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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone. I picked up a 2003 M5 with 182,000 miles a couple months ago. Runs great, just leaking in a couple spots. I want to tackle the valve cover gaskets tomorrow. Here's 2 photos of both sides leaking. The previous owner said he replaced them about 20,000 miles ago along with the timing chains and guides, and the gaskets look brand new after pulling them. Do you guys have any ideas as to why they're leaking so soon besides "because BMW"? And how I can prevent this from happening again? I bought new Elring brand gaskets because I honestly don't trust OEM crap (sad to say).

Also does anyone have torque specs on the valve cover bolts? Much appreciated
 

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So I haven't tackled this on my M5 yet, I did change the valve cover gaskets on my old 540i THREE TIMES, and while a major improvement, I STILL never got them to stop weeping completely. Just preparing you; it's a tricky one! But here are the challenges/tips I have from the experience for you:
- There is very little room to worm the covers in/out between the studs on the head and the various fuel/AC/etc lines in close proximity in the engine bay. I had a devil of a time keeping the gasket seated in the groove in the valve cover while trying to get it back into position during assembly. If I ever do this job on the M5, I think I'm going to try removing all of the mounting studs in order to get just a little more room.
- Obviously clean the gasket groove in the covers extremely well
- You're supposed to put a small dab of sealant at any 'corners' such as where the timing cover meets the head, and the corners of the half moons at the back of the camshafts.
- I swear for some reason I could never get the new gaskets to compress much at all, and that was part of my problem, but I never figured out why. Torque is easy though, because the mounting nut thingys will bottom out/seat against the stud, so it's really apparent when they 'snug up.'

Maybe someone else with chime in with some more magic for this, but just go slowly and be VERY ginger and careful with positioning everything during re-assembly and you're sure to improve the situation, though don't be too disappointed if it's not 100% dry in the end!
 

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I have to do this on my M5 sometime this summer, already have the gaskets ready to go. I will say that from my prior experience doing this job at least a half dozen times on my E46, the OE gasket material was garbage during the 2000's, but at some point they revised the material and it ended up literally lasting forever, no more absolute crumbly bacon upon removal of the gasket. I'm hoping that they did the same for all valve cover gaskets (I'd assume so) and the ones I have waiting to go in are the new material. My existing covers are 100K and weeping slightly, so I want to take care of this before it dumps oil everywhere in my engine bay.
 

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Also of note, the Valve covers are aluminum on the S62, as opposed to plastic on the M54, so there should not be any issues like hairline cracking that so often occur with the plastic ones.
 

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Also of note, the Valve covers are aluminum on the S62
Are they truly aluminum? Because on the M62 in my 540i they were magnesium alloy with a horribly rough surface (due to the difficulty of casting that metal), and I've always wondered if this maybe wasn't part of the problem. If the S62 ones are indeed aluminum with a better surface finish, then this is great news, at least in my opinion!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Are they truly aluminum? Because on the M62 in my 540i they were magnesium alloy with a horribly rough surface (due to the difficulty of casting that metal), and I've always wondered if this maybe wasn't part of the problem. If the S62 ones are indeed aluminum with a better surface finish, then this is great news, at least in my opinion!
Yep I pulled them and they are beautiful aluminum 😁 they look nice at least
 

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Discussion Starter #8
So I haven't tackled this on my M5 yet, I did change the valve cover gaskets on my old 540i THREE TIMES, and while a major improvement, I STILL never got them to stop weeping completely. Just preparing you; it's a tricky one! But here are the challenges/tips I have from the experience for you:
  • There is very little room to worm the covers in/out between the studs on the head and the various fuel/AC/etc lines in close proximity in the engine bay. I had a devil of a time keeping the gasket seated in the groove in the valve cover while trying to get it back into position during assembly. If I ever do this job on the M5, I think I'm going to try removing all of the mounting studs in order to get just a little more room.
  • Obviously clean the gasket groove in the covers extremely well
  • You're supposed to put a small dab of sealant at any 'corners' such as where the timing cover meets the head, and the corners of the half moons at the back of the camshafts.
  • I swear for some reason I could never get the new gaskets to compress much at all, and that was part of my problem, but I never figured out why. Torque is easy though, because the mounting nut thingys will bottom out/seat against the stud, so it's really apparent when they 'snug up.'
Maybe someone else with chime in with some more magic for this, but just go slowly and be VERY ginger and careful with positioning everything during re-assembly and you're sure to improve the situation, though don't be too disappointed if it's not 100% dry in the end!
Well, that's discouraging. Thank you for the advice!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I have to do this on my M5 sometime this summer, already have the gaskets ready to go. I will say that from my prior experience doing this job at least a half dozen times on my E46, the OE gasket material was garbage during the 2000's, but at some point they revised the material and it ended up literally lasting forever, no more absolute crumbly bacon upon removal of the gasket. I'm hoping that they did the same for all valve cover gaskets (I'd assume so) and the ones I have waiting to go in are the new material. My existing covers are 100K and weeping slightly, so I want to take care of this before it dumps oil everywhere in my engine bay.
I believe you, but all I know is the previous owner used genuine BMW gaskets 20,000 miles ago and it's leaking like you see in the pictures 🙄 maybe he installed it wrong
 

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or likely he didn't use any RTV sealant, did you find evidence of that when you pulled it off?
 

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or likely he didn't use any RTV sealant, did you find evidence of that when you pulled it off?
Nope none at all. Maybe didn't torque it properly too. Do you know where I can find torque specs for the valve cover?
 

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Maybe didn't torque it properly too. Do you know where I can find torque specs for the valve cover?
Highly doubt torque was the issue, but forgetting the RTV at those specific locations could have easily been the problem. I'm telling you, don't fret about the torque on these, they'll go from super easy run down to seated and snug VERY quickly and obviously when they're all the way down. Use the one-finger pull method and you'll be fine.
 
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