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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-24-2009, 02:58 PM Thread Starter
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e36grant's misshift saga DIY

Greetings members of bimmerwerkz.com

Long read, so if you just want to skip to the log and the questions, scroll down to the red text.

I'm not experienced at all in working with cars, nevermind BMW's, and this is my first car AND first car to have worked on. It's a 1994 325iC and I love it to bits. I've DIY'd a number of various problems having access to tools which include replacing the rear trailing arm, bearing, and axle - oil filter housing gasket, valve cover gasket and fan delete mod.

Now 3 or 4 weeks ago, a terrible thing happened. I did the dreaded moneyshift. I was in 4th on the highway anywhere inbetween 80-100km/h, when I was passing someone. I went to drop into 3rd, but it went into 1st. I tried to correct myself and it somehow went into 1st again. Pegged the rev limiter for a number of seconds, enough for the tires to lock up.

I was under alot of stress at the time and very distracted, with music going, windows shut, etc. I know I didn't NEED to go into 3rd or pass someone, but live and learn.

Anyway, all seemed good the rest of the way home, until when I went to pull up my driveway,
my car sounded like it was going to stall, but the rpms were steady 700 idle. It sounded like a cammed out v8, not smooth at all. The entire car rumbles very hard, you can even see the exhaust shaking a good deal, and the whole motor. No weird sounds came from the motor though. It revved up freely.

I spoke to some local people who are handy with cars and they said it sounded like it skipped timing. I posted over on bimmerforums and they said it sounded like bent valves.

Being so short on money, and knowing someone who is very mechanically inclined who can help me out and let me use all his tools, I'm deciding to DIY.

I know that I'm going to need to pull the head and get a head gasket kit. and from there on I'm not sure what to expect.

so from here on I'm going to update on my DIY. I've never done anything like this, I've read up on it and alot of it confuses me, so here we go!


Pulled the tstat housing and the rad out. going to go for an aluminum housing and some new hoses. There is also a broken bolt on the tstat which doesn't have a tight seal.

Labeled and disconnected all the hoses / injectors and wrestled the intake manifold off. Seals look in great shape but I better still get the kit. The metal intake throttle also had alot of crap in it, so I bought an air filter cleaning kit for my cone filter. All valves in intake look in great shape as far as I can see.

Pulled the coil packs out. To my surprise the wells were filled to the top with clear oily liquid. Probably coolant.. I'm pretty sure the head gasket is GONE, because I was recently in there and it had a BIT of oil in it.

Next, the sparkplugs come out. Last time I checked they were in great shape. now they are all black.

Now the valve cover comes off. I pulled the vanos off, but now I'm worried that it will have an effect on the timing without putting the engine in tdc.

This is the part that has me very worried. I realize all these special tools I need.

Is the camshaft locking tool really necessary?
Can something else be used to lock the flywheel?
Can valves be inspected for being bent without pulling the cams
I read up on "protractor torquing" what does this apply to?
Can valves be replaced without pulling the cams?
Can I disconnect the main timing chain without taking the cam timing chain off?
Did I mess up by pulling the vanos off without tdc?
While I'm stuck on this, I tried to remove the exhaust. One one header, the nuts were different sizes. They stripped but I managed to get them off with the impact gun.

The second header, 2 nuts stripped. I MAY have not been using the right size socket, but I'm pretty sure I was. There's barley any area to work under there and I'm wondering how I'm going to get the stripped one off, and the hidden one behind the pipe.

Should all the exhaust nuts be the same size?
What size of socket do they take?
How will I get the rounded one off?

That's it for now. Am I in over my head?? (even though I know I am), will you guys be able to answer my questions that I don't get by reading the articles and manuals?

Last edited by e36grant; 06-24-2009 at 03:01 PM.
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-24-2009, 03:14 PM
OMFG another one!?
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-29-2009, 11:54 AM
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Since no one has helped so far, I'll see if I can be of some assistance:
Don't worry about the TDC thing. When the head is off, you can turn the engine over to TDC. Locking the flywheel would be good with the tool. I'm going to make my own, won't be difficult. You will have to remove the cams to get access to the valves. Easy way to check the valve would be to put head up side down and put some water in the combustion chambers. If it runs out the valves, they are bent. You might be able to see badly bent ones.
Torquing, you torque to a certain amount and then turn a specified number of degrees more. ie 80 degrees. Just set protractor at zero point where you start and turn correct amount.
I don't have any Vanos experience so I can't help there.
As far as getting nuts off, lots of penetrating oil and sweat. MAYBE see if you can jam a 6 sided socket on, you probably used a 12 point socket to start and that rounded them. Ideally they should be brass nuts and won't freeze on. When you put it together use antiseize compound.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-29-2009, 12:23 PM
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You can buy a kit to remove worn nuts, and if they are rounded I wouldnt use the impact. In fact I never use air tools when im working on the engine. You might want to change all the nuts and bolts. Im pretty sure you have to change your headbolts once you take the head off.

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