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  1. #1
    rwthomas1
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    Valley pan and valve cover gaskets

    Hello All,
    Tore into my '00 540I today to replace the valve cover gaskets and the valley pan as well. Symptoms are typical, valve covers leaking oil, drips onto exhaust, smells bad. Slight smell of coolant, very slow coolant loss, no visible leaks and coolant just visible under the intake.

    Got most of the parts from Bavauto including ALL the coolant hoses and obviously fresh BMW coolant. I figure that I might as well replace the hoses while its all torn down. Rad and T-stat done by PO.

    Wow, I've worked on tons of stuff, been a wrench most my life but a 540 is a true PITA to work on! I cannot figure out why the coolant system needs to have that many hoses with connections in tough locations. Not impossible but a tedious b!tch to work on for sure.

    So far, coolant is drained including block drains, most hoses removed, pass side coils, etc. removed. Most all the wire harness disconnected except for the driver side coils and all injectors.

    I've read all the DIY posts on these jobs, seems pretty straightforward other than tedious. Any input on possible pitfalls would be appreciated.

    I'm planning on simply cleaning the valve covers and reinstalling them. I see most paint or powdercoat them. Any reason other than asthetics?

    RT


  2. #2
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    Most of the hoses are due to the dual side (m)

    temp control in the cabin and the need for the electric motor to pump the coolant to the cabin core.
    If the rear CCV has never been replaced you may want to do that too. I'd chuck those torx head bolts and replace them with hex head bolts so you can get them out in the future to replace the CCV without having to remove the intake manifold.
    Paint or powder for the valve covers, yup. Under the hood should look just as good as the outside. The car show crowd loves to see engines you can eat off of.





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  3. #3
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    where do you get the hex head bolts

    what size?

    Andreas
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    86 325es (wrecked by careless driver)
    87 325 (project for life)
    00 540is 6spd (daily driver)

  4. #4
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    A well-stocked old-fashioned hardware store>>

    take a bolt with you to get the correct size.
    Ed in San Jose. BMW CCA member since 1987 (Nr. 62319). Golden Gate Chapter. '97 540i 6 speed. Build Date 3/97. Aspensilber over Aubergine leather.

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    Dude!! These cars were designed by GERMANS!


    Ed in San Jose. BMW CCA member since 1987 (Nr. 62319). Golden Gate Chapter. '97 540i 6 speed. Build Date 3/97. Aspensilber over Aubergine leather.

  6. #6
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    Home Depot or Lowes should have them (m)

    A good size hardware store should also have them.
    These are 6mm x 1.00 x 25mm. I got them at www.boltdepot.com with the flat washers, they are grade 8.8
    I bought boxes of 100 bolts and washers.
    They are near me so I just pick them up when I'm heading to Boston.
    This thread size is very common on a lot of foreign cars.
    The throttle body mounting plate is attached to the intake manifold with this same size bolts.


  7. #7
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  8. #8
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    Thanks! but wouldnt allen head bolts be better??



    Andreas
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    86 325es (wrecked by careless driver)
    87 325 (project for life)
    00 540is 6spd (daily driver)

  9. #9
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    No, hex head bolts are less likely to get the (m)

    corners rounded off, they have more surface area. The allen tool hole can get packed with dirt so the tool won't insert all the way into the bolt on the rear cover which you won't be able to clean out.

  10. #10
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    aah ok. once again UR DA MAN Jim!



    Andreas
    Queens NY
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    86 325es (wrecked by careless driver)
    87 325 (project for life)
    00 540is 6spd (daily driver)

  11. #11
    rwthomas1
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    Re: Most of the hoses are due to the dual side (m)

    I don't see the issue with the Torx bolts? I can get them out, like any other bolt in future if I need to.

    The heater hoses are not the issue. The weird T hose that passes through behind and under the WP and ALT. Having all those nice quick disconnects is quite pointless IF YOU CANNOT ACCESS THEM!

    The coolant feed to the ALT and trans cooler is WAY more complex than it needs to be.

    The valley pan has been replaced, coolant rear crossover and valley pipes installed, new heater hoses installed. Drivers valve cover removed, plugs removed.

    Fun, fun, fun.

    RT

  12. #12
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    Your original post didn't metion an auto tran (m)

    I was thinking you had a 6 speed (540i) which only have minimal hoses in front and all of the heater core hoses on the side and rear.
    The rear torx bolts that hold on the CCV cover are a real PITA to remove after they have been there for 5 years or more unless you remove the intake manifold to get at them. With hex bolts (6mm x 1.0 x 25mm) it's a piece of cake to get them out without removing the intake.

  13. #13
    rwthomas1
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    Re: Your original post didn't metion an auto tran (m)

    Well the good news is I loosened and then retightened the torx bolts you are refering to. In the future it shouldn't be so bad.

  14. #14
    rwthomas1
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    UPDATE: Valley pan and valve cover gaskets

    The work has been completed and I have some thoughts about working on, and the design of, the 540i.

    I used to be a professional mechanic. I have an extensive inventory of tools and a heated garage to work in. I also have lots of experience working on cars. I tore into the 540 without a manual, just did some reading online to get familiar with it.

    I would NOT recommend that anyone without significant experience tackle the replacement of valve cover gaskets and more importantly the replacement of the valley pan. I used almost every piece in both the 1/4 and 3/8 drive socket sets, torx bits, dental picks and inspection mirrors. Draining the coolant from the block drains makes a huge mess. The removal of the wiring harness from the top of the engine, particularly the removal of the injector clips, is difficult and tedious at best. The injector clips will require dental picks and inspection mirrors to remove. If you are up for it, the fuel rail could be removed and the injectors will just come out on the wiring harness boxes but you will need O-rings for the injectors when they go back in.

    I replaced EVERY coolant hose on the car. Now, if you have an automatic like I do, this is a project. The heater hoses are actually easy. Just remove the cabin air intakes, filter boxes, etc. for access. The really difficult bit is the removal of the coolant hoses that feed from the expansion tank to a T under the T-stat/WP housing. There is a hose the leads behind the alternator, feeding the transmission cooler. The watercooled alternator feeds into a manifold mounted on top of the transmission cooler. Removal of the cooler is required to change the hose, which is actually a metal pipe at this point. You will need an inspection mirror to remove the trans cooler, you cannot see either of the bolts that hold it on. The abovementioned metal coolant pipe is bolted on to the engine just below the T-stat/WP. To get to that bolt the serpentine belt tensioner has to be removed. Then, just barely, if you are very patient, the pipe/hose can be removed.

    Removing the intake manifold is pretty straightforward once the wiring harness has been lifted up, off and to the side. The only sticking point is the breather tube for crankcase ventilation. The tube is spring loaded and just pops off.

    Once the intake manifold is off, the rear coolant crossover and the coolant tubes that pass front-to-rear have to be removed to get to the valley pan. This is pretty simple but again, you will definitly need an inspection mirror to clean/prep the crossover ports in the back of the heads. No way to see them otherwise and working blind is no fun.

    I've worked on many, many engines and the V8 E39 is one of the toughest I've ever worked on.

    RT

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    Absolutely! My wife's '03 X5 4.4 w/100k miles (m)

    has leaking coolant from the valley pan gasket (very common on these vehicles unfortunately)and since I do not have access to a lift & work full time, my local dealer is going to do the labor (8.5 hrs worth) and I will supply the OEM parts from autohausaz.com so the ttl damage is around $1300.00. They are replacing all of the head gaskets, water pump, & whatever else needs to be done:)


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    I agree, it can be a challenge. BTW, I did not>>

    put the retainer clips back onto the injector connectors, save cyl 8. Then, the next time they need to come off, it'll be easier.

    The wiring box will hold them in place.

    Thanks for the feedback. Most never bother.
    Ed in San Jose. BMW CCA member since 1987 (Nr. 62319). Golden Gate Chapter. '97 540i 6 speed. Build Date 3/97. Aspensilber over Aubergine leather.

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    Just unbolt the fuel rail and unhook the coils (m

    so you can lift them up as one assy. You don't need to mess around with the clips then.


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    That's overkill for VCGs.


    Ed in San Jose. BMW CCA member since 1987 (Nr. 62319). Golden Gate Chapter. '97 540i 6 speed. Build Date 3/97. Aspensilber over Aubergine leather.

  19. #19
    rwthomas1
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    Re: Just unbolt the fuel rail and unhook the coils (m

    I would have unbolted the fuel rail but I did not have the O-rings for the injectors. Given how hard/brittle the gaskets, etc. on the car were I did not feel comfortable disturbing the injectors. If I had it to do again, I would have simply ordered the O-rings. I had to get the car on the road and didn't want another day or more down.

    RT

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    IIRC the bottom injector o-rings are not easily (m

    replaceable, there is a fiber washer below them that isn't removable. It breaks if you try to take the o-ring off. Mine are still original and still flexible so I continue to use them. I do coat them with o-ring vacuum grease when they are removed.

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