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M54 6-Cylinder Engine Valve Cover Replacement
 

Pelican Technical Article:

M54 6-Cylinder Engine Valve Cover Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$200

Talent:

****

Tools:

Set of sockets, wrenches, screwdrivers

Applicable Models:

BMW X3 Sport Utility (2004-06)

Parts Required:

Valve cover gasket, valve cover fastener sealing grommets, RTV (silicone sealant)

Hot Tip:

Work with a cool engine

Performance Gain:

Repair oil leaks

Complementary Modification:

Change engine oil and filter. Change spark plugs

The BMW E83 X3 6-cylinder M54 engine cylinder head is covered with a plastic cylinder head cover, also known as the valve cover. The ignition coils are mounted in the top surface of the valve cover and the spark plugs are installed in deep wells in the valve cover, one spark plug beneath each ignition coil. The electrical harness to the ignition coils is routed along the top of the valve cover as well. The crankcase breather hose is clipped to the front left of the valve cover.

The valve cover gasket is one of the most common places to have an oil leak. If you have an oil leak down the exhaust side or front of your engine, start at the top and replace the valve cover gasket. When the valve cover gasket leaks, it can create quite a mess and seem much worse than it is.

On M54 6-cylinder models, engine oil can also leak into the spark plug holes in the cylinder head, contaminating the ignition coil boot. You will have to repair the oil leak and replace the ignition coil boot (or ignition coil). Inspect the valve cover itself once the gasket has been removed. In particular, the plastic ones can crack from heat or impacts. I sometimes find cracks around the grommet sealing holes. If you find a crack, you will have to replace the valve cover.

Keep in mind that when your car was serviced before, parts may have been replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have, so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches.

Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. If working with the electrical system, disconnect the battery before beginning. Always catch fluids in appropriate containers and properly dispose of any fluid waste. Recycle parts, packaging and fluids when possible. Never work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability.

Our vehicle may vary slightly from yours as models do change and evolve as they grow older. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

The ignition coil cover, the intake manifold cover and the intake air duct (blue arrows) all need to be removed in order to gain access to the valve cover.
Figure 1

The ignition coil cover, the intake manifold cover and the intake air duct (blue arrows) all need to be removed in order to gain access to the valve cover. Remove the engine covers and microfilter housing. See our tech article on engine cover removing. The secondary air pump (red arrow) should also be removed. See our tech article on secondary air pump replacing.

Remove the intake air duct from the radiator support.
Figure 2

Remove the intake air duct from the radiator support. Start by removing the four T25 Torx screws (red arrows).

Next you will unclip the five air filter housing retaining clips.
Figure 3

Next you will unclip the five air filter housing retaining clips. Lift them up and unhook from the lid of the intake air housing. Start with the two near the mass air flow sensor. Then release the front clips (red arrows).

Once you release all the clips, lift the intake air duct (blue arrow) and pull it out of the air filter housing lid (red arrow).
Figure 4

Once you release all the clips, lift the intake air duct (blue arrow) and pull it out of the air filter housing lid (red arrow).

Working at the top of intake manifold, locate the oxygen sensor connectors.
Figure 5

Working at the top of intake manifold, locate the oxygen sensor connectors. Remove (red arrow) both square connectors out of the mounting bracket and lay them aside. Front connector shown, repeat for rear connector.

Then pull the other two oxygen sensor connectors (red arrow) out of the mounting brackets and lay the harness aside.
Figure 6

Then pull the other two oxygen sensor connectors (red arrow) out of the mounting brackets and lay the harness aside. Front connector shown, repeat for rear connector.

Pull the oxygen sensor harnesses out of the mounting clip at the rear of the intake manifold.
Figure 7

Pull the oxygen sensor harnesses out of the mounting clip at the rear of the intake manifold. Then locate the wire tie (red arrow) and cut it. Be sure to install a new wire tie when reinstalling the harness.

Working at the front left corner of the valve cover, disconnect the breather hose (blue arrow) by squeezing the collar and pulling it straight off.
Figure 8

Working at the front left corner of the valve cover, disconnect the breather hose (blue arrow) by squeezing the collar and pulling it straight off.

Working at the right strut tower, open the jump start terminal cover.
Figure 9

Working at the right strut tower, open the jump start terminal cover. Then loosen and remove the 19mm nut, then remove the cable from the junction.

