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Pelican Technical Article:

BMW Valve Cover
Gasket Replacement

Difficulty Level: 4
Difficulty scale: Adding air to your tires is level one
Rebuilding a BMW Motor is level ten

  This article is one in a series that have been released in conjunction with Wayne's new book, 101 Performance Projects for Your BMW 3 Series. The book contains 272 pages of full color projects detailing everything from performance mods to timing the camshafts. With more than 650+ full-color glossy photos accompanying extensive step-by-step procedures, this book is required reading in any 3 Series owner's collection. The book was released in August 2006, and is available for ordering now. See The Official Book Website for more details.
 
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     One of the more common oil leaks on BMW engines is the large, long valve cover gasket.  In general, it's pretty easy to remove and replace this gasket.  This article goes over in detail the procedure to replace the valve cover gasket.   Begin by prepping the car.  The only thing that you really need to do is to make sure that the car is cold.  If you try to remove or install spark plugs in a hot car, then you may encounter problems with the spark plugs gumming up or damaging the relatively delicate threads in the aluminum cylinder head.  Just make sure that the car is cold, or at the bare minimum, only slightly warm to the touch.

     Let's talk about the six cylinder cars first.  The first step is to remove the top plastic covers from the engine.  These serve no mechanical purpose - they are there only for decoration and to prevent dust and debris from getting into the recesses of the engine.  On the six cylinder cars, there are two covers, a long thin one on the top of the car, and a wider one towards the left.  Speaking of left, for the purpose of this particular tech article, I will refer to the left side of the engine as being on the left as you are standing in front of the car looking at the engine.  The right side would, of course, be opposite to that.  For reference, the windshield washer bottle would then be on the left, and the air filter would be on the right.

     On the two plastic covers, there will be two small, snap-in plugs on the top.  Carefully remove these plugs (don't drop them into the engine) with a small screwdriver, prying them up as you grab them (Figure 1).  Underneath you will find a nut that holds the cover onto the top of the engine (Figure 2).  Remove the four nuts on these two covers, and they should both simply slide up out of the way.  Figure 3 shows the engine with the center cover removed.

     Underneath the left cover, you will see the six spark plug coils that sit on top of each of the plugs (Figure 4).  You need to remove each of these carefully, in order to gain access to the plugs.  Using a screwdriver, release each connector from each coil.  There is a metal retaining ring on the rear of each one that fastens it to the coil (Figure 5).  Once you lift up on the retaining clip, then the connector should simply slide out of the coil.  Carefully remove all of the connectors from each coil (Figure 6), taking care not to bend the wire harness too much.  These wires are stiff, and generally don't take well to being bent in multiple directions.  Just be gentle with them.

     To assist with your maneuvering of the wires, detach the center clip that holds the wires that come from the center channel.  This clip is shown in Figure 7.  Gently place the wires off to the side and out of the way, without bending them terribly.

     With the wires detached and placed slightly out of the way, you can now remove each of the six coils.  Each coil is fastened to the valve cover using two screws.  On two of the coils, there are two small ground straps that connect the coil to the stud on the cylinder head.  Take note of these ground straps - they must be installed properly when you are finished, otherwise your car may encounter problems.  These two ground straps are shown marked by the greens arrow in Figure 8 and Figure 9 (coil already removed in this photo).

     Remove each of the two nuts that hold each coil to the valve cover.  At this point, the coil should be able to be easily pulled right off of the engine (Figure 10).  The coil has a small coil pack on one end, and a spring-loaded spark plug connector on the opposite end.  Simply remove the coil/plug assembly and place it off to the side.  All of the coils are the same, so it doesn't matter which cylinder bank it came off of - unless you are specifically trying to troubleshoot a bad coil fault code that was displayed by the main computer.

     With the coils removed, you can now remove the top plastic cover on the wire harness box that straddles the intake manifold and the valve cover (Figure 11).  The lid on this box simply snaps off.  With it removed, you can then reach in so that you can carefully pull the wire harnesses out of the way (Figure 12).  At this point, you can start removing the nuts that hold on the valve cover.  Take careful note of which ones have ground straps attached (Figure 13), and make sure that you record where they are located so that you can put them back into their proper place when you're reassembling the valve cover.

     Some of the nuts may be difficult to reach, in particular the one located all the way at the rear of the engine compartment underneath the windshield wipers (Figure 14).  A small ratchet comes in handy here.  When you have removed all of the nuts (there should be 15 of them), take a rubber mallet and tap the side of the valve cover to loosen it off of its gasket (Figure 15).  You should then be able to remove the valve cover.

     Inspect the valve cover when it comes off.  In particular, be careful with the baffle and seal on the inside (Figure 16).  This seal does not appear to be available as a separate part (it comes with the valve cover).  The good news is that it doesn't really do much - it just seals an air baffle to the valve cover.  Also, when you remove the valve cover, make sure that you don't loose any of the rubber grommets (Figure 17), or flat washers that hold them in.

