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#1 (permalink) Old 07-31-2005, 10:40 AM
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Hi all,
I just bought my first BMW, a 1998 540i6 with 97,000 miles on it, and I am thrilled to own such an awesome car. I had an independant shop do a pre-purchase inspection + leakdown test and one of the few things that came back was oil leaks around the valve gaskets.

This seems to be a not uncommon problem and several folks in the forum have referenced replacing the gaskets themselves. I've got a decent amount of experience working on cars and have done a few valve adjustments on 911s, so my question to those who have done it is how difficult is it, any special tools required, and tips or tricks you can share?

The Bentley manual doesn't have anything on 'valve cover gaskets', but rather 'cylinder head cover gaskets', I assume that's what we're talking about, right? The manual also talks about a special tool to reinstall the gaskets.

Thanks for any help,
Jeff

ps- The shop wanted $650 to replace the gaskets plus another $150 to replace the plugs, that's why I'm thinking of doing it myself!
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#2 (permalink) Old 08-01-2005, 11:12 AM
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Here is something I found for e38 (7 series) but it is basically identical, its the same engine. The 1st link Ill give you is a writeup with some nice pics. The second is the original thread from bimmerboard.com where this link was posted and also another member posted the factory repair instructions there. The only thing I would disagree with on the guy's writeup is using the blue Hylomar sealant. I would recommend a higher quality sealant, either the factory recommended drei-bond or Subaru uses a product called 3-bond. Both are going to be more pricey than the blue hylomar stuff but will do a much better job.
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#3 (permalink) Old 08-01-2005, 02:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dirty_Tool@Aug 1 2005, 10:12 AM
Here is something I found for e38 (7 series) but it is basically identical, its the same engine. The 1st link Ill give you is a writeup with some nice pics. The second is the original thread from bimmerboard.com where this link was posted and also another member posted the factory repair instructions there. The only thing I would disagree with on the guy's writeup is using the blue Hylomar sealant. I would recommend a higher quality sealant, either the factory recommended drei-bond or Subaru uses a product called 3-bond. Both are going to be more pricey than the blue hylomar stuff but will do a much better job.
Good Luck,
DT

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[snapback]366598[/snapback]
Thanks for the info DT! This is a great addition to the Bentley manual. I think I can handle this job and thanks for the recommendation on a better sealant.

Jeff
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#4 (permalink) Old 08-02-2005, 09:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by midi@Jul 31 2005, 11:40 AM
Hi all,
I just bought my first BMW, a 1998 540i6 with 97,000 miles on it, and I am thrilled to own such an awesome car. I had an independant shop do a pre-purchase inspection + leakdown test and one of the few things that came back was oil leaks around the valve gaskets.

This seems to be a not uncommon problem and several folks in the forum have referenced replacing the gaskets themselves. I've got a decent amount of experience working on cars and have done a few valve adjustments on 911s, so my question to those who have done it is how difficult is it, any special tools required, and tips or tricks you can share?

The Bentley manual doesn't have anything on 'valve cover gaskets', but rather 'cylinder head cover gaskets', I assume that's what we're talking about, right? The manual also talks about a special tool to reinstall the gaskets.

Thanks for any help,
Jeff

ps- The shop wanted $650 to replace the gaskets plus another $150 to replace the plugs, that's why I'm thinking of doing it myself!
[snapback]366369[/snapback]
I went through the same thing back when I first bought my '99 540 at 103K last october. You are definitely on target with your approach of replacing the plugs and the valve cover gaskets at the same time. I did my plugs, then found the oil pooled around the plugs (but I was already into the job), and then a week later repeated all the the same steps in the process of replacing the valve cover gaskets.

Here's all you need to know: If I can do it, you can do it.

Definitely leverage your Bentley manual and other's wisdom to make the job easier, but overall just be patient and methodical and you'll be OK. I did the passenger side first (fewer interferences), and then did the driver's side a couple of days later. The only trouble I had was getting the driver's side valve cover dislodged, but a small putty knife carefully worked in between the head and the gasket did the trick.

Another annoying thing is that the inside of the valve cover is painted, even the gasket groove. The old paint flaking off can be really irritating, and debatably harmful to your engine. I don't know how fastidious you are, but if I had to do it again (I hope I don't have to), I would definitely consider getting the removed valve covers sand or grit blasted or equivalent and then repaint them before re-installing them. Some guys have even had theirs powder-coated. Mine look shabby - let's face it, the OEM paint on the outside of the valve covers is none too good - it bubbles and darkens with age. n

Anyway, good luck to you. Oh, also check with your local dealer to see if they offer discounts to BMW car club (BMWCCA) members. If so, then definitely join BMWCCA. My membership is $40 per year and it's saved me well over $100 or more in discounts (20% off parts) at my local dealer. I think I was able to get my valve cover gaskets for something like $16 each...

<span style='colorurple'>Eric S.</span>
2006 Honda Odyssey EXL-RES
2006 Honda Accord V6 EX-L Sedan
1999 BMW 540i 6-Speed (Sold to M3UOND on 9/21/06)
1991 Honda Civic Si - Occasional Beater
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#5 (permalink) Old 08-02-2005, 09:30 PM
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Oh, and one more thing - make sure you have two spark plug sockets - one with the rubber plug retainer and one with the rubber retainer removed. Use the one with the rubber to remove your plugs, then use the one without the rubber to install the new plugs. This will make it much easier to pull your extension and socket off of the recessed installed plug in one piece, rather than fussing with a socket that refuses to let go of the plug (that you cannot get to with your fingers)..

<span style='colorurple'>Eric S.</span>
2006 Honda Odyssey EXL-RES
2006 Honda Accord V6 EX-L Sedan
1999 BMW 540i 6-Speed (Sold to M3UOND on 9/21/06)
1991 Honda Civic Si - Occasional Beater
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#6 (permalink) Old 01-03-2006, 07:48 PM
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do it! its very easy for sure.my buddy has same car and same problem and eventually cause the ck engine light to come on and throw every code you could think of....after long enough oil will reach your plugs and cause a missfire!!! making you think its all over for the 540,,,,,all smoke and no power
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#7 (permalink) Old 01-03-2006, 10:25 PM
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I had the same problem except I never fixed it and paid the price. My engine would overheat what seemed like at random, so I would always be filling the coolant tank. At first I would fill it with BMW coolant, but after a week It would need some more and the BMW coolant was so expensive, so I started just putting water. Well my dad found out and I got yelled at because I guess water rusts the engine or something but anyways. The overheating problem kept getting worse and I finally found out that I either had a cracked cylinder head or a bad gasket or somethin. Either way, I parked it and we called some mechanics to check it out, when I started it to get it to the mechanic the engine locked up. It was gone. I think I fried it or something. Now when I try to start it the engine just locks up. Its alright though, we're gonna replace the whole engine and maybe put a V8 in there this time.
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