[E46] Head gasket - Doing it myself

Discussion in 'Engine maintenance, upgrades and modifications' started by Davewagon, Jun 13, 2018.

  1. 13 Jun 2018 at 7:40 AM #1
    Davewagon

    Davewagon On the path

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2013
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Location:
    Northampton
    Your Motor:
    2003 BMW M3
    Colour Combo:
    Titan silver / LSB leather
    Well, just two days after getting my car back from the mechanic following MOT, repairs and a service the car promptly stared sounding like a diesel. Que the internet search/diagnosis of what my new noise might be leading me to the possibility of a failed head gasket.

    Crumbs :mad:

    The aforementioned MOT/service work had emptied the coffers somewhat, leaving me in a slight pickle. That, the fact that I’m beginning to realise that I don’t like other mechanics touching my cars and the sheer volume of knowledge available for the e46 chassis has encouraged me to undertake this job myself – the bonus being that the money saved should allow me to tackle the vanos and ‘bullet proof’ that also along the way.
    I hope some of what follows is interesting to you, and hopefully some of you will be willing to lend a hand with some questions I’ll no doubt have…

    First up, diagnosis…

    Coilpacks and plugs out and numbered:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Compression test revealed loss of compression between cylinders 1-2 (and also 5-6 to a lesser degree)
    1: 120psi
    2: 118psi
    3: 195psi
    4: 190psi
    5: 175psi
    6: 180psi

    So on with dismantling the car then…

    Seems that the undertray has also taken a bit of a whack in a previous life,
    [​IMG]
    and had been held up with duct tape (which had fallen off a while ago it seems)
    [​IMG]
    I’ve mentally added to the list of things to sort.

    Found that my Eventuri had been stuffed in with a nitrile glove…
    [​IMG]

    had a mashed/mangled bracket…
    [​IMG]
    and was generally full of crap.
    [​IMG]

    But after a bit of swearing had managed to get the inlet manifold, fan clutch, thermostat housing and throttle bodies off.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Can see an oil leak here from the Vanos sealing plate – these seals will be replaced with Beisan items.

    [​IMG]

    and finally getting the exhaust manifold nuts off (this was a mission, took me hours, and drew a few of the studs out too – I’m in two minds as to whether I should replace all of them while the head is off, any thoughts?)

    [​IMG]

    Cheers for now,
    Dave
     
  2. 13 Jun 2018 at 7:51 AM #2
    E46CoupeM3

    E46CoupeM3 Achieved official socks

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2012
    Messages:
    15,356
    Likes Received:
    38
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    England
    Your Motor:
    2001 BMW M3
    Colour Combo:
    Carbon Black
    Got the timing tools on order?
    Shims too?
     
  3. 13 Jun 2018 at 9:56 AM #3
    Davewagon

    Davewagon On the path

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2013
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Location:
    Northampton
    Your Motor:
    2003 BMW M3
    Colour Combo:
    Titan silver / LSB leather
    Yes, timing tools, locking pin etc are here :thumbsup:

    As for shims, I've measured clearance and the existing shims - will be arranging for shims as I put it back together - but will wait to see what the machining company say about the head first.

    I'm in two minds as to whether to go for the basic service (clean, vacuum, pressure test and skim)

    or while I'm there, get the valve stem seals done also - which in themselves aren't expensive, but the engine shop says they will only do that along side removing the valves and getting them/seats re-cut/grind (3 angle) and re-lapped in. A full 'remanning' so to say.

    The theory being that disturbing the valves without fully re-working them 'could' disturb some of the carbon deposits that have built up over time. potentially creating a different problem. And they won't do that (disturb them) without properly cutting/grinding the valves back in.

    But this adds time and considerably more money - and I'll be needing to remeasure shim clearance again once the cams are back in.

    I trust the chap, seemingly very knowledgeable and experienced, and he isn't pushing me to do the extra work at all, but made it clear he won't do 'half a job'

    Don't know if it's overkill for this job (not read many other people having this extra work done when having a head gasket repaired), or might as well get it all done while it's out and not have to wonder if my valve stem seals are going to give up a few thousand miles later? (does anyone have any experience of these giving issues?)

