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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 01-20-2006, 10:56 AM
mtush mtush is offline
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Mein Auto: 98 540iA,
Leaking Valve Cover Gasket.

Stealer tells me I need thermostat ($220) and Valve Cover Gasket($400), oil leak is minimal but noticeable. Is this a DIY job out of my garage?
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  #2  
Old 01-20-2006, 12:12 PM
supark supark is offline
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Mein Auto: Dinan 530i-5, 964 911 C4
thermostat is pretty darn easy. The valve cover is a pretty straightforward DIY if you have a 528 or 530 because the inline engine has a bit more clearance. The 540i is a big pain in the ass though because you have hard hydraulic lines on both sides of the engine bay. You can DIY but it takes a lot of patience.
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  #3  
Old 01-21-2006, 06:57 AM
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GJR GJR is offline
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I just did the valve cover job on one side of the engine (540 has two gaskets on both sides of the engine), and I'm debating whether or not to follow through with the other side or let a dealer do it. It's not worth the hassle for a 540, in my opinion, because if you're not a mechanic it will take you the better part of a whole day to do one side. On the other hand, if it's a six cylinder, one side is all you need.

Here's a link to the instructions (let all the images load- there are many):

http://www.bimmerboard.com/forums/posts/124059
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Last edited by GJR; 01-21-2006 at 07:55 AM.
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  #4  
Old 01-21-2006, 12:41 PM
supark supark is offline
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if only one side is leaking - no reason to replace it just because you did the other one. On my 540, only the left cylinder head was leaking
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  #5  
Old 01-21-2006, 04:16 PM
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GJR GJR is offline
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That's true. Maybe I'll take a look inside the spark plug chamber and see if any oil has made its way in. The driver's side had a few drops of oil, but nothing major.
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  #6  
Old 01-21-2006, 05:11 PM
supark supark is offline
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I just have a hard time forking over that much dough for almost all labor you know? I mean the gasket itself cost like $20 a side - so I'm willing to spend a greater part of a day doing it if I save a couple hundred bucks each side.
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  #7  
Old 01-21-2006, 05:27 PM
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GJR GJR is offline
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True again. When I wrote my original post, I forgot to mention that I did run into an issue where the engine ran very rough afterwards, and the "service engine soon" lamp lit up, but after a lot of nervousness and worry that I had damaged something, it turned out to be because I hadn't fully seated one of the fuel injection clips.

So I guess I was a bit frustrated after all that, but I agree, in retrospect it definitely is worth the effort to save the money. I mean, there are going to be things that I'll REALLY need a mechanic for, and I'd rather save the money for those situations.
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  #8  
Old 11-06-2009, 12:58 PM
frostygu frostygu is offline
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Leaking Valve Cover Gasket

Just went to BMW for service and I was told that the valve cover gaskets needed to be replaced. All in all the quote for the service was $738.92. Mainly for labor. I quoted the parts at pelican for about $64.00. So I guess I will spend most of my day doing labor and save several hundreds.
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  #9  
Old 11-06-2009, 08:13 PM
carjoe carjoe is offline
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Ick. There are things I dont' mind doing but this doesn't sound like one of them.
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  #10  
Old 11-07-2009, 03:05 PM
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z0lt3c z0lt3c is offline
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It's really not that hard, i've done it on the both the 6c and 8c. it may take a day or two, only if you've never done it before... after your first one it's like a 3 hour job. i would always change them in pairs, and I would change all the plugs as well, if the oil, (most likely) has fouled them, besides they will be out. Having your valve cover off also allows you to inspection the condition of the engine internals which is always educational. If your really into it you can get the valve covers media blasted and powder coating because the quality of the casting is very poor.
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  #11  
Old 11-07-2009, 03:41 PM
rxwllmss rxwllmss is offline
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That's actually not a bad price.
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  #12  
Old 11-07-2009, 07:30 PM
Waveho Waveho is offline
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I did it myself too, both sides, and it took several hours because I did important things that I'm sure the dealer will NOT do--such as completely degreasing and then stripping both sides of each cover, especially the grooved areas where the new gasket will go, using paint stripping bits in my drill and a Dremel. You won't believe the garbage collected even on the inside and along the groove of the covers. I then carefully painted the outside covers (I'm sure you've noticed all the peeling silver paint on yours??) with just basic high-temperature flat black "woodstove paint." There are plenty of different colors of high temp paint, but I chose the basic flat black because it is self-priming, and did several coats. The dealer will more likely than not just slap on new gaskets, and hopefully the rubber bolt washers, but maybe not. There are several very good write-up on this site to do the job--I highly advise it. It's not really "hard," but it is time-consuming to do a complete job carefully, but you'll learn a lot about your engine and fuel injectors, etc., but best of all when you're done you will KNOW that the job was done RIGHT.
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