Parts Catalog Accessories Catalog Tech Info Tech Forums
 
Follow Pelican Parts on Facebook Follow Pelican Parts on Twitter Follow Pelican Parts on Instagram Follow Pelican Parts on YouTube Follow Pelican Parts on Pinterest Follow Pelican Parts on Tumblr
  Search our site:    
View Recent Cars  |   Cart  | Project List | Order Status | Help    
 >  >
BMW E39 Cylinder Head Gasket Removal
 
Bookmark and Share

Pelican Technical Article:

BMW E39 Cylinder Head Gasket Removal

Kerry Jonsson

Time:

20 hours20 hrs

Tab:

$500

Talent:

*****

Tools:

10mm, 11mm, 13mm, 16mm, T10, T12 Torx sockets with various extensions, gasket scraper,

Applicable Models:

BMW 540i Sedan/Wagon (1997-03)

Parts Required:

Exhaust downpipe, intake manifold, upper timing chain gears

Hot Tip:

Drain coolant from block drain to avoid spilling coolant

Performance Gain:

Replace failed head gaskets causing misfires, leaks and overheating

Complementary Modification:

Change your oil and flush your cooling system at the same time

Please note that this article does not apply to the V8 M5 S62 motor.

The toughest job on your car is the engine head gasket. This gasket has to hold coolant pressure, oil pressure and combustion chamber pressure. The eight cylinder engine internal combustion engine ignites four cylinders within every engine revolution. Multiply that the thousands of revolutions as you accelerate your engine and you should be impressed your engine runs as well as it does. Heat cycles, over-heating and poor maintenance can cause your head gasket to fail. This is a big job to replace. You are basically fixing half the engine. In this tech article we are going to show you all the steps to remove, clean and replace you engine head gasket.

In order to remove your head gasket you are going to have to lift the vehicle, support the vehicle and remove some other major components such as the intake manifold, exhaust manifold and timing chain components. We will reference these steps in the first few pictures of this article. This article is on the 4.4 liter V8 produced from 1997 to 1999 (9/98).

For the cylinder head gasket replacement procedure for the 6 cylinder look at the E46 article.

While we strongly recommend you replace both head gaskets at the same time you can remove and replace only one cylinder head. In this tech article we are going to service both cylinder and show the differences from each side. When giving instructions to remove a part from the cylinder remember that you have to follow the same step for the other side of the engine.

Here we are on the right side, middle of the block.
Figure 1

Here we are on the right side, middle of the block. Drain the coolant from the engine block drain plug (green arrow) to prevent a mess when removing the cylinder head from the engine block. There is also a block drain plug on the left side in approximately the same position that you should remove.

Remove the engine covers.
Figure 2

Remove the engine covers. The engine cover is already removed. Coils covers (green arrows) and cowl covers (yellow arrows) must be removed. See our tech article on removing the engine covers.

Remove the intake manifold with the throttle body.
Figure 3

Remove the intake manifold with the throttle body. See our tech articles on removing the intake manifold and throttle body. You can leave the throttle body attached to the intake manifold but you will need to remove the cables, hoses and other attachments to fully remove the intake manifold from the engine. This is a photo from the tech article on intake manifold removal.

Remove the exhaust manifold from the exhaust down pipe.
Figure 4

Remove the exhaust manifold from the exhaust down pipe. See our tech article on removing the exhaust system and follow the steps to separate the exhaust down pipe from the exhaust manifold. We are going to remove the cylinder head with the exhaust manifold still attached. If removing both cylinder heads remove both exhaust pipes. This is a photo from the tech article on exhaust removal.

Remove the ignition coils.
Figure 5

Remove the ignition coils. See our tech article on removing and testing the ignition coils. If removing both cylinder heads remove all coils on both sides of the engine.

Remove the valve covers.
Figure 6

Remove the valve covers. See our tech articles on removing the valve covers. If removing both cylinder heads remove both valve covers. This is a photo from the tech article on valve cover removal

Here we are at the back of the engine.
Figure 7

Here we are at the back of the engine. Remove the rear coolant manifold. 

