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Major maintenance to be done

Discussion in 'E30 (1984-1993)' started by az3579, Apr 21, 2008.

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    az3579

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    The Bentley manual says to do it every Inspection interval, so every time the Inspection light comes on, it must be done, regardless of whether it's Inspection I or Inspection II.
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    MGarrison

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    like Chris said, 12-15k miles - adjusting valves isn't all that hard, but as always there's a few things to be careful about. The Bavauto tool is very useful, but you'll find a stiff piece of wire bent to a similar configuration handy as well (a mechanic friend of mine gave me his wire piece, I suppose if you hunt a hardware store you might find an appropriately stiff piece of wire, a coat hanger ain't gonna do it, and I don't know right where I could go to grab a piece of metal wire like that). You'll need it to be close to the diameter of the adjusting hole in the rocker eccentric, too small and you'll have too much play.

    I usually tighten the nut to a point where the eccentric is not locked down, but won't move when I slide the feeler gauge under the eccentric. After I get the adjustment right, then I snug it down. You want to be careful not to overtighten the nuts, you don't want to strip them; they certainly should be snug and tight, but obviously there's a limit.

    The clearances involved are a little finer than you might suspect, feel-wise. I use the two adjacent sizes as an additional gauge. On the E30, engine cold, I make sure the .080 will pass easily under the rocker eccentric (it might feel like there's some slight resistance, but there should be hardly any), the .10 definitely takes some effort to push through, and the .12 won't clear, and to slide it under the rocker takes so much effort that it's obviously opening the valve a smidge, instead of sliding under the eccentric. Usually takes me several tries to get it to my satisfaction.

    You can hookup a remote starter switch to the starter (available probably anywhere - http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=35448) and unplug the spark wires, and use that to rotate the engine (might take a few tries to get the cam lobes in proper position compared to turning manually). Clearances to get to the front crank are kinda tight, but I think the Bentley procedure works fine. As I recall though, that takes a large socket and a long breaker bar. Be careful pulling the socket off the crank, it's ez to bash your radiator or a/c condenser (I forget if the Bentley manual says pull the radiator or not).

    This board isn't your only resource - dig up your chapter website and chapter contacts, they might have some insight for you through their or other member's experience with any BMW mechanics in your area.

    http://www.bavauto.com/shop.asp#valve
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    MGarrison

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    Oh ya - forgot from earlier - if you have a K&N filter, those are cotton element filters. K&N sells a cleaning solution, but you can also clean them yourself. I set a pail (5 gallon bucket, you may not need that big) on level surface, and fill w/ warm water just to where the water's at the top edge of the filter element, with the filter sitting in the pail, nose first and flat (narrow end down). That is, the element section is submerged, but the whole filter is not submerged under water. I add a little laundry detergent, get the water soapy, and swirl the filter around a bit without submerging it or allowing the dirty water to lap over the open end of the filter. After that I let the water settle and set the filter there to soak a little while (15-20 minutes?) I think the same time as the K&N cleaner solution. After that, gently rinse w/ clean water. I try to backflush it when clean rinsing so as not to potentially force dirt further into the filter element (hold the open end of the filter up to the faucet and rinse through the open end 'til thoroughly rinsed). It'll probably dry fine just sitting but it'll take awhile; to facilitate drying, I bent up a coat hanger to fit the filter shape, and hang it from one of my overhead fan blades, suspended far enough down so as not to have centrifugal force move it up too high, and let the fan spin on it's slowest speed overnight (or a few hours at least). Make sure you've shaken the excess water out first if you try that, you don't want water flung all over the room and walls. When the filter's dry, then I respray it with the K&N oil according to directions.

    You have to re-oil them, the oil is what allows the element to function properly as an air filter. The cotton element, un-oiled, won't do the filtering job you'd want it to.
    • Member

    az3579

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    My filter isn't K&N; it would otherwise have the label on it. It's one I got from the local auto store (no brand). Sure looks like a K&N though.

    Where can I get this oil-spray? I should be able to pick this up from the store, right? Any particular brand I should look for or I should be able to find the K&N stuff there?)

    cj morgan guest

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    what exactly does adjusting the vavles do? i am not aware of when the last time my car had that done...
    • Member

    MGarrison

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    I think that's explained in the Bentley manual too, however - the M20 engine is a sohc (Single Over Head Cam) design. The camshaft fits into the head, over (above) the engine. The camshaft has oval-shaped lobes on it which control the opening and closing of the intake and exhaust valves. Since it's a _single_ camshaft, it does double duty in actuating both sets of valves. To accomplish that, the head uses these cast aluminum pieces called rocker arms which at one end are in contact w/ the cam lobes, and the other end of the rocker arm pushes down on the valve and opens it. The rocker arms pivot on a shaft.

    Over time, the contact points of the rocker arm (the 'pad' which is in contact w/ the cam lobe, and the other end which pushes on the valve) wear; the camshaft lobes can wear too, but that takes many, many, many miles. As the wear increases, the camshaft lobe will not be pushing the rocker arm quite as far as when it's adjusted to spec, and the valves won't be opening as fully as they should.

