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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 08-09-2014, 01:06 AM
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How NOT to replace a VCG (What can go wrong when replacing an E39 valve cover gasket)

This is a thread on: How not to replace a valve cover gasket!

This thread today got me thinking that we don't have a thread on users' experiences on PROBLEMS they had with the (idealized) VCG replacement DIYs.
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Valve Cover bolt hole break

The goal of this thread would be to PREVENT these mishaps from happening.
So, I open this thread to ask others to chime in on how they botched their VCG replacement jobs, and what they would have done differently in the future.

I have to do mine, so I don't have personal experience (for once) on breaking things accidentally, but for starters, here's a video showing even a pro can break it (and how NOT to pry on the ends, which this pro said are the most brittle):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?featur...peSdiif8#t=418

Note: While the mechanic in the video above broke his valve cover using a screwdriver, some DIYs recommend a mallet on the side, as shown below:
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Last edited by bluebee; 01-18-2015 at 07:00 AM. Reason: WAS: Why you might want to consider buying a new plastic valve cover when replacing VCG
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  #2  
Old 08-09-2014, 01:21 AM
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Professional Mechanics Replace the Valve Cover with the VCG

While researching shop prices for this thread:
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > What is the fixed labor rate at YOUR local dealer or indy?
I contacted a local BMW repair independent (Rays Ultimate BMW Service Center, in Santa Clara) who said he always replaces the plastic valve cover when replacing the valve cover gasket.

I can see why a mechanic would do that (it's much easier and faster for him), but, what this thread is asking is your experience, if you broke the valve cover, and what would you do differently NOT to break it the next time.
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Last edited by bluebee; 08-10-2014 at 10:25 PM.
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Old 08-09-2014, 01:26 AM
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Broken Valve Cover Bolts

It seems that the valve cover studs also snap, based on these threads:
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Valve Cover stud broken!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jose3081 View Post
I guess my torque is bad because it broke off. What should I do? I was thinking Maybe go to bolt store and find the same bolt that goes there but longer. Or is replacing the stud easy?
Attachment 403019

> E39 (1997 - 2003) > E39 m54 broken valve cover bolts
Quote:
Originally Posted by mgs View Post
I was retorquing my valve cover bolts when for some reason I don't know why. I heard a snap & I knew that I broke the valve cover bolt( I'm not even sure if it's called a valve cover bolt) Has anybody encountered this problem & what solution you did? I would try to fix it myself first before I bring it to a mechanic. Any ideas & insight would really be appreciated.

Here's the pic
Quote:
Originally Posted by eparayno View Post
It's a one stud and nut. Very easy to take off with a 10mm deep socket. I snapped one a little while back. If you have a thin walled socket then you can remove the stud with the valve cover attached. I used red loctite when I installed a new one. I have a thread about this subject, search my user name. If there's a BMW dealer by you you can just go there with the part # and buy it.
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Options to repair broken valve cover stud

Quote:
Originally Posted by redbull713 View Post
In the process of doing a valve cover replacement I got too wrench happy when torquing the nuts down and off comes the nut with the stud! Snapped clean off. It is right above cylinder #6 under the ignition coil plug. so for the mean time i have fashioned a make-shift seal with some silicone. I think it is pretty air and oil tight. I know in the course of all of the v8 guys doing vcg jobs SOMEBODY else has made this mistake too. Now what are my options for repairing this the right way, so that I can put a proper nut/washer/grommet on there. Thanks everyone!
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlie boy View Post
well if it makes you feel better, I did my vanos and VCG relatively cheap at the end of the job guess wha happen? Yea I broke the F N Valve Cover. $239 for that sum b!itch. Still havent got around to replacing it yet, my cabin smells like an oil refinery. The worst part is that everytime the air come on it blow all that burnt oil smell in the cabin. Oh well at least I'm in AZ for the winter. no heat = no oil smell. oh I also rounded off the aluminum hex nut in the back right corner under the pasenger side cabin filter. yea no freaking fun, had to shut down shop and take it over to a mechanic that cursed me out cause it took him most of the day to get it off and he didnt know how to charge me for a ten minute job he spent the day on. lmao
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > E39 m54 valve cover bolts
Quote:
Originally Posted by mgs View Post
last weekend I replaced my valve cover gasket. I just had difficulty to tighten (according to torque specs) the bolt that's in the corner of the valve cover the one close to the cabin filter(by the rear header). Is there a tool I can use to access it easier & be able to tighten it according to torque specs. !
Quote:
Originally Posted by mgs View Post
this time i did the vcg myself so i cleaned it & installed a new vcg, i inspected the valve cover to check for cracks. i found out two inner tabs were broken(the vanos side)i still continued to install the gasket in the groove of the valve cover im sure it's installed properly. my wife drove it & she said there was some smoke came out by the winshield. does it mean its leaking again?
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Need help with finding this part # for valve cover mounting.
Quote:
Originally Posted by eparayno View Post
I circled the part in the picture which I borrowed from Fudman.

This stud snapped when tightening the valve cover cap after installing a new VCG(I think my valve cover is warped, keeps leaking a tiny bit no matter what) I'm thinking its just a stud with a hex nut to keep it secured. Is this the correct part?:

http://www.ecstuning.com/Search/07129908102/ES16194/
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
The part no. is 07129908102 (for an M54) which is a match, per realOEM. The threaded bolt stud shown is also the same size M6 x 30. You can remove your old one using a dremel tool to cut a slot in the top of the stud and then back it out with a flat blade screwdrive. Careful not to cut into the valve head. It the bolt stud is flush or recessed, us an EZ-out. Use two nuts locked together to insert the stud.
Quote:
Originally Posted by eparayno View Post
Thanks guys. Fudman I will use the double nut procedure. There's enough of the stud left to fit another nut. I can't believe how easily it snapped while tightening down the cap nut.
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > 540 Valve Cover Stud - how to get it out?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gr8dane View Post
I was following the excellent directions on how to replace valve covers on an m62 and although the job had taken me a long time, the amount of cuss words had been kept to a minimum. I was just about to finish up the passenger side and then, SNAP!

