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-   -   Broken Valve Cover Screws (http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=483795)

06530IDAN 09-12-2010 06:52 AM

Broken Valve Cover Screws
 
HELP!!!!!!

I wish I hadn't done it, but I did. I took my 2006 530i (premium, sports package, 53K miles) in for a free 27 points inspection because my car battery kept dying; I had at least 4 jump starts within a month and my AAA finally said "we will charge you $69 on your 5th jump start for the year". :-) By the way, the free inspection does not include a diagnostic test! Due to the result of the battery dying so often, I now have an "Active Steering Malfunction" warning light on every time I step on the gas pedal. I read the Bentley Manual and it says I have to get a BMW scanner to reset it. I already paid for a Bavarian Engine Fault code reader and resetter-OBDII and certainly it does not register new battery replacement nor fixing my active steering malfunction light.

Anyways, to stay a tune to the subject line, the free inspection turned out to be more expensive than not. The dealer said I have a valve cover gasket leak and they want to charge me $881 for parts and labor. I would have done it if they have not taken so long (over 3 long hours of waiting) to complete the free inspection. It's kind of a good thing I didn't because after I got home and inspected the car, I noticed two of the valve cover screw heads ((located in the front of the engine) are broken off. I think it would have costed me more than $881 if my car is stuck at the dealer with the "additional" problem the dealer clearly failed to mention. Gosh, it is so hard to trust dealers and mechanics!

I am thinking of using the screw extractor or drill a hole right through the broken aluminum screws as a second alternative. Can anyone please answer the folllowing questions:

1. What size drill bit would I need to drill a hole for the screw extractor? And will it be strong enough to do the job?

2. As a second alternative, if I drill the hole right through to tear the broken aluminum screws apart, will it go through the engine? Or is the spacing for the valve cover screws located outside of the engine?

Thank you in advance for your help and I hope my experience also help you avoid running into similar problems.

P.S. I think the the screws broke off because I had one bad ignition coil a month ago. The horrific shaking of the engine could have broke it. Long Beach BMW Dealer charged me almost $400 for the part and labor. I am disappointed that they didn't advice me about the problem, especially when they charged me so much for such a simple job. Or did the last BMW dealer intentionally broke them to make some money in this tough economy??? The moral of this lesson, I will be extra careful accepting anything free again...

Nube1kenobi 09-12-2010 10:40 AM

1. What size drill bit would I need to drill a hole for the screw extractor? And will it be strong enough to do the job?
There are only several sizes of extractors and normally the recommended bit to use is stamped on the the extractor. Use an extractor that is about half the size of the screw shank.

2. As a second alternative, if I drill the hole right through to tear the broken aluminum screws apart, will it go through the engine? Or is the spacing for the valve cover screws located outside of the engine?
You want to try to limit the depth of hole you drill as you want to limit the drill shavings in there. The screws do not go right through to the blocks but to the flange/lip of the cylinder head; do not drill through as you might ruin the mounting boss. Drill just enough to where you get a "bite" - slowly turn as you lightly tap on the extractor. Replace with same screw material (AL); otherwise you will have issues with galvanic corrosion (dissimilar metals under heat/stress). Torque per spec.

Gahngoo 09-12-2010 03:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 06530IDAN (Post 5462986)
HELP!!!!!!

I wish I hadn't done it, but I did. I took my 2006 530i (premium, sports package, 53K miles) in for a free 27 points inspection because my car battery kept dying; I had at least 4 jump starts within a month and my AAA finally said "we will charge you $69 on your 5th jump start for the year". :-) By the way, the free inspection does not include a diagnostic test! Due to the result of the battery dying so often, I now have an "Active Steering Malfunction" warning light on every time I step on the gas pedal. I read the Bentley Manual and it says I have to get a BMW scanner to reset it. I already paid for a Bavarian Engine Fault code reader and resetter-OBDII and certainly it does not register new battery replacement nor fixing my active steering malfunction light.