     If you take your valve cover into your machine shop to be sand blasted, make sure that you assemble all of the bits and pieces back together in their proper order.  Especially important are the rubber studs that hold on the top plastic covers (Figure 18), as well as the baffle on the inside of the cover (Figure 16).

     Prep both the surface of the cylinder head and the valve cover for the new seal by carefully cleaning all remnants of the old seal off of all of the mating surfaces.  Be careful not to scratch any surfaces, and also be careful not to drop bits of pieces of the gasket into your engine.

     The BMW factory manuals recommend adding some sealant to some leak-prone sections of the cylinder head.  I chose to use Permatex High-Temp RTV, and it worked very well for sealing these areas.  Specifically, the factory recommends adding sealant at the interface where the VANOS unit or front mounting timing chain cover meet (Figure 19 and Figure 20).  They also recommend a small bit of sealant at the rear of the cover (Figure 21).

     With the sealant attached, simply place the new gasket on the cylinder head (Figure 22).  Place the two inner gaskets on the spark plugs holes in center of the head (Figure 23).  These are the gaskets that leak oil into the spark plug holes (see the Pelican Parts Technical Article on Replacing Your Spark Plugs).  Finally, bolt down the cover, and reattach all off the nuts on the cover, making sure that you replace the rubber washers/bumpers under each one.  Using a torque wrench, tighten the nuts down to 89 in-lb (10 Nm).  Figure 24 shows the finished product.

     If you haven't replaced your spark plugs, now is a good time to do it.  See the spark plug replacement article for more details.  Reinstall the coils, reattach the wire harness, and replace the top plastic covers.

     Well, there you have it - it's really not too difficult at all.  If you would like to see more technical articles like this one, please continue to support Pelican Parts with all your parts needs.  If you like what you see here, then please visit our online BMW catalog and help support the collection and creating of new and informative technical articles like this one.  Your continued support directly affects the expansion and existence of this site and technical articles like this one.  As always, if you have any questions or comments about this helpful article, please drop us a line.

   
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Comments and Suggestions:
Eric's 325xi Comments: My 2004 bmw325xi is running a little ruff after relaxing the valve cover gasket and spark plugs, I have went over the plugs a second time just to be sure that I did everything correctly and they look fine, so what is making my car run so bad
August 26, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Go o ver the electrical connections again, be sure the breather hoses are not cracked and properly connected. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
ferda Comments: ECU *

also read that a cracked ignition coil with the older coils can hurt the ECU
August 5, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If the coil shorts to the control wires, then yes the DME can be damaged. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Jess Comments: I tried the trick for the 94 error codes with the gas pump but my car is from germany so i read that this only works for the US BMWS

Thank you sir, do you guys possibly have a phone or live chat!


THANKS
August 5, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: No phone or live chat for tech questions. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Jess Comments: bought new ignition coil, put it in today. Still not firing

-put the working ignition coil from the 2nd cylinder into 1st to see if it was possibly the new ignition coil

-STILL no spark

-so where im at , would it be possible that only 1 cable connector to the ignition coil would be not working and i could just replace the wire connection?

-OR, am i gonna have to figure out this DCU unit i took it out and it didnt look damaged, but debating doing that oven trick with wd-40 as i gotta have my car working within a 2 week time frame to drive back to university!

THANK YOU SO MUCH i dont no what else to do
August 5, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If one coil does not fire, it could be the wiring or the DME. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Jess Comments: Hello,

Sorry to post again.

my 94 320i started having tiny problems when i went into car wash as it gurgled out of the car wash, than stopped.

-this happened a year ago and everything was fine, went into car wash again and thought it was my cold air intake sucking in water so i covered it. car gurgled for a bit afterward than was normal


- anyways, went to drive car last week. car struggles to accelerate feels like missing cylinder

-decided to take a peak at gasket, all spark plugs were old and oil was in 4 out of 6 of them

-replaced all spark plugs and valve cover gasket didnt do the sealent trick by the timing chain should i do this?

-Started car, still idled bad n struggles to accelerate again

-Looked at new spark plugs, all but the 1st cylinder was firing, ignition coil was also cracked
August 5, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Sealant trick?

Is the check engine light on? Sounds like an engine misfire. I would check spark, fuel and compression on all cylinders.

- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Elijha Comments: Hello to all
I need help I have a 1996 BMW. I have the rope seal leaking a bit on the front right corner. With when I open the top cover oil inside as well and now when I start the car has a smoke coming out of it at first then stops,
Is it possible it's the value cover or could it be something else.
Please help.
July 31, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would start by repairing the obvious leak. It may be the only problem. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
JGuzman Comments: Thank you for your prompt reply and advice on how to remove my stuck valve cover gasket. I opted to use an inexpensive heat gun instead and it worked! The only other two tools that I used were long needle nose pliers and a long pick with a bent tip at the end. I was careful to use only sufficient heat to soften the gasket and patiently pull with the needle nose pliers. I figured that the temperature to soften the gasket is lower than the temperature of the valve cover and that warping of the valve cover would be unlikely as long as I was careful to not overheat the local area I was working on. I used the pick to get the gasket out of the groove and then pull with the needle nose pliers. Another plus, was that as the oil film that was in between the stuck-brittle gasket and groove heated, the warm oil worked as a lubricant to make removal of the gasket even easier. No sweat, no stress, only patients, caution and about 30 minutes. I hope this helps Pelican Parts customers that find themselves with a similar dilemma.
May 7, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the follow up. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
JGuzman Comments: Need some advice on how to remove a valve cover gasket that is stuck on the valve cover. My 1997 BMW 328i overheated coolant expansion tank leaked from failed level sensor. The gasket is no longer pliable and is instead brittle and stuck. I can break off some pieces, but most of it is stuck onto the valve cover. Short of replacing the valve cover, I was thinking of locally heating the gasket/cover area with a heat gun to see if that would loosen the stuck baked-on gasket. Thank you in advance for any advice you may have.
May 6, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Only option is to us a small pick and break the pieces out, other than replace the valve cover. Which if overheated, it may be warped anyway. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Mr Ron Comments: Hi, I have a 94 320i with the typical vanos rattle. While I had it apart I noticed that the helicoil gear was lose on the piston is there away to fix that? Any help would be appreciated
April 17, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I don't think so. You will have to replace the worn parts. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Stan Comments: Second E36 Ive done. Gets easier each time. I did loosen up the cowling piece that hangs down and move it to have more clearance with the valve cover. Also I put the gasket on the cover with a dab of RTV. I put the spark plug gaskets on the head. I also ordered the 4 blocks that go in the left cover, two were missing 11121730352. I recommend using the Elring Klinger gasket. Very good quality
April 12, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Tex484 Comments: Hello I have a 2006 bmw I just changed the valve gasket drove it for a couple of mile then the oil light came on when I stopped at a red light it went off. Does anyone know why that would happen? And also when changing the gasket the inside shell or I don't know what it's called but after you pull apart the top and bottom both had a lot of oil build up everywhere do I need to clean that if so how I Don't want derby in my engine thank you
April 1, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Was it a red or yellow oil light? Your oil level could be low. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Marcel30 Comments: Hi There, I'm planning to change the valve cover gasket next week, but looking at your description I have one question. There is a pipe at the right front side of the cover where you hit the cover with the hammer. How do you remove it? And what does it do. I have an annoying leak at the right side of my engine, could oil leak through this tube?