Apparently, the recommended 10-15Nm in the directions were too much - or I'm not good with my torque wrench (the latter is very likely). My heart sank as I saw the kids college fund being transferred to my mechanic - along with what little pride I had left.

But - Bimmerfest to the rescue - it turns out things aren't as bad as I thought. A 10mm socket unscrewed the nut that holds the valve cover stud and I should be able to just replace the stud. (The fact that I dropped the socket into the abyss and took 30 minutes to retrieve was a minor inconvenience at this point).

My question is now - how do I get the actual stud out? I'm hoping to get it out without having to remove the valve cover again, but I can obviously remove it if there is no other way. The stud in question is in a spot where I can't easily get a pair of pliers on it, but if I could, would it unscrew easily? What about gluing the nut back on the stud and then unscrewing it when it's dry?

The stud in question is the first from the front on the bottom row. (See digit (not digital) pointing device in attached picture).

Thanks,

\ Henrik
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
Forget the glue idea. It will come apart as soon as torque is applied. An EZ-out is the only way to remove a sheared bolt. The EZ-Out requires you drill a small diameter hole into the sheared bolt. You then insert a reverse tap and back the bolt out. If you can't get a drill directly over the bolt, you'll need to get a 90 degree drill accessory to drill the hole. The EZ out tap set is like $15 at Harbor Freight.
Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfen View Post
OK i hate to tell you this but here it goes.


You need to remove the cover and the Female portion of the stud will come right out. You install a new one, put the cover back on and insert a new valve cover bolt.


Otherwise you can also move some of the female studs from the top middle of the cover to where they are needed. I have 1 partially stripped stripped bolt like yours and i placed it in the middle top of the cover. Because incidentally i stripped the same one' lol. No leaks what so ever a year later. I meant to get to it but never did.
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > valve cover bolt head stipped.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 525man View Post
I finally got down to do my Vanos seals but I can't get beyond removing my valve cover. I have a 2002 525iT and I stripped the bolt on the rear left corner of the valve cover. Is it safe to drill through the bolt to attempt removal. My entire day got wasted because of one frigin bolt!
Any help is much appreciated.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ztom View Post
I had similar problem,right ( passenger) side. Look at other cover bolts to know. I think I used a dremel to cut the hat to get a hold with wrench.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 525man View Post
Thanks for all your replies.
These bolts are a type of double bolt where the top bolt bolts onto a second bolt. Do I have to remove the whole two-piece bolt to get the valve cover off or only the upper bolt?
The reason the bolt stripped in the first place is that it's in a rather awkward position. I hope the bolt removal tool fits into that space.
I tapped at the bolt with a hammer and chisel hoping to break the seize and loosen it that way but that just damaged it further.
I then sawed through the centre with a hacksaw so that I could try loosening it with a screw driver.
I'll try your suggestions then, As a last resort, I'll probably try drilling through the bolt. Is that wise?
Quote:
Originally Posted by ztom View Post
The valve cover fitting is a "nut" but has a bolt head. Don't drill it. You have other ones off, right?
Quote:
Originally Posted by ztom View Post
I had the same problem, nut in the corner. You rotated and removed the cabin air boot for more room right?
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Valve Cover Disaster
Quote:
Originally Posted by XLR8 View Post
I was happily doing the driver-side valve cover gasket (noticed oil on the rubber surrounding the rear-most cylinder, btw. Car was running fine, so those of you with zero symptoms (missing) at 90k+ miles should swap the gasket just to be sure. I caught mine before it got bad).

The disaster occured as I was reinstalling. Everything went well. Then I went to torque the bolts. I couldn't find any torque specs in my tutorial nor my bently, so I went easy with a small ratchet.

SNAP! The lower bolt over the chain cover stripped. Bolt head spins, no bite.

So I reinstall everything else. Looking at the design, it looks like the manifold will protect the spark plugs from intruding oil; however, I'm pretty much assured an oil leak at the lower point of the valve cover.

I don't have an indy in town who I'd feel comfortable with working on BMWs, so it looks like I'm going to be heading to the stealer and pay stealer prices to attempt to re-thread my head.

NOT looking forward to this at all.

Part of me is hoping that the engineers over-designed it and the nearby bolt and nut will take the pressure and I'll be ok. But then I'm reminded of thrust arm bushings, exploding cooling systems, and the simple fact the stupid gaskets leak anyways when everything IS working. Looks like I'm out of luck...
Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
Hold on.

There is a huge difference between:
- Bolt snapping in 1/2, in that case the threads are still good. Extract the broken bolt and get a new stud.

versus

- Stripped thread: yes, in this case you need helicoil and new stud.

So the $1M question is: is the bolt snapped in 1/2 or not?
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Help Please! - Valve Cover Bolt

Quote:
Originally Posted by gtxragtop View Post
If you used a foot pound torque wrench, then this is possibly why it snapped. They simply are not accurate enough at low torque. You need an inch pound torque wrench.

If the stud is flush with the head, you need to use a center punch and carefully place an indent (for drill bit) into the center of the stud. Carefully surround the stud with a cloth to catch ALL metal shavings. Using a drill bit that is about 1/2 (or a bit larger) the size of the
stud, carefully drill into the center of the stud about 1/4". Then using an easy out, remove the stud. SOMETIMES if your lucky a sharp pointed object can be used to unscrew the stud without the need to drill it.

