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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 11-24-2014, 03:13 PM
PancakeBimmer PancakeBimmer is offline
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Mein Auto: 02 BMW 325i
Is it worth installing VCG with stretched thread studs?

Back to leaking valve cover gasket. It started leaking towards exhaust side, dripping onto shield and burning. Car always smelled like burned oil. I tried re-seating the gasket since it was fairly new miles wise, but about 2 years old. That didn't work so I replaced it with VCG (outside+sparks) from autozone. I cleaned everything, seated gasket properly, and tightened bolts from the middle in cross-pattern to 10Nm. Well, I **** you not, it started leaking in the back too. This is when I noticed that 10Nm seemed a bit too soft but I stayed with it. One of the rear-most center studs snapped, so it also contributed to leaking in the rear...

With car in drive-able condition yet again, I forgot about leaking VCG until it started smoking from so much oil dripping and burning. Today I took off the valve cover yet again since I am expecting new kit today. Some studs came out so I decided to inspect. Both had pulled threads from over-torqueing, so the rest were taking off as well. About half of the studs have pulled threads

I'm debating whether I should order all new studs and install everything then, or clean everything once again and install everything, torqueing to 10Nm then lightly by hand feel.

I don't know, kinda sucks if car is parked for another week...
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  #2  
Old 11-24-2014, 03:21 PM
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Fast Bob Fast Bob is offline
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I would re-stud the whole thing. Clean all threads & thread holes with acetone to make sure there`s no oil on them, and install the new studs with BLUE Loc-Tite....you`ll never have to worry about them again.
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  #3  
Old 11-25-2014, 07:07 AM
marcozandrini marcozandrini is offline
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Your first problem is the gasket set from autozone! What brand was it? I bet not from an OEM! Also, check the valve cover for cracks. They have a tendency to crack from the heat. They aren't cheeeep~$300!
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Old 11-25-2014, 07:52 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
This is a good thread to reference to here ...
- What can go wrong when replacing the VCG valve cover gasket which may cause subsequent plastic engine cover leaks (1)
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  #5  
Old 11-27-2014, 12:07 PM
PancakeBimmer PancakeBimmer is offline
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So new studs were available at stealership for couple bucks extra, so I got those.

I found old victor reinz gasket, the one we installed right when we bought the car. It was much stiffer than the new victor reinz kit I got...
Then I compared that with autozone gasket. More rubbery, but has plastic-ish feel when touching.
And lastly compare autozone to new victor reinz. When put flat on surface, victor reinz gasket is about 3-4mm taller compared to autzone gasket, which was in the car only for about a month with close to no driving.
What does that mean? When new VR gasket is in valve cover, it doesn't seem to "fit flush", and seems to be too big. However, once installed, it is perfect. Autozone gasket, when installed on valve cover, sits flush.

Also, not sure if new studs or new VR gasket, but tightening was somewhat better. Hand-tightened everything, then to 5ft/lb and then 7.5ft/lb was maybe 10 degrees turn. This time around I also replaced the bolt grommets.
So far, no leaking what so ever and I pushed the RPM a lot.
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