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E36 (1991 - 1999)
The E36 chassis 3-Series BMW was a huge hit among driving enthusiasts from the first moment the car hit the pavement. The E36 won numerous awards over the years it was produced and is still a favorite of many BMW enthusiasts to this day! -- View the E36 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 11-08-2009, 09:40 PM
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Talking Valve Cover Gasket Removal

OK, so I'm new at working on my BMW, and this is my first job I've done on the car, other than head lights. So please be patient with me.


I'm replacing my valve cover gasket and I've got everything undone ( bolts around valve cover - ignition wiring for spark plugs ( I'm doing the plugs at the same time ) etc. and my valve cover WONT come off so that I can get the old gasket out and the new on in.

Would you recommend using a hammer or skew driver to wedge under the valve cover to loosen it and take it off or what. I searched and found nothing helpful.....

Tonight it got kinda dark while I was out working on it ( damn day-light savings ) so I closed up the car and came in for dinner.

I plan on finishing off the job tomoro... and will probably end up going around it with a screw driver ( the pelican parts DIY recommends a hammer I believe )





Thanks for help


Oh yah - I have a 1998 328i
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  #2  
Old 11-08-2009, 09:49 PM
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All it takes is a little wiggling and it comes off . Make sure when you put the new gasket on, use some silicone or sealant around some of the edges or curvature of the head.
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  #3  
Old 11-09-2009, 01:54 AM
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I wouldnt use anything made of metal to pry it off. The valve cover is aluminum, and if you dent the edge with a stainless steel screw driver you might cause a leak that wasnt previously there. Try a plastic putty knife or something like that.
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Old 11-09-2009, 02:40 AM
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Mein Auto: '96 328iC, '04 325Ci
On the later 328s the valve cover is PLASTIC and you definitely don't want to use a screw driver and pry on it! Make certain that you have all of the fasteners removed including the 3 stud top fasteners for the grounding straps and the two fasteners at the very back of the engine. Then tap on the side of the cover GENTLY with a RUBBER MALLET not a hammer. Exercise a LOT of patience because the plastic covers get brittle with age and will crack easily.
Once you've got it off DO NOT use any solvents to clean the underside if there's a lot of gunk. The solvents can weaken the plastic and make it much more likely to crack.
When you are putting it back together be VERY careful when you are tightening it back down to pull it down evenly by just taking a few turns at a time on each of the fasteners.
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  #5  
Old 11-09-2009, 03:12 PM
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OK - thanks for the replies - I'll try this tomoro ( no time today )

I wasn't going to hammer or pry at anything without asking on here first.
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  #6  
Old 11-09-2009, 03:43 PM
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check out pelicanparts.com, there is a DIY for this by Wayne Dempsey. It shows the points for silicone sealant plus, it gives what kind of sealant is recommended. I believe it is Permatex high temp sealant, but go to that site it actually has about 20 free DIY's. I would highly recommend spending $25 and getting Wayne Dempsey's book. It is a huge asset and very well done.
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  #7  
Old 11-09-2009, 05:23 PM
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Corey Milne Corey Milne is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dc_wright View Post
On the later 328s the valve cover is PLASTIC and you definitely don't want to use a screw driver and pry on it! Make certain that you have all of the fasteners removed including the 3 stud top fasteners for the grounding straps and the two fasteners at the very back of the engine. Then tap on the side of the cover GENTLY with a RUBBER MALLET not a hammer. Exercise a LOT of patience because the plastic covers get brittle with age and will crack easily.
Once you've got it off DO NOT use any solvents to clean the underside if there's a lot of gunk. The solvents can weaken the plastic and make it much more likely to crack.
When you are putting it back together be VERY careful when you are tightening it back down to pull it down evenly by just taking a few turns at a time on each of the fasteners.
+1 Listen to Mr. Wright, guy knows his stuff.
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  #8  
Old 11-09-2009, 07:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dc_wright View Post
GENTLY with a RUBBER MALLET
Best. Advice. Evar.

Seriously. The rubber mallet in one of your best friends when working on your E36. I love mine. So much so that I have one in the garage tool box and one in the track box. You'll be stunned at how many things on your car will respond some gentle persuasion from a rubber mallet.
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  #9  
Old 11-09-2009, 08:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ffej View Post
Best. Advice. Evar.