Make sure you hit the center of the stud with the center punch and the drill bit. You do not want the drill bit to break out of the stud and start chewing up the aluminum threads in the cylinder head.
Quote:
Originally Posted by kmcguinn View Post
1st time posting, I screwed up and need help.

I had a burnt oil smell in the car - found out through the message board and some snooping under the hood that I needed a new valve cover gasket. Got it all done and was buttoning it up when i snapped a valve cover bolt/stud. Please refer to the attached picture. The red circle is the bolt in question and the red line is where I snapped it.

I did put it all back together and fortunatly there is no leaking - for now. I suspect it'll start to weep in time.

No beatings please - I #$%@-ed up and i know it. I need to know what I can do to fix this. Does the bolt turn out of the head for replacement? Can i tap it out? or just ride it out and use some more RTV on that section of the gasket?

Thanks!
Quote:
Originally Posted by shalyndavis23 View Post
a 10 mm socket fits riight on the broken stud it will take it out! trust me i done this 3 times

Quote:
Originally Posted by gtxragtop View Post
If you used a foot pound torque wrench, then this is possibly why it snapped. They simply are not accurate enough at low torque. You need an inch pound torque wrench.

If the stud is flush with the head, you need to use a center punch and carefully place an indent (for drill bit) into the center of the stud. Carefully surround the stud with a cloth to catch ALL metal shavings. Using a drill bit that is about 1/2 (or a bit larger) the size of the
stud, carefully drill into the center of the stud about 1/4". Then using an easy out, remove the stud. SOMETIMES if your lucky a sharp pointed object can be used to unscrew the stud without the need to drill it.

Make sure you hit the center of the stud with the center punch and the drill bit. You do not want the drill bit to break out of the stud and start chewing up the aluminum threads in the cylinder head.
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > HELP!! valve cover cap nut
Quote:
Originally Posted by goose1207 View Post
am i screwed if the part that the valve cover cap nut bolts onto snapped off? how do i fix this??
Here's another set of broken bolts today ...
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Valve Cover bolt hole break

Quote:
Originally Posted by EssoS View Post
Here's the offending piece

Attachment 457523

Three bolts came out of the valve cover detached from the bottom post, shown below here is the bolt on top as it should be. The threads are not stripped and screw firmly back into the top half. My guess is somebody tightened down too much?? but not enough to strip the thread. One of these three is where the valve cover casing bolt hole gave way.

Attachment 457524

Perhaps this should go elsewhere, but the vanos has some gunk down in the well on each side, and is dark on top. Also one of the spark plug tubes has gunk next to it on a center bolt screwdown tower. The others look clean. What does all this gunk mean? Do I need to clean the black off the vanos housing, or is that just the ocd kicking in? Will brake cleaner or carb cleaner work? or just degreaser? or forgetitalready.

Attachment 457525

Attachment 457526

Attachment 457527

Attachment 457528

Attachment 457529

Attachment 457530

The last two photos above show the burnt oil evidently from the valve cover. Second to last is up by the CCV i think. this was replaced 13k miles ago, so assuming it should be ok .... but oil leaking out onto it isn't optimal.

Broke down and ordered a new valve cover ... which means I get another vcg along with it, but curious about the post above from Wgosma. Will the oil find its way out eventually in most people's experience?

This little vcg replacement diy is growing quickly.
Broken Valve Cover Bolts
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Last edited by bluebee; 08-09-2014 at 06:08 PM.
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  #4  
Old 08-09-2014, 01:33 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Valve Cover Cracks

Here are threads where the valve cover itself cracked ...
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Anyone have a M52 valve cover they want to sell?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Funk Republic View Post
Just pulled mine to replace the gasket and the valve cover has several cracks in it. I do have a hairline crack on the underside which "if" that was the only issue I would just JB Weld it. But one of the bolt stanchions next to the spark plug tube hole is completely broke off. Which means this dang cover will always leak.
Quote:
Originally Posted by manticore33 View Post
I had a hairline crack in my valve cover on the exhaust side I JB welded @ 172k after having the dreaded burning oil smell at stop lights. Now the car is at 235k and it still does not leak.
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Valve Cover Problems
Quote:
Originally Posted by douglas1137 View Post
1998 528i e39 M52 with 208,000 miles on her. I began the DIY to R&R plugs and VCG with classic symptoms of the VCG being bad. I removed the valve cover an it came right off without any resistance- inspection revealed the main gasket was plasticized to the point that it was practically the same color, hardness & appearance of the valve cover itself. The main seal was in the groove of the cover, but with some work I was able to get it off of the cover- it was obvious this was the original seal(208,000 miles)!! I was able to locate the gaskets for the spark plug wells on the circular mounts on the underside but they were practically fused to the mounts & the circular gaskets looked & felt like the plastic except maybe a little harder. I ended up breaking the circular gasket mounts in 3 places. I took some pics and would like to know if I just bought myself a new valve cover or can it be salvaged using epoxy or JB Weld?

Attachment 417266
Break is between arrows on inner ring on spark plug gasket mount

Attachment 417267
Break here is on outer ring of another one

Attachment 417268
Last one with break on outer ring.

If this is not repairable, can anyone suggest where to get a good quality used one? I have already put more $$ in it than I planned so trying to keep cost down.

Another question is about the baffle on underside where the ventilation pipe outlet is. I have seen several pics of what looks like normal ones that are flexible. Mine are as hard and inflexible as the darn gaskets & I saw at Pelican they do not have these as seperate purchase from valve cover. Does anyone know if they are replaceable? Also included pics of the baffle and gunk underneath it.

