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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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  #76  
Old 02-28-2011, 10:28 AM
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I've spent most of the weekend cleaning parts, now most parts that I removed are shiny and ready to go back in. Next I'm going to thoroughly clean the engine bay, then the block deck, then the heads. When the heads are clean, I'm going to take them apart and clean/relap the valves. That obviously is a lot of cleaning, but I get a lot of satisfaction out if it, it is really nice to see everything nice and shiny.

I'm really happy that I've decided to go deeper then just the valve cover and the valley pan job. I've found that the gaskets on the timing covers, that used to be made of rubber at some distant point in the past, now appear to be made out of hard plastic and came off in little pieces. Also the oil pan gasket was leaking and was very hard as well, so were the valve cover gaskets. I've also found that not all bolts in different sets that I had to remove were equally torqued...

Last edited by Flug540; 02-28-2011 at 10:29 AM.
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  #77  
Old 03-01-2011, 02:40 PM
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Happy cleaning :-)
While you're down there check the oil pump bolts for tightness (if they're still in their holes) :-)
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  #78  
Old 03-01-2011, 03:46 PM
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Thanks! Good idea on the oil pump bolts

I'm trying to think what else I can do while I'm there. Is there a way to evaluate the oil separator and the PCV valve? They both look fine, only PCV valve has some oily residue on its back, same as the inside of the intake manifold. I'm tempted to open PCV valve for cleaning/inspection, but it doesn't look easy to open and I'm afraid I'm just going to break the plastic tabs. Thinking of a safe way to open it...
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  #79  
Old 03-01-2011, 04:24 PM
lydspop lydspop is offline
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ALex, I saw a post where someone had reworked their oil separator. It's been a few weeks since I saw it, but it was in a post on some other leaks, so I'm start by checking on the leaks. I wish I could remember who's post that was!!
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  #80  
Old 03-02-2011, 07:18 PM
franka franka is offline
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540alex,

In the April issue of Popular Hot Rodding (PHR) they have an article called 'Power Tricks for any Engine'. It has 10 specific things you can do while building or re-building any 200 + hp V8 to p/u over 150 hp. All w/o replacing the internals, except for the cam and rings.

One of the items that you might be interested in doing, while you have complete access to your valves, is to have your valves back-cut (I quote this part of the article below) to p/u 5-15 hp by picking-up 5-10 cfm between 0.100 to 0.500" of lift. Those numbers are right from the article and a picture with the article. And, like I already said, apply to any V8.

Quoting right from the article... "This is one of those small tricks that is worth way more than the paltry sum it usually costs for this extra step. If you have the heads apart to lap the valves, or you have them at a shop, the easiest thing to do is mark the face of the valves with layout fluid or even a Sharpie, lap the valves in, then just have your machinist gives the valves a standard 30 degree back-cut up to the edge of the lap mark - simple and worth an average of 5-10 cfm, 5-15 hp. It's worth more power than most gasket-match jobs!".

For a typical 2 valve American V8 they estimate the total cost to be apprx $ 40. Of course that would be for 16 valves and you have 32. And a shop might charge more than $ 80 if you come in for the valve cut only. Or maybe not. If you have a lathe you can do it yourself.

For those that don't know, PHR has some great in-depth articles regarding American performance engine building, which can apply to any engine make, type, country of origin, etc. They also put out another magazine called Engine Masters that is in addition to PHR. American or not, engines are engines.

Below is PHR's web site. I did a quick look and couldn't find the article, probably because it just came out in the current issue.

http://www.popularhotrodding.com/index.html
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Last edited by franka; 03-02-2011 at 07:28 PM.
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  #81  
Old 03-02-2011, 07:31 PM
bobdmac bobdmac is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by franka View Post
540alex,

...One of the items that you might be interested in doing, while you have complete access to your valves, is to have your valves back-cut (I quote the full article below) to p/u 5-15 hp by picking-up 5-10 cfm between 0.100 to 0.500" of lift. Those numbers are right from the article and a picture with the article. And, like I already said, apply to any V8.

Quoting right from the article... "This is one of those small tricks that is worth way more than the paltry sum it usually costs for this extra step. If you have the heads apart to lap the valves, or you have them at a shop, the easiest thing to do is mark the face of the valves with layout fluid or even a Sharpie, lap the valves in, then just have your machinist gives the valves a standard 30 degree back-cut up to the edge of the lap mark - simple and worth an average of 5-10 cfm, 5-15 hp. It's worth more power than most gasket-match jobs!".

http://www.popularhotrodding.com/index.html
When I was stationed in Germany in the late 60's, we raced a '67 Mini-Cooper that was prepared by a former Downton (works) mechanic. He ground down the backs of the valves and polished them to the point that they looked like delicate jewelry. This not only allowed tremendous airflow, it lightened the valve train enough that the racing redline in the pushrod, long-stroke 1275cc engine was 7600 rpm.
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  #82  
Old 03-02-2011, 07:48 PM
franka franka is offline
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540alex,

