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M62 Engine Upper Timing Cover Gasket and VANOS Solenoid Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

M62 Engine Upper Timing Cover Gasket and VANOS Solenoid Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$200

Talent:

****

Tools:

Set of sockets 10mm, 13mm, VANOS socket, wrenches, screwdrivers

Applicable Models:

BMW X5 Sport Utility (2000-06)

Parts Required:

VANOS solenoid, o-ring, valve cover gasket, valve cover bolt set, Upper timing cover gaskets, RTV (silicone sealant)

Hot Tip:

Have plastic scraper on hand to clean old gasket material from cylinder head

Performance Gain:

Repair oil leaks

Complementary Modification:

Replace valve cover gaskets

The BMW E53 M62 8-cylinder engine is a V-style engine. This means that the camshafts have to be connected to maintain proper engine timing. This is done via a timing chain that runs across the front of the engine. The timing chain is housed behind aluminum covers sealed with rubber profile gaskets.

The upper timing cover gasket is one of the most common places to have an oil leak on your BMW E53. If you have an oil leak down the front of your engine, inspect the VANOS seals and the upper timing cover gaskets. When the upper timing cover gasket leaks, it can create quite a mess and seem much worse than it is.

The BMW M62 engines utilize two VANOS (variable camshaft timing) solenoids -- one for each side of the engine, mounted to the front of the cylinder head. They are responsible for direct oil flow to the VANOS actuator and can become restricted over time on high mileage engines. You can clean or replace the solenoids quite easily if needed. Once removed, you can try to clean them and see if your issues go away. See the end of this tech article for notes on VANOS solenoid replacing. You will need a special socket, so read through the procedure before you begin.

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 you're 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.

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

Disconnect the battery negative cable. See our tech article on battery replacing.

Remove engine covers. See our tech article on removing engine covers.

The upper timing covers can be viewed with the engine covers on (red arrows).
Figure 1

The upper timing covers can be viewed with the engine covers on (red arrows). Note the oil residue from the leaks on my subject vehicle. The VANOS solenoids are also right in plain view (yellow arrows).

First, we have to remove the intake air duct that runs from the throttle housing (yellow arrow) to the mass airflow sensor (green arrow).
Figure 2

First, we have to remove the intake air duct that runs from the throttle housing (yellow arrow) to the mass airflow sensor (green arrow).

Working at the fresh air intake, remove the four plastic rivets (green arrows).
Figure 3

Working at the fresh air intake, remove the four plastic rivets (green arrows). Use a pair of pliers (inset) to remove the center rivet. Once all the center rivets have been removed, pull the duct up to detach it from the vehicle.

Then lift the duct up on the left side while detaching it from the duct (green arrow) on the right side.
Figure 4

Then lift the duct up on the left side while detaching it from the duct (green arrow) on the right side.

Working at the mass airflow sensor, loosen the hose clamp using a flathead screwdriver (green arrow).
Figure 5

Working at the mass airflow sensor, loosen the hose clamp using a flathead screwdriver (green arrow).

Working at the throttle housing duct, loosen the hose clamp using a flathead screwdriver (green arrow).
Figure 6

Working at the throttle housing duct, loosen the hose clamp using a flathead screwdriver (green arrow).

Next, you will have to rotate the throttle-housing duct up toward the left side of the vehicle in the direction of the green arrow.
Figure 7

Next, you will have to rotate the throttle-housing duct up toward the left side of the vehicle in the direction of the green arrow. This will detach it from the mass airflow sensor. Once detached from the mass airflow sensor, pull the duct off the throttle housing. There are two small hoses you have to disconnect in the following step. Be careful not to damage them during this step.

Working at the bottom of the intake air duct, detach the plastic line by squeezing the release collar (green arrows) while pulling the line off the duct.
Figure 8

Working at the bottom of the intake air duct, detach the plastic line by squeezing the release collar (green arrows) while pulling the line off the duct. Then pull the vacuum hose (yellow arrow) straight off the duct to remove it.

When removing the duct, be sure not to misplace the rubber duct seal (green arrow).
Figure 9

When removing the duct, be sure not to misplace the rubber duct seal (green arrow). The seal will either stay inside the duct or remain attached to the throttle housing.

Remove the engine cooling fan and shroud.
Figure 10

Remove the engine cooling fan and shroud. See our tech article on engine cooling fan replacing.

