Top side oil leak - replaced Valve Cover Gasket...still leaking. - Bimmerfest - BMW Forums



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E60 / E61 (2004 - 2010)
BMW 5-Series E60 Sedan was first seen in the Unites States in the fall of 2003 with a 2004 Model Year designation. The E61 wagon followed shortly there after. The E60/E61 5 series is now available as a 528i, 528xi, 535i, 535xi, 550i and a 535xi sports wagon! -- View the E60 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 06-06-2019, 09:52 AM
Funnster Funnster is offline
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Top side oil leak - replaced Valve Cover Gasket...still leaking.

Hi,

So, I was getting a nasty oil smell through the cabin vents and found oil soaking around the spark plugs. In searching around here it seemed like the most obvious issue would be the valve cover gasket. I've got a 2010 with 30k miles on it, but saw that people had issues around this point.

So, I replaced it, and the original gasket was still pliable. Still, a Fel Pro went in. I was careful to make sure that the gasket was seated properly and torqued the bolts down...to 8 lbs.

However, after 500 miles I'm starting to smell the same odor. I haven't pulled off the engine cover, but I'm guessing the oil is back. Assuming that I didn't mess up the valve cover gasket, which I'll check again....what is another common cause?

Thanks!

Funnster...having less fun.
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  #2  
Old 06-06-2019, 10:01 AM
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motohunter4 motohunter4 is offline
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Timing cover.

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  #3  
Old 06-06-2019, 11:33 AM
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banglenot banglenot is offline
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Can you take a pic of the location where the leak is from? Use brake cleaner spray to clean the crap off if there is any, first.

Assuming an N52 (though ...ahem...you don't say), you can get a leak from the Valvetronic motor seal on top of the valve cover; from the Vanos solenoids in the front of the engine; from the oil filter assembly area (though this one is unlikely to drip onto the hot exhaust); and the oil pan gasket (oil from leaks moves down and back, so possible it's on the exhaust and like moto says, the timing cover.

You have to find out where it's from.
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Old 06-06-2019, 11:37 AM
Funnster Funnster is offline
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Wooops! Yeah, that would help 535i/N54.
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Old 06-06-2019, 01:12 PM
spbonus spbonus is offline
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check your head bolt also (the bolt near the oil filter housing). That bolt snapped on me a few years back and oil was leaking. I changed the oil filter housing gasket, still leaking until i saw the missing bolt.
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Old 06-06-2019, 04:36 PM
twh twh is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spbonus View Post
check your head bolt also (the bolt near the oil filter housing). That bolt snapped on me a few years back and oil was leaking. I changed the oil filter housing gasket, still leaking until i saw the missing bolt.
Mine was snapped too.
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Old 06-21-2019, 10:25 AM
godzulu godzulu is offline
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Hopefully someone can point me in right direction. Have recently replaced valve cover gasket and oil filter housing gaskets. I'm getting fresh oil on belt, fan etc. Getting under car over the weekend. Any ideas where the culprit may be? Not sure where i should check first. Thank you
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Old 06-21-2019, 10:55 AM
Kurt_ Kurt_ is offline
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In my experience, the valve cover gasket doesn't do the best job. I've also had leaks after replacing what seemed like a new gasket. Some rtv silicone on a clean gasket and overtorquing the bolts just a bit helped stop that.

I suspect the valve covers are prone to warping slightly.
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Old 06-21-2019, 02:35 PM
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motohunter4 motohunter4 is offline
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He's right. The plastic covers warp all the time.

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Old 06-21-2019, 04:00 PM
Kurt_ Kurt_ is offline
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Even my aluminium one on the N52 was warped or something. A few screw had worked themselves loose, causing another (easily fixed) leak.
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Old 06-21-2019, 07:32 PM
twh twh is offline
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aluminium one on the N52
that one is magnesium
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Old 06-24-2019, 10:39 AM
Funnster Funnster is offline
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In follow up to this, I found that the gasket and valve cover don't seem to be leaking. The issue is the vent hose going from the PCV attachment point where the Catch Can hose connects.

The Catch Can hose is very stiff and under normal driving conditions the engine twists side to side. The Catch Can is attached to the triangular bracing and doesn't move with the engine. I'm guessing the engine twist is pulling the connection point apart, since it only clicks on with that square clip. Picture shows the part which is separating from the valve cover. I clipped it back on and will give it a few weeks. I'll check back, and if it's pulled off again I'll probably have to figure out an engine mount point for the catch can so that it moves with the engine during every day use.
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Old 07-30-2019, 06:18 PM
Funnster Funnster is offline
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In conclusion, there were two issues with this engine leaking. The first was the Catch Can hose attached to the valve cover by the PCV...or the former PCV. The leak was being caused by the movement of the engine pulling the hose connector off the valve cover.

This was due to the placement of the CC, which was on the passenger side hanging from the strut tower brace. The engine would move towards the drivers side and the hose to the CC would pull off the connector. This has been fixed by moving the catch can slightly back and also zip tying the hose connector onto the valve cover. Not elegant, but functional.

The next problem was the valve cover gasket. This has been replaced (twice) and here are some suggestions for those that DIY theirs.

First, it's not a hard job but the gasket hanging upside down from the valve cover while putting in place can be highly irritating. It tends to droop/fall off the valve cover as you are dropping it on the head. The first time I did this it was slightly out of position in the back corner and I couldn't see it...so it leaked.

Words of advice.

First, unbolt the fuel injector wiring harness and use bungies to hang it totally out of the way. Next, remove the strut tower brace. Yes, you can finagle the valve cover on without removing the brace but the rear injector makes it a VERY tight fit. Just remove the brace and clear everything out of the way so that you can drop the valve cover straight down.

To stop the gasket from drooping/falling off I used a very little bit of RTV on the valve cover to hold it in place. When I say a little, I mean a tiny bit using a tooth pick in various spots in the track where the gasket sits.

Next, I popped in the gasket and used a piece of cardboard and some weight (I used some wood planks) to press down the gasket evenly on the cover for 20 minutes.

After that the gasket was both flat on the cover and would hold into place as the cover was reinstalled.

The next thing I did was verify that all the bolts were in place, they don't seem to stick well in the valve cover and tend to fall out. Following that I checked that there was nothing on the gasket or the head. Both have to be totally clean.

Another thing was that the proper torquing of the bolts was VERY important. I think it was like 6.5 or 7 lbs each. Each bolt was hand tightened in the valve cover pattern and then I went back and torqued down using the same pattern.

The pattern I used was...starting in the middle and going vertically, it was lower center, upper center, top and bottom bolt. I then tightened the 4 bolts to the left, and then those to the right of the original bolts. Back over to the next set on the left, and then the next set on the right....back and forth until I reached each end.

I found it critical to leave the engine cover off as I had to re-torque the bolts after driving a few miles and checking for leaks. Most of the bolts I kept at spec, although a couple of them were tighned slightly more if they still leaked. All in all, I was close to the torque spec on all of them, but not dead on.

You will see oil puddle in the crevices just above and to the right and left of the coils if it leaks. Make sure to clean off your spark plugs and inside the coil tube when reinstalling. I had oil soaking 3 of the spark plugs and a good part of their coils. I used carb cleaner to spray down each.

Anyway, no leaks now.....hope this helps someone else.

Last edited by Funnster; 07-30-2019 at 06:23 PM.
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