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Newbie starts Valve Spring replacement

Posted by Earendil 
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Earendil
I'll be honest, I'm not sure what exactly these condoms are for (laugh it up). Why include only 3 when there are 12 valves? Or are they not permanent fixtures, but are instead used for installation of the valve seals?
They look like half of a gel capsule. It's just a little plastic sleeve that temporarily fits over the tip of the valve stem to give the valve seal a smooth surface to slide down over, rather than risk tearing the seal as it slides over the notches of the valve collet retaining grooves. If you're careful you can re-use the same sleeve for all 12 seals. But, on the assumption that you're going break it, they give you a couple of spares.


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Also included are the four D-shaped rubber plugs ...
Funny you should mention those. I ran across that little item on a different forum, and thought to myself that it was a cheap part, and I should replace it. It was because I went to replace those 4 plugs that lead me to notice my busted outer valve spring. So I have 4 pretty new ones, but I'll be just fine with installing another set.
They were one of the sources of big oil leaks on my old 325e cylinder head. That and a leaky head gasket. They were baked rock-hard on my engine and I was shocked to see how different the new rubber ones felt in comparison.


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Do NOT re-use the old head bolts.
Yep smiling smiley
I have a new Torx head set coming
Excellent.

Just wanted to make sure you weren't tempted to save money by re-using the old bolts. You'll see when you torque the new head bolts. Those bolts get cranked down to some ridiculous tightness and get stretched to yielding. I can't remember the actual process, it's in the Bentley, but after you torque them down you're supposed to give them each a further 90-degree turn (or something like that). I remember thinking, ya gotta be kidding. I was using a long-handled wrench for leverage and thinking, if this bolt snaps off now I'm going to end up knocking all my teeth out when I punch myself in the face with the end of this wrench.

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What is your gut instinct on looking at that polished/worn rocker? Nomis got the impression that I had already decided to replace it, but I haven't.

My gut instinct, because I'm cheap, would be to re-use it. But I'd hate to say go ahead and use it as-is, only to have it break on you later. You've now seen how much work is involved in taking out the rockers. After you've done it once, it's easier the second time. But it would still be a shame to have to do all this work again.

If it's already cracked, then of course don't put it back in. If it has a notch cut out of it, or it is scratched, causing a point of stress concentration, then replace it. But if it is merely "polished" smooth, it might even be an improvement.

The rockers could last another few hundred thousand miles with no problem at all, or they could break tomorrow. Some people would say now is an opportunity to replace all of them, just because you can. It's up to you.

Here's what they look like when they get busted:
[i70.photobucket.com]
[www.m5board.com]




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My concern with "just replacing it" is that I'm slightly afraid that I wouldn't be able to slide a new rocker arm onto the shaft. Sure I was able to slide the old ones off past the buildup without too much trouble, but they are also worn a little.
That buildup is just varnish, gummed up old burnt oil. If you can't convince the gunk to come off with solvent, I wouldn't be afraid to use some fine sandpaper to buff it off. You don't want to be scratching gouges into the shaft, just polishing it. Then it should be easy to slide the rockers on or off.

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I would also guess that one would want equally weighted rockers, and I don't know how different brand rockers match up in the weight category. And of course, I don't really want to spend another $130 on rocker arms for the intake side smiling smiley
It should be possible to replace the rockers individually. You're never going to notice any imbalance in the engine if one is slightly different from the others.
rkj
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Earendil
More Pictures!

A few from last weekend, and a few from tonight.



Here we see what a normal and undamaged rocker shaft looks like when using a 9mm socket to pound it out with.




And here we see what a BMW plastic covered tire tool does to it. Whoops... Thoughts on that dmg? It doesn't seem like it should have any ill effect what so ever, but perhaps I'm not thinking of something.



Here are the bottoms of the intake rocker arms. Notice the worn section where one of the broken springs was obviously making contact with it. Exactly how weak are these wrocker arms to begin with? Should I replace it? Or call it a free rocker arm polish?



Bottom of the cylinder head. I'm having major problems here. The head gasket left large chunks of its self on the head. I cannot scrub them off, I cannot melt them off with gas or other solvents. I finally gave up on the safe ways, and busted out one of those carpentry tools and skill sets, a BAMF chisel. Using its perfect edge I was able to shave off a lot of the gasket, but I didn't dare go all the way down to the aluminum. Any tips or tricks are very welcome here. Right now I'm trying to figure out which would be worse, to leave bits of gasket on there, or remove bits of aluminum head...