Remove the front upper timing covers.
Figure 8

Remove the front upper timing covers. If you are doing both cylinder heads remove the upper covers on both sides. Here the left side is pictured. See our tech article on removing the timing chain covers, timing chain and timing chain guides. Follow the steps to remove only the upper timing covers. If doing the right side cylinder head this involves removing the timing chain tensioner. Rotate the engine to TDC and mark the timing chain to the gears. Be careful not to let the timing chain come off the gear and change the valve timing. If you do you are going to need special tools (that are commercially available) to position the cams and crankshaft to reset the valve timing.

Remove the outer cam gear from the cam shaft by removing the six T10 Torx fasteners (green arrows).
Figure 9

Remove the outer cam gear from the cam shaft by removing the six T10 Torx fasteners (green arrows). Do your best to mark the gear to the chain and gears and also the position of the cam gear to the cam shaft. Also, do not let the chain fall down into the engine. Use bailing wire to hold the chain from falling inside the timing cover. This allows you return the valve timing to the original position during installation. If timing has jumped then you will need special tools to return valve timing to its correct setting, Once again see our tech article on removing the timing chain, timing chain guides and timing china cover

If removing the left side head remove the two 10mm fasteners (green arrows) that hold the left side timing chain guide to the cylinder head and mount the oil separator.
Figure 10

If removing the left side head remove the two 10mm fasteners (green arrows) that hold the left side timing chain guide to the cylinder head and mount the oil separator.

Here we are at the back of the right side head.
Figure 11

Here we are at the back of the right side head. If removing the right side head remove the ground wire attached to the back of the cylinder head.

Looking at the top of the cylinder head remove the ten E12 Torx cylinder head bolts in two stages.
Figure 12

Looking at the top of the cylinder head remove the ten E12 Torx cylinder head bolts in two stages. The bolts (green arrows) are recessed in the cylinder head at the spots indicated. Loosen each bolt 45 degrees in the alternating pattern in the next picture. Loosen each bolt again another 45 degrees in the same alternating pattern. This is to prevent the cylinder head from warping as you loosen it. With all the cylinder head bolts loose fully remove them from the head. If you are removing both cylinder heads do this same procedure for the other side. The head bolt in the lower right part of the picture is hidden behind the hose.

Here is the pattern you are going to use to loosen the cylinder head bolts.
Figure 13

Here is the pattern you are going to use to loosen the cylinder head bolts. The pattern in usually on the back of the package the new cylinder head gaskets came in. You are also going to use this pattern to tighten the cylinder head bolts during installation.

Remove the oil separator (green arrow) by moving it in the direction of the blue arrow so that it clears the cylinder head (red arrow).
Figure 14

Remove the oil separator (green arrow) by moving it in the direction of the blue arrow so that it clears the cylinder head (red arrow). Make note of its position so you can position it on the oil drain tube during installation. You do not have to remove the lower timing cover but we have done so for photographic purposes.

Pull the cylinder head off of the engine block by lifting it upwards and pulling it forward to clear the exhaust.
Figure 15

Pull the cylinder head off of the engine block by lifting it upwards and pulling it forward to clear the exhaust. Here the left side is pictured. You can pry on the corner of the cylinder head to break the seal of the head gasket to the head but do it at a point where the cylinder head is strong and there are no surfaces that need to be sealed. If you are removing both cylinder heads lift the other head off the block in the same way. The cylinder head is going to be heavy. Do not let it slide down as valves that are held open may strike the block and bend. The right side head can be taken off with both exhaust manifolds still attached. For the left side head remove the front exhaust manifold. The steering box is in the way. See our tech article on removing the exhaust manifolds and follow the steps to remove the left side front manifold.

Remove the old cylinder head gasket.
Figure 16

Remove the old cylinder head gasket. It will probably stay attached to the block but it may stay attached to the cylinder head.