Seriously. The rubber mallet in one of your best friends when working on your E36. I love mine. So much so that I have one in the garage tool box and one in the track box. You'll be stunned at how many things on your car will respond some gentle persuasion from a rubber mallet.
Yes they are great - I've got a couple of them, I can't believe that I didn't think of using it - I use it all the time to move parts around on our latter that moves in a million directions ( Christmas lights )
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  #10  
Old 11-11-2009, 09:37 PM
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OK, so I tried to get my valve cover off again today, and there is no way it seems like it's coming off.

I am pretty sure that I got all the bolts off, including the 2 in the back and 4 down the center and an assorted number on the left and front of the VC.

I used a rubber mallet as described above, and there was NO budge at all...

Please tell me what I'm doing wrong? There is a very very little leak, and zero oil down by the spark plugs, so I might give it a little while and go over this on thanksgiving break.

I am a beginner, so there is probably a good chance I'm doing something wrong, so please give me tips on the basic kinda stuff that I COULD be missing!

Thanks for the help!

Jack
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  #11  
Old 11-11-2009, 10:03 PM
jhstealth jhstealth is offline
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check to make sure you got all the bolts in the middle, there is a coupe down the center it seems like you did but just check again. If for some odd reason the gasket isnt oem sometimes people put rtv on them and that makes them stick pretty hard after being on there awhile so you may have to use a little muscle. Id use my hands cuz its the safest and wiggle very hard, stern and slow and it should come off if you infact DID get all the bolts. Definitely check the middle ones tho and re check all the sides.
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  #12  
Old 11-12-2009, 12:41 AM
TrainwreckFilms TrainwreckFilms is offline
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Feel free to keep us updated with photos! I need to do this on mine. as well as figure out how to remove my tranny
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  #13  
Old 11-12-2009, 11:10 PM
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Originally Posted by TrainwreckFilms View Post
Feel free to keep us updated with photos! I need to do this on mine. as well as figure out how to remove my tranny
I would defiantly hope that you could do a VC easily if you plan on doing a trannie, but I will defiantly keep everyone updated here

--- I am sure that I got all the bolts off - and I was using my hands to pull it off, but it felt like I was lifting the car before I was going to get the VC off

As my dad and I have been the only owners, I am sure that the car has the OEM gasket on it, do any of you know if the factory used sealant or if they just put it in there?



I will plan on doing a DIY on this - I have put everything back together, because I had to drive the car - so now I'm great at taking the getting all the bolts off down to the VC and taking the ignition coils off.

In the mean time, Pelicanparts has a GREAT DIY on it - I just wish they had tips for VC's that won't come off... hahah
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  #14  
Old 11-13-2009, 08:25 AM
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When say you had all the nuts off of the VC, did you also have the 3 that have the stud on top that the ground straps for the ignition system connect to? (see photo) If you did then it should be coming off with some taps from the mallet.
They do use a little bit of sealant for the factory installation but no so much that it would have your VC bonded to the head.
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  #15  
Old 11-13-2009, 08:54 AM
kc chief kc chief is offline
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I used the write up from Pelican parts and this took me less than an hour. There is a technique to using a mallet, and you can use your hands as well. Alternate directions of your taps/pulls. Get a firm grip on that beyotch and rock her back/forth and up/down with all your might for 30 seconds at a time. Also, as in all the write ups USE A TORQUE WRENCH WHEN PUTTING BACK TOGETHER. I know that's 101 stuff, but worth reiterating.
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  #16  
Old 11-13-2009, 06:00 PM
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Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by dc_wright View Post
When say you had all the nuts off of the VC, did you also have the 3 that have the stud on top that the ground straps for the ignition system connect to? (see photo) If you did then it should be coming off with some taps from the mallet.
They do use a little bit of sealant for the factory installation but no so much that it would have your VC bonded to the head.
yah - I had the 3 on the top off, and the bolts for the grounds were all off....

If I have the ignition coils off and the ground's disconnected - do I need to take anymore of the ignition system off............... I can't find anything more that could possible need to be taken off

I'll try this weekend and I'll wiggle the VC harder!
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  #17  
Old 11-14-2009, 08:44 PM
sksiazek sksiazek is offline
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I don't remember the value cover being significantly difficult to remove, although it definately won't budge without removing all 15 value cover bolts. I forgot the one's down the middle at first, but it came off without too much effort once the bolts were off.

The gaskets were a PITA to change, especially the ones around the spark plug openings.

The new gaskets are obviously very flexible rubber, but after being on the car for almost 12 years, the old gaskets were hard and very brittle. They did not want to come out without a fight. My fingers have the battle scars too prove it.
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