Here you go, Rick! I told you those curved lines went all the way up smiling smiley
Now please tell me that what you see is still a good thing...Oh, and sorry about the crud on the side. Didn't realize I chose a dirty cylinder until after I got home with the pictures. There was also ZERO lip on the top of the cylinder. This was supposed to be a good thing, yes?



Used my new tool to remove the first spring tonight. Out of all these pieces, guess which one the broken one is!!



That valve looks okay, I think.



Parting shot. Ouch...




I got paid today, so I'm drawing up the parts list. I do have the girlfriend and another friend visiting for their Spring break (yes, I date them young), so we'll see how much I can get done. But if the parts get here mid week, I may have her up and running by the end of next weekend! Also, I heard from a guy that there is a place 20 minutes away that rents Torque wrenches. Dunno what they have, but they rent for $16 a week a piece. So may be worth it in my current circumstances.

Thanks once again for following, as well as any comments!

That one damaged shaft end; It's a plug in there I think- check the parts books, if it's a plug trash that shaft, it's a goner.

Any rocker with marks on them I'd toss too; like Ferdy sez, those scratches or marks set up weak spots that break later. Make sure the riding surfaces on the rockers are not flattened out, that goes for the adjusting wheels too. The surface on the rocker face, where it meets the cam should have no bad looking scores or flat spots; you should be able to check this with a visual (you can hold it up to a light, sunlight might be fine) and feeling it with your finger (the fleshy part this time).

They sell (I use the Napa kind) a gasket removal spray, it takes a few times but it's a wonderful kind of stuff that works on alloy surfaces- be careful Tyler, use this stuff outside, it's evil shit for your well-being.

Wow, I'm seeing the honing marks way up at the top of the cylinder; that's amazing. It just goes to show what Bmw's steel is all about.

Small ridge is wonderful Tyler, yes.

You are going to put the valves back in the holes they came out of, yes?, it's a good practice if you're using the old guides and valves. Also, feel the tops of the valve stem, sometimes they can be peened over and that makes it rough for the new seal install, even if you have the protectors.

One caution on head bolt installation, I use the three stage tightening thing; 1) bring them all, in sequence, up to 30 lbs 2) 60 lbs 3) bring them home and then that "after they're hot thing", these bolts stretch like a mother... Don't forget the light coating of thin oil.

Checking the guides; with the valves (hopefully in their same hole) up against their seat see how much wiggle they have*** illustration*, make a fist and slide a pencil in so a good part of it sticks out one side, take the end of the exposed pencil and wiggle it at its end. This is basically the type of test it is. Now, back to our regular scheduled broadcast. After you've tested for the slop with the valve in the closed position pull it out and test it where it would be when the valve is open, and then a touch further just for good measure.

Some how we are going to agree on an allowable wear range on this but first give me what YOU think you have and then we'll get a little closer to what you actually have- this is going to be hard over the computer but lets give it a try...

Rick
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rkj
That one damaged shaft end; It's a plug in there I think- check the parts books, if it's a plug trash that shaft, it's a goner.

Any rocker with marks on them I'd toss too; like Ferdy sez, those scratches or marks set up weak spots that break later. Make sure the riding surfaces on the rockers are not flattened out, that goes for the adjusting wheels too. The surface on the rocker face, where it meets the cam should have no bad looking scores or flat spots; you should be able to check this with a visual (you can hold it up to a light, sunlight might be fine) and feeling it with your finger (the fleshy part this time).

Got it.

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They sell (I use the Napa kind) a gasket removal spray, it takes a few times but it's a wonderful kind of stuff that works on alloy surfaces- be careful Tyler, use this stuff outside, it's evil shit for your well-being.

I'll pop into my small local Napa after work and see if they carry such a thing. I wouldn't have guessed that they made something specific to removing gasket!


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You are going to put the valves back in the holes they came out of, yes?, it's a good practice if you're using the old guides and valves. Also, feel the tops of the valve stem, sometimes they can be peened over and that makes it rough for the new seal install, even if you have the protectors.

Yes, I'm making sure all parts that aren't being replaced go back into their original location.