An engine with enough miles to have low compression could also have less than specified closed and/or open spring loads on one or more valve springs. Please don't misread this. I'm not saying weak springs are the case of your low compression. I am saying that the miles that would cause your worn seats would probably cause some springs to be below spec loads. With your meticulous cleaning it would be a shame to reinstall even one weak spring. Even worse to not check them at all

I realize its easy to sit here and suggest things for you to do but I would be remiss to know this and not mention it.
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Last edited by franka; 03-02-2011 at 09:02 PM.
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  #83  
Old 03-02-2011, 09:06 PM
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Flug540 Flug540 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lydspop View Post
ALex, I saw a post where someone had reworked their oil separator. It's been a few weeks since I saw it, but it was in a post on some other leaks, so I'm start by checking on the leaks. I wish I could remember who's post that was!!
I haven't seen the thread but I've tried searching on your lead and could not find anything...
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  #84  
Old 03-02-2011, 09:18 PM
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Originally Posted by franka View Post
In the April issue of Popular Hot Rodding (PHR) they have an article called 'Power Tricks for any Engine'...
Wow! Thanks guys, I'll look into it. I wonder if it will affect long term reliability.

Quote:
Originally Posted by franka View Post
An engine with enough miles to have low compression could also have less than specified closed and/or open spring loads on one or more valve springs. Please don't misread this. I'm not saying weak springs are the case of your low compression. I am saying that the miles that would cause your worn seats would probably cause some springs to be below spec loads. With your meticulous cleaning it would be a shame to reinstall even one weak spring.
That makes sense, how does one go about checking the springs? My plan is to redo leak down test once I get the heads back on. That would be one indication; is there anything else I can check?

I'm also concerned with head sealing of coolant passages. When the heads are back on, I plan to do coolant system pressure test, that should show if there is a bad seal anywhere, right? Also, I think I could put a pressure gauge on the coolant system and then pressurize cylinders one by one and see if the coolant system pressure changes. Don't want to find coolant leaking into the combustion chambers when everything is back together.
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  #85  
Old 03-02-2011, 09:22 PM
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A quick search turned up this on eBay for $8: POPULAR HOT RODDING MAGAZINE FORD STARLINER LS ENGINE

UPDATE: I had to get it...

Last edited by Flug540; 03-02-2011 at 09:41 PM.
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  #86  
Old 03-03-2011, 07:06 AM
franka franka is offline
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540alex,

The spring load is important to prevent the valves from 'floating' at less that the engine's rpm limit. It is not about preventing the valves from leaking. Even a very weak spring will close a lapped and stationary valve and prevent it from leaking.

A spring load tester, the equipment and not the person, will read-out the lbs of force it takes to compress the spring at two different hts. One height is when the spring is installed and the valve is closed, and is called the seat load, and the other is when the valve is fully opened. The load at each of the two specified hts is important, though the open load figure is most important.

Any machine shop that works on heads will (should) have one.

The Bentley manual (page 116-56 thru 60) does not provide these specifications. It uses a down and dirty method, says to line up all the springs (on a very flat surface), place a straight edge across the top and replace any spring that is short. That is a quick (and cheap) method for a repair shop. That method will often not find a weak spring. A weakened spring can still retain full ht yet allow valve float. All the good performance books and magazines will tell you so. That is why a spring load tester should be used. If BMW will not supply height and load specs a machine shop with a load tester will still be able to find any weak springs.

Back-cutting will not affect long term reliablity. The valve stem is the weakest part of the valve, not the valve head. And like Bobdmac said it will lighten the valve, which will increase long term reliability, if it affects reliablity at all.

Sorry for the long post, but in my opinion its better to be clear and thorough than short.
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Last edited by franka; 03-03-2011 at 07:08 AM.
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  #87  
Old 03-03-2011, 07:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 540alex View Post
A quick search turned up this on eBay for $8: POPULAR HOT RODDING MAGAZINE FORD STARLINER LS ENGINE

UPDATE: I had to get it...
When one subscribes to PHR they will also periodically (but not monthly) recieve 'Engine Masters' which is a gold mine of inside technical info, besides being great fun to read, if you are into the technical side of engines. Engine Masters is not available for subscription by itself. Its only via PHR subscription or on the rag racks.

www.enginemasters.com will take you to PHR dot com.
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  #88  
Old 03-04-2011, 04:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by franka View Post
The spring load is important to prevent the valves from 'floating' at less that the engine's rpm limit. It is not about preventing the valves from leaking. Even a very weak spring will close a lapped and stationary valve and prevent it from leaking.