Open all six ignition coil electrical connectors (red arrows) by lifting the connector (blue arrow) up 90°.
Figure 10

Open all six ignition coil electrical connectors (red arrows) by lifting the connector (blue arrow) up 90 degrees, pulling up to break it free from the spark plug. The ignition coil rubber boot can become stuck to the spark plug over time. Do this for all six ignition coils.

Working at the center of the valve cover, remove the 8mm and ground strap nuts (red arrows) from the valve cover fastener.
Figure 11

Working at the center of the valve cover, remove the 8mm and ground strap nuts (red arrows) from the valve cover fastener. Then remove the grounds from the studs (inset).

Next, remove the ignition coil wiring harness housing from the valve cover.
Figure 12

Next, remove the ignition coil wiring harness housing from the valve cover. Release the two clips (red arrows) while lifting up. Once detached, lay the harness aside. If needed, use a flathead screwdriver to lever the clips free (inset)

Continue to remove the oxygen sensor wiring harness from the valve cover by detaching it at the rear (red arrow).
Figure 13

Continue to remove the oxygen sensor wiring harness from the valve cover by detaching it at the rear (red arrow).

Pull the oxygen sensor wires and mounting clips (red arrows) off the valve cover.
Figure 14

Pull the oxygen sensor wires and mounting clips (red arrows) off the valve cover.

Next, pull the oxygen sensor harness (blue arrow) out of the plastic mount on the valve cover (red arrow); Front mount shown, repeat for rear mount.
Figure 15

Next, pull the oxygen sensor harness (blue arrow) out of the plastic mount on the valve cover (red arrow); Front mount shown, repeat for rear mount.

Remove the fifteen 10mm valve cover fasteners (red arrows).
Figure 16

Remove the fifteen 10mm valve cover fasteners (red arrows).

For the rear fasteners, use a long extension and work through the cabin filter flap (red arrow).
Figure 17

For the rear fasteners, use a long extension and work through the cabin filter flap (red arrow). Then for the rear corner fastener, use a 10mm deep socket on the ratchet, clearance near the A/C lines demands it.

This photo shows the fifteen 10mm valve cover fastener (red arrows) locations.
Figure 18

This photo shows the fifteen 10mm valve cover fastener (red arrows) locations.

Lift the valve cover off the cylinder head.
Figure 19

Lift the valve cover off the cylinder head. It should not be stuck to the cylinder head. If it is stuck, check that you didn't miss a fastener. If needed, gently lever the corner using a large flathead screwdriver or small prybar (red arrow).

Lift the valve cover off the cylinder head and slide it forward as you clear the rear harnesses from the mounts (red arrows).
Figure 20

Lift the valve cover off the cylinder head and slide it forward as you clear the rear harnesses from the mounts (red arrows).

Lift the valve cover off the cylinder head and slide it forward as you clear the rear harnesses from the mounts.
Figure 21

Lift the valve cover off the cylinder head and slide it forward as you clear the rear harnesses from the mounts. Then remove (red arrow).

Once the valve cover has been removed, check for remnants of the gasket on the cylinder head (red arrow).
Figure 22

Once the valve cover has been removed, check for remnants of the gasket on the cylinder head (red arrow). If left behind, these pieces can break the valve cover when tightening it.

Once the valve cover has been removed, pull the valve cover gasket out of the valve cover.
Figure 23

Once the valve cover has been removed, pull the valve cover gasket out of the valve cover. Then thoroughly clean the valve cover-sealing groove. Remove the sealing grommets from the valve cover fasteners and replace with new. Install a new valve cover gasket into the sealing groove in the valve cover.

Then apply a small amount of RTV to the seams at the VANOS actuator (green arrows) and cylinder head.
Figure 24

Then apply a small amount of RTV to the seams at the VANOS actuator (green arrows) and cylinder head.

Then apply a small amount of RTV to the points at the camshaft openings at the rear of (red arrows) the cylinder head.
Figure 25

Then apply a small amount of RTV to the points at the camshaft openings at the rear of (red arrows) the cylinder head. Place the valve cover on the cylinder head and install all the fasteners finger tight. Then tighten the fasteners in a cross-cross pattern. Reinstall the ignition coils and install and route the wiring harness as previously installed. Start and idle the engine. Inspect the valve cover and surrounding areas for oil leaks. Once complete, reinstall the engine covers.


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Page last updated: Sun 12/17/2017 03:11:02 AM