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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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Old 08-26-2017, 08:50 PM
dgjks6 dgjks6 is offline
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How not to walnut blast your intake

So the story goes like this. 535xi has 180K miles. At about 110K miles had lots of issues - had the dealer sort them out along with a new suspension for about $6000. No problems since. I have had the intakes cleaned 3 times up to 110K miles but have not done it since.

So the car has been running rough for the last few miles and throwing a misfire code. I decided to DIY it and replace the plugs/coils and since I had a compressor walnut blast the intake. So let me give you the steps as I did them. And read this slow, it is going to be long.

1-make sure my 20 gal 1hp compressor is working
2-buy a $35 plastic media blaster and some walnut shells ($20) from Harbor Freight
3-test the system and the compressor is not strong enough
4-buy a 220 5hp craftsman compressor for $200 and order the plugs ($40) and coils ($140) from Amazon and the intake BMW intake adapter ($90) and wand ($20) from ECS
5-pick up compressor to test it out. I have 2 different 220 lines in my garage so I figured the compressor would plug right in. Well, there are 3 types of 220 lines - 220 -50, 220-30, and 220-20. Gues what. I only had a 220-50 and 220-30.
6-wire a 220-20 line to the garage ($25)

Ok - so now I am set and ready to go

7-take apart car - I replaced the belts and pulleys last year and the water pump so I can get the fans out in 8 minutes (yeah I know that is fast but I screwed up so many times that I got good at it), removed the plugs and coils and started on the intake disassembly.
8-realize why I should always DIY - every other clamp was broken by the mechanics who were there before me, it made removing everything easy but pissed me off. The wiring harness below the intake was hanging on by one side only

Anyway everything off and ready to go

9 - rotate crank so valves for #3 are closed. Tape up 1,2,4,5,6
10- hook up media blaster to find out that the cheap blaster will not accept the wand adapter

11-off to harbor freight to buy the $60 pressurized blaster
12-spend 2 hours getting it assempled and trips to home depot to get the connectors I needed
13-test the system and - oh yeah - at 80psi it rocks!

14 - and here is where it all goes awry. I never clean up really well, but 3 months ago when I put the shop vac away I packed it all up nice and neat (remeber that for later). So I hook the vac up and place the wand through.
15-turn on vac and wand

16-blow the adapter out of the intake and shoot walnut shells everywhere-and I mean everywhere- car windows open, check, car filled with walnut shells, parts from disassembly near by, check, covered with walnut shells,
OK you get the picture

17-scratchmy head and wonder what went wrong. The intake is full of walnut shells?

18-examine the vacuum - tuned out when I put it away I disconneted the hose from the vacuum - which I now remember doing so i could out it neatly away. But I did not remember at the time so there was no suction on the adapter when I blaster in 80lbs of walnut shells.

19-vacuum up all the walnut shells and inspect intake #3 - it looks brand new - it really worked well

20-take tape off of cylinder #4 and look inside - it is full of walnet shells.
21-panic
22-remove tape from all cylinders
23-see walnut shells in every intake port
24-pee my pants
25-look at cylinder #2 - the valves are open
26-look through spark plug hole and see walnit shells inthe cylinder
27-#2 in my pants
28-drink heavily
29-change underwear
30-go on line to share my story

so my questions are:

1-do I care about the shells in the cylinder - I will vac out as much as I can - from what I read shoud not be a problem?

2-how the hell did the shells get in the other intake ports? past the valve guides? is 80lbs enough to dislodge then? Are there other connections to the intake I did not know about?
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  #2  
Old 08-26-2017, 09:55 PM
wcr3d wcr3d is offline
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I would of reversed steps 28 and 29, but your choice. I would assume there is always some left over as people report it smelling of walnuts for awhile afterwards.
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Old 08-27-2017, 03:56 AM
dgjks6 dgjks6 is offline
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Testing pic insert
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Old 08-27-2017, 05:15 AM
dgjks6 dgjks6 is offline
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Ok that works. So here is the garage aftermath
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Old 08-27-2017, 05:18 AM
dgjks6 dgjks6 is offline
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And the first pic two posts ago was the after shot of cylinder #3. Looks good.
These are the pics of some of the other cylinders after the incident, in no particular order
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Old 08-27-2017, 05:44 AM
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banglenot banglenot is offline
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Congrats, **** went wrong!

