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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Lots of oil near on the Vanos cover and electrical connections. Recently removed Vanos, so all visible oil is within a few hundred miles. Directly under the valve cover looks clean everywhere I can see except on front passenger side. I did not replace grommets. Cover needs to be redone or something else? Read somewhere about solenoid leaking... Hood Automotive tire Vehicle Car Motor vehicle
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The valve cover doesnt seem to sit right in a picture. You didn't remove the solenoid, did you? I would redo the cover.
Didn’t remove solenoid. I guess if I redo valve cover I’ll get new grommets. I assume gasket itself can be reused?
 

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Didn’t remove solenoid. I guess if I redo valve cover I’ll get new grommets. I assume gasket itself can be reused?
Not with that amount of RTV… which is probably also part of the problem.

Grommets should be changed along with the rocker cover, as well as the inner spark plugs rings.

You've had oil leaks for quite some time from several locations, so it will be hard to pin-point now. Clean the head and block, and then note the new oil. Alternatively, add some UV dye to the oil, drive around, and then look for the leak with glasses and a blacklight and you'll find the leak real fast.


Via the interwebs
 

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RayMondo
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Lots of oil near on the Vanos cover and electrical connections. Recently removed Vanos, so all visible oil is within a few hundred miles. Directly under the valve cover looks clean everywhere I can see except on front passenger side. I did not replace grommets. Cover needs to be redone or something else? Read somewhere about solenoid leaking... View attachment 1049871 View attachment 1049872 View attachment 1049873
Not replacing the grommets is always a mistake. They go hard. They are soft for a reason.
If they are hard you're going to tighten the gasket against the grommet not the head. I assume you used a new gasket. Is that correct?
If it has been on for a year buy a new one with grommets.
There shouldn't be that uneven gap that I can see between the VC flange and the head. So it's not seated properly.
Use a torque wrench to tighten them gradually until they are all 7 to 8 ft lbs.
What I mean by that is go around them one turn at a time one after the other until they are hand tight.
Then finish them off with the torque wrench in the same manner.
 

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Yeah, I would buy a whole complete VCG kit. It has everything you need to reseal the valve cover correctly. Amazingly how brittle the rubber becomes after many miles of driving.
 

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These pictures illustrate what Raypooley mentioned; the rocker cover is definitely not fully seated. Either the gasket is folded, debris is lodged between the cover and the head on one side of the gasket or another, or that extreme amount of RTV is preventing the cover from seating fully. The only recourse is to remove, clean, and reinstall with new gaskets, because you're not going to be able to fully remove every bit of hardened RTV from the gasket. Additionally, extreme care will have to be given to removing the RTV from the head; improper use of a gasket scraper will gouge the head, leading to permanent leaks unless repaired.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
A lot of people are mentioning the extreme amount to RTV. I believe the wide angle camera and extreme closeup of the picture is making the amount look like more than actually there. I used a thinner amount than pictured in this ( E46 Valve Cover Gasket Replacement: Tools & Parts - E46 Valve Cover ) tutorial, but just didn't wipe away the excess on the outside. Is the amount pictured in this tutorial incorrect? The RTV peeled right off when I removed the valve cover to get after my valve stem seal replacement, and imagine it will peel off easily since it's only been on for a month.

There was a considerable amount of old burnt oil in this area already. Is it possible this area was already warped and needs a larger surface area of RTV to get a seal. From the picture it looks like it's leaking from an area with no RTV...
 

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A lot of people are mentioning the extreme amount to RTV. ... Is the amount pictured in this tutorial incorrect?
Yes. There should be a small amount only at each corner of the half-moon notches, not the entire circumference. That tutorial also neglected to mention applying RTV at the same locations at the back of the cylinder head, which is actually more important.

Flat surfaces don't require RTV and it may even impede a good seal when overused. It's needed at the 90° angles where the gasket is not well-compressed. A thoroughly clean gasket, mating surface, and valve cover, installed with new grommets, takes care of the rest.
 
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Well, I am paranoid so I did put RTV the lower half side of the engine for both of my e46s and I didnt have any leaks after the job. I did also put RTV the whole circumference of the oil pan in my oil pan gasket job as well to assist the gasket and didnt have a leak. Did I overdo it? Maybe, I dont really know but I hate to redo the jobs. So I dont think the RTV is the culprit, unless you didnt follow the directions closely and let the RTV way harden before you bolted up the coverb maybe. I did have a leak after the first time I did my VCG job but it was due to improperly seating the gasket (it was kinked). I figured out the trick of using wire ties to hold the gasket in place on the cover the next time and everything was good after that.
 

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I dont think your block is warped. If it was then your head gasket would have been leaky and you would have other problems.
 

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Well, I am paranoid so I did put RTV the lower half side of the engine for both of my e46s and I didnt have any leaks after the job. I did also put RTV the whole circumference of the oil pan in my oil pan gasket job as well to assist the gasket and didnt have a leak. Did I overdo it? Maybe, I dont really know but I hate to redo the jobs. So I dont think the RTV is the culprit, unless you didnt follow the directions closely and let the RTV way harden before you bolted up the coverb maybe. I did have a leak after the first time I did my VCG job but it was due to improperly seating the gasket (it was kinked). I figured out the trick of using wire ties to hold the gasket in place on the cover the next time and everything was good after that.
You don't need RTV anywhere other than the corners of the half moons and the slit where the vanos meets the head. That's it.
Too much RTV can cause leaks if you don't spread it evenly on to thoroughly de-greased surfaces and you don't let it cure properly
before running the engine which takes up to 24 hours and maybe more depending on thickness.
New gasket and grommits. No RTV except where I have indicated and gradual torque down to 7 - 8 ft lbs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
So I washed off the area best I could with spray wand and have driven a hundred miles or so with no signs of leaks. Did NOT replace gasket yet and will wait to see what happens. Gasket is seated in groove correctly, but gaps must indicate warped cover I suspect.
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