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Old 05-17-2019, 02:32 PM   #1
veektor
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VCG grommets cracking. Did I over torque?

Let's set the record straight: I am not a smart man. If I were a smart man, I would not have bought my E46 four years ago, and definitely would not have bought the E39 last fall. They both share the same engine, so they are practically the same car, right?!

This 2001 525i has been testing my patience with heavy oil leaks from the very beginning. PO had stated he replaced VCG and even the 'warped valve cover'. He had also mentioned that oil drain plug may need a new crush washer. This thing was leaving thick puddles of oil in the driveway every night. I replaced OFHG since PO didn't mention it. Turned out that drain hole threads were stripped, and the drain plug was oversize with smaller pitch thread. I rethreaded with SAE tap and used a larger bolt to get me by until a suitable donor for oil pan appeared at Pick-n-Pull. I just recently performed the transplantation surgery (2 days at the junkyard, 2 days in my driveway, and a new oil pan gasket), so at least my bottom side is dry now. It was a harder job than I expected.

While I don't doubt that new cover had indeed been purchased and installed, it was still clearly leaking oil. Worse, there was a noticeable smell of burning oil in the cabin. There were missing stud bolts and cap nuts for the cover, so I sourced some from my local junkyard. I decided to replace the VCG again, using Elring gasket and 'OEM' grommets from FCP. The old gasket was clearly ripped around a bolt in the rear of the engine, so I did my best to carefully place the new one. The smell of burning oil went away for a few days, but then returned, though much weaker than before. This was done in late February of this year. I can't say when I noticed the cracking of the grommets, but it was rather soon after completing the job. I look at the grommets on E46, replaced in October 2015, and they look compressed, but not cracked.

I emailed FCPEuro about this problem, and they responded with recommendation to look up the torque spec. While I won't deny that I simply hand tightened those capnuts until they bottomed out, that's exactly how I did this job on E46 four years ago. The biggest difference I am aware of is that I used Victor Reinz grommets (from Pelican parts) on E46, but bought the 'OEM' grommets for E39. FCP confirmed that their 'OEM' grommets are exactly the same as the BMW branded grommets.

I would like to know if anyone else on this forum has used the same grommets from FCP without any issues.

E39 cracking grommet (only one in picture, but they are all looking like that):


E46 grommet without issues:
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Old 05-17-2019, 02:40 PM   #2
swordsman11868
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VCG grommets cracking. Did I over torque?

I used a VR gasket set about 30k miles ago. No leaks from the VCG.

Isnít the torque spec 7 ft lbs? I canít remember.

Edit: iirc the grommets come separately? I donít remember where I bought them.

Edit edit: I found a grommet still in the original packaging. Itís wrapped separately from the VcG kit and has a barcode on the plastic wrap. I remember they all came individually wrapped apart from the VR VCG.

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Old 05-17-2019, 02:47 PM   #3
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You really cannot over torque the valve cover bolts to impact the washers. The valve cover bolts bottom out and if you over torque the bolts, you break the bolts. Cracked washers are either due to poor materials and/or heat exposure.
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Old 05-17-2019, 03:32 PM   #4
veektor
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The torque spec is 11Nm or 8lb-ft. I had mentioned in my reply to FCP that forum community consensus is that these capnuts bottom out, and torque wrench is not necessary for this part of VCG job.

I know that FCP has no hassle lifetime warranty, but I don't see the point of getting another set if 'OEM' and 'BMW' are the same rubber. I also know that not everyone will bother to file a complaint when they have an issue, especially on something as inexpensive as these grommets. This is why I'm looking for more people to report their experience with 'OEM' grommets or other brands.

JFOJ, to your point about heat exposure, surely this rubber must be rated to handle the temperatures of running M54 engine? These things get very hot, more so in the summer months. The Victor Reinz grommets still look solid after the years, I can't help but think that this 'OEM' grommet rubber is no good.
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Old 05-17-2019, 03:39 PM   #5
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Cross tighten and lightly bottom out from what I remember. They're cheap enough anyway. No need to ponder what you did last time unless they crack like this after two weeks (doubt it)
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Old 05-17-2019, 08:47 PM   #6
Sapote
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I have never seen a cracked rubber bushing even I placed my old used ones under the sun for a year.
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Old 05-17-2019, 10:10 PM   #7
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I used the OEM grommets on my m52b28 valve cover and they are holding up just fine. I've got the same ones on my m54 with the m56 valve cover, dry as a bone.
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Old 05-18-2019, 01:22 AM   #8
BiH55
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I also bought the Reinz kit a year ago. The grommets all cracked
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Old Yesterday, 09:55 AM   #9
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There is a company importing 3rd quality goods that calls themselves "OEM".

It's sleazy. But that MIGHT be what happened to you.

I would replace them, but not be shocked if it didn't solve the problem.

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Old Yesterday, 09:55 AM   #10
TobyB
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There is a company importing 3rd quality goods that calls themselves "OEM".

It's sleazy. But that MIGHT be what happened to you.

I would replace them, but not be shocked if it didn't solve the problem.

t
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