To make room for the upper timing covers to be removed, the secondary air pipe (green arrows) has to be pulled out of the cylinder heads.
Figure 11

To make room for the upper timing covers to be removed, the secondary air pipe (green arrows) has to be pulled out of the cylinder heads. Start by removing the secondary air valve vacuum hose (blue arrow). Then follow the pipe to the cylinder heads and remove the 10mm fastener (yellow arrows) at each side of the pipe. Once the fasteners are removed, pull the pipe straight out of the cylinder head.

Next, you have to remove the secondary air solenoid and vacuum reservoir.
Figure 12

Next, you have to remove the secondary air solenoid and vacuum reservoir. Start by removing the 10mm fastener (yellow arrow). Then disconnect the electrical connector by pressing the release tab and pulling it straight off. Then follow the vacuum hose from the solenoid to the reservoir (green arrow) and disconnect it. Then remove the solenoid from the engine. Remove the 10mm fastener at the vacuum reservoir.

Unplug the camshaft sensor electrical connector (green arrow) by pressing the release tab and pulling it straight out.
Figure 13

Unplug the camshaft sensor electrical connector (green arrow) by pressing the release tab and pulling it straight out. Then disconnect the knock sensor (red arrow) electrical connector by pulling it straight out. Once the connectors are unplugged, remove the vacuum reservoir from the engine. Move to the right side of the engine and disconnect the knock and camshaft sensor electrical connectors.

When removing the vacuum reservoir, detach the hard plastic line from the holder (red arrow).
Figure 14

When removing the vacuum reservoir, detach the hard plastic line from the holder (red arrow). Then lift the reservoir (green arrow) up and pull it off the mounting tab (yellow arrow).

Next, you have to disconnect the ignition coils and remove the wiring harness housing on each side of the engine.
Figure 15

Next, you have to disconnect the ignition coils and remove the wiring harness housing on each side of the engine. Start by removing the 10mm mounting nuts (green arrows). The front nuts have already been removed when the solenoid and vacuum reservoir were removed. Remove the remaining rear fasteners. Then remove the 10mm nut for the ignition coil ground (red arrow). Then disconnect each ignition coil (yellow arrows) by sliding the lock up and pulling the connector out of the coil. The left side is shown. Repeat these steps for the right side.

The fuel injector harness is part of the housing and has to be removed next.
Figure 16

The fuel injector harness is part of the housing and has to be removed next. The harness is one solid plastic connector with individual connectors for each fuel injector. There are wire clips that hold the harness onto each fuel injector. You can disconnect each wire clip. Then pull the harness up off the fuel injectors. I like to use an alternative method. Use a small pry bar and lever between the harness (red arrows) and the fuel rail. When doing this, you have to use one swift action to disconnect the harness. Lever each connector off in the area of the red arrows. Be careful when using this method. If you lever at an angle or force an injector to move, you may damage a fuel injector. If a clip won't release, use a small pick to remove the wire retainer (inset). The left side is shown. Repeat these steps for the right side.

Move to the rear of the left side electrical housing.
Figure 17

Move to the rear of the left side electrical housing. Locate the battery cable and remove it from the mount (red arrow).

Confirm that the left side of the electrical housing can be lifted and is free from all connections.
Figure 18

Confirm that the left side of the electrical housing can be lifted and is free from all connections. Let it rest on the engine. There are a few connectors on the right side remaining before we will move this out of our way.

Move to the right front of the engine.
Figure 19

Move to the right front of the engine. Disconnect the VANOS solenoid and coolant temp sensor electrical connectors (red arrows). Then remove the engine oil dipstick (yellow arrow).

Move the wiring harness (yellow arrow) from the engine side of the dipstick tube (red arrow).
Figure 20

Move the wiring harness (yellow arrow) from the engine side of the dipstick tube (red arrow). Then reinstall the dipstick.

Move the wiring harnesses (red arrows) to the right side of the engine and place it out of the way.
Figure 21

Move the wiring harnesses (red arrows) to the right side of the engine and place it out of the way. If needed, cut the zip tie at the rear of the harness (green arrow) to allow for movement. Just remember to replace the zip tie when reassembling. Remove the valve covers. See our tech article on valve covers replacing.