Anyways, to stay a tune to the subject line, the free inspection turned out to be more expensive than not. The dealer said I have a valve cover gasket leak and they want to charge me $881 for parts and labor. I would have done it if they have not taken so long (over 3 long hours of waiting) to complete the free inspection. It's kind of a good thing I didn't because after I got home and inspected the car, I noticed two of the valve cover screw heads ((located in the front of the engine) are broken off. I think it would have costed me more than $881 if my car is stuck at the dealer with the "additional" problem the dealer clearly failed to mention. Gosh, it is so hard to trust dealers and mechanics!

I am thinking of using the screw extractor or drill a hole right through the broken aluminum screws as a second alternative. Can anyone please answer the folllowing questions:

1. What size drill bit would I need to drill a hole for the screw extractor? And will it be strong enough to do the job?

2. As a second alternative, if I drill the hole right through to tear the broken aluminum screws apart, will it go through the engine? Or is the spacing for the valve cover screws located outside of the engine?

Thank you in advance for your help and I hope my experience also help you avoid running into similar problems.

P.S. I think the the screws broke off because I had one bad ignition coil a month ago. The horrific shaking of the engine could have broke it. Long Beach BMW Dealer charged me almost $400 for the part and labor. I am disappointed that they didn't advice me about the problem, especially when they charged me so much for such a simple job. Or did the last BMW dealer intentionally broke them to make some money in this tough economy??? The moral of this lesson, I will be extra careful accepting anything free again...




The screws breaking off is a common problem. They are designed to stretch a little bit as they get torqued down. It's usually the ones on the outside of the cover. The screws are aluminum and break off pretty easily. You may want to take off the valve covers and see if there are enough of the screws above the surface to grab with a pair of vice grips and unscrew them that way. Drilling will make metal shavings and engines don't like metal shavings in them! But if you have to, be extra careful not to get the shavings into the engine. Good luck!:thumbup:

MasterTechBMW 09-13-2010 07:37 AM

As the poster above said, the broken bolts are common. This was an issue with the n52 engine. You might want to do some research before u go accusing people of breaking off the bolts on purpose. The are prob used to this problem and would not have charged you to replace the screws when they replaced your valve cover gasket because the gasket kit comes with new bolts. They are aluminum and break easily. They are very easy to get out when you remove the valve cover. It sucks to pay a lot of money to have ur car worked on, but its a BMW, so it's gonna be expensive. Learn how to work on them, and buy 10k worth of tools, or just pay someone else. That's just the way it is.

06530IDAN 09-14-2010 12:01 PM

Hi Everyone,

Thank you for your help. With the help of the Bentley Service Manual for 5 Series, I am thinking of removing the valve cover by myself. Can anyone please give me some warning signs so I would not dig a deeper hole for myself? :-) What socket wrench, socket sizes and other tools would I need to complete the job?

Thank you and have a great day!

westlafadeaway 12-31-2010 09:34 AM

I have the same thing in a 2006 530xi wagon. My BMW mechanic said it is relatively common. I have one year left on my certified pre-owned warranty. Called BMW and they said I need to take it to an authorized dealer who can determine if it's covered, which I am going to do. Hoping it is, does anyone have any insight? Also, above suggests the pricetag for fixing this could be $400. Sounds like it's all labor, how much could the replacement bolt cost? Would be tempted to try myself but I'm not a mechanic.

westlafadeaway 01-04-2011 09:48 AM

Just to close the circle on my post, took the wagon to a dealer to fix the broken valve cover bolt. Turns out it is covered by the CPO. Just cost me the $50 deductible, unfortunately they didn't list what the actual cost of the fix was.

heavymetal2005 11-13-2012 07:45 PM

valve cover gasket
 
I replaced my valve cover gaskets today and I broke one of my bolts. :eeps: I think I used to much retard strength on that one. hopefully it won't start leaking oil. I did a quick fix and filled the hole were the bolt goes with some gasket maker just to be safe. Hopefully all goes well.

wcr3d 11-14-2012 03:54 PM

I just had this done last week. Same as mentioned above. Cost me a grand, regular work plus three that had to be drilled and helicoil.


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