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One caution on head bolt installation, I use the three stage tightening thing; 1) bring them all, in sequence, up to 30 lbs 2) 60 lbs 3) bring them home and then that "after they're hot thing", these bolts stretch like a mother... Don't forget the light coating of thin oil.

I guess I'd have to double check, but this procedure appears to be quite different from what is in the Bentley for the M20. If it is different, could you explain why you suggest your method?

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Checking the guides; with the valves (hopefully in their same hole) up against their seat see how much wiggle they have*** illustration*, make a fist and slide a pencil in so a good part of it sticks out one side, take the end of the exposed pencil and wiggle it at its end. This is basically the type of test it is. Now, back to our regular scheduled broadcast. After you've tested for the slop with the valve in the closed position pull it out and test it where it would be when the valve is open, and then a touch further just for good measure.

Some how we are going to agree on an allowable wear range on this but first give me what YOU think you have and then we'll get a little closer to what you actually have- this is going to be hard over the computer but lets give it a try...

Okay, I tested all valves in their original guides as I was removing them this morning. All valves have little to no play "side to side" (direction parallel to the camshaft), and they all have under 1.0 mm of play "up and down" (perpendicular to the camshaft), with the majority having closer to 0.5 mm of play. Note that these measurements are not on the stem side, but on the cylinder side. Is this within a limit that you feel good calling it one way or the other, or should I attempt to take a video of it?

I'm taking Friday off work to start putting it all back together, hopefully increasing the chance that my baby will be back by Monday.

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1989 - E30 - M20 - Manual. Approximately 270,000 miles
2000 - E46 - M52TUB28 - Manual. Approximately 110,000 miles

rkj
Tyler sez

Okay, I tested all valves in their original guides as I was removing them this morning. All valves have little to no play "side to side" (direction parallel to the camshaft), and they all have under 1.0 mm of play "up and down" (perpendicular to the camshaft), with the majority having closer to 0.5 mm of play. Note that these measurements are not on the stem side, but on the cylinder side. Is this within a limit that you feel good calling it one way or the other, or should I attempt to take a video of it?

I'm taking Friday off work to start putting it all back together, hopefully increasing the chance that my baby will be back by Monday.

Yes, side to side is what we're testing (wiggling the valve stem in the guide back and forth). You need to check the play both when the valves are closed and the open position. 1mm sounds excessive, the play should be all most imperceptible for a seal to hold oil from getting in to the cylinder but, you might have to chance it- oil the stems up good when you're assembling. I usually put a little white grease on the protruding valve stem (once the valve is in place in the head) so the seal does not run dry on start up.

Grease is a great way to hold things in place too, like valve keepers and such, watch your fingers eye rolling smiley


If you didn't have a smoking condition (out the exhaust) from loose guides to start with (and you would know if you had) you'll probably be fine with those clearances.

Rick
Awesome, I would take a day off work (tomorrow) and end up getting sick (yesterday) :?

I did however start on the reconstruction tonight. I put all the new valve seals in! yay! I also attempted to get the left over gasket off with gasket remover that I bought at Napa... no effect. Hours of soaking, multiple soaks, nothing. I guess I'll take the chisel to it one last time and see if I can't do more harm than good. There isn't a lot left, but there is more gasket material there, than there is head material I would accidentally remove with a chisel, so I suppose that makes it a good idea... That is one very poorly constructed sentence, but I'm tired and sick and can't think how to fix it.

For tonight I just have one question really. After a delay in the shipping, I finally got the "head gasket kit". I knew what everything was just by looking at it (I was good at shape matching as a baby!), except for the following pictured items. Note that the quantity is also accurate, and I tossed in a match box for size comparison. Ideas? Note that the metal rings come in two different sizes.
I haven't the foggiest where any of this goes.




I'll have a good long update tomorrow night or saturday.

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1989 - E30 - M20 - Manual. Approximately 270,000 miles
2000 - E46 - M52TUB28 - Manual. Approximately 110,000 miles




Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/25/2010 10:24PM by Earendil.
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rkj
Yes, side to side is what we're testing (wiggling the valve stem in the guide back and forth). You need to check the play both when the valves are closed and the open position. 1mm sounds excessive, the play should be all most imperceptible for a seal to hold oil from getting in to the cylinder but, you might have to chance it- oil the stems up good when you're assembling. I usually put a little white grease on the protruding valve stem (once the valve is in place in the head) so the seal does not run dry on start up.

