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Old 09-13-2011, 02:59 PM
jimispackle jimispackle is offline
Disaster on Wheels
Location: Derry, NH
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 2
Mein Auto: 1982 320i, e21
e21 M10 Rocker Arm Replacement via Distributor

I am the 2nd owner of a 1982 320i with less than 80k original miles on it. This car is my daily driver and withstands a 30 mile roundtrip commute for me. This is a bit more of a rudimentary car than my previous e30's that my father and I used to do minor mechanical work on. So I am forging my own after a 15 yr absence from the BMW community.

While on the highway last week, I suddenly lost compression and noticed a "cah-tink tink tink" sound coming from beneath the hood. I was able to get the car and myself home and the following morning went about diagnosing the issue.

I opened the oil cap to find a the adjuster portion of the rocker arm sitting on my cam shaft. I went about dismantling the case cover and discovered that the rocker arm closest to the crankcase (8th valve in sequence) had snapped clean off. I read this was a more common problem for the M10 engine, and hope to eventually replace all 8 of the rocker arms with a stronger gauge arm than OEM later this year.

I am trying to avoid having to replace the head gasket, as I had this job done last summer, and most of the lower end rebuilt as well for quite a chunk of change. This would also be a bit out of my comfort range. My original plan was to dismantle the distributor and housing and slide the lower rocker shaft towards the cabin of the car to remove the broken rocker arm and install the new one.

While I'm waiting for a special order distributor gasket to come in, I'm beginning to doubt that this whole process will work without me having to take off the head.

Anyone have any reason to believe this will or will not work? All the threads I'm readng involve a snapped rocker arm in the middle of the sequence, but not in the same position as the one that is broken on mine. Again, I don't want to dismantle the head or have to take the crankcase, radiator, etc off.

Any suggestions would be appreciated. I do have a Chilton's repair catalogue as well as the Haynes specific to my car and have found them both useful up until now.


~Lee Ann

Pictures 2 & 3 show the broken rocker arm as the bottom far right unit.
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