Attachment 417269
pic of baffle underside- looks & feels like hard plastic

Attachment 417270
Baffle reflected back(upper arrow) showing a pool of gunk between baffle & cover

Attachment 417271
Outlined the vent pipe on underside of cover to orientate

Attachment 417272
Vent pipe with gunk around inside diameter

I had no intention of getting into CCV system but I have seen several posts recommending replacing oil separator, fuel body gasket, etc while doing the VCG. With the mileage it has is it a good idea to go ahead & do this?

I read all about the VANOS deal, but my car has not showed the symptoms of one going bad.

Thanks for any and all responses- I apologize for so many questions on first post. If there are any other recommended maintenance issues please let me know.

BTW- I found this little thing on exhaust manifold that is a bolt stud with an orange wire attached to it- what is it called?
Attachment 417273
Quote:
Originally Posted by moots View Post
the valve cover is too far damaged to even consider for repair.even if it can be jb welded,it will not last and eventually it will break off AND contaminate the oil and flood the plug wells again.

the last pic is the stud for the valve cover.are you missing one?
Quote:
Originally Posted by douglas1137 View Post
djmjd- wow- thank you very, very much!! I had been checking pull-a-part, but stopped looking when I had my part coming in. I did not recheck so I really appreciate your time & effort. I will be there right after they open tomorrow with tools ready!!

I am the one that broke my cover- very easy to remove it came right off with no resistance. The gasket was really fused to the cover & I got it off the perimeter with some effort but not too bad. It was when I got to those darn spark plug well gaskets that it got really tough. I was using a couple of small pics & was not coming out of grooves. **STUPID ALERT** not knowing at that time the cover was plastic I got a hammer & started chiseling away with a straight pick.m First 2 came out fine. The rest I broke up the gasket channels. Gasket was fused so hard I did not even realize they were breaking until I got done. Lesson learned.

I will report back tomorrow after I get it off. BTW- how can I tell if it is warped a little?
Quote:
Originally Posted by gershomww View Post
Next time you are doing this job and have a super hard gasket to remove, grab a heat gun or a good hair dryer and use it to soften the gasket pieces. Once they are pliable, they may not exactly peel off, but the job will be much easier.
Quote:
Originally Posted by douglas1137 View Post
Thanks guys- went to pull a part & snagged me a great VC! I did exactly as you say- took my time, had plenty of tools- scraper included & just a couple of taps with a rubber mallet it came off with little effort. The gaskets were stiff but still pliable, nothing like the rock hard ones on mine. I think I am going back tomorrow & grabbing the intake manifold & a few other odds & ends just to have a spare. I will likely need it because when I took mine off the two bolts that are on the underside of the manifold- cn90 I think I remember those being bolts #7 & 8 on your DIY with the intake manifold taken loose- they broke off. I felt underneath before I put a socket on it & they both were already half way out? I figure someone tried to remove before- now both broke in the threaded brass fitting.

I gotta get to bed I only got 3 hrs sleep last night & I have been in garage working on the car- 2am- time passes fast when working on it.
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Needing to buy I6 valve cover
Quote:
Originally Posted by AV8R4AA View Post
I have a 2000 528it and have a crack (thanks PO) at the bolthole. Needing a servicable replacement. I think I have a M52TU engine? it does have double Vanos.
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Valve Cover Question.
Quote:
Originally Posted by valentriad View Post
Greetings everyone! I had a quick question. My car (2003 530i) was having the common issue of oil leaking from the valve cover and burning, as well as misfiring. So! I started the project of replacing the valve cover gasket. Unfortunately this went from routine repair to relative head ache. I discovered that my valve cover was actually cracked near the opening for on of the spark plugs (good sized chip missing). So it would appear the previous owner had this replaced, and it was damaged from the removal of the old gasket (I assume). Anyways I went to go order a new valve cover and I'm coming up with two matches, I just need one of you veteran'd BMW owners to identify which one I need.

Valve 7
http://www.trademotion.com/partlocat...layCatalogid=0

Valve 5
http://www.trademotion.com/partlocat...layCatalogid=0

Also on a side note in case anyone knows, I noticed a while back that my car was missing the plastic pan/ lower engine cover.....is that something I should definitely replace?

OH! And anyone know where to buy a replacement cover that covers the fuel filter?

Thanks for your help!
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Valve Cover/Oil Leak Learned the Hard Way
Quote:
Originally Posted by mnepitjr View Post
I finally decided to fix the oil leak on my E39 525i. Wasn't that hard to remove since I looked at the DIY's on here. Gasket was hard, cleaned all the matting surfaces on the cover and head. But my big mistake was buying a gasket off Ebay instead of OEM or better. Gasket is a gasket right, wrong. Did notice the gasket was a little higher than the old one but thought that would tighten down. Followed the sequence of tightening and "POP". Broke the valve cover around the #4 spark plug hole just enough for a vacuum leak. Fixed that and then the damn thing leaked anyway worse than before. Removed it, sealed the gasket with some RTV and now I don't have a leak. But I will have to buy a $200 valve cover when my band aid fails. Long story but buy OEM.
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Cracked Valve Cover (thank you CPO), question for those who know...
Quote:
Originally Posted by hdco1107 View Post
Took my 2003 530 (47K) into the dealer because some smoke coming off the manifold revealed oil leaking from the valve cover gasket. Turns out that the valve cover itself is cracked. They have to get the part so it's staying at the dealer overnight.

In looking through this forum (that's clued me into a lot of useful stuff in this short time), I've noticed a lot of valve cover gasket issues but nothing about a cracked valve cover. So my question is...

Does this suggest any issue that I should have the dealer look for and fix under CPO while it's there? How about a warped cylinder head? Or...I don't know...some other expensive thing that later I'll have to pay actual money for?

Any help appreciated...
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2002_530i View Post
I had to replace the valve cover on my 530i, but it was warped, not cracked. Since it is plastic, I guess that is to be expected.