When the valves are in the closed position they are rock solid with no movement. The distance I quoted was the distance at full open, or a bit past, at the cylinder end. i.e. all movement would have been exaggerated. On the valve stem side the movement would have been closer to 0.1-0.2mm if any at all.


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Grease is a great way to hold things in place too, like valve keepers and such, watch your fingers eye rolling smiley

This is where an automotive background would keep me from asking stupid questions. What kind of grease would I use for this?


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If you didn't have a smoking condition (out the exhaust) from loose guides to start with (and you would know if you had) you'll probably be fine with those clearances.

Rick

Nope, no smoking condition, and I'm relatively sure that all my oil loss was out the sides of the engine and not the tail pipe. Any problem I may have had should be further mitigated by new valve stem seals. The old ones were hardly made out of anything that could be considered rubber any more!

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1989 - E30 - M20 - Manual. Approximately 270,000 miles
2000 - E46 - M52TUB28 - Manual. Approximately 110,000 miles

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Earendil
Awesome, I would take a day off work (tomorrow) and end up getting sick (yesterday) :?
Bummer. For your sake, I hope it's not the same flu I've been fighting for a week now. Fever, stuffed up lungs, ears plugged up, sinus pressure so bad it feels like all my teeth will fall out. After a week of that I've been reduced to thinking it's actually a good sign of progress that I'm now coughing up what looks and tastes like dead birds. yeuck.

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I finally got the "head gasket kit". I knew what everything was just by looking at it (I was good at shape matching as a baby!), except for the following pictured items. Note that the quantity is also accurate, and I tossed in a match box for size comparison. Ideas? Note that the metal rings come in two different sizes.
I haven't the foggiest where any of this goes.


Starting with the metal rings, those look a lot like the crush gasket that goes on the oil pan drain plug. That's a clue. Except, with respect to the head gasket kit, they are more likely to be for the up-to-four separate temperature sensors that screw into the thermostat housing. See parts 11 and 14 in this realoem diagram. It's interesting though that RealOem says three of them are supposed to be the same size, and only one different. I'd say, unless yours are leaking, it's best to leave sleeping dogs lie and not touch the existing sensors unless necessary.

Stick 'em in a plastic baggie, and include a note reminding you what they're for, then toss 'em in a drawer somewhere and forget about them. Trust me, the note is important. Otherwise you'll rediscover them in a few years and wonder why the heck you saved them when you can't remember what they're for. But you won't throw them out because you know you wouldn't have saved them if they weren't important, so you'll chuck them back in the drawer. You'll repeat this process every few years until your wife finally makes you clean out the garage and throw all the mysterious unlabelled bits of junk into the garbage. The very next day your thermostat sensors will spring a leak, guaranteed, because sometimes life's just like that.

If the the head gasket kit included stuff for the thermostat housing, then maybe the big fat O-ring is meant for the thermostat, #6 in the same drawing. According to realoem, it should be 60x3.5mm.

They should have given you a new camshaft seal, right? Look at #5, 4, & 8 in this diagram. The camshaft seal (#5) presses into what they call the "GUIDE COVER" (#4), then the O-ring (#8) seals the guide cover to the cylinder head. That O-ring (#8) is supposed to be 53x2mm, which looks like it might be the smaller of the two big O-rings in your photo.

Now we're just left with those other four O-rings. Did you order replacement O-rings for that pipe connecting the intake manifold down to the oil pan, like I told you to do? So sue me. It looks like you didn't need any extras because they already included a couple in the complete head gasket kit. Now you've got four, eh. See part #9 in this diagram. They don't list the dimensions for this O-ring, but I'm pretty sure those look familiar. You need one at the top and one at the bottom. Try not to drop any grunge down into the oil pan!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/26/2010 07:47PM by Ferdinand.
rkj
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Earendil
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rkj
Yes, side to side is what we're testing (wiggling the valve stem in the guide back and forth). You need to check the play both when the valves are closed and the open position. 1mm sounds excessive, the play should be all most imperceptible for a seal to hold oil from getting in to the cylinder but, you might have to chance it- oil the stems up good when you're assembling. I usually put a little white grease on the protruding valve stem (once the valve is in place in the head) so the seal does not run dry on start up.

