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Thread: Finally replaced the M60 valve cover gaskets...

  1. #1
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    Default Finally replaced the M60 valve cover gaskets...

    I figured I would spend 2 or 3 hours with cleaning those magnesium alloy melting metal things, popping new plugs/boots a couple heli-coils and new gaskets and be done... After all I did this on Nikka and don't remember any issues so it should be straight forward. Pulled the coils and dove right in.

    First off the right side (passenger side US) was a PITA to remove. Clearance issues with the AC being so close caused a removal angle issue until I removed everything all around, still didn't easily come off. Driver side was much easier.

    Cleaning... off to the wife with lots of soap and hot water. That didn't work very well even though the water mixture was black. Next step was brushes and lacquer thinner and mineral spirits. Fluid again black as could be, like nobody even tried in advance. Clean, clean and clean again, never ending dissolving of the magnesium alloy. Almost spooky at times. If I had the funds I would have joyfully bought a pair off ebay that were already bead blasted and ready for primer/paint. Scraped the cosmoline paint stuff kinda smooth, almost enough to paint. Let this dry for a bit and take care of the other odds and ends I guess.

    Anyway this is sucking tons of time so they are good enough for now. Soaked up the oil at the bottom the best I could with absorbent towels, this took another hour for both sides! (lots of oil) Pulled to old plugs without issue, to this moment have not studied them. Cleaned the plug wells a bit more, visually inspected the new plugs and installed without issue.

    Back to these illusive covers... Heli-coiled the 4 top plastic cover threads that were completely gone. There are 3 or 4 coil pack studs that might be iffy but I failed to mark the questionable ones. Checked with spacers and the nuts and none seemed to be real bad on the right side. The left side had an issue and the stud seemed to pull out so I tried screwing it in deeper, no deal! Ended up pulling it out with a nut and the end of the threads had some sort of epoxy or JB weld on it. Someone thought they could glue it and stick it back in the hole... jeez man.

    Time to quit, 7 hours now and the covers aren't even painted. Kinda raining and everything is soaked in dew or something. Cover it up and try again in the morning.
    Last edited by 632 Regal; 05-28-2017 at 08:13 PM.
    95 E34 530I V2.17
    ===========
    Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.

    John F. Kennedy

  2. #2
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    Day 2 (yesterday) Got my son into the mix cause if the car don't run he cant get a flight to see his mom and family, semi motivated. First thing he did was try to clean the valve covers that were cleaned a bunch of times. These things just suck! Eventually he got them to the point that I said enough!.

    We primed them and the primer just refused to dry on parts that I imagine harbored thinner and mineral spirits. Enough is enough I broke out the cast cote paint and sprayed away with no care in the world. Literally this is many hours over a simple gasket change. Believe it or not the paint did seem to dry the primer and stick. Not sure if it really sticks but it is on there and I don't care right now. Running out of time.

    Had a hard time getting the pass side (right side) on without missing the gasket but it did end up where we wanted. The driver side went right on. Everythings great, another half hour and were fool proof!

    Pfft... Missing one valve cover acorn nut and 4 washers! I can understand losing one but four? not a chance in this life. Looking at the old grommets it is possible the previous owner/mechanics left those out, but an acorn nut! I had to have dropped it somewhere but we can't find it yet. Might be on the the underside splash deal. 4 washers come on, that's quite lame.

    Figured out where 1 acorn nut missing can be fine, sourced the other washers and were good to go!. Or are we?

    All together with new plugs, boots, heli-coils, gaskets etc. Put it all together sound covers and all. Fire it up... blup blup blup, serious miss and it sounds like the cam chains hitting the covers! Is this where the acorn nut went? What a scene, 4 hours till liftoff, panic mode! Engine light on too!

    Calm down pull the cover off what is wrong? Nothing visible. That sucks. Stomp code (which is always been a real pain on this car said injector2) So we know a possible issue. Went back out and can you believe both 1 & 2 injectors have corroded on the terminals! Used Gordon's Stabilant 22 and worked the injector contacts in and out a few times. Boom all good.

    Do not know if she works as good as Nikki, highly doubt it but nice to know I could accomplish a simple thing as valve cover gaskets.