    Cheers,
    David
     
  4. 13 Jun 2018 at 2:49 PM #4
    TerryFolev

    TerryFolev Wearing official underwear

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2016
    Messages:
    299
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    Birmingham/ Sofia,BG
    Your Motor:
    2002 BMW M3
    Colour Combo:
    Carbon Black / Imola Red
    If I were you, I would do the whole service on the head. I think there is some performance to be restored if you do.
    Good luck with this big and certainly not easy task :thumbsup:
    Terry
     
  5. 13 Jun 2018 at 9:28 PM #5
    Davewagon

    Davewagon On the path

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2013
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Location:
    Northampton
    Your Motor:
    2003 BMW M3
    Colour Combo:
    Titan silver / LSB leather
    Cheers mate, and yes I am coming round to that thinking too
    I'm not too sure on any performance gains, but a decent head refresh will see it solid for the future and future owners too...
     
  6. 13 Jun 2018 at 9:59 PM #6
    E46CoupeM3

    E46CoupeM3 Achieved official socks

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2012
    Messages:
    15,356
    Likes Received:
    38
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    England
    Your Motor:
    2001 BMW M3
    Colour Combo:
    Carbon Black
    Seats don't need re-cutting to be lapped in
     
  7. 13 Jun 2018 at 10:03 PM #7
    Davewagon

    Davewagon On the path

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2013
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Location:
    Northampton
    Your Motor:
    2003 BMW M3
    Colour Combo:
    Titan silver / LSB leather

    Okay, so cam cover off and everything looks rather grimy and black – not the golden colour I often see in the various DIY threads I’ve been reading.

    [​IMG]

    Vanos unit off, more cleaning to do here and a full refresh of seals/o-rings

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Tabs are intact (thank goodness!) and a picture of the pump disc which I’ll replace with the Beisan unit…

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    and hubs removed, tagged and labelled (as it everything) – hex bolts will be replaced by updated torx bolts (they were all tight, none had backed out or were loose)

    [​IMG]

    Paranoid about dropping anything into the sump (my little extending magnet thing has saved my arse on this job already)

    [​IMG]

    Am I right in saying the chain can be stacked up in the cavity, without falling off the crank sprocket at the bottom? Will make things much easier to get the head back on if it isn’t having to be held taught and in the way!

    [​IMG]

    Took my time getting the cams out, very slow and steady and there were no dramas involving applying to much pressure to any one point.

    [​IMG]
    Only one here, but you can imagine what the other one looks like!

    Cracked the headbolts off and lifted head off with help from my dad (hero) onto some old wallpaper haha!

    [​IMG]

    And the gasket, you can see the whole in between cylinders 1&2…

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    It was also broken between 5&6 (as the compression test indicated) but hadn’t blown a whole, merely a clean break.

    Engine block, I sprayed it over with some WD40 and taped it up for now, it will get a proper clean up later.

    [​IMG]

    Later on I cleaned the head up a little, lifted the shims out (really easy when there are no cams in!) and measured the ones where the clearances were out of spec…
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    And that brings us up to date. Cylinder head is now with machining shop – and I will start amasing the parts needed now to put it back together…

    Cheers, Dave
     
  8. 13 Jun 2018 at 10:07 PM #8
    E46CoupeM3

    E46CoupeM3 Achieved official socks

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2012
    Messages:
    15,356
    Likes Received:
    38
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    England
    Your Motor:
    2001 BMW M3
    Colour Combo:
    Carbon Black
    ^ Guess that means you have imperial feeler gauges or you would be working in metric for obvious reasons
     
  9. 13 Jun 2018 at 10:15 PM #9
    Davewagon

    Davewagon On the path

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2013
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Location:
    Northampton
    Your Motor:
    2003 BMW M3
    Colour Combo:
    Titan silver / LSB leather
    The gauges work in mm/inches but the guide I was following for valve clearances was an American one, so it was easier to just go with it.

    As it happens I took the measurements in both inch/mm as I didn’t know what the replacement shims were going to be listed in...
     
  10. 13 Jun 2018 at 10:17 PM #10
    E46CoupeM3

    E46CoupeM3 Achieved official socks

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2012
    Messages:
    15,356
    Likes Received:
    38
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    England
    Your Motor:
    2001 BMW M3
    Colour Combo:
    Carbon Black
    German engine, always metric and marked as such, as are the Wiseco ones
     
  11. 13 Jun 2018 at 10:17 PM #11
    Chady

    Chady Rocking a new hat

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2016
    Messages:
    593
    Likes Received:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Cheshire
    Your Motor:
    csl
    Colour Combo:
    Sg
    Just noticed that imperial , Just did a full head strip and relap valves, when I cleaned up the head noticed a part of busted valve spring , something to lookout for ,,
     
  12. 13 Jun 2018 at 10:31 PM #12
    Davewagon

    Davewagon On the path

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2013
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Location:
    Northampton
    Your Motor:
    2003 BMW M3
    Colour Combo:
    Titan silver / LSB leather
    Yeah, figures...
     
