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Old 1st March 2008, 14:39   #1
darka///M5
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Stripped Valve Cover Bolts

The other day I was cleaning my engine and notice some oil around the valve cover bolts. So I order a few of them grommets to replace the leaking ones until I had the time to replace the valve gaskets. Well I loosen one of the screws, which had felt that it wasn't very tight, and put a new grommet. Then I put the bolt back in and started tightening when I notice it never got tight or didn't stop spinning. I had stopped there because I didnt want to find out how many other bolts were like this. What can I do to fix this bolt or any others that I might find?
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Old 1st March 2008, 15:15   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darka///M5 View Post
The other day I was cleaning my engine and notice some oil around the valve cover bolts. So I order a few of them grommets to replace the leaking ones until I had the time to replace the valve gaskets. Well I loosen one of the screws, which had felt that it wasn't very tight, and put a new grommet. Then I put the bolt back in and started tightening when I notice it never got tight or didn't stop spinning. I had stopped there because I didnt want to find out how many other bolts were like this. What can I do to fix this bolt or any others that I might find?
You want to know how to fix the bolt?? The steel bolt is not the primary problem. Step away from the M5 engine bay.

If you are not familiar with the common methods used to repair stripped aluminum threads, then you should not be attempting that sort of mechanical vehicle repair. Such repairs take high level of skill and experience. Folks who are actually capable of doing that stuff in their backyard learned hoew to do it on a $25 lawn mower or $150 motorcycle when they were 15 yo. They likely screwed up a bunch of times before mastering these skills.

Screws holding such hardware on are incredibly easy to overtighten and strip. Two fingers on a wrench can apply excessive torque and strip threads. Substantial experience or special torque tools are the only things that can prevent damage & you seemingly have neither.

Rather than destroying your car, I would strongly suggest you take it to an indy for repair. Honestly, a BMW is not a suitable test bed for training, experimenting &/or learning Mechanics 101. You need to learn on a $300 Mustang or something, so you can replace the cylinder head for $75 if you screw up. A replacement cylinder head for your M5 will cost 100x ($7500) installed, no exaggeration. You are heading down that path with wreckless abandon.

Unless you are a mechanical wizard with years of auto and/or motorcycle repair under your belt, you should buy an affordable, low maintenance, reliable car that you can afford to have someone else repair. A BMW M5 is not for learning repair, aside from routine maintenance like oil change, brakes or wipers...fiddling will be disasterous from a financial & downtime perspective. There are several good solutions for repairing this stripped thread issue, but none are for newbies. Such a professional repair will likely cost under $100 and it's worth it. Invest your time investigating and searching for the best indy in town to handle your repairs, instead of butchering your car. You will see better results at less cost.

You're playing with fire and gonna get burnt. Sorry for being honest.
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Last edited by Lscman; 1st March 2008 at 15:48.
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Old 1st March 2008, 16:14   #3
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i used to do cars for a living before i started engineering aircraft and this could get alittle involved... although the tools required to tap a new threads don't cost much, the experience need to perfectly tap the threads in an aluminum head takes craftsmanship... so let somebody who knows what they are doin take care of it... it shouldn't cost you much to pay for somebody else to do the repair anyway... good luck!.... take my advice, ive done it many times, and if ur not mechanicly inclined with a feel for what ur doin, ull screw it up!
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Old 1st March 2008, 17:03   #4
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Ditto to Lscman's painful (to read) discussion of the truth.
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Old 1st March 2008, 17:56   #5
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Of course, it is possible that the threads were stripped by a prior owner or tech, which is why they were leaking in the first place. But generally, I agree that the M5 is no place to be learning how to fix a car, and if the OP is asking what/how to do it, then it seems likely that he's never done it before. As such, I strongly suggest that this kind of job be sent out to a reliable shop. A head costing thousands of dollars to replace is not exactly the best place to attempt a first thread repair. Much too easy to mess it up, and you only get once chance to get it right. Botch that repair and you are screwed.
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Old 1st March 2008, 19:05   #6
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Thanks for the advice. I will be taking it to a shop. Does anyone know the torque numbers for these bolts?
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