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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 3 Series / 4 Series > E36 (1991 - 1999)

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 02-23-2011, 02:29 PM
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Change valve cover gasket due to small seep?

I have a very small oil seep that leaves maybe a drop or two a day. I know that it's pretty normal to have this, but my dad is annoyed by the oil stains in the driveway and garage. I am pretty sure that it is the valve cover gasket, it seems to be coming from that area. I have taken out the ignition coils, but I don't notice any significant oil in the spark plug wells. I only notice some slight wetness. Should I go ahead and take off the valve cover to check it, or should I move on to checking other parts of the engine for the seep? Will I need to replace the gasket just by opening the valve cover?

Thanks in advance.
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  #2  
Old 02-23-2011, 02:54 PM
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Yes, by removing your valve cover, you will automatically need to use a new gasket. I'd just replace it. I just replaced mine at 103k miles, and it had basically turned from soft rubber to hard plastic. Who knows how old yours is. Mine broke out of the valve cover in hard little pieces. Be sure to buy the valve cover retainer nut seals, too, and use 02 sensor safe valve cover gasket RTV in the correct locations. Also, be absolutely certain that you use a torque wrench when tightening down the valve cover. The studs can strip very easily. Here is the DIY I used - worked very well.

http://www.dvatp.com/bmw/diy/valve_cover_gasket/
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  #3  
Old 02-23-2011, 03:02 PM
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Ok, thanks for the advice. Would you recommend changing all of the valve cover retainer nut seals, or just ones that are damaged? I hate to cheap out, but it costs 15 bucks for all of them on Pelican.
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Old 02-23-2011, 03:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cj.surr View Post
Ok, thanks for the advice. Would you recommend changing all of the valve cover retainer nut seals, or just ones that are damaged? I hate to cheap out, but it costs 15 bucks for all of them on Pelican.
Change all 15 of them. They are not reusable, especially if your car is a '93.


Also, ZeGerman, where did you get yours from? I need to grab another one for a friend's E36 but I got mine from the dealer here and they are so insanely slow, looking to avoid them.
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Last edited by ethereal45; 02-23-2011 at 03:40 PM.
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  #5  
Old 02-23-2011, 03:52 PM
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I purchased my valve cover gasket and 15 retaining nut seals from Pelican Parts.
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  #6  
Old 02-23-2011, 03:53 PM
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I purchased my valve cover gasket and 15 retaining nut seals from Pelican Parts.
What brand did you get? I saw a few on there, I did mine about a month ago and got an OEM one. I'm not sure who the OEM supplier for these is....
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  #7  
Old 02-23-2011, 04:09 PM
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The VC gasket(s) and retaining nut seals I bought were made by Elring Klinger, which is OEM BMW.
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  #8  
Old 02-23-2011, 04:11 PM
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The VC gasket(s) and retaining nut seals I bought were made by Elring Klinger, which is OEM BMW.
Good to know. I've heard a few stories about people going with cheaper non-OEM makes of VCG's and they often times run into leaks/seepages very soon after replacing.
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  #9  
Old 02-23-2011, 04:13 PM
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Yeah, there's no point to getting anything other than OEM in this case, since the off-brand parts aren't significantly cheaper than the OEM parts.
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  #10  
Old 02-23-2011, 04:24 PM
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Are you sure that there are 15 of them? Pelican says that you need 20.

http://www.pelicanparts.com/cgi-bin/...ndividually%20
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  #11  
Old 02-23-2011, 04:44 PM
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My M52 required 15, and I'm pretty sure it's the exact same layout as the M50 in your car. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.
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  #12  
Old 02-23-2011, 05:30 PM
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The valve cover gasket set says to use fifteen, so I'll go with that. Thanks for your help.
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  #13  
Old 02-23-2011, 05:47 PM
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Yeah, I'm 99% sure it's 15 for both the M50 and M52.
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  #14  
Old 02-24-2011, 10:52 AM
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I'm confused here... Pelican says that I need one (using the above link) for a 93 325 Sedan w/ M50, and you guys are saying 15? Guidance? Thanks
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Old 02-24-2011, 10:55 AM
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It's definitely not one. The pelican parts gasket kit says 15, so that's what I would trust. Also, Karl said that he need 15 for his m52, so it's probably the same for the m50.
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  #16  
Old 02-24-2011, 11:56 AM
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You need one retainer nut seal for EACH valve cover retainer nut. Count the number of valve cover retaining nuts - that's how many you need. There are 11 that go around the perimeter of the valve cover, and then four more down the center of the head. That adds up to 15 people...
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Last edited by ZeGerman; 02-24-2011 at 11:59 AM.
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  #17  
Old 02-24-2011, 04:07 PM
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Ok, thanks I'm replacing a valve cover gasket for a friend with an M50, and somehow Im responsible for parts, so I gotta make sure
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Please, call me Chadley

1997 328iS... HR coilovers, Brembo F40 calipers, camber plates, it needs a CUMMINS!!

1990-somethin Chevy K3500... Cummins, cab swap, 5 speed, and lots of motor work. 20 MPG, 40 PSI, 507 ft/lbs torque
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  #18  
Old 02-24-2011, 04:16 PM
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Cool. Make sure you use a torque wrench on the retaining nuts - especially if you're working on someone else's car.
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  #19  
Old 02-24-2011, 04:29 PM
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I plan to. 89in LBS, correct?
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Please, call me Chadley

1997 328iS... HR coilovers, Brembo F40 calipers, camber plates, it needs a CUMMINS!!

1990-somethin Chevy K3500... Cummins, cab swap, 5 speed, and lots of motor work. 20 MPG, 40 PSI, 507 ft/lbs torque
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Old 02-24-2011, 04:38 PM
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I forget the exact number.
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  #21  
Old 02-24-2011, 04:46 PM
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Pelican says 89, so thats what I'll go by How long did it take you to do yours Karl?
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1997 328iS... HR coilovers, Brembo F40 calipers, camber plates, it needs a CUMMINS!!

1990-somethin Chevy K3500... Cummins, cab swap, 5 speed, and lots of motor work. 20 MPG, 40 PSI, 507 ft/lbs torque
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  #22  
Old 02-24-2011, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by drive by72 View Post
Pelican says 89, so thats what I'll go by How long did it take you to do yours Karl?
89 inch pounds -- make sure you get a special smaller torque wrench. While some big ones go down this low, they aren't accurate that far to the bottom end of their range. A good rule of thumb is to avoid going within 10% of the top end or bottom end of a wrench's range.

Oddly enough, we follow that same rule of thumb with micropipetters in chemistry lab.
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Old 02-24-2011, 05:02 PM
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I didn't time myself like I usually do when I do car projects, but it took me somewhere in the ballpark of 1.5 hours doing it for the first time (i.e. super carefully). Now that I know my way around it and have some familiarity, I could probably do it in well under an hour.
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