Broken Valve Cover Screws
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...