When the valves are in the closed position they are rock solid with no movement. The distance I quoted was the distance at full open, or a bit past, at the cylinder end. i.e. all movement would have been exaggerated. On the valve stem side the movement would have been closer to 0.1-0.2mm if any at all.


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Grease is a great way to hold things in place too, like valve keepers and such, watch your fingers eye rolling smiley

This is where an automotive background would keep me from asking stupid questions. What kind of grease would I use for this?


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If you didn't have a smoking condition (out the exhaust) from loose guides to start with (and you would know if you had) you'll probably be fine with those clearances.

Rick

Nope, no smoking condition, and I'm relatively sure that all my oil loss was out the sides of the engine and not the tail pipe. Any problem I may have had should be further mitigated by new valve stem seals. The old ones were hardly made out of anything that could be considered rubber any more!

Well, from what you say the guides should hold up fairly okay, just hope for the best and being all the valves went back in their respective guides is a plus. The grease you usually use for a front end is fine for valve keepers or small light stuff, I have fiber grease if I need to hold bearings in a race that has to get turned every which way on install though. Thrust washers in transmissions have to be gasket shellacked in place, grease is not enough to hold them in place when you're installing a lay shaft/cluster gear assemblies.

Rick
Okay, my update is lacking fun pictures and a conclusion, so I'll keep it brief for now.

I was sick all weekend, but that didn't keep me from trying to complete. Put most everything back together on saturday, everything that didn't require a torque wrench. Sunday morning I finally got the torque wrench, and it finally started raining. So with a giant trash bag over the hood, I started on the head bolts. In the Bentley specified order: 22 ft-lbs done. 90 degree turn done. second 90 almost done. My E14 torx socket broke in half on the #10 bolt. @#$% :X
Fortunetally there is ONE place in the gorge that sells an E14 torx socket, though it's Napa, 45 minutes away, and it was 4pm on a sunday. So today I'll go pick that up. The bigger problem I have is that once I get it, I'm not sure exactly how far I was on the #10 bolt before the socket snapped. I guess I'll just undershoot. Undershooting is far better than over torquing, right?

Once I get those down, I'll put the coolant in, reattach the exhaust pipes to the manifold, new spark plugs put in, and she should be set. I'll be recording the start up, so that if she bursts into flames I at least have a good video to show for it.

The only other issue I'm aware of is that I might have swapped the fuel in and return hoses. But the only problem with this is that the engine won't get fuel, right? The regulator won't flow in reverse, so the worst that I think could happen is that I burn out my fuel pump if I leave it going for too long. I'm hoping that it's obvious in one of the pictures I took that I have at home which is which. It just occurred to me that I could hotwire the pump and make it pump fuel, that should tell me pretty quick which one is which smiling smiley

On second thought, maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea to remove the fuel lines when I first start her up. The starter will crank the engine without firing, potentially revealing problem before high explosives are involved, and this should also tell me which fuel line is which. Yes, I'll be safe with the fuel lines if I do this smiling smiley

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1989 - E30 - M20 - Manual. Approximately 270,000 miles
2000 - E46 - M52TUB28 - Manual. Approximately 110,000 miles

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Earendil
I'll be recording the start up, so that if she bursts into flames I at least have a good video to show for it.
Oh ya. THAT will make it all worthwhile.

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The only other issue I'm aware of is that I might have swapped the fuel in and return hoses.
Fuel-in goes directly to the injector manifold. Fuel-return comes out of the regulator.

At the other end, the fuel is coming from the fuel filter, whereas the fuel-return line goes straight back to the tank.

If your car has the old-style fuel filter mounted in the engine compartment somewhere below the power steering reservoir, then it should be easy to trace the line coming from the filter. If yours is the new style, with the filter under the car back by the left rear wheel, then you have to look under the car to trace the fuel line back.

Running the fuel pump to check which fuel line is spouting fuel is kinda dangerous. It comes outta there at high pressure. Don't go burning your car up now!
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Ferdinand
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Earendil
I'll be recording the start up, so that if she bursts into flames I at least have a good video to show for it.
Oh ya. THAT will make it all worthwhile.

Yeah, I thought so smiling smiley

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Fuel-in goes directly to the injector manifold. Fuel-return comes out of the regulator.

At the other end, the fuel is coming from the fuel filter, whereas the fuel-return line goes straight back to the tank.

If your car has the old-style fuel filter mounted in the engine compartment somewhere below the power steering reservoir, then it should be easy to trace the line coming from the filter. If yours is the new style, with the filter under the car back by the left rear wheel, then you have to look under the car to trace the fuel line back.

I have the new style, it was raining, the car is parked on gravel, and the passenger side is jacked up so I can get to the exhaust manifold easily. That's why I didn't trace it back... but maybe I will.

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Running the fuel pump to check which fuel line is spouting fuel is kinda dangerous. It comes outta there at high pressure. Don't go burning your car up now!

I have a couple gallon jugs left over from mixing new coolant. I can stick the hoses in there and be pretty safe...unless I take up smoking between now and then.

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1989 - E30 - M20 - Manual. Approximately 270,000 miles
2000 - E46 - M52TUB28 - Manual. Approximately 110,000 miles

We're going to do this in the good news/bad news style of story telling.

The good news.
Despite mother nature deciding to SNOW on me while I wrapped up my car last night, I managed to do it. After charging a dead battery, my car fired up after 3 or 4 cranks.
For some reason I was expecting either a ball of flame, or the sound of a Ferrari engine. I got nothing so exciting. The engine ran rough and sounded different, which I was expecting, but it continued to sound different after a minute, which I was not. However the idle was spot on 700 rpm without a noticeable change in the needle. I gave her a little gas but met major hesitation up to 1800 rpm or so. After a while I got up the guts to go higher because I wasn't hearing metal sounds yet. After 2000 rpm the engine smoothed right out. However it hesitated below 1800 again when dropping down.

I tinkered some more, checked for leaks, and finally decided to start her back up and go for a drive. One should never get emotionally attached to a car, because as I slowly pulled her out onto the road, I couldn't help but think this could be the last time I drive her. Between being nervous that I'd hurt her, the initial gravel road (can't hear the engine) and the fog, I went really easy on her. However I wasn't having driveability problems around 1000rpm. When I hit the paved road the engine sounded fine, again with no problems. No warning lights, engine temp is up, so I decide to push her a little bit. She climbs up to 3000rpm without a problem. I couldn't say if all her power was there. my loaner car has been an 84 chevy S-10 (with all of 94hp), and I never hit WOT. However, nothing sounded out of place.

After that 8 minute drive I brought her home, let her idle, notice no hesitation problems at low RPMs, and checked her over again. This is when I noticed...

The Bad News.

There is way too much white "smoke" coming out the tail pipe. It was probably there the entire time, but it was cold and I was working by flashlight, so I didn't take note.
I went ahead and drove it 15 minutes home trying to convince myself that I can't possibly be blowing coolant past my brand new seal. I started it this morning, and there was hardly any white exhaust out the tail pipe...than she warmed up, and it started. @#$%. The only problem on installation that I had was with that one head bolt, which on its second set of 90 was probably only turned 75-80 because I wasn't sure where it was at when my socket broke.

I'm going to try and bleed the air out of the system one last time after work, and make sure the coolant is at the proper level. At this point I should be able to tell for sure how much coolant I'm eating. My understanding of vaporizing coolant is that it HAS to be the head gasket, right? The car runs as well now as it did before removing everything, but I haven't tried pushing her too hard.

Being sick and spending half of last night awake and coughing hasn't improved my mood much either... I don't want to take her apart again sad smiley
The only thing that makes me feel the least bit happy is that the engine is really pretty right now. It's a stupid thing to feel good about, considering, but it's about all I have. *sigh*

So right now I think the plan is to take it all back apart. Double check the timing belt to see if that could have caused the rough lower idling, and put another head gasket on. Unless someone can suggest other things to try or do before that...

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1989 - E30 - M20 - Manual. Approximately 270,000 miles
2000 - E46 - M52TUB28 - Manual. Approximately 110,000 miles

Been doing some reading and thinking... I suppose I could have cracked my head somehow, aye? Maybe I'll do a compression test and see what that reveals. I can also check spark plug colors when I'm doing this. After about 20 minutes of total driving, I didn't see coolant in the oil, or oil in the coolant last night. I'll double check that again too.

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1989 - E30 - M20 - Manual. Approximately 270,000 miles
2000 - E46 - M52TUB28 - Manual. Approximately 110,000 miles

Now I'm more scared, and a little confused. The biggest headache and pain for me, is not knowing how this is all going to turn out.
So I took it for a 2.5 mile drive up and around a hill during lunch. Before starting the car, I checked the dip stick and oil cap for signs of coolant, none found. Checked my coolant level, and made sure it was spot on. Bled the system of air one more time, and took off. Car appeared to drive fine, but again I didn't push her. Temperature rose and stayed spot on the entire time. While driving I couldn't see white smoke behind the car, but it's sunny and 55 degrees, and I was going 25-30mph. When I got back, I parked but left the car running so I could check the tail pipe. Nothing visible coming out. I revved the engine to 2000rpm and still nothing out the tail pipe, but I did notice it's now running pretty rough! So I turn the car off, and check all the same spots again. Coolant level, good. Dip Stick, clean. Oil cap, @#$%. Nothing visible inside, but on the bottom of the cap there it was, a little white residue.

So now I'm confused. I can't imagine why the coolant/oil mix didn't show up until now on the cap, but why the sudden lack of coolant out the tail pipe? I don't think I'll be running the car any more, not with the possibility that the oil is compromised. I guess I'll also pop the valve cover off and make sure all the head bolts are still there sad smiley

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1989 - E30 - M20 - Manual. Approximately 270,000 miles
2000 - E46 - M52TUB28 - Manual. Approximately 110,000 miles

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Earendil
Oil cap, @#$%. Nothing visible inside, but on the bottom of the cap there it was, a little white residue.

So now I'm confused. I can't imagine why the coolant/oil mix didn't show up until now on the cap, but why the sudden lack of coolant out the tail pipe? I don't think I'll be running the car any more, not with the possibility that the oil is compromised. I guess I'll also pop the valve cover off and make sure all the head bolts are still there sad smiley

That residue doesn't mean anything by itself. It's time to take a couple of deep breaths, or do whatever it is you do to calm down. It's NOT time to go taking the car back apart. There's probably no reason for that. I wouldn't change the oil either. I would just use the car for short trips and see how it all goes. If you do have a problem, you'll know soon enough to avoid any major damage. Keep an eye on the oil and coolant. If they stay clean and unmixed and the car runs fine, then go for longer trips. Everything is probably OK.
Pull the plugs and see what they look like. You might have fouled plugs.

alan
rkj
Quote
alanrw
Pull the plugs and see what they look like. You might have fouled plugs.

alan

Might the exhaust be full of old antifreeze from the pull down?

Rick
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John Yust
That residue doesn't mean anything by itself. It's time to take a couple of deep breaths, or do whatever it is you do to calm down.

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alanrw
Pull the plugs and see what they look like. You might have fouled plugs.

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Rick
Might the exhaust be full of old antifreeze from the pull down?

Thanks guys, you're always the slow to judge, quick to wisdom. You all may very well be correct.
I pulled the valve cover and inspected everything under it to the best of my abilities. Nothing out of place, and no sign of coolant.
I pulled all the plugs and checked their gap again, and their condition. Most of them were brownish, and at least one of them had buildup across the gap. Note that these plugs had about 12 miles on them.

It is, as I think about it, highly likely that the tail pipe collected all kinds of sh*t while I was cleaning the engine. In fact if I think about it, when I went to clean the bolt holes with a compressor and hose, I found out that I had failed to drain the coolant from the block, and only drained it as far down as the pump. This resulted in the engine and myself getting a nice coolant shower as the air forced into one side of the block, moved the coolant out the other. It's quite likely that the tail pipe which is right there, and angled up, captured a bunch of this.

I also did a compression test, which though I wouldn't bet my life on the accuracy of my cheap gauge, it is surely accurate when measured against it's self.
In PSI, I got 145-140-145-140-145-145
So with that done, and nothing coming out the pipe, I drove 8 freeway miles to a friends house and back. No sign of coolant on the return.

I now only have two problems, which I could attribute to any number of things, and perhaps should start a new thread. But I'll mention them here.

First, I kept getting the 1221 oxygen sensor fault. I think I read someplace that excessive rich conditions can flat out kill the O2 sensor. What about excessive everything-I-dumped-in-the-engine? A good sniff at the tail pipe says that I am NOT running rich, so unless I'm running lean, perhaps the O2 sensor is toast?

Second, if the car is at idle around 600-700 RPM it's fine. If I turn the lights on, a squeaking/swooshing sound develops in the engine bay. It sounds *almost* like a belt, but not as high pitched. I know enough about electricity to know that the only thing mechanical that happens when I turn the lights on, is that the Alternator has increased resistance, but would that cause the belt to squeak? Or perhaps my alternator is going out? Of note, as soon as the RPMs climb to the point where the alternator should up the voltage, the squeak/swooshing goes away. I'll dig out the multi-meter tomorrow and make sure the voltage in the car is correct.

I *think* at this point I can say that my engine is okay. I was kind of surprised when my car started right up without any problems the very first time. I was sure with all the digging and touching of ancient parts that I would break a wire, or bump a sensor the wrong way. Perhaps it's time to do a full sweep of the sensors and wiring again!

Pictures soon...

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1989 - E30 - M20 - Manual. Approximately 270,000 miles
2000 - E46 - M52TUB28 - Manual. Approximately 110,000 miles

Thank you everyone who had advice or kind words for me during this very trying experience. Seriously, from the bottom of my heart.

A fellow software engineer who has a car mechanic as a brother told me today that he can't stand working on cars. I told him that I didn't much like it either, but I *loved* learning, and would do anything at least once if it meant better understanding the complicated devices in my life. So while I fully enjoyed this, I think I'd like to graduate to an advisory position, and not tear down my engine again for some time smiling smiley

Thank you all once again. Long live BENN smileys with beer

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1989 - E30 - M20 - Manual. Approximately 270,000 miles
2000 - E46 - M52TUB28 - Manual. Approximately 110,000 miles

Black + Clear coat Spray Paint: $10
Time spent painting while waiting for other things: 15 minutes
Looking at a shiny engine, that can be cleaned with a wet rag: Priceless.





And the manifolds are now reattached to the head.







Tuesday night. I really wanted to get done with this!!





Sorry, there is no video. By the time I started her up it was near dark, and nothing I had would take a video in that light.
More pictures to come.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1989 - E30 - M20 - Manual. Approximately 270,000 miles
2000 - E46 - M52TUB28 - Manual. Approximately 110,000 miles

Good onya for sticking to it!

Unplug the O2 sensor and see how the car runs without it. If it runs better (maybe not perfect, just better) then the "coolant bath" has killed the sensor.
Agreed, possibly some coolant went down the exhaust pipe and killed the O2 sensor. As to the alternator, check the belt tension. If that is OK, possibly the belt got fouled during the major repair?

It does sound like everything is OK, just a few details to sort out.

alan
rkj
Quote
Earendil
Thank you everyone who had advice or kind words for me during this very trying experience. Seriously, from the bottom of my heart.

A fellow software engineer who has a car mechanic as a brother told me today that he can't stand working on cars. I told him that I didn't much like it either, but I *loved* learning, and would do anything at least once if it meant better understanding the complicated devices in my life. So while I fully enjoyed this, I think I'd like to graduate to an advisory position, and not tear down my engine again for some time smiling smiley

Thank you all once again. Long live BENN smileys with beer

Hey Tyler, That picture of you in your rain gear strikes me (been there) and is especially cool (it's all about dedication) thumbs up

Like the guys are saying about the 02 sensor is true. The belts (even if they were new before the valve job) maybe be dirty after all your cleaning so they might have to be dealt with at some time soon. Taking charging readings is a great idea. All that black looks good, you used a satin finish, yes?

I know what you mean about taking your car apart; when mine is I'm a bit cranky...

Well done smileys with beer
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Earendil

smileys with beer That's awesome!

Sure there was some money involved in the bits and pieces and tools required. And sure, an experienced mechanic could have done this with his eyes closed in half the time it took you to do it. Okay so that work would have come with a guarantee and warranty so you wouldn't have to worry. But for sure it would also have come with a shocking bill of at least $1,500 or more.

Nothing replaces the satisfaction of knowing you did it yourself, and you took the time to give it some love by cleaning and painting stuff. Now you have truly bonded with this car.

Hats off to you dude! We're all proud of you and cheering!
Tyler, great job! Especially for a novice. You may be a little proud of yourself.
The Saga Continues...

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1989 - E30 - M20 - Manual. Approximately 270,000 miles
2000 - E46 - M52TUB28 - Manual. Approximately 110,000 miles

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