A spring load tester, the equipment and not the person, will read-out the lbs of force it takes to compress the spring at two different hts. One height is when the spring is installed and the valve is closed, and is called the seat load, and the other is when the valve is fully opened. The load at each of the two specified hts is important, though the open load figure is most important.

....
franka,

I don't mind the long post at all, thanks a lot for taking the time to go into details. I'll have someone evaluate my springs when they are out (this weekend, I hope).

I read a couple of articles about back-cutting and (correct me if I'm wrong) it seems that it's mostly done to a "penny-on-a-stick" type of valves, not the tulip type that BMW uses.
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  #89  
Old 03-04-2011, 05:03 PM
franka franka is offline
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Alex..take a look at the picture here.


http://forums.hybridz.org/index.php/...ack-cut-valve/
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  #90  
Old 03-04-2011, 05:22 PM
bobdmac bobdmac is online now
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Nice photo there. It clearly shows the additional 45 degree bevel of the back cut. The problem with it is that he comes one step closer to the seductive lure of porting and polishing the head, and who knows where that could lead?
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  #91  
Old 03-04-2011, 05:29 PM
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Yes, nice photo.

Hmmmm, indeed, temptations... I bought that PHR issue, who knows what that will bring

Here's another article: Prepping Valves for Performance. What do you guys think of those grooves he cuts on the back of the valves?
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  #92  
Old 03-04-2011, 06:04 PM
bobdmac bobdmac is online now
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The "power groove" idea sounds plausible, but I have two problems with it. First, I'd have to be shown before and after performance figures proving that it actually works. It seems to me that it could also cause additional turbulence that could obstruct the flow of the intake gases. Unfortunately, I no longer have a picture of them, but I can still see the those valves from that Mini Cooper that were actually ground down to a much thinner cross-section and polished to a mirror surface. That engine vaporized so much fuel that we'd get ice crystals forming on the outside of the intake manifold after a couple of hot practice laps.

Second, how much return do you get for how much cost? After a while, you reach a point of diminishing returns. In other words, it costs more and more for increasingly smaller incremental improvements.
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  #93  
Old 03-04-2011, 06:23 PM
franka franka is offline
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King of hi tech racing engines are F1 engines and none of them use such valves.

I've seen them before but have never heard of any racing team or mfgr ever using them. And I've been reading on this stuff for longer than some here have been alive.
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  #94  
Old 03-04-2011, 06:48 PM
bobdmac bobdmac is online now
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Franka, in thinking about this, the fuel vaporizing rationale for the "power grooves" might be more of an issue for carburated engines than for the finer and more readily vaporized fuel injected mixtures.
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  #95  
Old 03-04-2011, 07:17 PM
franka franka is offline
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Originally Posted by bobdmac View Post
Franka, in thinking about this, the fuel vaporizing rationale for the "power grooves" might be more of an issue for carburated engines than for the finer and more readily vaporized fuel injected mixtures.
My thoughts on grooved valves are ...its a nice theory and maybe good on a small, long throw crank engines where rpms are low and fuel economy is the priority and therefore there is time in each cycle for the theory to work.

But otherwise velocity and volume rule.

If grooved valves did work we would see it used in some quantity but some auto mfgr. But like I said, I'm not aware of them being used by anyone and/or anywhere.

Regarding carb vs FI power differences...there is no significant difference in high power, high rpm engines.
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Last edited by franka; 03-05-2011 at 07:18 AM.
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  #96  
Old 03-04-2011, 07:23 PM
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...but otherwise velocity and volume rule.
+1
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  #97  
Old 03-04-2011, 07:31 PM
franka franka is offline
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Here are just some the hi performance valve mfgrs...in the USA. You can click around on their sites and find some pictures and information, though they are all a bit seceritive.

www.delwestusa.com
www.xceldyne.com
www.ferrea.com
www.revalves.com
www.tricktitanium.com
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  #98  
Old 03-04-2011, 07:37 PM
franka franka is offline
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Alex...I assume those photos answered your question about tulip vs penny-stick valves and back-cut. If not please ask away.
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Old 03-04-2011, 07:45 PM
thecushion thecushion is offline
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Originally Posted by 540indiana View Post
I am sure one of the gurus will chime in soon. I am about to change CCV, head gaskets,intake gaskets and anythings else that I am comfortable getting my hand dirty on.
Hmmmmmmmmmmmm Aaaaaaa you wanna take a vaction to the good ole natural state "Arkansas" ???? Could use your dirty hands on my 540 aswell.
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Old 03-04-2011, 08:31 PM
bobdmac bobdmac is online now
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Hah! He's about 20 minutes away from me. I was thinking of driving over just to see what the project looked like.
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