Speaking of plastic, check the radiator, coolant expansion tank and coolant hoses (the ends have fancy plastic fittings), as the plastic deteriorates over time from the underhood heat and will eventually fail. A tell tale sign to look for is a white residue near or on those parts, as that is dried coolant, and means something has been leaking.

Chris
Cracked Valve Cover
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Last edited by bluebee; 08-09-2014 at 02:46 AM.
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  #5  
Old 08-09-2014, 01:35 AM
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Valve Cover Torque

And these threads explain the proper release and re-tightening torque procedure:
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > E39 Valve Cover Gasket Replacement

> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Valve Cover gasket torque

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeremy339 View Post
Hello,

Does anyone know what the torque is on a valve cover gasket for a 2001 BMW E39?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
6 ft lbs or 8 Nm (reference Beisansystems.com)
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrpumpk1n View Post
if after you torque it down and take it for a spin, its seeping a bit, is it okay to torque it down a bit more? to lets say 10N or 12N?
Quote:
Originally Posted by chevelle01969 View Post
When you tighten the bolts down you will feel them stop. Just dont force them past that point.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeremy339 View Post
Thank you all very much. I'm will go with 6 ft lbs according to besian systems.
Quote:
Originally Posted by E39Convert View Post
Yep you're exactly right! I snapped one of my studs at 10 ft-lbs. Any ideas on how to get it out?
Quote:
Originally Posted by kmcguinn View Post
From personal experience - Do NOT over-torque. The bolt will snap. Did it to one last weekend. Fortunately the bolt snapped above the nut. I just turned it out with a 10mm socket and replaced it with a new bolt/stud. Got it from a local BMW dealer for $3.70.

IMHO - if it's still leaking you should take it off and make sure the gasket is seating correctly. Also, did you religously clean the gasket surface and did you put rtv at the correct spots?

Regards...
Quote:
Originally Posted by gary@germanautosolutions View Post
Just to hammer home the torque issue..... The bolts will only preload the gasket a certain amount due to their design. If there is a leak it cannot be resolved by tightening the bolts any tighter. They will clamp the gasket the same amount from 6ft lbs to broken.

Gary
Quote:
Originally Posted by George16 View Post
Start torquing the middle bolts first then work it towards both ends on a crisscross pattern. I amd a stickler for proper torque and torquing procedures. Nothing pisses me off when one of my guys doesn't used a torque wrench when working on our turbine engines. I used Permatex high-temp, sensor safe RTV since i have a few tubes I got from the ship. We also used these stuff on our turbine engines and works really well.
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Valve Cover Gasket Help - and some therapy needed....

Quote:
Originally Posted by pleiades View Post
This VCG business has a few gotchas....
- The gasket brand may matter.
- The RTV should be the copper-based variant (O2 sensor-friendly....)
- The VC itself, being plastic, can warp
... I made sure to re-fasten the cover using the prescribed bolt torque sequence, which basically has you start with the bolts nearest center and work outward in a larger criss-cross pattern...
Quote:
Originally Posted by eparayno View Post
Torque the valve cover bolts correctly as stated above and at the correct torque value(4-6 lb/ft)

At your mileage though if your valve cover still leaks after applying RTV in the correct places and torqued properly and it still leaks then the valve cover is warped.

Mine was and went through 3 gasket sets before realizing what the problem was. Just a heads up though. I but a thin bead of The Right Stuff grey gasket maker in conjunction with the new-ish gasket(laid a thin bead on the engine and not around the valve cover) and zero leaks. I only did this because I did not want to shell out $300+ for a new valve cover and I did not plan on removing the valve cover for a very long time.
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Valve Cover Torque Spec.
Quote:
Originally Posted by lsrguy98 View Post
I have a 1999 528i that I replaced the VCG on. It still leaked and I guess I'm confused as to what the torque spec. is on the 11 bolts surrounding the VGC. I saw 89 in/lbs and then also 6ft/lbs. Can someone help?

Thanks.
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnstern View Post
89 inch/lbs is correct and is equal to 7 ft/lbs.

See for yourself - http://www.onlineconversion.com/torque.htm:)
Quote:
Originally Posted by JKRIT View Post
Unless you left the fasteners quite loose when it was leaking, don't expect much improvement by tightening them more. Once they are snug or a bit tighter, the compression gap for the gasket is fixed by the shoulder on each fastener. In other words, further tightening adds no further compression to the gasket. Also don't forget to tighten the fasteners in the center, not just around the perimeter. Use a center-outward tightening pattern for all the nuts.
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > valve cover torque specs???????
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan M View Post
Hey all. I am replacing my valve cover gasket in the near future, but am unsure of the torque specs when I put it back on. I searched everywhere with no luck . Thanks for any help.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mwilling View Post
Bentley say 7.5 ft-lb for a M62. I will try and scan the page at work.
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Valve Cover, Torque?
Quote:
Originally Posted by e39540i View Post
Replaced valve cover gaskets, etc; fun job to say the least, anyone know the torque that should be applied and in what pattern to the bolts?
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > What are the torque specs for the valve cover bolts on an M62?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nasty530 View Post
Cant seem to find it anywhere online. Thanks
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan M View Post
89 inch pounds
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Last edited by bluebee; 08-10-2014 at 10:57 AM.
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Old 08-09-2014, 02:13 AM
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Lost Valve Cover Rubber Mounts

> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Valve Cover Rubber Mount
Quote:
Originally Posted by ill_kuma View Post
I was replacing my ignition coils. I was unscrewing the 2 nuts on the valve cover but the rubber mounts was stuck on the valve cover and eventually came off.

How important is the rubber mount?
If I get replacement part # 11121730356, how can I make sure the new ones will stay on the engine and not get screw off again?

