DIY - Valve stem seal replacement - smoking / burning oil at idle [Archive] - Bimmerfest - BMW Forums

: DIY - Valve stem seal replacement - smoking / burning oil at idle

04-25-2011, 01:35 PM
Link to my valve stem seal replacement pictures/steps --> here (

Car would start burning oil / smoking from the tailpipe if left near idle for a little bit (rush hour traffic, sitting at traffic lights, parked and idling, etc.). It may have been smoking at other times, but I never noticed anything significant when moving.

Amount of time taken: An entire weekend plus several weeknights.

Special tools:

Fan removal tool (if you have an earlier model with the fan mounted to the water pump)
Camshaft timing jigs
Valve spring compressor kit

Word of caution: If you are cautious and meticulous about your work, you'll be fine doing this. If you are less than very comfortable replacing valve covers, timing covers, water pumps, etc., or if you tend to be kind of sloppy with your work, then pay someone else to do this task; you can easily mess up your engine in many ways during this procedure.

04-25-2011, 01:35 PM
Current status of pictures/steps on flickr --> unorganized, no titles/tags/descriptions.

Basic procedure:

Remove fan
Set crankshaft to TDC (notch in vibration damper lines up with hole at roughly 10:30 / northwest) and stick a pin in hole/notch to lock crankshaft in place
Unbolt power steering fluid reservoir and DSC pump (next to the coolant reservoir) from their mounts so you can move them around a little
Remove fan, air box, intake pipe, pipe(s) going from CCVs to intake manifold, coolant reservoir, hood switch, microfilters, microfilter ducts, metal firewall bridge piece over rear of engine, spark plug looms, spark plug coilpacks, tank vent valve (on top-front of driver's side head), vacuum pump, Valvetronic motors (big round can-looking things at top-middle of each valve cover), VANOS solenoids (2 mounted to face of upper timing chain cover on each head), disconnect fuel line (goes across/above driver's valve cover), remove other stuff I probably forgot
Remove valve covers
Remove oiler lines (single bolt between cams near VANOS adjustment units, then unclip piping)
Pull back and unhook tensioner spring from eccentric shaft (can turn eccentric shaft about 180 degrees to make this easier)
Remove timing chain guide on each head
Remove gears at ends of camshafts (VANOS adjustment units), tie timing chain to something so that it doesn't slip off the crankshaft
Plug all oil drain holes in head HARD with a balled up paper towel, otherwise you'll lose spring keepers down them -- ask how I know
Remove camshafts (Valvetronic system's eccentric shaft and intake cam come off as one unit; exhaust camshaft comes off alone), keep careful note of the location of each bearing cap/journal and how it is oriented when in place
Remove rockers -- there is a small spring that unclips at the HVA (hydraulic valve adjuster), while the other end of each rocker lifts off the valve easily
Remove spark plug for a cylinder
Pressurize cylinder -- tool for hooking up an air compressor often comes with the valve spring compressor kit you'll need
Mount valve spring compressor across camshaft journal studs (if you have the bridge-looking valve spring compressor kit seen in my pictures)
Compress valve spring, remove spring keepers
Remove valve spring
Remove valve stem seal -- it just pops off if you pull it hard enough; I used a dental pick type tool to hook under the old seal and pull up
Lubricate new valve stem seal with a little oil and push flat to cylinder head -- I just pushed each on with a 16mm socket, which worked fine
Attempt to keep your sanity while you compress valve spring and put spring keepers back on -- I found a magnetized flat head screwdriver VERY helpful in doing this
Reinstall rockers (make sure they are seated well)
Reinstall cams
Time camshafts to crankshaft using special timing rigs
Put everything back together and hope you didn't pinch a wire somewhere

...probably some more stuff to come. Feel free to call me out on steps I may have forgotten and I'll edit the list.