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E46 (1999 - 2006)
The fourth generation 3 Series (E46 chassis) was introduced in 1999 and set the standard for engineering and performance during it's years of production including being named to Car & Driver's 10 best list every one of those years! ! -- View the E46 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 03-31-2010, 05:36 PM
therock therock is offline
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What's a valve job and how much should it cost?

All I know is that they need to remove the head and send it off to another shop to get fixed. I'm a noob when it comes to all this so just want to get an understanding of what this job usually involves? They said my valves were screwed up and that's what's causing my noisy engine after several repairs including exhaust manifold (both front and rear) were done. I was burning and leaking oil and just kept topping off every other day for several months. I also lost power little by little until I had none left. I was unemployed and looking for work so I was pretty much milking it and hoping not to do that much damage, stupid I know. Fortunately, I have a job now though.

Anyway, the mechanic said especially the 4th, 5th and 6th one, but that sounds more like cylinders to me right? When I asked how many valves needed to be fixed, he said all 24.

The oil and fuel mixed together and didn't provide proper lubrication which didn't help my cause, is that really possible?

I'm confused, just trying to make sense of all this. Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 03-31-2010, 05:52 PM
jw08 jw08 is offline
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How many miles on the car?
Can you clarify the original reason you took it to a shop? What was it doing?
What do you mean by "noisy engine?"
What drivability symptoms are you experiencing?
Is the check engine light on? If so, do you know what codes are set?

I'm real skeptical of the shop making "several" other repairs for the same issue and then going "it needs a valve job!"
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  #3  
Old 03-31-2010, 05:54 PM
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well if you were burning oil, it could be related to valve stem seals. this repair can be done in chassis with the proper equipment (i include the tech in that 'equipment' statement...)

if, however, a leakdown test showed there was leakage past the valves, then yes, a 'valve job' would be in order. even if it were 1 valve that needed attention, i would have them all done as it will provide a more complete repair. however, unless this guy has x-ray vision (or a really expensive boroscope) you really won't know the condition of the valves, valve guides, and valve seats. even with a top of the line boroscope you won't be able to see the seats, though, but i haven't had to have many replaced (except of course on ford escort/merc tracer trio models...)

now that we have all of that out of the way, why does the repair shop state the valves are making the noise?? i could see cam followers, or rockers, or lifters creating noise, but not the valves themselves. i have to say it sounds a wee bit shaky to me from what you explained. i suggest that you get it all down in written format with the suspected cause and recommended repair, then either post that up or take the vehicle to another repair shop for a 2nd opinion.

next questions would be how many miles, how long have you owned it, and have you been doing the routine oil changes on the vehicle with the correct grade lubricants??

i hope this helps.


df
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  #4  
Old 03-31-2010, 06:01 PM
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DSXMachina DSXMachina is offline
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There is a wide range to what is meant by "a valve job", but having done hundreds I can tell you the minimum FOR A PROPER JOB. A skilled mechanic, or an automotive machinist will:
Disassemble and clean all components. Measure the clearance between the valve stems and the holes in which they fit- the valve guides. If the clearance is excessive extra work will be needed.
Check the valve faces (the area which hits against the valve seat) for smoothness and ability to properly seal. He will also 'eyeball' the valves for burning or pitting. Minor defects can be machined or honed out and the valves refitted to the valve seats. The goal is to have all valves seal the inlets and outlets in the cylinder head like they were new. 'Burned' valves will have to be replaced. These will be overheated exhaust valves which actually liquified when areas reached the melting point.
Some or all valve seats may have to be replaced. This is rare but possible and is not part of a normal cost estimate.
All valve stem seals (made of high tech rubber, Viton or similar) will be replaced.
The valve spring heights will be checked and excessively tired or worn springs will have to be replaced at extra cost.
The 'keepers' may have to be replaced at extra cost, it's the tech's call, he doesn't want his job coming apart.
The preliminary valve clearances will be set.
While apart the head may be Fluorescent Penetrant Inspected for cracks, or pressure tested. The bare head will also be checked for warpage and flatness and may have to be machined back to factory specs. If cracked, or warped excessively you are going to get a phone call you are not going to like.

Last edited by DSXMachina; 03-31-2010 at 06:04 PM.
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  #5  
Old 03-31-2010, 06:06 PM
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At first glance, I would have to say:

**RUN**, don`t walk, to another shop....at this point, you need an honest and accurate evaluation, and I don`t think you`re gonna get it from your current "mechanic"....
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  #6  
Old 03-31-2010, 06:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jw08 View Post
How many miles on the car?
Can you clarify the original reason you took it to a shop? What was it doing?
What do you mean by "noisy engine?"
What drivability symptoms are you experiencing?
Is the check engine light on? If so, do you know what codes are set?