Quote:
Originally Posted by timarnold View Post
A small dab of grease between the mount & valve cover will do the trick. Also be gentle in tightening the nuts. 8 ft-lbs is plenty.
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Old 08-09-2014, 02:32 AM
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Lost Fuel Injector Clips

> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Valve Cover Gasket Replacement Problem Help!!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by shenecke View Post
Help!!!

I'll start off saying I'm an idiot following the DIY I found for valve cover gasket replacement on a 540. Most of it was right on until I cam to removeing the fuel injector wiring. The little metal clips are extremely hard to get off and the DIY said " don't worry about them as they will either stay on the wiring harness or fall off and are easily found" Bullsh*t! I felt one of them hit my in the head and never found another one. Be very careful when removing this! Now I'm down two clips on a Saturday.

Where can I get these? Would It hurt to leave two clips off? Any ideas or help extremely appreciated!
Quote:
Originally Posted by mwilling View Post
Had the same thing happen. I drove mine for a couple of days with out a problem. Got the replacement from my indy shop for free, never could find a place to buy them on-line. I did ind it in the plastic pan this past summer.
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Valve cover replacement nightmere 99 540
Quote:
Originally Posted by gyeah99 View Post
Man i did the research got the right parts and tools and thought I was ready...11 hours later I'm stuck in a nightmare....

I started with the drivers side followed a combination of bentley + some online writeups...I removed a ton of cables and other crap to make room...I worked slowly grouping all the parts together logically for later reassabmly...along the way I dropped a few washers, and bolts - no big deal...

Huge pain to get the freaking plastick "cable box" or whatever the hell that thing is off the top of the valve cover...one spring clip went flying...did the flashlight bob and weave and no luck it has disappeared into the bmw black hole abyss....again no big deal..

So I've got my list of a couple bolts, washers and the spring clip doo hickey that i need to pick up at the dealer - no sweat i'll get em tomorrow ...then...

Trying to get the valve cover on with the gasket and having the half moons fit into their spot was sooooo freaking tough..i did it 6 times before by some act of god I got it on the 7th....i was jumping for joy (this was 6 hours into it with breaks here in there)...so I start finger tightening a few of the bolts....ONE PROBLEM...i didn't pay attention to the ground cable and it was under the cover OOPS...sh*t...well thankfully i didn't need to undo the whole cover just loosen the bolts and bingo I got the ground cable out BUT

NEXT PROBLEM, stupid me dropped another washer at the WORST POSSIBLE TIME and INTO THE WORST POSSIBLE PLACE....the washer landed perfectly into the spark plug cylinder...went all the way to the bottom and was perfect fit...OH GREAT...

SO i tried and tried and tried to get that f*cker out using needle nose pliers, double sided tape and screw driver, tried to take out the spark plug but the socket won't fit - it can't go down far enough to hit the hex portion of the spark plug

So OFF COMES THE VALE COVER...grhhhhh...didn't really help much still can't get at the washer..it is an absolutely perfect fit around the spark plug...no gaps at all...so now i've put a small amount of super glue onto the washer...taken the spark plug socket and wrapped it with duct tape and glue..and have pressed them together..it is siting there now "bonding" I hope.....this was a little piece of HELL.....

Any ideas.....?

Thank You
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Last edited by bluebee; 08-09-2014 at 02:33 AM.
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Old 08-09-2014, 06:02 PM
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Here's a picture of a chipped valve cover today ...
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Valve Cover bolt hole break
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wgosma View Post
Was able to achieve solid seal with this minor plastic chipped away from the valve coverAttachment 457474
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Old 08-10-2014, 11:00 AM
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These threads imply that sometimes, it's the new gasket itself, which is what goes wrong in a VCG job ...
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > 540 valve cover gasket manufacturers-
Quote:
Originally Posted by GreenTiger View Post
There is also a E38 thread that talks about the poor quality of Victor Reinz. The gaskets were supposedly a big too large.
Yet, other threads say it's not the gasket, it's the human:
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Best Gasket Company
Quote:
Originally Posted by CitizenOfDreams View Post
From my experience, installation errors (wrong torque sequence, stripped threads, sealant in wrong places...) cause much more problems than the brand of the gasket. I'm not saying that all gaskets are equal - but people often blame the gasket for mechanic's mistakes.
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Old 08-10-2014, 10:17 PM
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Here's a case where the VCG leaked around the spark plug holes:
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Is this what a bad VCG looks like?


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Old 08-10-2014, 10:20 PM
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Here's a case where a metal tab was accidentally broken:
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Broken metal tab/piece while replacing vcg

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Old 08-10-2014, 10:23 PM
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Here's a case where the engine cover was broken, and, the brittle SAS hose was also broken while replacing the valve cover gasket:
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Replacing VCG wasn't easy job.





EDIT: Brittle hose #4 and brittle pipe #3 often break when messing with the valve cover gasket, so plan ahead:


#7 and #9 are also nice to replace, while you're there:

See also:
- How to locate all problematic (between 1/8" & 9/32" ID) 3.5x1.8mm, 3.3x1.8mm & (between 17/64" & 9/32" ID) 7mm ID vacuum tubing (single material), vacuum hoses (multiple material), 3.3mm OD curved vacuum pipes (rigid tubes), 3.5mm & 7mm ID vacuum endcaps (closed end) & 7x3mm manifold o-rings (1) & 7.52X3.52mm and 9.2X2.8mm fuel injection o-rings (1) & gaskets (1) on the M54 engine & where in the USA to get new vacuum tubing & vacuum caps (1) & what SAE sizes to get for all the metric M54 engine vacuum tubes, hoses, pipes, and caps (1) & correcting the F-connector errors in the realoem diagrams (1) & finding the ends of hard-to-locate vacuum tubes (1) & sorely needed clarification on how the M54 CCV vacuum port works on the M52 CCV valve connection to the fuel pressure regulator connection (1) & how to make, borrow, or buy lean-condition misfire test tools to test for vacuum leaks & lean conditions (1) (2)
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Last edited by bluebee; 08-15-2014 at 10:31 AM.
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Old 08-10-2014, 10:32 PM
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Here's a case where a problematic #8 stud was spinning freely after a VCG removal:
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > VCG Replacment Stipped Bolts
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Old 08-16-2014, 07:37 AM
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On the topic of what you can find that's wrong when you replace the valve cover gasket, see this novel thread:
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Rocks found under Valve Cover
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragan View Post
So here I am on a lovely Saturday afternoon doing a valve cover gasket replacement and spark plugs while I'm there. Everything went pretty smooth from start to finish. Except, when I took the valve cover off, I found three rocks sitting on the intake side on top of the black covers.
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Old 09-01-2014, 08:33 AM
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Yet another oddity that "can" go wrong with a VCG job:
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Stripped oil capp!!???
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deathstroke View Post

fk! okay so im starting to change my vcg, when my oil cap just WONT COME OFF. i m literally giving it all ive got, trying to jolt it to break any seal there might be and.. SLIP.. now im spinning it and spinning it and nothing.. im looking up youtube and forums on this matter and nothing.. i must be the first fkr in the world to break his fking oil cap ... i am PISSED! This VCG change shouldnt of been too hard and here i am struggling with what should be the simplest part of the process!. im thinking about just taking a hammer to it and breaking it off because i cant think of any other way.. suggestions?
the sooner the possible the better
thanks guys
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Old 10-16-2014, 12:11 PM
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Here's another thing to watch out for, this one from the E46 guys, who share engines with us, when doing a VCG:
> E46 (1999 - 2006) > Changed VCG, CEL turns on and off
Quote:
Originally Posted by J. Kidd View Post
Check to make sure you didn't squash the CPS extension wire between the gasket and head. It wraps around the back and can be pretty tight. First time I did my VCG, that is exactly what I did. Chewed through the damn wire. Had a add a little extension to the wire (once I cut out the frayed part) to make it work again...and obviously replaced the gasket again.
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Old 11-25-2014, 02:53 PM
BimmerCleever BimmerCleever is offline
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Started off on Saturday to replace VCG and sparkplugs in the '00 528 iT. Had got parts from Pelican, read through all of the threads and settled in on the Besian one for VANOS renovation that includes R&Ring the VCG. All good until replacing the coils. Got to #3...."Hey, there's something blocking the coil from going down".....maybe an old grommet that had gotten away when pulling the old ones out? Nope, I did that away from the engine compartment. Then what is it? Oh, sh*t, it's one of the sparkplug gaskets that had slipped out of place, and now the VCG was torqued down on top of it. Then it starts coming back to me.....when torqueing down the VCG, I had started with the 4 center bolt/studs and had heard a couple of loud "pops"......Figured it was the sound of the whole assemby dropping into place as things were tigtened down. Ugh ugh. Twas the sound of the valve cover cracking. Pulled everything off and found one broken piece that seemed to fit well on one of the sparkplug holes and figured I could JB weld it and get on with things......that's when I saw the little triangular hole next to #4 hole. Looked in the engine under that spot, and miracle of miracles, I can see the piece that broke out, sitting in one of the pools of oil. Grab needle nose pliers to pick it up(fingers couldn't get there) and then knock it into the abyss....more and louder swearing. Call it a day and resolve to regroup. Figure I'd order a new VC right away to keep down time at a minimum. $432 at Pelican for BMW original. This is getting serious (and expensive) Plan B. checked in w/ a friend who is a Porsche guy and fellow DIYer. He recommends Autobahn dismantlers in El Cajon. Closed until Monday, looks like I'm on the Vespa and bicycle in the interim. Monday am talk w/John at Autobahn. "Sure, we've got some, but I can barely keep them in stock." and I'm thinking to myself, "especially on Monday mornings...." Ask him to hold one for me and told him I'd be right out. Wife loans me her '01 530i to make the trip. Talked to Joe as he was taking the VC off the salvage motor. says to use RTV in groove of cover to hold the gasket in as I'm installing. Light bulb! $120 out the door. Feeling a little better. Long story short, get home follow the guides, use my torque wrench, get the ground wires in the right place and get everything put back together. Turn the key, a couple of thumps as the piece of plastic is digested, and then my baby purrs purrs her approval. CEL light off whoopee! Have put 150 miles on it since, and all seems well, and best of all, oil smell seems to be gone. Hopefully will find plastic piece during next oil change
Lessons learned:
Use a bit of RTV in strategic places to hold replacement gasket in VC prior to installation
Don't tighten middle 4 bolts/studs first, do the outside 11 first.
The flow tube from the LHS cabin air filter housing to the firewall also needs to be removed to more easily access the rear bolts and wiring
The heat shield makes getting to the #11 (bottom left -hand corner)bolt/stud a real pain. Suggest a knuckle and extension on the ratchet as well as a low-profile socket. If you use that set up on your torque wrench, be extra wary when tightening this one. Suggest doing others first to get the feel of the "right" tightness.( will probably get some flak from purists for using a knuckle with a torque wrench)
Last but not least, if you don't have an extendable magnetic pick-up "wand" Get one at Harbor Freight or similar. Worth 10x the price in saved time and aggravation
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Old 11-25-2014, 04:34 PM
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I think there would be a very nice market for someone to make an aluminum valve cover to replace the plastic ones.

doc
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Old 11-25-2014, 08:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MKJS View Post
I think there would be a very nice market for someone to make an aluminum valve cover to replace the plastic ones.
We should ask Gary, at German Auto Solutions to check that out for us...

