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E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 09-30-2012, 02:17 AM
superwashcycle superwashcycle is offline
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How do you identify failing valve cover gasket or CCV?

Hi guys,

Forgive me if this information is already available, but I have searched all over for a picture of what a leaking valve cover gasket looks like from the perspective of someone popping open the hood. Where does the oil tend to gather as a result of such a leak?

My car is a 2003 530i with 60k miles and I'm just about set on buying the OEM parts to do the fix but I just want it to be the right solution to this problem. Last week, I noticed a burning smell inside the car with the blower on but the AC off. I've read many posts about this symptom and have concluded that it's burning oil but am not sure if it's the VCG.

Currently, droplets of oil are gathering where the black plastic of the top engine cover ends on the passenger side. There is a metal ridge right below it and that's where I can see the oil stains. The car also makes a cricket-like noise when in drive or reverse, and from what I've read, this either a belt or the CCV.

I'd greatly appreciate any knowledge on this - if I'm going to DIY, I'd like to do it right.
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  #2  
Old 09-30-2012, 03:59 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by superwashcycle View Post
I have searched all over for a picture of what a leaking valve cover gasket looks like from the perspective of someone popping open the hood.
Following instructions in the first thread of this forum, I typed /vcg F3 in the bestlinks, which found tutorials and videos galore:
- How to replace the E39 V8 valve cover gasket (1) (2) (3) (4) (540 pdf) (E38) (E38 pdf) & VCG DIYs for the E39 I6 M54 (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (2004 E46 video) (another E46 video) (yet another E46 video) & which VCG brand to buy (1) (2) & what VCG lubricants to use (1) & how to replace the timing chain tensioner and rail guide on the I6 (1) & on the M62 (1) & on the M62TU (1) (2) (3)

Quote:
Originally Posted by superwashcycle View Post
Currently, droplets of oil are gathering where the black plastic of the top engine cover ends on the passenger side.
Here's a picture of my leaking VCG on the passenger side from my belt drive overhaul DIY:
- Failed alternator and a subsequent belt drive system overhaul DIY (1)

(ignore the caption as I'm re-using the picture from post #110)



Quote:
Originally Posted by superwashcycle View Post
either a belt or the CCV
And, this thread, found by typing /ccv F3 in the bestlinks, will help with the CCV:
- How to test the crankcase ventilation (aka CCV, CVV, PCV, CPV, & OSV) pressure regulating valve system (1)
__________________
Each repair should invariably add to our knowledge base by the process of inexorable incrementalism.
Your job, in return, is to read the suggested threads, where the best people will always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need

Last edited by bluebee; 09-30-2012 at 04:00 AM.
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  #3  
Old 09-30-2012, 06:27 AM
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Fudman Fudman is offline
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The best DIY instructions for VC replacement are BB's reference #3 above, the Beisan procedure: http://beisansystems.com/procedures/vanos_procedure.htm It has tools required and pictures of each step. Just go as far as the VC removal and skip the Vanos portion (although replacing your seals is HIGHLY recommended).

A failing CCV rarely makes any audible sound. Your cricket is probably something else. Your low mileage car suggests a history of short drives. This is the classic cause of a CCV failure. Since this DIY is one of the more difficult, hopefully the tests (which BTW are not conclusive) indicate you do not have a failed CCV. The most reliable symptoms of a failed CCV are a smokey exhaust and excess oil consumption.
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  #4  
Old 09-30-2012, 03:03 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
The best DIY instructions for VC replacement are BB's reference #3 above
You know better than I so I switched the order so that #3 above is #1 in the latest post on the bestlinks. This saves clicks for users. Thanks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
hopefully the tests (which BTW are not conclusive) indicate
I agree. My tests were inconsistent with the evidence (so I need to re-run them myself).

To the OP: Also check that your dipstick isn't wholly clogged as mine was:
- How to test, clean, & redesign the original BMW dipstick guide tube to prevent CCV vent clogs (1)
__________________
Each repair should invariably add to our knowledge base by the process of inexorable incrementalism.
Your job, in return, is to read the suggested threads, where the best people will always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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  #5  
Old 09-30-2012, 06:10 AM
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ztom ztom is offline
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Main leak issue would be oil getting into hole for spark plug. Vcg does get very brittle, must change by 100k IMO. Also cvv, cooks.

Last edited by ztom; 09-30-2012 at 06:12 AM.
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  #6  
Old 10-01-2012, 01:59 AM
superwashcycle superwashcycle is offline
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Thanks for the great responses, guys. I've ordered the gasket set, the oil filler seal, and 15 grommets. Hopefully, I can get this one right - it's my first time getting into the engine bay under such circumstances. I'll be going to get the Permatex Red Hi-Temp RTV tomorrow.

One concern of mine was the variation of brands offered by Pelican Parts (I chose them over BavAuto because they got down to brand specificity). I picked the Victor Reinz brand parts - what's the general consensus about the quality of that brand? I've seen anything from "it's great, it's OEM" to "15k later, I had to do the job again."
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  #7  
Old 10-01-2012, 07:40 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by superwashcycle View Post
I picked the Victor Reinz brand parts - what's the general consensus about the quality of that brand?
Make sure you update this thread with whatever you find on the brand:
- Which VCG brand to buy (1) (2)
__________________
Each repair should invariably add to our knowledge base by the process of inexorable incrementalism.
Your job, in return, is to read the suggested threads, where the best people will always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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  #8  
Old 10-01-2012, 10:31 AM
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Jason5driver Jason5driver is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by superwashcycle View Post

Thanks for the great responses, guys.

I've ordered the gasket set, the oil filler seal, and 15 grommets.

