If you are like me, then it is important that your engine be detailed
as well as the rest of your car. That in mind, I decided to go over the
steps involved in painting the valve cover on the E30 3 Series BMW. The
valve cover on these cars looks to be just a piece of unfinished cast
aluminum. In my opinion, this can look better. In this article I will go
over the steps involved in painting the valve cover. Keep in mind that this
article is written using my 325is as the example, however the procedures
here can be used for nearly every car on the road.
looking at the motors on the later E36 3 series M50 engines with the black
valve covers, I instantly began to plan out how to get my valve cover
looking like that. With the engine cool, the first step is to remove the
valve cover. This is done by first removing the intake manifold support
bracket. Two 10mm bolts into the intake manifold and two 10mm bolts into the
valve cover hold the bracket on. Once you remove the bracket, remove the
eight 10mm nuts around the perimeter of the valve cover. Take off the oil
filler cap and remove the valve cover from the engine.
we start painting, we need to prep the valve cover. Start out by first
wiping up all the excess oil on the outside and inside of the cover. Next,
use a good degreaser on the cover and let it sit for 15 minutes. I usually
use Gunk (keep in mind to do this is a well-ventilated area as Gunk is
terrible smelling) after letting it sit for a while, use a brush to remove
any caked on grease or oil. Just try to get it as clean as possible. Rinse
off the degreaser and dry it with either compressed air or paper towels. Now
let the cover air-dry.
use some acetone on a rag and wipe the outside of the valve cover. Most
acetone brands contain xylene, which is a great cleaning agent. The xylene
will also take off all the cosmoline on the cover. Cosmoline is that
yellowish film that you most likely will see in other arrears of the engine
as well. This stuff was originally a protective sealant that BMW sprayed all
over the cars when they were being shipped to the US. Most dealers never
took the time to remove it from the engine components. Donít worry,
cosmoline wonít hurt anything, but after years of being on there without
removal, it has most likely baked itself onto the valve cover. An acetone
with xylene will eat right through it.
clean the valve cover good, we want to get this as clean as possible, so the
paint will adhere. If you think itís clean, clean it one more time to be
sure. Now let the valve cover sit for 15 minuets to let all the acetone
we are ready to paint. I used Wurth High Temp Black Paint. This is the best
spray paint I have ever used, period. This stuff flows smoothly, adheres
great, does not run and dries quickly. Plus, it leaves a textured finished
that is almost the same as on the M50 motors. Now, lay down some newspapers
or a tarp to protect from overspray. I then put the valve cover on top of a
baking tray. (In reality you could use just about anything, however the
reason I used the baking tray will become apparent in a moment)
Place the valve
cover and baking tray on the newspapers. The reason we donít place the
valve cover directly on the newspaper is to prevent the papers from sticking
to the cover once paint is applied. Now, grab the can of Wurth and shake it
for two minutes. (The label says shake for one minute, but hey, it canít
hurt.) Next, hold the can about 6 to 10 inches away from the cover and begin
spraying light even strokes across the cover. Once you have painted one
stroke across, move the can slightly upward and slightly overlap the first
stroke. Do this until you have covered the valve cover.
to the kitchen now and pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees F. and open ALL the
windows in the kitchen. Carefully pick up the baking tray and place it in
the oven. Keep it in there for about 10 minutes. This will cure the first
coat. Keep in mind that curing this in the oven will give off a bad smell
that will linger around for an hour or two.
use some oven mitts (Use old one, the wife or girlfriend will appreciate it)
and take the baking tray out and let it cool for 5 minutes. Now re-apply the
second and third coats using the same procedure as above. Then throw it back
in the oven for 10 minutes and let it cure.
10 minutes, take the valve cover out and let the paint dry fully overnight.
In the next step, we will remove the paint from the raised ribs and letters
on the valve cover. Get some razor blades, and very carefully start to
scrape the paint off the raised sections of the valve cover. This will take
some time as the Wurth dries very thick. Donít worry if it looks bad with
the paint removed, we are going to polish the aluminum and get it really
shiny like chrome.
the paint is all removed, get some 400 grit wet/dry sandpaper and a bowl of
water. Now dip the sandpaper in the water and using light pressure, lightly
sand the raised portions. Sand until you get a uniform surface and shine.
Next, use progressively finer and finer grits of sandpaper, dip them in the
water and polish until you get it nice and shiny. The last step is to get a
good metal polish like Wenol or Blue Magic (some people even swear by
toothpaste!) and polish the raised sections. Be prepared to spend a lot of
time doing this. But keep in mind that a quality job is directly
proportional to the amount of time put into it. Keep polishing til it shines
Once finished, clean up
the residual polish and re-install the valve cover.
Well, there you have it - it's
really not too difficult at all. If you would like
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