I'm real skeptical of the shop making "several" other repairs for the same issue and then going "it needs a valve job!"
Quote:
Originally Posted by drivinfaster View Post
well if you were burning oil, it could be related to valve stem seals. this repair can be done in chassis with the proper equipment (i include the tech in that 'equipment' statement...)

if, however, a leakdown test showed there was leakage past the valves, then yes, a 'valve job' would be in order. even if it were 1 valve that needed attention, i would have them all done as it will provide a more complete repair. however, unless this guy has x-ray vision (or a really expensive boroscope) you really won't know the condition of the valves, valve guides, and valve seats. even with a top of the line boroscope you won't be able to see the seats, though, but i haven't had to have many replaced (except of course on ford escort/merc tracer trio models...)

now that we have all of that out of the way, why does the repair shop state the valves are making the noise?? i could see cam followers, or rockers, or lifters creating noise, but not the valves themselves. i have to say it sounds a wee bit shaky to me from what you explained. i suggest that you get it all down in written format with the suspected cause and recommended repair, then either post that up or take the vehicle to another repair shop for a 2nd opinion.

next questions would be how many miles, how long have you owned it, and have you been doing the routine oil changes on the vehicle with the correct grade lubricants??

i hope this helps.


df
Gotta agree with all your points jw08!
You too, drivinfaster! I especially agree that the OP should get something in writing. The worst thing in the world would be to put a like-new head back on a weak bottom end!

PS I have seen complete rebuilt long blocks for 325s in the trade mags for a couple grand. Of course that is wholesale and there'd be labor attached. Might have been Jasper but it's been several months since I was researching the parts.
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  #7  
Old 03-31-2010, 06:13 PM
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dsx:^^ amen brother!! (i didn't want to get too technical, but that was very well put. i tend to get a bit wordy...)


btw, love the fpi process


+1 on fast bob as well. as it stands, something is very fishy. more accurate info is needed.

df
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  #8  
Old 03-31-2010, 06:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fast Bob View Post
At first glance, I would have to say:

**RUN**, don`t walk, to another shop....at this point, you need an honest and accurate evaluation, and I don`t think you`re gonna get it from your current "mechanic"....
Hey Bob, I wouldn't write the mechanic off yet. The OP is unfamiliar with terminology, etc. and there is a possibility he either misunderstood or didn't get the whole story. He was in a little shock to hear he needed major surgery and things might have gotten a little blurry for a while.
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  #9  
Old 03-31-2010, 06:15 PM
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^you said bottom end, hehehehahahehehehahe


(sorry, my 5th grader got the best of me tonight...)


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  #10  
Old 03-31-2010, 06:25 PM
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DSXMachina DSXMachina is offline
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Hey drivin, you in Jersey? I lived there five years and we called the people who lived down south (in the Pine Barrens area) Pineys. Here in NH we call 'em Flatlanders. Same thing.
I lived a year in Metuchen, a year in Piscataway, a year in East Brunswick and two years in Edison. I got away as often as I could...
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  #11  
Old 03-31-2010, 06:30 PM
therock therock is offline
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Thanks guys. I took it in because it no longer ran. The car would start and idle sounded ok maybe a little rough, but wouldn't go faster than 15 mph anymore.

Up to that point, the car was burning lots and I mean lots of oil, a quart every two days and I kept pouring in because that's when I needed it most and the bus wasn't going to help me. I'd say I went through 25-30 quarts in the final 5 months.

Signs pointed to perhaps my CCV being shot, but turns out I have a low emissions engine that has the CCV built into the valve cover, so I replaced that myself and nothing happened. I needed a VCG as I was leaking oil as well to go with the burning. Thats why I decided to change that and the cover myself.

To be honest, I drove the car with the check engine light on for over a year. The first sixth months I was too busy having a girlfriend to care about my car. That's over now, so now I feel even stupider about it. Things just got progressively worse until I could no longer drive it.

By noisy engine, I mean it sounds like a tank which it didn't before, so I dont think its the actual valves as that would be a clanking noise? My exhaust manifolds were clogged from all the crud I went through. I also seem to remember that what they think the two ignition coils were the first to go and I kept driving on them which caused more and more crap to malfunction. Of course that's just a guess because I put the car through hell and back.

The car has 115k miles and I've owned it for 3 years.

This is what was originally done:
-exhaust manifold (front and rear)
-new radiator because it was broken
-2 ignition coils
-new plugs and fluids
-Secondary Air Injection Pump (needed for smog)

For $4k

They will do the valve job for an additional $1.5k as well as throw in an oil leak fix on the bottom part of the engine that I told them to wait on from my previous repairs to save me some cash. The indy owner is best friend of my co-worker so they said they are taking a bit of loss on the labor because they want my car to work since they don't want me to hate my co-worker. I also need the front bushings, which is true because the car shakes when I brake. They said they do both and all I have to pay for is the parts which is around $120 bucks for both. I told them to wait on that because what if the car doesn't get fixed, and he said they guarantee the car it will be fixed.