Hopefully, I can get this one right.
It's my first time getting into the engine bay under such circumstances.
I'll be going to get the Permatex Red Hi-Temp RTV tomorrow.

One concern of mine was the variation of brands offered by Pelican Parts (I chose them over BavAuto because they got down to brand specificity).

I picked the Victor Reinz brand parts.

What's the general consensus about the quality of that brand?


I've seen anything from "it's great, it's OEM" to "15k later, I had to do the job again."
Victor Reinz is the OEM manufacturer for the Valve Cover gasket.
You are fine.

Link:
http://www.eaceuroparts.com/parts/BM...74/10/0/5500/0

Real OEM link:
http://realoem.com/bmw/showparts.do?...72&hg=11&fg=15
#16
Set of profile gaskets
Qty: 1
From 09/2002
Part number: 11 1 20 030 496
Price: $38.45
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Last edited by Jason5driver; 10-01-2012 at 10:38 AM.
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  #9  
Old 10-01-2012, 06:10 PM
bschmidt25 bschmidt25 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by superwashcycle View Post
Hopefully, I can get this one right - it's my first time getting into the engine bay under such circumstances.
It's not a bad job. I just did mine 2 weeks ago. Just take your time and make sure you know where everything goes. My car exhibited the oil leak pretty obviously. I could see oil spray on the windshield washer tanks and on the coolant hose. I didn't have any leaking into the spark plug receptacles. FWIW, I ended up going with the Goetze gasket from Pelican. You won't believe how brittle the old gasket is compared to the very soft new one. Make sure you don't overtighten the bolts. I torqued mine to 6.5 ft/lbs.
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  #10  
Old 10-01-2012, 06:53 PM
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Coochie_Bandit Coochie_Bandit is offline
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Now that ya'll seem to be in the helping spirit. Is there a link to a DIY on the OSV on the m62? Everything I find is for the 6banger. I dont have a pc at the moment and the search feature for the bimmer app is not the best. Thanks.
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  #11  
Old 10-02-2012, 12:33 AM
superwashcycle superwashcycle is offline
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Hey guys, one last question.

Is it necessary to remove the negative end of the battery connector for this gig? Are there any error codes I should worry about? The last thing I would want is not a oil smell but a light to remind me there was one.
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  #12  
Old 10-02-2012, 04:02 AM
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Fudman Fudman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by superwashcycle View Post
Hey guys, one last question.

Is it necessary to remove the negative end of the battery connector for this gig? Are there any error codes I should worry about? The last thing I would want is not a oil smell but a light to remind me there was one.
No, just follow the Beisan DIY step by step.
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  #13  
Old 11-19-2012, 03:26 PM
superwashcycle superwashcycle is offline
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Hey guys,

Unfortunately, it's me again and I'm looking at another VCG replacement. It's been 2000 miles, on the dot, and the valve cover gasket is leaking again. Can I reseat the gasket or do I start over, buying all the parts again? I personally don't mind but I just find this process extremely annoying. I went with the Victor Reinz last time for $21 and I'm considering using the Meistersatz this time. It costs $28 though, does more expensive mean better quality?
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  #14  
Old 11-19-2012, 04:38 PM
mikeson mikeson is offline
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I'm on same boat.

I replaced mine with Victor Reinz about 4000 miles ago and it start to leak.
However the one I replace OEM on E46, doesn't leak after 4 years so I did bit of research on E46 forum.
And what I find was Victor Reinz had lots of problems to leak and it isn't OEM.

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...ket+oem&page=7


So now I'm going to buy an OEM and will replace it this weekend.
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  #15  
Old 11-19-2012, 04:54 PM
superwashcycle superwashcycle is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeson View Post
I'm on same boat.

I replaced mine with Victor Reinz about 4000 miles ago and it start to leak.
However the one I replace OEM on E46, doesn't leak after 4 years so I did bit of research on E46 forum.
And what I find was Victor Reinz had lots of problems to leak and it isn't OEM.

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...ket+oem&page=7


So now I'm going to buy an OEM and will replace it this weekend.
Ha, I guess I will be doing this also.

What brand is considered OEM? The posts I read are usually "_______ is OEM" and everyone swears by it. Do you HAVE to buy one from the dealer?
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  #16  
Old 11-19-2012, 04:59 PM
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DPP528 DPP528 is offline
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I had the same issue with my e39, and now I'm having it with my e46; it started leaking about a year or so after I put on a new gasket. We pulled it apart and determined that the valve cover itself was warped... (no surprise, it's plastic!) Unfortunately the only solution is to buy a new valve cover (and gasket), which runs about ~$250 for parts if I recall correctly. When you get the new valve cover gasket be sure to purchase the 15 or so "o" rings that go around the bolts securing the valve cover to the top of the motor, they're sold separately.

---

Also, I was looking at some of the original posts in this thread... I have a few good tricks on how to diagnose a failing CCV. Since it completely disrupts the whole vacuum system you can create a few small vacuum leaks to see if there's a blockage by listening carefully to the idle pitch while removing the oil filler cap, or dipstick and then replacing them. Listen to the idle pitch particularly carefully while putting the cap/dipstick back on for any disturbance in the idle. If there is no change then there's likely an issue with the CCV or possibly a vacuum leak elsewhere. A normal motor should sort of hiccup when the Vacuum is restored. Also if the red tip of your dipstick is completely black, the car is using oil and the CCV is likely shot.
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  #17  
Old 11-19-2012, 07:26 PM
superwashcycle superwashcycle is offline
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Sucks, I wish retightening the bolts would do it. I'll of course try it, but doubt it'd help.
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