Thanks in advance!
February 22, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: That is a breather hose for the engine. These tubes do fail and oil can leak from them. But it would not be a major oil leak. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
drmb Comments: i have a bmw 520i 2003 117000kms. after changing the valve gasket cover the engine light went on. the diagnosis didnt pick anythg at the garage but still experience a bit of shaking of the car wen drinving
February 2, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You may have a misfire. Check that all of the wiring to the ignition coils are properly installed. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Brett Comments: Installed a new valve cover with a gasket. Most of the threads were stripped. Especially the ones by the VANOS Heli-coiled all the ones I could reach. Could not heli-coil the rear 3 bolts by the firewall due to lack of clearance. I have a minor leak at that area now. There is a constant smell of burnt oil now and when the car is parked for a while it pools a little. There is a light smoke when the car is stationary. Anything I can do besides pulling the whole engine out just to heli-coil the rear 3 bolts? Should I just apply RTV sealant along the rear side of the cover? I do need to refill the car with oil as it tends to lose a few quarts gradually over time.
January 5, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Not much you can do. The valve cover has to be fastened properly to seal. You may have to pull the head to helicoil the damaged threads. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
OzCop Comments: My 2002 Z3 with 2.5 6cyl was leaking from valve cover and I used your instructions to remove the cover. I had difficulty getting the cover off as it was hung up due to spark plug gasket being stuck on front section between the timing chain tensioner bolt and the ground strap bolt. The number 1 spark plug hole was full of oil, so I am assuming that was the source of the leak. It appears there is little space for the gasket to seat properly around that ground strap bolt given the distance between it and the chain tensioner apparatus. Should I cut or remove the section of the spark plug hole gasket that would normally fall around the ground strap bolt?
December 27, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would advise against cutting the gasket. Might be a defective or wrong part. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right part.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
BeBegirl1 Comments: I have an 07 328i BMW. When I turn on the ac I get smoke coming in thru the vents. Can this be a bad valve cover gasket. Is this something I can do myself
December 18, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Does it happen when the engine is off? What color is the smoke? Does it have an odor? - Nick at Pelican Parts  
ETG Comments: In January I replaced the valve cover gasket and the Valve Cover Nut Seals part numbers 11-12-0-030-496-M17 and 11-12-1-437-395-M17. Now, 10 months later, there are leaks at each of the lower valve cover nuts. Not in between the nuts at all - just at each nut. After doing a little research, I see that leaks are a common problem with Victor Reinz products. Is there any fix to these leaks short of ripping the gasket and seals off and replacing with a different brand? If not, what is a good brand to use? I did buy the Victor Reinz parts from Pelican.
Thanks,
ETG
November 4, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If the rubber washers are over tightened they can start to leak, if it is just two of the washer, replace them with new ones and tighten to spec.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
fish Comments: My son and I replaced the valve cover gaskets on his 740i and we used blue gasket silicone by the two spots by the timing chain and a little at the other end by the two dips. Should we stop, pull them off and use the silicone on entire gasket? Engine side and valve cover side?
October 8, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You did it right the first time.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Fred Comments: Oil rebreather was brittle and broke, how easy is that to replace?
October 5, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Can you share a photo of what part if broken? - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Terence Comments: Hi! I recently had my valve cover gasket replaced on my 1997 E39 540i. Prior to it being replaced, the car runs great! But now I'm having problems with my idle. It's very low! I had to adjust the cable just to bring the idle up so i can use the car but i know that adjusting the cable is not the right way to go. Plus, i also tried to unplug the ICV and nothing happens to the idle. I read several forums and its pointing to the ICV and CCV and Vacuum Leak. I don't want to replace it because it was working fine and the engine runs great before i had the valve cover gasket replaced. PLEASE HELP!
October 3, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would check to make sure the gaskets are not leaking, or that there is not a vacuum leak somewhere else.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
soultorch Comments: I have a 91 850i dash lights ,plate lights and mirrow interior visor lights all stopped working,checked fuse and good,any suggestions?
October 1, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Check the plate light with a test light and see if you are getting power to the lights. You are probably going to have to get a wiring diagram and follow the circuits. - Kerry at Pelican Parts  
You: Comments: I replaced my covergastek on 2004 bmw. Now the low oil light is on? What did i do wrong?
September 26, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Is the oil level correct? If so, debris may have fallen down into the oil passages. Do not drive the vehicle with the oil light on. Check you oil pressure immediately. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Darcie Comments: I just replaced my valve cover gasket on my 2007 328i and now oil is seeping from the oil filter cap, and is running ruff. could this be a vaccum leak? Where should i look first,and am I going to need to pull everything back off again?
September 26, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Coming out of the oil cap? Check that the gasket on the oil cap didn't fall off. Also check that the oil is not over full. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Mike NC Comments: I have a '99 323i with the M52TUB25. Apparently the previous owner attempted a valve cover replacement, and ended up stripping the valve cover studs that mount to the head that the caps lock to. I called ECS Tuning to find out if they had an oversized version that I could tap as a replacement, and was told that I'm sorta out of luck. Short of just epoxying the old ones in place, do you have any ideas? I have 2 that are in this condition - one of which is causing a leak at the spark plug galley on #4, and another that is a "bubbling" leak near the VANOS unit. Help!
September 24, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If the threaded hole is stripped there isn't much you can do. Epoxy and retapping wouldn't be my first choice. I would prefer to install time-sert or a heli-coil. The time-sert would be the best choice. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
MTBC Comments: I changed the valve cover gasket of my 2007 328i, but when I turn the engine on, there was a smoke and the car was shaking. Am I missing something?
September 16, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Did you remove and reinstall the valvetronic motor correctly? Where is the smoke coming from? Did you relearn the valve lift?
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Bmw power Comments: What is the order of valvecover gasket tightening? excample m52 single vanos..
-rear of car, front of the car -
6 4 8 2 10
11
5 7 3 9 1
September 11, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Start in the center of the valve cover and work your way toward the ends, alternating in a criss-cross pattern. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Jeff S Comments: How different is the replacement of the Valve Cover gasket on a E39 540? Knowing that it is one side only driver side makes it easier but do you have a tech article somewhere that describes this procedure? I may have even done this years ago and didn't think it was that easy....input.
July 22, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: We're working on that tech article right now? It would be similar to any of the M54 V8 engines - Kerry at Pelican Parts  
Brian M. Comments: It seems that I have excessive crankcase pressure buildup after my engine heats up. It is a 1995 525I with a M50 VANOS engine. When I first start it, it runs fine and idles nice. After it gets a bit warmer, if I have the AC on, right when I come to a stop it stumbles and dies unless I keep my foot on the gas pedel a bit. I had to replace both the breather hoses because they had large holes in them and noticed a bit of oil in the throttle body. When it was running, I took off the oil cap and noticed a ton of pressure being released while the car was running. The idle did not change at all when the oil cap was off by the way. What could be the reason for the pressure increase when the car warms up
July 19, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: A crankcase will build pressure under certain conditions. However, if you find yours is always building pressure the crankcase breather may be restricted. Blocking vapors from being recirculated. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
G - WISS Comments: I have 99 740 with68000 miles ,went for inspection,service engine soon light on, it FAILED. cause ..system too lean bank#1,secondary air injection insufficient flow bank 1&2 anyone have any ideas? please E mail me thanks bmwcca member
April 6, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The lean code could be a vacuum leak. You'll haver to use a scan tool and monitor fuel trim to determine when the engine is running lean.