The check engine light is no longer on, the car has power again and it passed the smog test I need, but they said its going to eventually break down again due to the valves. Plus it sounds like a tank.

And yea, I'm just going from the explanations and terms I remember. They have been in business for 20 years and specialize in BMW/Benz, so they should at least know a little bit of what they are doing. :/

Last edited by therock; 03-31-2010 at 07:14 PM.
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  #12  
Old 03-31-2010, 06:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DSXMachina View Post
Hey Bob, I wouldn't write the mechanic off yet. The OP is unfamiliar with terminology, etc. and there is a possibility he either misunderstood or didn't get the whole story. He was in a little shock to hear he needed major surgery and things might have gotten a little blurry for a while.
Absolutely true....we`ve seen plenty "get lost in translation".... :-)
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Old 03-31-2010, 06:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DSXMachina View Post
Hey drivin, you in Jersey? I lived there five years and we called the people who lived down south (in the Pine Barrens area) Pineys. Here in NH we call 'em Flatlanders. Same thing.
I lived a year in Metuchen, a year in Piscataway, a year in East Brunswick and two years in Edison. I got away as often as I could...
waaaaaaaaay down in jersey. like in the 'roll up the sidewalks after 6pm' down in jersey.


of course i only live here, i'm not from here. *HUGE* difference.


df
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Old 04-01-2010, 06:23 AM
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smolck smolck is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by therock View Post
The car has 115k miles and I've owned it for 3 years.

This is what was originally done:
-exhaust manifold (front and rear)
-new radiator because it was broken
-2 ignition coils
-new plugs and fluids
-Secondary Air Injection Pump (needed for smog)

For $4k
Are you effing kidding me! DO NOT PAY THAT!!! That is about $3000 too much. Sheesh. For $4k you could buy a new engine and trans and have it installed. RUN!!!!
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now, go burn your Man Card, and buy yourself a Camry....
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Old 04-01-2010, 06:42 AM
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#1, do not go to the dealer to get any work done
#2, read the WIKI. we have SO MANY DIY writeups that you can freaking make a new bentley manual out of
#3, http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...e+cover+gasket
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  #16  
Old 04-01-2010, 09:12 AM
therock therock is offline
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Originally Posted by smolck View Post
Are you effing kidding me! DO NOT PAY THAT!!! That is about $3000 too much. Sheesh. For $4k you could buy a new engine and trans and have it installed. RUN!!!!


Manifolds $1000 x 2.
http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...02&hg=18&fg=10

Radiator $480
http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...45&hg=17&fg=05

2 coils $100
http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...04&hg=12&fg=05

Air pump $400
http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...30&hg=11&fg=50

Valve job $1500

Last edited by therock; 04-01-2010 at 09:24 AM.
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  #17  
Old 04-01-2010, 09:13 AM
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Radiator is 140
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Old 04-01-2010, 09:13 AM
therock therock is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solidjake View Post
#1, do not go to the dealer to get any work done
#2, read the WIKI. we have SO MANY DIY writeups that you can freaking make a new bentley manual out of
#3, http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...e+cover+gasket
Yea, I did that part myself following that guide and my plugs with your guide!
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Old 04-01-2010, 09:15 AM
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^ good to hear

btw, next to the quote button there is a + sign. Click that on every post you want to reply to and on the last post hit quote. All of them will be combined to one post and you can reply to each one together.
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Old 04-01-2010, 09:15 AM
therock therock is offline
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Originally Posted by Solidjake View Post
Radiator is 140
Where? Tischer has it for 482 and that's a cheap place as far as I know
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Old 04-01-2010, 09:26 AM
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http://www.autohausaz.com/search/pro...=2172@Radiator
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  #22  
Old 04-01-2010, 09:34 AM
therock therock is offline
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If only that were possible dude. I'm one of the unfortunate people to have a SULEV engine (M56). Every part for my car costs and arm and a leg.
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  #23  
Old 04-01-2010, 09:37 AM
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Oh no.

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Old 04-01-2010, 10:14 AM
jw08 jw08 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by therock View Post
If only that were possible dude. I'm one of the unfortunate people to have a SULEV engine (M56). Every part for my car costs and arm and a leg.
Perfect reason to get out of it and into another BMW.

Not sure how much more money I'd pour into that thing. Wait until the fuel pump goes...
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Old 04-01-2010, 10:43 AM
therock therock is offline
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Originally Posted by jw08 View Post
Perfect reason to get out of it and into another BMW.

Not sure how much more money I'd pour into that thing. Wait until the fuel pump goes...
Yea tell me about it. I owe 4k on it so I'm stuck with it otherwise I'd just can it. My hope is I can fix it and it lasts me a year as I build up my credit and make max payments until its paid off, then buy a new car. :/
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