    What a scene.
    Last edited by 632 Regal; 01-19-2017 at 04:17 PM.
    95 E34 530I V2.17
    ===========
    Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.

    John F. Kennedy

  3. #3
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    Great job Jeff, thanks for sharing. What a scene is right! Hope it all works out great.

    A Bimmer Nut for sure: '04 530im, '99 Z3, '06 330cicm zhp, '69 r60, Owner/Operator of www.Bimmer.info and www.BimmerNut.com

  4. #4
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    Runs pretty smooth now, no slight miss compared to before. Still not silky smooth though.

    Went for the drive to drop the kid with no issues. On the way back close to home I hit it a few times, thing is still very weak compared to Nikka. I mean it might be the way it's supposed to be but compared it is weak. Still thinking Nikka was a transplanted 4.0 liter, used to race a lot of things on the freeway. With this one that isn't even a thought lol. This one doesn't start to pull until 3800 rpms which could still be cam timing and the loss of power. I don't think I could time the right side due to the AC clearance issue. I just need to find me a decent 540.
    95 E34 530I V2.17
    ===========
    Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.

    John F. Kennedy

  5. #5
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    Good tip, Jeff. Recently did the same thing to my E34 and the idle was still rough. Cleaned off the connectors to the injectors and it cleared right up. I used Deoxit Gold G5.
    Ramon
    1994 540iA Nikasil EAT Chip
    Tampa Bay, Florida USA

  6. #6
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    Ramon, in the past 2 years I solved several problems by using contact cleaner and enhancer like Deoxit Gold, I use similar stuff from Philips. For example solved on my car aux fan trouble, which did not work, used the contact enhancer on the 2 relays spades and the connector directly at the aux fan, worked perfect, taillight contacts, GM, LKM etc.
    Same with a friends E32 750, also some relays needed contact enhancer spray.
    BMW even has a tech info:

    Model: All BMW Complaint:
    Connectors which carry low current are more likely to form deposits which affect the resistance of the circuit through the plug connector. Depending upon the particular circuit these deposits can cause malfunctions and consequently activate warning lamps and check control indicators.

    Remedy:

    Part replacement can temporarily stop the problem.

    If the connector is the problem then without disconnecting the connector measure the resistance of the circuit running through the connector to make sure the connector has a high resistance. A good resistor will have close to 0 ohms resistance.

    Visually examine the male and female terminals in the connector housing by removing them. Look at the integrity of the wire crimps, and in some male terminals the integrity of the weld of the male pin to the terminal. Then reinstall. With a zero residue electrical contact cleaner liberally spray the male and female connectors, and allow the air to dry. Apply Stabilant 22A to both male and female terminals so they are saturated, and reconnect the connectors while they are still wet. When the Stabilant 22A dries it will leave a thin coating of polymer film which is conductive between mating surfaces, and is non-conductive between adjacent pins. It can also prevent the formation of more harmful deposits.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by 632 Regal View Post
    Runs pretty smooth now, no slight miss compared to before. Still not silky smooth though.

    Went for the drive to drop the kid with no issues. On the way back close to home I hit it a few times, thing is still very weak compared to Nikka. I mean it might be the way it's supposed to be but compared it is weak. Still thinking Nikka was a transplanted 4.0 liter, used to race a lot of things on the freeway. With this one that isn't even a thought lol. This one doesn't start to pull until 3800 rpms which could still be cam timing and the loss of power. I don't think I could time the right side due to the AC clearance issue. I just need to find me a decent 540.
    Great work Jeff. I agree it takes an inordinate amount of time to do but it is essential maintenance on an old M6x.

    If it isn't smooth and everything else is as it should be, the idle fuel flow or spray is often at fault in one or two cylinders of an old FI motor- so your injectors may need a proper clean to sort this out. Here in Oz our fuel is generally clean (and low-sulfur) but at this age you can still easily get one or two injectors with fouled valves or a poor spray pattern.

    Also, I might have missed it, but did you install new plugs?

    I did the same with a set of M60 valve covers off a wrecked 540 I have here. You'll be pleased to know that those of us with RHD cars are not immune to the same sufferance when removing the right side valve cover, thanks to the *&$%! positioning of the e34's AC plumbing.

    It won't make you feel any better but when I removed a cover I remember loosing one fastener too.

    I cleaned mine with fuel and then cheap spray 'degreaser' (some kinda acid) and as the donor car was not in use, had the luxury of leaving them to soak for a day between rub-downs. It took perhaps three goes and stripped the paint in the process- but I didn't notive much alloy dissolving. inside the covers wasn't bad though, oil had not caked the covers too much (it had 310,000km), probbaly thanks to the central PCV design. After that I sanded and filled the castings and filled the surface pits where they were most obvious. Then etch-primed, primed and painted with high temp silver. I dunno who BMW got to cast these covers but you would be forgiven thinking they were done in some gulag in Russia or Northern China where quality takes a bit of a backseat to survival.

    The set off the wreck seemed to have all good threads, but the set they will replace on the good car sound like yours. I reckon the cause might not be the castings disintegrating as much as the coil nuts getting overtightened every time a mechanic takes a look hoping to solve some fault or 'smoothen' it out a bit. If you think about it, if the studs are even a little too tight each time it goes back to a customer, the cast alloy threads will just disintegrate over time given the constant change in temperatures they go through.

    The threads holding the plastic covers were the worst however, which makes sense as those probably get tightened by successive owners every time they start cleaning their pride and joy under there.

    The trick with an M60 is probably not to use synthetic oil as the valve gaskets are only butyl. It is possibly that BMW have upgraded the OEM gaskets to viton as they did on the M52 and M54 motors, but I'm yet to find out about it.
    Last edited by genphreak; 02-05-2017 at 01:23 AM.

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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by genphreak View Post
    The trick with an M60 is probably not to use synthetic oil as the valve gaskets are only butyl. It is possibly that BMW have upgraded the OEM gaskets to viton as they did on the M52 and M54 motors, but I'm yet to find out about it.
    Just a word of warning about Viton, chaps. If it is subjected to high temperatures (such as a fire) it can combine with moisture to create hydrofluoric acid. That is one of the nastiest substances you are ever likely to encounter
    Oct '00 E46 330i. Feb '92 525i (departed)

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by whiskychaser View Post
    Just a word of warning about Viton, chaps. If it is subjected to high temperatures (such as a fire) it can combine with moisture to create hydrofluoric acid. That is one of the nastiest substances you are ever likely to encounter
    Interesting, thanks whiskey. Never burned any myself (yet), but an engine fire causes a lot of nasty pollutants, that's for sure.

    Viton does make for a far better, and reusable seal though :-)

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  10. #10
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    Default Update: Both covers leak

    So after this project I have smelled burning oil. First found cause was the filler cap, got a new on that was crooked.. functional but looks stupid so it was returned. Stole the cap gasket off the E46 so that leak is stopped. Still getting burning oil smell... reach along the bottom of the valve covers and they are both leaking. Porous valve covers? Pull, glue and seal? Ebay ones are expensive so we went to the local pull-a-part since they had a 540 to check out.

    Valve covers were still on the engine so started to take them off. I checked the oil level just for fun to see if it was enticing enough to score the entire engine for like $159.00. No oil on dipstick but didn't smell funny. It's a huge chore to pull an engine in this place and if it's bad you can return it only for a credit, no cash back so I decided we will just do the covers.

    Deja vu, these covers are disintegrating like the ones I have. both sides 1 plastic cover bolt is stripped, they pull right out. I continue with determination because I figure I can spend time to make these "not leak". The other one looks like it may have stripped and someone attempted to 'weld' it back to existence but it was a total fail. No other idea with this crap.

    The gray stuff is like magnesium diluted with some sort of decomposition acid. It does seem oily but is more than oil, the composition is eating away at the metal.

    Here are pics of how these disintegrate:

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    Anyways we scored the amp and a couple free bonus parts that were accidentally not mentioned upon checkout... Including a oil rail, 8 coils, some gaskets, fog light bracket, a set of the elusive 10 dollar each acorn nuts and some other stuff.

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    Last edited by 632 Regal; 04-08-2017 at 06:47 PM.
    95 E34 530I V2.17
    ===========
    Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.

    John F. Kennedy

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