The secondary air code could be a number of items. I would perform a function test using a BMW scan tool, confirm the pump activates and the solenoid opens the check valve. These are the best places to start. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Corn Dawg Comments: Need help changing valve cover gaskets on 2007 BMW 750LI I already removed all the bolts I could see valve cover is still tight , not sure about the round thing that looks like a old style coil mounted on both sides in the middle of the valve cover
April 3, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The motor in the center of the valve cover is the Valvetronic motor. You have to remove it first, before you remove the valve cover. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Dan Comments: I just did this tonight, and dropped a tool on the flat gasket mating surface portion of the cylinder head near the front of the engine by the timing chain. It made a gouge almost the entire distance, deeper from the inside to shallow on the outside. If the flat is 1/4" thick, the scratch is 7/32" long. I'd say 0.010" at its deepest. I put some of the Permatex Copper RTV sealant in the gouge before installing the valve cover and new gasket. Should I expect a terrible leak, or should this hold up for the life of the gasket?

This was an idiot move for sure especially considering this is a mint car with only 17500 miles.
March 21, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Do not use RTV. I would fill it using a metal bonding epoxy and sand flat. This is your best bet to prevent future leaks. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
tom Comments: Thank you for posting this detailed DIY. Would you happen to know any tricks for removing a stripped engine cover nut/post? I can't remove left engine cover, which blocks access to spark plugs...

Thanks for any ideas/light you can shed.

Tom B
January 10, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: There is a tool you can buy called an impact driver. Cut a slot with a hacksaw and use the straight bit on your impact driver. then hammer on the driver and it should loosen the bolt - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Emil P Comments: Did the valve cover gasket the 2nd time, it still leaks toward the lower rear of cover, gasket & cylinder head. Applied RTV at recommended spots. Replaced rubber washers on all nuts, clean surfaces & torque valve cover nuts at specs. Any suggestions to stop the leak?
December 17, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You can go a little tighter on the mounting nuts but you have to clean and isolate the leak. Is there a crack in the metal there? Although it's not recommended you can put RTV there around the whole area - Nick at Pelican Parts  
KrGowri Comments: After replacing the gasket, I am getting P0171/P0174 codes, but I do not have any vacuum leaks. What could cause this?
December 12, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Low fuel pressure or a bad MAF can also cause lean codes. Do you have an exhaust leak because that can also cause false lean codes - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Stevostyles Comments: Hi ive done this job 2 day and snapped the coil wireing earthing bolt, were can i get this and part number pls many thanks in advance for all info thats provided on this top site. ;
March 31, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Call one of our parts specialist at 888 280 7799 and they'll get you the parts you need - Kerry at Pelican Parts  
Ed Comments: Does the Valve Cover sold on Pelican Parts INCLUDE the Valve Cover Gasket?
March 16, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Probably not but you really need to call one of out parts specialists at 888-280-7799 and they will let you know - Kerry at Pelican Parts  
MikeD Comments: Ok so it loos like it has been covered but i am still unsure, i have a 90 318is over here in germany stationed over here and i need to replace my valve cover gasket oil is seeping into my spark plug wells but im not burning any oil so w hen i change it do i need to put any rtv on the gasket cover or anywhere besides the few points mentioned? or is it different on the m42 engine? just want to get it right the 1st time so im not dropping any more money on another gasket. thanks alot,
Mike
February 14, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I believe these are rubber gaskets so you should not need RTV. Just make sure the surfaces are clean when you apply the gaskets. - Kerry at Pelican Parts  
Mike Comments: Okay, figured things out. But still have to replace the valve cover.
I failed to remove the additional 4 bolts near the spark plug ports.
Everything is disassembled, cleaned and ready to install.
Car will be out of commission for a few days, but its driver my daughter is in Hawaii for a couple of weeks. I should have it buttoned up within the next couple of days.
Just a bit more expensive than I initially thought.
Live and learn.
December 18, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Oops. Those are indeed pretty small. No worries, we all make mistakes like these. You can find a used one probably on eBay - we do sell these on the site, if you contact sales, they will check on exactly what you need. If it's a very small crack too, you can possibly JB Weld it. You want to make sure it doesn't leak oil or crankcase vacuum. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Mike Comments: Well, I've done it.
I disassembled everything, no problem.
Swapped the spark plugs as long as i was in there, cleaned and put new seals on the valve cover bolts.
Then I tried to remover the valve cover itself. Yes, all 15 of the bolts are removed. Could not get the cover to come off.
Tried to beat it with a rubber mallet. Nothing. Tried to pry it with a screw driver. And that's when it happened. the valve cover cracked and actually put a hole in the side of it. Seemed a little brittle.
Anyway, I still cannot get it off and now I need a NEW VALVE COVER. Ahh! To make matters worse, I cannot find a replacement on this site. Please don't tell me that this is a dealer-only item.
Anyone else have tis issue? Any additional tip/trick, before I take this over to Fritz's so they can deal with it?
December 18, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: There has to be a fasteners you missed, I have never seen a valve cover that stuck. Locate the spot that will not come up, then check the area for the fasteners you missed.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find a valve cover. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
mack Comments: Hi Waywe -starting my 05 x5bmw caused the manifo cover to explode and broke about 12 " do you have any idea why? please help
December 16, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I've heard of this happening before - something to do with excess pressure in the system not being bled off? While I'm not familiar with the specifics of this problem, my first look would be at the radiator cap - it's supposed to regulate pressure in the cooling system. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Rob Comments: My valve cover has a hairline crak near one of it's bolts. I am not sure if this is causing the leak. Should I replace valve cylinder cover and if so where can I buy one cheap?
November 25, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: A crack inthe valve cover could cause an oil leak. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right part. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Gramonion Comments: I tackled this job today on my 2000 E38 728i! Thanks to these instructions it was fairly painless!! The job its self took a few hours, but saved me the cost of paying a mechanic!!
September 28, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Louie-G Comments: Louie-G again, do you need the sealer for the valve cover,or can you without.
September 17, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The BMW factory manuals say to use the sealant. I'm assuming it will leak without it? - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Louie -G Comments: It looked like you put anti-seize on valve cover before instal, why?
September 17, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It's not anti-seize, it's actually BMW factory valve cover sealant - to guard against leaks. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
jemiard Comments: Where can I find the baffle figure 16 or gasket for the baffle. Mine was very brittle and broke when I had the valve cover off.
September 9, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I'm not sure if that is available separately. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you figure out what you need. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
nitrousking Comments: I did this job today and now the car will not run. I have a 94 325i, the car was stumbling hard around 2500-3000 rpm so we checked the o2 it was bad pulled the coils to find oil saturated boots. In the article it shows two ground straps I only had one present when I disassembled today. The coils show spark, we are getting fuel, and no codes are being thrown by the computer, could a missing ground strap cause this and why would it run before and not now, I replaced eveything as it was assembled when the car was running.
August 27, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If your engine doesn’t start you’ll want to check the basics. Check spark, fuel injector pulse and fuel pressure, volume and quality. Once you figure out what is missing, it will be easier to diagnose.