The following steps will illustrate how to remove each upper timing cover.
Figure 22

The following steps will illustrate how to remove each upper timing cover. Then notes on installing will follow. I will show how to replace the left side cover first. Then describe and show some of the differences for the right side. They are similar. Working at the left side of the engine, pull the purge solenoid straight up out of the mounting bracket (red arrow). Do not attempt to remove the right side cover without reading the entire procedure, as the timing chain tensioner has to be removed and there is a slight variation with the fasteners.

Then disconnect the purge solenoid and VANOS solenoid electrical connectors (red arrows).
Figure 23

Then disconnect the purge solenoid and VANOS solenoid electrical connectors (red arrows). Press the release tab and pull the connector straight off. Then remove the wire out of the mount (green arrow).

Then disconnect the purge solenoid supply line (green arrow) by squeezing the collar and pulling the line straight off.
Figure 24

Then disconnect the purge solenoid supply line (green arrow) by squeezing the collar and pulling the line straight off. Place the purge solenoid aside and out of the way.

Working under the purge solenoid-mounting bracket, remove the wire out of the mount (green arrow).
Figure 25

Working under the purge solenoid-mounting bracket, remove the wire out of the mount (green arrow).

Working at the front of the timing cover, remove the 5mm camshaft sensor-mounting fastener (red arrow).
Figure 26

Working at the front of the timing cover, remove the 5mm camshaft sensor-mounting fastener (red arrow). Then remove the camshaft sensor from the timing cover (inset). Next, you will have to remove the VANOS seal (green arrow).

Working at the VANOS solenoid, remove the two 10mm seal fasteners (green arrows).
Figure 27

Working at the VANOS solenoid, remove the two 10mm seal fasteners (green arrows). Then lever the seal out using a flathead screwdriver.

Working at the front of the timing cover, remove the six 10mm fasteners (red arrows).
Figure 28

Working at the front of the timing cover, remove the six 10mm fasteners (red arrows).

Remove the timing cover (red arrow) toward the radiator until it clears the VANOS solenoid.
Figure 29

Remove the timing cover (red arrow) toward the radiator until it clears the VANOS solenoid. Then remove it from the engine. Remove the gasket and clean the cover and gasket surfaces.

If you need to replace the right side cover, before removing the cover fasteners, the timing chain tensioner has to be removed.
Figure 30

If you need to replace the right side cover, before removing the cover fasteners, the timing chain tensioner has to be removed. Start by disconnecting all the electrical connectors, similar to the left side. Then working between the timing cover (red arrow) and the a/c compressor (green arrow), remove the timing chain tensioner (yellow arrow).

Use a 19mm wrench (red arrow) to loosen the tensioner.
Figure 31

Use a 19mm wrench (red arrow) to loosen the tensioner. Then unscrew it by hand.

Remove the tensioner (red arrow) from the engine.
Figure 32

Remove the tensioner (red arrow) from the engine. Be prepared to catch dripping oil in a rag. The tensioner has three parts, the cap (blue arrow), the washer (yellow arrow), and the tensioner (green arrow). Note the assembly order for reinstallation. Once the tensioner is removed, remove the 10mm fastener for the dipstick tube. Then remove the six 10mm timing cover fasteners. The lower right side fastener will stay in the cover as you remove it. It doesn't clear the a/c compressor.

Thoroughly clean the timing cover.
Figure 33

Thoroughly clean the timing cover. Then install new gaskets. Clean the cylinder head gasket surface. Apply RTV to the timing cover gaps at the front of each cylinder head (red arrows) and at the bottom where the timing cover joins the lower timing cover. Reassemble the engine in the reverse order of removal and check the engine for oil and coolant leaks.

VANOS Solenoid: To replace a VANOS solenoid, see the above for removing the VANOS solenoid seal.
Figure 34

VANOS Solenoid: To replace a VANOS solenoid, see the above for removing the VANOS solenoid seal. Once the seal is removed, use a thin wall 30mm socket to remove the solenoid (red arrow). Note the difference between a standard 30mm socket (green arrow) and a thin wall version (yellow arrow). You will need this style of socket to get the solenoid out. The right side is shown. The left side is similar.

VANOS Solenoid: Unscrew the VANOS solenoid from the engine.
Figure 35

VANOS Solenoid: Unscrew the VANOS solenoid from the engine. Once removed, you can try to clean the solenoid or replace it with a new one. Reverse the steps for installing the new solenoid. The right side is shown. The left side is similar.

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Page last updated: Fri 12/9/2016 02:46:27 AM