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BMW 3-Series and 4-Series Forum (F30 / F32) | F30POST > Technical Forums > N20, N26, B46, B48 Turbo Engine / Drivetrain / Exhaust Modifications > N20 Valve Cover Gasket DIY, some useful tips...
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      03-05-2020, 09:09 AM   #1
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N20 Valve Cover Gasket DIY, some useful tips...

Posting these to help fellow DIYers. I have done VCGs on all the bimmers I have had E30, E46, E92, E84. The reality is that the complexity of this job has increased with the newer engines. It took me about 6 hours. Forums report that Indies (2020 pricing) can do this job for $500-700 labor plus parts. If you get the VCG kit (includes new cover, bolts and seals) plus the eccentric shaft seal, parts only will set you back about $280 shipped.

This won't be a step by step DIY but will point to key areas and provide links to other resources. All together it should provide a fairly good guide.
  • Watch the youtube video by Mike MDs LINK
  • Don't forget to disconnect the battery.
  • It is recommended to replace the valve cover, especially in our engines that get super hot because of the turbo and may develop micro fractures. Also because the valve cover has a seal on the back, where the vacuum pump mates, that tends to fail. REIN/Contitech now makes a VCG kit that is well made and has all the seals and bolts preinstalled for $250. Torque for the VCG bolts is 9 Nm and tightening order is in the pic attached.
  • To remove the vacuum pump, Mike MDs tip to use the mini ratchet is a must, you must have it, as removing this without the little ratchet is probably not possible. Also I got a piece of 5 ft string and taped it to the handle of the ratchet as you will probably drop it and fishing for that is not fun.
  • Other important thing, while you are in there, is to replace the eccentric shaft seal.
  • There is no risk on confusing the O2 sensors when reconnecting them as the connections are unique to each sensor.
  • Don't forget to disconnect and remove the two VANOS sensors that go on the front side of the VCG before yanking it out.
  • When reinstalling the High pressure fuel pump (HPFP) it is very important to manually crank the engine so that the exhaust camshaft is at bottom dead center (lowest point). LINK to TIS instructions. If you don't do this, you will break the HPFP and buying a new HPFP kit is $300 OEM Bosch or $1450 from the stealership. Ask me how I know
  • To prevent a no start issue, air may need to be bleed from the the fuel rail using a vacuum pump. It is super important that you keep the rail lines as well as the injector connection points protected from dust/debris at all times.
  • Fuel rail nut bolts torque is super important as you can break the injectors piezoelectric internals if you over tighten: 233 Nm. Fuel line nuts to/from HPFP from fuel rail: 303 Nm.
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Last edited by chrisca70; 03-06-2020 at 09:22 AM..
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      04-11-2021, 01:10 PM   #2
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Appreciate the tips. Mine just started leaking and the indie wanted $1100 for the job (whole valve cover, not just the gasket), so I'll be giving this a shot myself.
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      06-18-2021, 07:13 PM   #3
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Just did this job today. It sucked compared to my M5x/S5x engines. Protip... The low pressure fuel supply pipe... Watch that the flare nut doesn't work its way down the firewall. If you don't realize that the low pressure nut is not up bear the valve cover it's especially not fun to work it up and requires loosening/removing the plastic cable/O2 bracket from the rear of the head/VC which also sucks. I can see why the dealer and Indy charge so much. Glad I did it as I now understand how terrible it is compared to previous engines.

Bad news: After about 60 mile round trip we got home and the valve cover itself is oily above the head/cover joint, so it must be a crack some place. I don't see oil atop of the valve cover, so it must be in the side or around the bolt hole, etc. Sigh - now I need to source a valve cover and get this project done all over again.

Last edited by 5mall5nail5; 06-20-2021 at 09:14 AM..
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