I've been doing my own mechanics for 45 years and have a long list of screw-ups, mistakes and weird experiences all the way.

From the post-sixpack of torquing down a case screw on my harley with Ft-lbs where they meant inch-lbs (a refresher course in helicoils), to reassembling a head after a ring job and carefully aligning all three ring notches on one of the cylinders....we all have screwups. Taught me patience (and not working on an engine when hammered).

That's a part of it. I'm impressed you built and used your own walnut blaster. That's hard-core DIY, buddy.

This stuff makes great stories -- thanks for sharing.

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Old 08-28-2017, 05:41 PM
654065 654065 is offline
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Is this service recommended for n20 motors as well? Honestly I would royally F it up if I did it myself.


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Old 08-29-2017, 06:58 AM
dgjks6 dgjks6 is offline
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Originally Posted by Kapo View Post
Is this service recommended for n20 motors as well? Honestly I would royally F it up if I did it myself.


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Not sure. But if you don't want to F it up yourself bring it to my house and I'll F it up for you,
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Old 08-29-2017, 08:07 AM
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Originally Posted by dgjks6 View Post
Not sure. But if you don't want to F it up yourself bring it to my house and I'll F it up for you,
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Old 08-29-2017, 08:24 AM
Haunsy Haunsy is offline
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Originally Posted by dgjks6 View Post
Not sure. But if you don't want to F it up yourself bring it to my house and I'll F it up for you,


Lol...good luck OP


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Old 08-29-2017, 08:32 AM
veery veery is offline
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-Reading this made my day. I have had compound error-filled experiences like this. It's a reminder to always test a procedure on a non-important part/place - like you would use that new leather cleaner first on a non-visible portion of the interior. Thanks for sharing and keeping it light!!
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Old 08-30-2017, 02:52 PM
dgjks6 dgjks6 is offline
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Reassmebly started today. Going to put it back together and see what kind of damage I did. I am doing plugs and coils also (already had them) and I am still waiting on a new PCV valve. It will be here tomorrow. So can not start the car until tomorrow. Decided not to pull the valve cover because it is the only gasket on the engine that is not leaking.

What I learned -

1-putting spark plugs in an inline BMW 6 cylinder is one of the most manly things I have done. It is simple and easy and when the kids and wife came in the garage and asked what I was doing I said - replacing the spark plugs and saving money! (for reference when I replaced the plugs on my 911 I was on my back and swearing a lot)

2-zip ties are the greatest thing ever. I am using colored ones this time. Usually I use black ones to try to hide them. I had to drill a hole in the intake manifold mounting bracket for a zip tie to hold on the eletrical box. The previous mechanics broke the plastic tabs on the box. It has been like that for 70K miles so just hanging there is not a problem, but I did not like it

3-a long magnet on the end of a stick is a life saver

4-I hate wlanut shells
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Old 08-30-2017, 07:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dgjks6 View Post
Reassmebly started today. Going to put it back together and see what kind of damage I did. I am doing plugs and coils also (already had them) and I am still waiting on a new PCV valve. It will be here tomorrow. So can not start the car until tomorrow. Decided not to pull the valve cover because it is the only gasket on the engine that is not leaking.