With that said, if you have spark and fuel, I would assume the grounds are good. Check engine compression. You may hage a timing issue.

- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Mr.bimmer530i Comments: I posted here because I need this valve cover job done too and wondering maybe this causing shakes? Idk any ideas would help!.
August 16, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: if you think you have a misfire from an oil leak into the spark plug holes, remove the coils and inspect them for oil contamination. If any of the coils have engine oil on them, replace the valve cover gasket. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Mr.bimmer530i Comments: Hi, I have a 03' 530i I recently changed out all the coils and spark plugs on my car. Along with air filter fuel filter. Basically doing a tune up. After my car ran excellent as far as power but while idling usually only in.Drive sometimes in park or reverse. Never neutral car idles kinda low and shakes. But once put in neutral it goes back to normal. I've heard either vacuum leak,icv,maf,or o2 sensors. But Idk which it really is.. Any ideas? If this helps also my mpg gauge has been stuck not going all the way to 8mpg or usually not coming all the way back to above 40.. please help.. the shaking sucks at all stops..
August 16, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Sounds like you have an engine misfire. If the problem was not present before the tune up, inspect what you repaired. Check the intake air ducts for proper sealing and tightness, then remove the spark plugs and check if any of them are cracked or the electrode is damaged. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
bonny9278 Comments: hi, I have a 2000 bmw 528i I change the valve cover gasket becuase oil leak on my spark plug but 3 days later my car was doing the same thing oil leak again so what could be .. my mecahnic siad that my valve cover is not good becuase has a few craks, thank you
July 21, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: if the valve cover is cracked, you will have to replace it. It is also possible a gasket moved when you installed the valve cover. However, if a mechanic told you there are cracks, you might want to start there. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Paul Comments: Am doing de 325ci can you tell me de torque settings for the head cylinder
July 18, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would grab a repair manual. It will have the procedure, special tools and torque specs. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right manual. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
eztuner12 Comments: Hello
Can you please be more specific about the Permatex High-Temp RTV you used on this job or the best RTV sealant you recommend, perhaps a part # or color as gray, black, blue, clear, copper or red?
As I have read on a Parmatex sealants chart Gasket Maker Selector the High -Temp Red RTV Silicone Gasket Item # 81160 has a temperature range -65°F to 650F intermittent, Sensor-Safe High-Temp RTV Silicone Gasket Item # 81422 Temperature Range -65°F to 650F intermittent, Ultra Copper High-Temp RTV Silicone Gasket Temperature Range -75°F to 700°F intermittent.

Other sealant in the chart recommended for valve covers only reach a max temp of 500F.

These three sealants are recommended for Valve Covers. It is difficult to select one of these sealants without the experience, experience you have indeed.

I think that the right selection of a sealant is very important since this will assure a good job and not ruing the made effort just because the selection of a not proper sealant.

Thank you

Parmatex sealants chartGasket Maker SelectorLink:
http://www.permatex.com/documents/GasketMakerSelector.pdf
June 2, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Permatex® Ultra Rubber Gasket Sealant & Dressing is OK for sealing the metal engine seams where a rubber gasket is used. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right RTV. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
328i Comments: Sorry for the dumb question and Thanks for the guide m8, Do you have to remove the inlet manifold to do this job, in the pics its there at the start but later on its not.

April 23, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: No, you can leave the intake installed. It is shown that way because it was aproject vehicle at differing levels of disassembly. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
eztuner12 Comments: Greetings
I’m planning to do a Valve cover replacement gasket on a 1997 e36 M44 BMW since there is an oil leakage on the right side of the cover and dripping on the engine headers and I’m getting this burn-rubber smell thru my A/C vents when starting up the engine at mornings. As I see Pelican sells only the main gasket with no Spark plugs seals
1- Do I need this spark plug seals, if yes where can I get them?
2- Can you tell me the valve cover bolts sequence & torque in order to tight them back when placing the cover back?
3- This article is for 6 cylinders engine valve cover replacement gasket, where can I find a R&R for a 4 cylinders engine?
Advanced thank you for your time & broad help…
Cheers,
Richard
April 14, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Part number 09-0906-876-M16 shows the valve cover gasket and the spark plug seals that you need as well. I'm pretty sure this is the correct gasket set for your car. The tightening sequence for the cover should be criss-cross in increasing value. It's not like a head gasket, the order of tightening is less important here. The 4-cyl is very similar to the 6-cyl, this article should get you most of the way there. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
TOM E TIME Comments: Do you have a list of tools and sizing needed for the valve cover gasket change for 1999 328I
March 25, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Just the gasket? Should be just simple tools available in your basic toolset. Maybe you would need a flex-head socket set for hard-to-reach bolts in the rear. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Bill Comments: Wow! no mention of the torque??!! 9nm 89 inch poundswhich is more than I would have thought. It is enought to squash the rubber grommet pretty good.
March 10, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Torque specs can change over time and it can be hard to keep up with those changes. I would suggest grabbing the latest version of a repair manual for torque specs. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
cybertazer Comments: I just had spark plugs replaced on my 1996 328i BMW. I and the mechanic noticed a slow small leak. Now, I'm thinking the valve cover gasket needs to be replaced. Shouldn't the mechanic have checked into this better and contacted me first before putting the valve cover back on. Probably not a big problem if that's the source of the leak...but, I'm just curious before paying for labor again to remove valve cover again.
February 25, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes, that would have been the smart thing to do. Not all mechanics are cut from the same cloth though. If you're concerned about paying twice for labor, then you can simply buy the parts here at Pelican and do it yourself! The instructions here are pretty easy to follow. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
DB Comments: I'm doing a valve cover gasket R&R on my 95 525i. What is the tolerance for flatness on the valve cover? I checked the cover with a straight edge bar and I can see a couple of areas that are not perfectly flat.
Thanks
DB
January 29, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I'm not sure there is a spec from BMW on that. The seal that fits on top of the cylinder head and mates with the valve cover is quite compliant, so unless you have some serious warping, I doubt it would be an issue. Still, if you're concerned, you can have the cover flat-sanded on a bench grinder and that should take care of any deviations. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Rudy79 Comments: Hi,
I have a 2000 528i,the engine is making a ticking noise and I am thinking of replacing the hydraulic valve. Do you think that might be the problem?
January 25, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes, the ticking noise is most likely coming from a sticky lifter. The trouble is figuring out exactly which lifter is sticky, and also to make sure it's not the VANOS unit. I would try changing the viscosity of oil from heavy to light and then back, as that might help to raise pressure in the lifter and reduce the noise. That trick has worked in the past for me. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
BimmerIIIa Comments: Tackled this project today on my 1996 328i and the valve cover is plastic as to alloy and the spark plug coil wiring runs along the bottom to a quick disconnect. Which is quite nice. There is also a brown wire grounded from the coil wiring harness. I also notice that if you heat up the old gasket it is easier to remove especialy around the sprk plug area. The new gaskets are also taller than the then the old and that requires you to compress the new gasket. After market is he same as factory as I did compare as this was a question that I came across. Pictures added. Time once knowing gasket 3 hours and no back pains
December 11, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback and info. Glad we could help. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
randman Comments: Does anyone know the part # for the studs that the Valve Cover Cap Nuts 11-12-1-738-607 attach to? It has two different sized threads and a 10mm nut in the middle. It appears to be one solid piece. This is for the Cap Nut in the upper right as viewed from the passenger side wheel.
December 11, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Not a problem. Stud Bolt, 11-12-1-718-856, M 7/6x29,5. Simply type this part number into the search engine, and you can order it from there. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
bimmer girl Comments: i recently changed out the valve cover gasket. i used new spark plugs and the same wires. but, the check engine light is still on...should i have soaked up any oil that was left under the plugs? check engine light said misfires in cylinder 1 and 2 before gasket change. thanks
November 19, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You need to figure out what the code is that is triggering the lamp. You can use a standard off-the-shelf code reader to read the codes and reset the lamp. Then, see if it comes back on again and go from there. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Ryan Comments: I did this today on our 95 e36 325. It took me 4 hours non stop, my lower back hurts and I'm in my 20s and in good shape, so don't underestimate leaning over your engine for hours. I didn't have any power tools, and since my ratchet broke, I was using a t-handle to undo all the nuts, which is probably why it took me so long. In addition to the writeup, I'd like to add that you'll need a 9mm socket for 1 of the nuts for the grounding strap fig 13. On the very last 15th nut holding on the valve cover, I stripped the nut while trying to loosen with a socket, so with some good advice from a neighbor, I hammered on the 10mm socket over the nut and was able to get enough grip with the 6 point 10mm socket to loosen the nut. Those were the only problems I encountered. Easy task, just a lot of unscrewing nuts. Thanks for the great writeup as usual.
October 24, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback and info. Glad we could help. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
boostm3 Comments: When people speak about 'warped valve covers', are they referring to the fact that, over time, if overtorqued, the surface between the fastener holes is 'higher' than that directly around the holes?
October 8, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: When a valve cover warps, the area that is not bolted or secured to the cylinder head tends to move away from the cylinder head, warping. Creating an uneven sealing surface. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
ghyelde Comments: have a 2003 3-series. area under the windshield washer is quite close. can the tray over the valve cover be removed to make things easier, or do you just deal with it?

