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S54 Engine Valve Cover Gasket Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

S54 Engine Valve Cover Gasket Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$200

Talent:

****

Tools:

Set of sockets, wrenches, screwdrivers

Applicable Models:

BMW E46 M3 Coupe/Conv (2001-06)
BMW Z4 Coupe/Conv (2006-08)

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 Z4M 6-cylinder S54 engine cylinder head is covered with an aluminum cylinder head cover, also known as the valve cover. The ignition coils are installed to 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 is mounted to the top 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 S54 6-cylinder models, engine oil can't leak into the spark plug holes in the cylinder head, like other models. This is due to the spark plug sleeves being mounted into the cylinder head and sealed at the base.

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 include your vehicle information.

The BMW Z4M 6-cylinder S54 engine cylinder head is covered with an aluminum cylinder head cover, also known as the valve cover.
Figure 1

The BMW Z4M 6-cylinder S54 engine cylinder head is covered with an aluminum cylinder head cover, also known as the valve cover. The ignition coils are installed to 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 is mounted to the top of the valve cover. There is a plastic cover (red arrow) hiding all the electronics and parts associated with the cylinder head. This is not the valve cover.

Start by removing the crankcase breather hose.
Figure 2

Start by removing the crankcase breather hose. Disconnect the electrical connector (inset) by pressing the wire release and pulling the connector straight off. Then lift the solenoid (green arrow) up and out of the mounting bracket. Next, detach the breather hoses from the intake and breather (red arrows).

To remove the breather hoses, squeeze the collar and pull straight up.
Figure 3

To remove the breather hoses, squeeze the collar and pull straight up.

Place breather hose and solenoid aside (green arrow).
Figure 4

Place breather hose and solenoid aside (green arrow). You can leave the rubber hose attached. It only has to be moved enough to make room for the engine cover to come out.

Remove the six 10mm engine cover fasteners (red arrows).
Figure 5

Remove the six 10mm engine cover fasteners (red arrows). Then remove the oil filler cap (green arrow).

Lift and remove the engine cover.
Figure 6

Lift and remove the engine cover.

Locate the oxygen sensor electrical connectors at the rear of the cylinder head.
Figure 7

Locate the oxygen sensor electrical connectors at the rear of the cylinder head. Label or mark the wiring harness to aide during reinstallation. I suggest replacing one sensor at a time so you do not mix up connectors. Bank 1 Sensor 1, red arrow. Bank 2 Sensor 1, purple arrow. Press the release tab and pull the electrical apart (inset).

Unclip and lift up the wiring harness housing.
Figure 8

Unclip and lift up the wiring harness housing. Squeeze the tabs (red arrows) and flip up. Then remove the electrical connector for the sensor you are replacing from the holder. Disconnect the electrical connector by pulling it straight apart (inset).

Continue to remove the oxygen sensor wiring harness from the valve cover by detaching it at the rear (red arrow).
Figure 9

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

Working at the side of the cylinder head, remove the 13mm engine harness ground fastener (red arrow).
Figure 10

Working at the side of the cylinder head, remove the 13mm engine harness ground fastener (red arrow).

Unlock the ignition coil electrical connectors (blue arrows) by pulling the tab up 90 degrees and slide the electrical connector out of the ignition coil.
Figure 11

Unlock the ignition coil electrical connectors (blue arrows) by pulling the tab up 90 degrees and slide the electrical connector out of the ignition coil. Then, remove the two 8mm ignition harness fasteners (red arrows). Lift up and remove the harness and holder from cylinder head, lay it to the side.

Next, remove the 17mm oil line banjo bolt (red arrow).
Figure 12

Next, remove the 17mm oil line banjo bolt (red arrow). Place a rag under the bolt when removing to catch dripping oil. Seal the line once removed and replace the sealing washers when reinstalling.

Remove the ignition coil from the cylinder head by pulling it straight up (red arrows).
Figure 13

Remove the ignition coil from the cylinder head by pulling it straight up (red arrows). If the coil resists, twist it when pulling up to break it free from the spark plug. The ignition coil rubber boot can become stuck to the spark plug over time. You can also use a flathead screwdriver to lever the coil up and out of the cylinder head. Be very careful using this method as the coil is made of plastic and easily damaged.

Remove the fifteen 10mm valve cover fasteners (red arrows).
Figure 14

Remove the fifteen 10mm valve cover fasteners (red arrows). Be sure to separate the grommets and the washers (blue arrow). Replace the grommets when reinstalling.

Lift the valve cover off the cylinder head.
Figure 15

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. You may need to use a plastic scraper to free the front portion due to sealant used on the timing cover seam.

Lift the valve cover off the cylinder head.
Figure 16

Lift the valve cover off the cylinder head.

Remove the spark plug tube seals (red arrows) and replace with new.
Figure 17

Remove the spark plug tube seals (red arrows) and replace with new. Clean the sealing surfaces before installing new seals.

Use a plastic scraper to break the bond between the valve cover gasket and the timing cover seam (red arrow).
Figure 18

Use a plastic scraper to break the bond between the valve cover gasket and the timing cover seam (red arrow).

Pull the valve cover gasket off the cylinder head.
Figure 19

Pull the valve cover gasket off the cylinder head. Be sure to guide each rubber tab (red arrow) out of the clips (blue arrow). If one of the clips accidentally pop off the rocker shaft, clip it back on to the shaft, guiding the opening of the clip over the shaft. When installing, be sure the tabs on gasket are inserted into the opening in each clip. This ensures proper gasket alignment.

Thoroughly clean the valve cover sealing surface.
Figure 20

Thoroughly clean the valve cover sealing surface. Remove the sealing grommets from the valve cover fasteners and replace with new. Apply a small amount of RTV to the seams at the VANOS actuator / timing cover (red arrow) and cylinder head, left side shown, repeat for right side. Install a new valve cover gasket onto 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 cover.

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Page last updated: Fri 12/2/2016 03:04:06 AM