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Older than old school
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Discussion Starter #1
I'm finally taking that leap that I'd been avoiding for so long and am replacing the timing chain guides, valley pan, and VANOS seals in one (I hope) fell swoop, a different sort of trifecta, if you will.

Here is the timing chain guide kit I ordered from FCP Euro:



And here are the valley pan parts I ordered from ECS Tuning, along with some bits that weren't included in FCPEuro's kit.:



Here are the O-rings from Beisan Systems:



And here are the tools I ordered from Bimmertools.


(Note: The Post Office delivered those U-shaped brackets with bolts and hinged arms to me by mistake. They're not from Bimmertools. The package was mangled in the mail, got diverted to the "San Francisco Loose Mail Unit," and apparently picked up the extra parts as hitchhikers there.)

I've organized the garage, with plastic storage bins to keep parts organized, and I've bought a few specialized tools, like a 40" long 3/4" drive breaker bar, for instance, that seem necessary.

So here's the garage tonight, before I dig into the car. I'll roll the motorcycle out of the way and park it in the driveway while I'm working, then roll it back in at night.



Rather than make this a classic DIY, I'm going to post about it in a kind of photo illustrated narrative, sort of like I did with my road trip (Around the Country in 80 Days, More or Less), but in the much more tightly focused venue of my garage. This will be far and away the most ambitious repair I've ever undertaken, and so I expect plenty of missteps, frustrations, and bloody knuckles. So it should make for some diverting, if not enlightening, reading, and I hope others will find it helpful.

I'll try to post something every night, recounting whatever progress or regression I experienced that day.
 

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Otto Zwei-Punkt-Null
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Mmmmmmm all those new parts and tools... I love all my random christmases. Shiney new parts give me a warm fuzzy feeling man, oh man and I get so excited about new tools!! I love tools now.. I've got some sort of sickness now I'm sure, my dream has become getting that big red snap on box with the little plaque that reads "This box was constructed especially for Jared DeGraff.". Its going to be awesome.. Good luck on your journey I'm sure this will end up being one of the most in depth DIYs posted on the site,
 

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Bob, what do you suppose this little adventure would cost a person. I would like to do the same thing, just to know where I'm at in my car. I'm at a 100k miles and know it's just a matter of time before this is all needed... and maybe be ahead of the game.
 

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Older than old school
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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Rac421, so far I've spent $460 for the timing chain guides "kit," including $25 loyalty rebate; $365 for the valley pan kit plus "Jesus bolt" and miscellaneous parts and tools (like fuel door spring, extra plastic pop up rivet fasteners, jack pad inserts to replace the missing rear ones on my undercarriage, CCV, among others); $85 for the VANOS seals ($20 of which is refundable if I don't need the extra teflon seal); and $90 (including $15 postage) for the VANOS timing and installation tool rental. Then I've spent about $300 more for various tools, like a double-flex 3/8" drive ratchet, various sockets, extra jack stands, the 3/4" drive, 40" long breaker bar, 1/2" drive torque wrench, a digital torque gauge, and miscellaneous other crap. I already had a 3 ton floor jack and lots of wrenches and 3/8" and 1/4" drive sockets.

So for all three projects, I've probably spent about $1,000 in parts and special tool rental. My other expenses are for unrelated parts and tools that I may need again.
 

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Hi Bob, I like the thread title.
Let me know if you need an info, I've done a few of these
 

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Older than old school
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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks, JimLev. If you see an opportunity to offer helpful advice at any point, feel free to jump in with a comment. I've read through five or six timing chain DIY's on Bimmerboard, Bimmerforums, and Bimmerfest; 3-4 valley pan gasket DIY's; and a couple of the VANOS DIY's, including Beisan Systems' detailed procedure. Because I'm doing all three at once, I've put together my own procedure (or the first 30-plus steps of one so far) to try to make things as efficient as possible and take advantage of overlapping tasks.
 

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Supercharged 540i
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I'm gonna watch this thread close. I will be doing this whole process to my 540i, which has 153268 miles on it. Good luck Bobdmac :thumbup:
 

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Thanks Bob, I'll be watching the thread as you progress - appreciate your posting the project.
 

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:thumbup::thumbup:

I just know this is going to be educational...and entertaining!
 

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Looks like you got a fun project! Do not see any problem getting it done in under 80 hours. :thumbup:
 

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Older than old school
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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Thanks for all the encouragement, guys. Yes, Bartelbe, I have thought about powder coating the valve covers--proabably in black crinkle like Flug 540's.



And yeah, Jim, I get your point about doing the upper timing covers too, but even though the job on the valve covers will barely be noticeable, I'm only doing it because the finish on the valve covers now looks so crummy, as we all can imagine. So I'm limiting the powder coating to the valve covers only. Still, it shouldn't look too bad because it'll blend in with the ribbed plastic covers.



Today wasn't a bad day--only a couple of missteps. I thought I'd do a quick video so you could hear what the engine sounded like before I started. I tried to get just the startup, but the video started too late. So here's an example of the idle, still a little on the quiet side, compared to when the engine's been running for a while.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-q691IreyjQ

I was really looking forward to putting the hood up in the "service position," opened at a 90 degree angle so that I'd have plenty of clearance. It was a little bit of a fuss to slide out the retaining clips for the telescopic struts, partly because I wasn't confident that they just slid straight back, at 90 degrees to the strut, but after prying this way and that, I figured it out, and with the help of a friend, pulled off the struts and...oops. The hood was so tall that it wouldn't clear the garage ceiling. Disappointed but undaunted, I reattached the struts and slid the clips home.

I knew I was going to be disconnecting the battery, and so I raised the trunk lid, waiting for the electronics to go to sleep. In the meantime, I was mindful of a tip I found onlline to depressurize the fuel line before disconnecting it. So I pulled fuses 21 and 33 (listed on the glove compartment fuse reference card as "fuel pump) and started the car. It only took a second or two for the engine to die.

After removing the engine cover, I took some photos of the various tubes and wires that I'd be disconnecting so that I could eventually put them back where they belonged.



I decided to drain the oil before I got the car jacked up, and the Mityvac did a nice, neat job of emptying the crankcase. Unfortunately, I forgot that a check valve in the oil filter housing keeps the oil from draining into the crankcase, and when I opened it up, I instantly canceled out the Mityvac's tidy efficiency. To my dismay, as soon as I took off the cover, a disturbing amount of oil oozed and dripped over the side of the housing. Does anybody have a good tip for avoiding this?



Oh well, at least I was able to suck the remaining oil out of the housing before I took out the filter.

Here's a photo of the Mityvac in use. I didn't think to photo it myself. This is from the site The Truth About Cars.



After cleaning up the mess, I took off the cover support; the entire air intake system up to the throttle body; the ribbed valve cover panels; and the ducting from the cabin filters to the firewall. This gave me clearance to undo the ignition coil nuts and remove the coils. I also disconnected some of the hoses and sensors, covering the female ends with tape.



For some reason, superstition I guess, I felt I should number the coils to put them back on their original cylinders.



It was then I went off the rails. I had watched this cool video where the guy pulled up the entire electrical box with the injector connections, avoiding picking out each individual retaining clip, but I got overanxious to try it, instead of going back to double check exactly it's done. Here's the video. He pulls out the junction box at about 1:56:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0E1vFrxQcqk

[Sorry, I'l have to finish this post tomorrow, but I'm sleepy, having stayed up an extra hour because of the time change.]
 

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:thumbup:

FYI, if the coils are in good condition it does not matter where they go back in.
 
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