What I learned -

1-putting spark plugs in an inline BMW 6 cylinder is one of the most manly things I have done. It is simple and easy and when the kids and wife came in the garage and asked what I was doing I said - replacing the spark plugs and saving money! (for reference when I replaced the plugs on my 911 I was on my back and swearing a lot)

2-zip ties are the greatest thing ever. I am using colored ones this time. Usually I use black ones to try to hide them. I had to drill a hole in the intake manifold mounting bracket for a zip tie to hold on the eletrical box. The previous mechanics broke the plastic tabs on the box. It has been like that for 70K miles so just hanging there is not a problem, but I did not like it

3-a long magnet on the end of a stick is a life saver

4-I hate wlanut shells
Let us know the outcome -- thanks.
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Old 09-02-2017, 12:36 PM
e602turbo e602turbo is offline
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At least you were smart enough to test the blaster before removing the intake manifold like I did... I ended up doing a half ass job of cleaning the ports with screwdrivers and picks after finding my blaster very insufficient. Car does run better now though...
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Old 08-30-2017, 05:46 PM
70383roadrunner 70383roadrunner is offline
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The best way is to buy a BMW where you don't need to do that crap!
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Old 09-03-2017, 10:05 PM
MSAMMY MSAMMY is offline
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Originally Posted by 70383roadrunner View Post
The best way is to buy a BMW where you don't need to do that crap!
Was thinking the same thing - Doh! I coulda had a V8! To the OP, it's been a few days, great thread, hopefully She's up and running well now!
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Old 09-04-2017, 06:27 AM
dgjks6 dgjks6 is offline
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Still sitting in the garage. I hope having the battery disconnected for a week does not matter. The problem is that I decided to change the PCV valve. Took the old one out. Last Tuesday ordered a new one from ECS. I'm in Akron and so are they, so things usually arrive in 1-2 days. For some reason this shipped on Wed from Wadsworth (2 miles from my house) and arrived in Groveports, OH (2 hours from my house) on Thursday. Then on Friday was in Clinton, PA. Then the weekend and holiday hit and it won't be at my house until tomorrow. Oh, well. It just goes along with everything else with this job. I did put it all back together, changed the plugs and coil packs and bled the brakes. And I vacuumed up a lot of walnut shells. All in all, now that I have done it once, even with removing the fans it is a couple hour job. In 30K miles. If the car runs.


Now some random thoughts. WTF is LV brake fluid? The last several times I changed the brake fluid I just used regular DOT 3/4 from Valvoline. Autozone now stocks the LV brake fuild and I did some research and found out that there are at least 3 tupes of DOT 4 (regular, LV, and super). I put in the LV which I guess is what BMW's are supposed to have but I now know it does not matter. It has not had LV brake fluid in 100,000 miles and the brakes still work fine and don't leak. Also 15,000 mile OCI with mobil 1 0w40 is fine. No oil related issues. Except every oil gasket leaks or has leaked and been replaced. What is the problem with BMW gaskets? My Grand Prix and excursion are older with more miles and no leaks. And the stock 17 inch wheels on the 535xi are the dumbest wheel ever designed. They have an area behine the spoke that is impossible to clean. If the car runs I may refinich the wheels.
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Old 09-04-2017, 06:37 AM
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banglenot banglenot is offline
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Originally Posted by dgjks6 View Post
snip


Now some random thoughts. WTF is LV brake fluid? The last several times I changed the brake fluid I just used regular DOT 3/4 from Valvoline. Autozone now stocks the LV brake fuild and I did some research and found out that there are at least 3 tupes of DOT 4 (regular, LV, and super). I put in the LV which I guess is what BMW's are supposed to have but I now know it does not matter. It has not had LV brake fluid in 100,000 miles and the brakes still work fine and don't leak. Also 15,000 mile OCI with mobil 1 0w40 is fine. No oil related issues. Except every oil gasket leaks or has leaked and been replaced. snip.
Surprising. I have the'07 N52, 95K and I have never had an oil leak of any kind. None. I change my oil at 8K, but can't imagine oil interval is related to oil leaks.

And for the average driver, standard name brand DOT4 should be fine. Drive it hard, and a higher temp fluid is a good idea.
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Last edited by banglenot; 09-04-2017 at 06:38 AM.
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Old 09-04-2017, 07:05 AM
dgjks6 dgjks6 is offline
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Give it a few more miles. I rememebr 95K fondly. Was still under CPO and got all new updated injectors for free. My leaks all started at 125K miles. I have had the oil pump housing leak, the valve cover gasket leak, and currently the oil pan gasket is leaking. Which may be my next project. On the xi you have to pull the axles to get the oil pan gasket off. I addition to dropping the sub frame. Dealer wanted $1800. I'm going to see if I can DIY it for less than that. If the car runs after the walnut blasting fiasco. But I do have a real compressor now so I can start buying real air tools.
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Old 09-05-2017, 04:38 PM
dgjks6 dgjks6 is offline
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Ok. Update. All good. I think. Test drive ran rough at first but now no codes or misfires.
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Old 09-04-2018, 02:49 AM
dgjks6 dgjks6 is offline
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So Im bored at wokr looking back at my old threads and saw this.

Was that a year ago? Man how time flies.

Anyway - exactly 12 month update and car runs like new.

Best part is that another daughter went to the same college and her sister, so we have an extra car now. Its the BMW and now it is mine, all mine.

I get to drive it every day.

Oh, and I am still finding walnut shells randomly scattered through the garage.
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Old 09-10-2019, 02:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dgjks6 View Post
So Im bored at wokr looking back at my old threads and saw this.

Was that a year ago? Man how time flies.

Anyway - exactly 12 month update and car runs like new.

Best part is that another daughter went to the same college and her sister, so we have an extra car now. Its the BMW and now it is mine, all mine.

I get to drive it every day.

Oh, and I am still finding walnut shells randomly scattered through the garage.
I know this is an old one, but did you ever DIY the oil pan gasket?

I did mine on my RWD -- wasn't a killer, but I rented lift time and that made a huge difference.

Now the AWD E90 is coming up, and it looks like enough of a bitch (no lift this time) to hire the mechanic.

If you diy'ed it, how'd it go?
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Old 09-10-2019, 06:07 PM
audiophool audiophool is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by banglenot View Post
I know this is an old one, but did you ever DIY the oil pan gasket?

I did mine on my RWD -- wasn't a killer, but I rented lift time and that made a huge difference.

Now the AWD E90 is coming up, and it looks like enough of a bitch (no lift this time) to hire the mechanic.

If you diy'ed it, how'd it go?
Not the OP (although I did the walnut blast on my N54 in Jan/17*), but several of my BMWs had leaky oil pans (M20, M30, S38) but it was just loose bolts, and I mean finger tight they were that loose. Snugged them back up and the leaks stopped. Not to say that's the case on an N54 though, but I'd give it a check before tearing it all apart.

* I had the cruddiest intake ports I've ever seen in pictures of an N54, and my engine was running smoothly. I hadn't planned to do the blast originally, but had to pull the intake as I was doing the OFHG and there's that one bolt that you can't remove. I made the mistake of looking down into port #1...

No amount of presssure and walnuts even made a dent in the gunk, all I ended up with after the first attempt with the shells was a port jammed with walnut shells embedded in tar. I ended up using a lot of carb cleaner and some bespoke scrapers fashioned from coat hanger wire with flattened and angled ends. Scraped as much of the 'nuts and gum' out of the port, then sprayed on the carb cleaner, then again with the walnuts. I kept wondering if I'd get an explosion with the carb cleaner vapours going into the shop vac, but that never happened. My vac hoses are still coated with tar...
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Old 09-05-2018, 07:55 AM
veery veery is offline
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Congratulations on a full recovery. And walnut shells FOREVER!!
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Old 09-10-2019, 11:15 AM
mjchecko mjchecko is offline
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I know this is coming a year after your last update, but I was thinking maybe the shells were 'shared' across the intake ports from that nuclear blaster/compressor - just thinking that if blasting is too strong maybe it was enough to open the valves into the combustion chamber? I couldn't tell from the sequence of events whether you pulled the plugs before launching the media, but if those holes were empty I could see the shells then getting launched right out of #3 and all over the place. Maybe then settling down in the other spark holes? Dunno, just thinking out loud.

I thoroughly enjoyed your experience, thank you for sharing it. I have many crazy DIY stories of my own and you made me remember a few. Glad it worked out for you in the end...
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