Anyway, I came here now to cross link that the E46 guys, who share engines with us, have similar woes when replacing valve cover gaskets on their 6-cylinder M54 engines ...
> E46 (1999 - 2006) > Is it worth installing VCG with stretched thread studs?
Quote:
Originally Posted by PancakeBimmer View Post
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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Old 11-26-2014, 07:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MKJS View Post
I think there would be a very nice market for someone to make an aluminum valve cover to replace the plastic ones.

doc
If you think a $432 plastic valve cover is expensive, imagine the cost of a limited edition cast or machined aluminum cover! Plus most of the VC is hidden behind the plastic cover! Given that the M54 is no longer in production, the market for this replacement part seems rather limited.


I think this is a great thread that covers many of the the important "lessons learned" from the VCG DIY mistakes (of which we ALL make). How NOT to do something is just as important as how to do something correctly. These certain themes are applicable to VCG replacement, as well as most DIY jobs:

- Find the correct DIY procedure. When in doubt, cross reference the procedure against other DIY procedures. Search YouTube for video (a picture is worth a 1,000 words, a DIY video can be worth many written DIYs!). Remember, not all DIY procedures are created equal.

- Once the DIY procedure is validated, read through the procedures multiple times to ensure you fully understand all steps, have all the required tools, that there is no missing information and everything is covered. If you don't understand a step, post a question. It will get answered.

- If you don't have the proper tools, do not start the DIY. Get the proper tools first. For instance, substituting a screwdriver for the flat bladed scraper will almost guarantee cracking the plastic valve cover during removal. If you don't have a calibrated torque wrench that does in-lbs, you increase the odds of stripping or breaking a bolt. If you don't have a wobble socket or universal joint, accessing the two bolts closest to the firewall is near-impossible. Failure to have the right tool will almost guarantee a delay in completion of your DIY.

- Have all the correct parts before you start. Ensure your parts are sourced from a reputable vendor or dealer. There is a reason why many aftermarket parts are a lot cheaper than OES parts. They fail after a short time! Unless you enjoy repeating DIY work, get the right parts.

- Follow the DIY procedure EXACTLY. Do not assume anything. Deviating from a procedure is the first step to creating a problem. How NOT TO DO something is just as important as how to do something correctly.

- If you have any parts left over, you have made a mistake (ask me how I know). Correct your mistake immediately. When I replaced my valve cover (during my first Vanos job), I inadvertently forgot to replace the two spark plug gaskets on the inside of the valve cover (I has never encountered these before on any other car). Since I didn't want to break the fresh ATV seal and redo the job, I left it in and hoped the old gaskets would work. Hope is not a good strategy. 6 months later, I found oil in my spark plug wells and had to redo the job. Do it right, do it once and be done with it.


Have fun DIYing!

Last edited by Fudman; 11-26-2014 at 10:26 AM.
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  #21  
Old 11-26-2014, 08:02 AM
HolyToledo HolyToledo is offline
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Geez, why is it so expensive in the first place..
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
If you think a $432 plastic valve cover is expensive, imagine the cost of a limited edition cast or machined aluminum cover! Plus most of the VC is hidden behind the plastic cover! Given that the M54 is no longer in production, the market for this replacement part seems rather limited.
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Old 11-26-2014, 09:33 AM
MKJS MKJS is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HolyToledo View Post
Geez, why is it so expensive in the first place..
Because they can?

I'm going to check on the price of an al valve cover. Just don't think one would be any more than the huge price of a plastic one. As far as the market, while it isn't in the zillions I'm thinking it would be a sizable market.
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  #23  
Old 11-26-2014, 09:53 AM
BimmerCleever BimmerCleever is offline
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Mein Auto: '00 528iT , '01 530i
Spot on, sound advice Fud. I've appreciated the the thought, depth & detail of yours, BBs, and the person with 90 in their title (fn90?) over the years. As the keeper of two teenaged e39s this forum has saved me thousands of dollars since joining, + raised my level of wrenching, and provided some good laughs through the process(like adding "stealer" to my 13 yo daughter's vocabulary). Happy Thanks giving to you all
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  #24  
Old 12-04-2014, 08:29 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Location: San Jose, California
 
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Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
Yet another thing that can go wrong ...
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Valve Cover Gasket
Quote:
Originally Posted by bmdubya1198 View Post
After searching around for a couple hours and just about having a heart attack over the stealer's prices for a set, I decided on getting the Victor Reinz VCG set at Auto Zone. One problem... it doesn't come with the 15 grommets that are "required."
Does anyone know the part number for the grommets? I can't seem to find it on RealOEM and the dealer didn't give me one. I figured I could find them for a bit cheaper than the $17 the dealer quoted me for the full set.
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  #25  
Old 12-11-2014, 10:14 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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New news today on the VCG material, from Poolman (and Rajaie) ...
5 Series > E39 (1997 - 2003) > Valve Cover Gaskets
Quote:
Originally Posted by poolman View Post
Just talked with an old friend recently. He's the one who came up with the Vanos seal Mod which really just changed the material from Buta composite's to Vinton composite. While BMW hasn't stated that this has ever been a problem, BMW for some reason has now changed their composite for their OEM valve cover gaskets , from Buta,,to Vinton material.
With that said,,my friend stated that if one were to use the new gaskets, from BMW,,one shouldn't ever need to do the valve cover gasket again. The Vinton will last the life of the car.
Looks like I need to find a BMW dealership that sells parts at a reduced cost--getting ready to do my Vanos seals on my new engine during the Christmas break--and going to make sure what I work on , never needs to be worked on again.
Here's the original post:
E46Fanatics > E46 BMW > General E46 Forum > OEM valve cover gaskets are now Viton (by Rajaie)
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