  13. 13 Jun 2018 at 10:32 PM #13
    Davewagon

    Davewagon On the path

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2013
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Location:
    Northampton
    Your Motor:
    2003 BMW M3
    Colour Combo:
    Titan silver / LSB leather
    Thanks, I’ll keep an eye out
     
  14. 13 Jun 2018 at 11:25 PM #14
    DaveMSport

    DaveMSport Achieved official socks

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2014
    Messages:
    1,818
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Your Motor:
    E46 M3 Individual, E36 M3 track car, Landrover Defender E53 X5, E38 730, E30 318is, E30 Mtec touring
    Colour Combo:
    Techno Violet/silver gray
    Would definitely replace the stem seals and lap in the valves while head is off. Foolish to not do them as last thing you want is leaking seals down the line.

    I'm doing mine at the moment too along with rod bearings and vanos. The gasket is fine at the moment but just doing it as a preventative measure as don't want to be half way across Europe and for it to start pinking at the Ring or Spa lol


    Fair play for tackling it yourself too. Should fit a set of shrick cams now while your at it... your saving most of the cost of them in labour so it makes sense if you do the man maths :D
     
  15. 14 Jun 2018 at 8:20 AM #15
    Chady

    Chady Rocking a new hat

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2016
    Messages:
    593
    Likes Received:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Cheshire
    Your Motor:
    csl
    Colour Combo:
    Sg
    elring head gasket set , think I paid £170 for this everything you need. Valves seals all orings exhaust gaskets etc Head gasket to me looks the same as oem.
     
  16. 14 Jun 2018 at 8:58 AM #16
    Davewagon

    Davewagon On the path

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2013
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Location:
    Northampton
    Your Motor:
    2003 BMW M3
    Colour Combo:
    Titan silver / LSB leather
    Cheers. I did briefly think about cams, but I reckon I'd be in for £2k once they (and the followers) are bought - and I'll not really feel the benefit of the extra power higher up the rev range for the driving I currently do.

    Plus the extra element of timing cams up etc might be beyond me, do they still line up with the cam lock tool at TDC ??

    Maybe a 4.1 diff in the future - but for now I'll settle for just getting it working haha :thumbsup:
     
  17. 14 Jun 2018 at 9:30 AM #17
    Davewagon

    Davewagon On the path

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2013
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Location:
    Northampton
    Your Motor:
    2003 BMW M3
    Colour Combo:
    Titan silver / LSB leather
    Ah, you just helped prompt me with a question I was coming to...

    Is there a 'head gasket kit' from BMW or do you need to order the parts individually?

    In which case does anyone have a definitive list of BMW part no.s to throw at a dealer?

    Or go for the Elring kit? I'm guessing you didn't have any problems with the parts supplied with it?

    What do people do here?

    Edit: Just seen this link from Turner Motorsport - which I think lists the BMW part numbers for reference.
    https://www.turnermotorsport.com/p-3047-head-gasket-set-victor-reinz-e46-m3-mz3-s54-e85-z4-m/
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2018
  18. 14 Jun 2018 at 1:45 PM #18
    Chady

    Chady Rocking a new hat

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2016
    Messages:
    593
    Likes Received:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Cheshire
    Your Motor:
    csl
    Colour Combo:
    Sg
    as said I think this head gasket is the same as oem, I’ve had a new bmw And elring together, to me they look identical, the other bits also look good.:thumbsup:
     
  19. 19 Jun 2018 at 5:36 PM #19
    E46CoupeM3

    E46CoupeM3 Achieved official socks

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2012
    Messages:
    15,356
    Likes Received:
    38
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    England
    Your Motor:
    2001 BMW M3
    Colour Combo:
    Carbon Black
    If you turn the head on its side in two blocks of softwood and fill the ports with petrol no leak around the valve head means no lapping cutting or anything required

    If it seeps over long time probably doesn't need anything / seals under pressure or at worst a lapping
     
  20. 19 Jun 2018 at 5:53 PM #20
    kevM3

    kevM3 Achieved official socks

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2011
    Messages:
    6,827
    Likes Received:
    25
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    cardiff
    Your Motor:
    2008 E92 M3 & 2009 123d coupe
    Colour Combo:
    Sparkling Graphite ,Black leather
    well done mate, did mine myself on my old e46
     

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 1)

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice