oily gunk inside that I tried to show in the pictures. Not horribly bad, but since I have it in my hands, why not? Also washing the plastic cover on the intake camshaft that has dry oil in it, the valve cover that is also dirty with dry oil, the air equalizer that looks like it is almost clogged with oil.

I went ahead and bought a Vanos rebuild kit and a new CCV as well. Mostly because the current CCV hoses are too brittle. The CCV itself is surprisingly clean.



Intake off


Finally got the cover out


Inside the intake manifold (hard to get a good picture)


Gunk on the camshaft palstic cover


Apparently it is easier to take the whole exhaust manifold off, instead of unbolting it from the head. I took the two lower nuts relatively easy. But I can't yet imagine how to take the two top ones. Any ideas?


I once wanted to see a picture of under the intake manifold before and couldn't find one. Maybe it helps someone.


I once wanted to see a picture of under the intake manifold before and couldn't find one. Maybe it helps someone.


I once wanted to see a picture of under the intake manifold before and couldn't find one. Maybe it helps someone.


Everything organized and labeled! lol


Everything organized and labeled! lol

Last edited by Gus-CO; 05-12-2015 at 10:50 AM.
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Old 05-12-2015, 12:02 PM   #7
dan4081
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Where did you get the tools from?

And good luck! Looks like a big job!
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Old 05-12-2015, 12:44 PM   #8
Gus-CO
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Thanks!

Got the tools from http://www.bimmertoolrental.com. So far the service has been great. They shipped same day and even added a couple tools that I will need but were not listed as being part of the kit like the dummy tensioner and the deep socket for the head bolts.
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Old 05-12-2015, 12:49 PM   #9
dan4081
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gus-CO View Post
Thanks!

Got the tools from http://www.bimmertoolrental.com. So far the service has been great. They shipped same day and even added a couple tools that I will need but were not listed as being part of the kit like the dummy tensioner and the deep socket for the head bolts.
Thanks for the info...Ill be watching this thread. (And rooting for you!)
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Old 05-12-2015, 07:50 PM   #10
Gus-CO
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Just called a guy who supposedly owns one of the best head machine shops in the area and he said that the vast majority of these heads crack beyond repair when/if they warp. Well, let's hope he is wrong otherwise I will have some extra cost in getting a new (to me) head and get it checked again..

Funny enough that I haven't heard this in any forums. I hope he is wrong or confused, at least about mine...
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Old 05-13-2015, 07:54 AM   #11
mosmmc
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WOW, good luck with the head and hope you can use the one you already have , keep us updated.
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Old 05-14-2015, 11:03 AM   #12
Gus-CO
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Thanks!

So yesterday I took the Vanos out. I followed all the procedure to write a DIY for it. Lots of what was done here was not needed since the head is going to be disassembled and I will need to time everything again.

If you are only taking the Vanos out and nothing else there is no need of the air compressor and turning the engine and locking it. if you are dealing with the seocndary chain/chain tensioner then you need to lock everything up to be able to retime it.

With both camshafts' square end double dot facing up, adjust the special tool to your particular head loosening, fitting and tightening the allen bolts.



Connect the air hose to the special tool. Cover the Vanos. Oil will spill out


Turn the engine clockwise twice until the two dots are facing up again and lock it with the TDC lock pin. The lock pin goes near this green plug (that was broken in this car)


Cams of cylinder #1 point 45deg to each other


Special tool back in the back of the camshafts. Engine locked. Air removed.


Take the allen bolts and the red plugs from the front of the Vanos:


Take the LEFT-HANDED THREAD Torx under the red plugs:



Take the Vanos unit out (6 nuts and one bolt). Second nut from the left is kinda hidden


Now you can rebuild your Vanos. DYI coming up soon

Last edited by Gus-CO; 05-15-2015 at 04:43 PM.
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Old 05-15-2015, 12:15 PM   #13
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Really good stuff man. This is what the forums are all about
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Old 05-15-2015, 12:42 PM   #14
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I love threads like these
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Old 05-15-2015, 08:57 PM   #15
JasonSmithed
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When I redid mine I used the copper gasket spray. It's worked great so far. I also had to time cert every head bolt. After doing it three times. It really doesn't take long to dismantle. Attempting to do the timing without the vanos front plate is possible I did it the first time without it but the second time I wasn't as successful.
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Old 05-15-2015, 09:36 PM   #16
Gus-CO
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Thanks..

Hey Jason. Do you really think this spray has an advantage over installing the head gasket over a clean surface?

Also, I just took all the 14 head bolts today (plus two in the front close to where the Vanos connects). However the head seems to be stuck pretty good to the block. Am I missing something?

Would you consider time-serting the threads out of the bat? I definitely felt the bolt #1 to be way too easy to unbolt...
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Old 05-17-2015, 07:41 AM   #17
petes
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Gus-CO
I have just finished that same job.
Your cylinder head is stuck to the block. Mine was too. 14 bolts are all that is holding it on.
The two upper exhaust pipe bolts are accessible with a long extension and socket. Yes, it is far easier to remove the head with the exhaust manifolds attached.
You will need a engine hoist or some other way to remove and install the head slowly and carefully.
Do drain the engine block before head removal.
The research that I have done has convinced me to timesert ALL the head bolt holes after an overheat that requires head removal.
I had two head bolts that seemed way too easy to loosen. The timesert kit worked great.
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Old 05-18-2015, 11:51 AM   #18
Gus-CO
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Hey Petes, Thanks for the insight!

I'm considering a few options since I don't have a cherry picker. I can borrow one if I'm stuck with it, but let's see. I found a couple spots to pry the head safely from the intake side. Let's see how it goes before getting a hoist.

I've got the exhaust bolts as you said. All I needed was to lift the car really high, my jack-stands and floor jack are not big, so that was quite challenging.

Any tips on the time-sert job? I am renting the specific bmw kit with the guides, but I've never used any kind of thread repair kit before.

Also, thanks for the heads-up on draining the block.. I had forgotten about it.

Last edited by Gus-CO; 05-18-2015 at 12:41 PM.
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Old 05-18-2015, 01:05 PM   #19
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Nice work Gus-CO.

Nice clear pics too.

All the best with the head and hope it is not cracked for you.
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Old 05-19-2015, 07:23 AM   #20
petes
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Gus-CO
After you pop the head free, you may be able to lift it with another person helping. Be ready - for it will be very heavy on the exhaust manifold side
and will try to twist in that direction. We would not want to scratch the block with the locator rings (2- made of steel) which may or may not be stuck in the head. The head will be considerably lighter if the camshafts and followers are removed before lifting the head. If you do remove them, keep all the parts in the same order. Remember to ask the machine shop how much material was removed from the mating surface. A slightly thicker head gasket is available to compensate.
I bought the Timesert master kit 1090, it came with everything needed and detailed instructions. The thread repair went very smoothly. The tools in the kit are of the highest quality and very sharp. I would not attempt this job without the guide block and centering pin. My kit was used once (for 14 head bolt holes) and is still perfect. I do not know how much it costs to rent one and ship it twice, but I will sell my kit for 300 if it is of help to you. One of my head bolts came out with the block's threads in the screw threads, so I timeserted all the holes to be sure. Good luck to you.
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