Clean the cylinder block mating surface.
Figure 17

Clean the cylinder block mating surface. The safest way to do this is with a nylon scouring pad; rubbing the surfaces by hand. You can use a power tool with a scouring attachment but there is the danger you can remove too much metal on the cylinder head or block leaving a weak spot for another leak to develop. You can save yourself the time of cleaning the cylinder head by having your cylinder heads rebuilt at an automotive machine shop. You can also have the valve stem seals replaced when you have the cylinder head rebuilt. If you engine is burning oil for a few minutes after you start the engine then you probably have worn valve stem seals.

If you are not rebuilding the cylinder heads then clean the gasket mating surfaces.
Figure 18

If you are not rebuilding the cylinder heads then clean the gasket mating surfaces.

Clean out cylinder head bolt holes in the block of any coolant and oil that might have fallen in during disassembly.
Figure 19

Clean out cylinder head bolt holes in the block of any coolant and oil that might have fallen in during disassembly. You can thread a cleaned old cylinder head bolt in and verify it can be threaded all the way until it bottoms out.

Spray degreasing solvent on a rag and wipe the cylinder block down to chemically clean the block sealing surface.
Figure 20

Spray degreasing solvent on a rag and wipe the cylinder block down to chemically clean the block sealing surface. Any oil or contaminants will prevent the cylinder head gasket from sealing to the cylinder head itself.

Fit the cylinder head gasket on the dowel pins on the block that hold the gasket in the proper position.
Figure 21

Fit the cylinder head gasket on the dowel pins on the block that hold the gasket in the proper position.

With the cylinder head mating surface fully cleaned fit the cylinder head to the block aligning the cylinder head bolt holes.
Figure 22

With the cylinder head mating surface fully cleaned fit the cylinder head to the block aligning the cylinder head bolt holes.

Apply a light coat of oil to lubricate the cylinder head bolts as you torque them down.
Figure 23

Apply a light coat of oil to lubricate the cylinder head bolts as you torque them down. This lubricates them as they are threaded into the block. It is strongly recommended that you use new cylinder head bolts when removing and installing your cylinder heads.

If you are using genuine BMW head gaskets use a torque wrench tighten down each cylinder head bolt in the cylinder head tighten sequence to 22 ft/lbs.
Figure 24

If you are using genuine BMW head gaskets use a torque wrench tighten down each cylinder head bolt in the cylinder head tighten sequence to 22 ft/lbs. If you are using aftermarket head gaskets such as VICTOR REINZ torque to 30NM. Here we are using the VICTOR REINZ head gaskets provided by Pelican Parts.

Follow the same sequence and tighten all cylinder head bolts an additional 80°.
Figure 25

Follow the same sequence and tighten all cylinder head bolts an additional 80°. Use a torque angle tool to measure the movement of the torque wrench. Finally rotate the cylinder head bolts an additional 80 degrees on the torque angle gauge following the same torque sequence as found in Picture 11. Installation is the reverse of the removal procedures. Install the block drain plugs. Attach the timing chain gears to the camshafts and set the valve timing according to the marks you made on the timing chain. Fit and install the oil separator, left side timing chain guide mounting bolts, upper timing chain covers and valve covers. Fit and tighten down the exhaust manifolds if you removed them and the exhaust down pipe to the manifold. Fit the cooling pipes and rear coolant manifold. Install the intake manifold and all attachments. Change the engine oil, fill the cooling system and bleed it of air. Start the engine and check for leaks of oil or coolant. Fit the engine covers

Bookmark and Share
Comments and Suggestions:
Sandokan Comments: Hyy is tis the same procedure for a e39 523i m52b25 1997
September 20, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: No. This is for 8-cylinder only. Check some of the 3-series article. They should get you done. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

  Search our site:    

View Cart & CheckOut | Project List | Order Status |  Help    

 

[Home] [Customer Service] [Shopping Cart] [Privacy Statement]
 [Contact Us] [About Us] [Shipping] [Map to our Location] [Careers]

Copyright © Pelican Parts Inc.

Page last updated: Mon 12/5/2016 02:06:19 AM