comment - i did replace a valve cover gasket on a 1995 325. the original gasket showed evidence of a sealer rtv? all around. i did the same with no leaks, though you appear to recommend dry, except in a few places?

glenn yeldezian
September 5, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You can use RTV, but don't go wild with it. In general, it's not needed, and if improperly applied, it can gum up the works. As for the stuff under the windscreen, yes, it's common to sometimes remove this to gain better access. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Wen Comments: My 2000 740IL BMW needs new valve cover gasket. I was able to replace the right side power steering reservoir side. I am now stuck with the other side air filter side. Looks like this side has no enough room to get the valve cover out. Would you please advice me what other parts need to be removed in order to get the left side valve cover out. Thank you very much in advance.
August 28, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If you remove the coils, and move the front airbox / MAF sensor out of the way, then there should only be a few more items in your way. I haven't done this replacement myself, but I have not heard that it's difficult. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Fritz Comments: Thanks for he advise Wayne. Unfortunately I have a gearwrench socket that won't fit. Gearwrench is one of the thinnest walls but still no luck. The room just isn't there. I am going by a machine shop to see if they can make it thinner. I'll keep you posted.
August 20, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Fritz Comments: Hi,

I have a 2003 e39 525i and need started the to replace my valve cover gasket which I thought would be straight forward since I have been working on bimmers for a while. On my engine it is hard to get a grip on the valve cover bolts that are located in clear a working areafront. I anm using craftman small 10mm but it won't seat with a few nuts. Any advice would be appreciated.
August 17, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I have a swivel-socket set that I use for just these circumstances. Also a set of GearWrenches would probably work well back on one or two of the nuts too. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
boostm3 Comments: Hey Wayne,
If you look at some of the supplementary pics for the valve cover gasket replacement job, you see the gasket on the cover has been slathered with a good amount of what looks like silicone rtv. Yet the procedure only mentions a few dabs according to oem specs... Are we to assume from the pics that using silicone over the entire mating surface should be tried with stubborn valve cover leaks?
July 29, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The few dabs refer to the spots in the rear near where the camshafts fit into the cover (see Figure 21 above). The valve cover gasket in the bonus photos have a very light coating of sealant on the edges - worked well in this case - no leaks! - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
boostm3 Comments: Update... I found the studs I need, and was able to unscrew the sheared one.. Part Number is 11121718856. Question is, how much torque do they get screwed into the head with? I cannot find this spec anywhere. I would think it has to be more than the 89 inch lbs the cap nuts go on with so that they stay put when the cap nuts are unscrewed, but the exact amount I cant find.. Anybody?
July 27, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The torque value doesn't quite matter with this, I typically crank them in as tight as I can get them in there. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
boostm3 Comments: Well, after my valve cover gasket replacement about 3 mos ago, I kept leaking by the rearmost left side cap nut.. So Ive been adding a little trq to it each time I saw it leaking, and tonight, it sheared off.. So, whats the procedure to replace it, and what part do I need? The etk doesnt show it really well.. thanks.
July 27, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: 11-12-1-738-607 is the nut, 11-12-1-437-395 is the grommet/seal. You'll have to take off the valve cover again and extract that broken screw with an extractor, or if you're lucky, just a pair of vice-grips. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Bill Comments: Thank you for such a great site. Your technical articles are very informative with priceless photos. It is also a pleasure doing business with you.
February 19, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Eric M Comments: Tony,

I'm not a mechanic, however my previous engine did not have that black, plastic cover. Oil can shhot up toward the oil cap, and cause the cap to leak. This black cover prevents oil from hitting the oil cap, thus allowing reduced to no leakage to occur. I ended up having to get a used engine, and this engine had that black cover in place. Keep the cover, don't discard it.

Eric M
February 7, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the input on this one. We appreciate the help. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Tony39 Comments: My 94 325 Has a black, plasic cover running the length of the intake cam. It snaps on/ off. I don't see one in these photos. Is this something I can discard? what is it's purpose? Thank you
January 22, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: That is a baffle to contain oil. Do not remove it. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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