    In adjusting the valves, you are re-setting the gap between the rocker arm/valve contact points back to what it should be. Ideally, this should be a once-every-15k-miles adjustment. BMW's dohc (double overhead camshaft) engine designs (such as in the E30 M3, the E36 M50/S50, and so on) uses an individual camshaft for each set of valves, eliminating the need for rocker arms. I think most BMW dohc engines since the 90's are self adjusting, you don't have to adjust valves/rockers for wear.

    AZ - if you know where you got the filter from, I'd say go back there, and see what they (or any product info) might tell you about how the filter should be serviced/maintained. There are different types of filter elements - the K&N oil _might_ work fine, but I'd say you want to try and check it out and see whatever it should be (assuming you can find out). I know the K&N oil is designed for their filters, which are basically cotton stuffing between the mesh. If your filter says its element is something like that, I would guess the K&N would work fine. If they have something that's supposed to go w/ your filter, I'm guessing it might be better to use that. You can order the K&N stuff from lots of mail order places, but I would think anyplace selling K&N filters would have the oil too.
    • Member

    az3579

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    I was talking about the K&N air filter, not oil filter.


    I did the oil change this last weekend. The car's been sitting all weekend because I was going to do the timing belt but decided not to do it yet as I couldn't afford a distributor cap and that would've been something to do while it's all taken apart, so I'll do it next weekend. Problem here is that before I decided not to do it, I drained the radiator coolant and upon putting the drain plug back, it was leaking. The son-uv-a-*insertcusshere* plug was a plastic plug that was stripped to hell, even though I didn't abuse it. I can still take it out, but can't tighten it enough for it to hold the pressure. As a result, my engine starts to overheat beyond the half-point on the coolant temperature gauge.

    So now I'm here, without a car, needing to go to work (have to be dropped off -- *shudder*) all because nobody ships anything on the weekend and this little drain plug has to be ordered. :mad:



    The timing belt, distributor cap, and depending on how much the rotor costs, that as well will be replaced next weekend. During this time the valves will be adjusted and a new valve cover gasket will be installed. I plan on doing oxygen sensor if it fits into my budget; if not, then that'll have to wait another week.



    Thanks a lot for the valve adjustment explanation. I'm hoping mine didn't wear too much because it hasn't been adjusted while I owned the car and surely I've done at least 25,000 miles on it since I've obtained it. :eek:

    Autohaus guest

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    az3579, ///MGarrison was explaining about the K&N filter, not the oil filter. Just re-read his last paragraph. K&N has a special oil to clean out the cone filter. 25,000 is alot of miles since not having a valve adjustment done. However, when I first got my 87 528e, I didn't know about a valve adjustment until 2 years after I got it and I drove about 30,000 miles! Then I found out and had it done.
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    az3579

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    Unfortunately, I don't have the K&N filter. My brother bought me this generic (I guess) cone filter from the parts store nearby. Would it be worth shelling out money to get a K&N filter? Would this cleaning material for K&N filters work on mine as well? Mine looks similar to K&N but it may not be exactly the same, and since you said the cleaning elements were designed for K&N, I figure the designs of these two filters may be different despite the same appearance.

    He also bought one for his Dodge Sprinter and found the thing to be obnoxiously loud, so he removed it very soon after. I'm using the one he bought so I can deal with cleaning mine later

    Autohaus guest

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    I say you can use the same oil as the K&N filter. When your bank account increases, you could buy a K&N cone filter. I say save that money and put it into maintenance.
    • Member

    MGarrison

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    K&N has 1 product for cleaning their filters (I just use warm water and some laundry detergent as explained in an earlier post), and another product for re-oiling their filters after they've been cleaned. The element I refer to is simply the material in the filter.

    http://knfilters.com/clningacc.htm

    You could try cleaning your filter w/ the K&N cleaner, or some soapy water if you don't think it'll suffer any, or see if there's a specific cleaner for your filter. Given the popularity of K&N's, it would be no surprise if someone's cloning them - I don't think there's anything particularly exotic about the element material, it's cotton; yours might well be a K&N in all but name, I wouldn't know offhand, not having looked into it.

    Ditto what Chris said, w/ budget constraints, doing anything different about a filter is hardly a top priority. K&N is not the only options for a filter, you have a variety to choose from if you decide to do something different about it later - (I think K&N filters/products are widely available however).

    Sorry about the mishap w/ the radiator plug - when you get a new one securely sealed in there, consider just pulling off the lower radiator hose for draining the rad. in the future - easier, and no plug hassles (I've never bothered pulling out the radiator drain plug).

    The distributor cap and rotor are pretty easily replaced at any time (but yes, easier to do as your putting it back together), and the O2 sensor is changed easily at any time (nice to do when the car is cool tho; those exhaust pipes get hot).

    Kudos on being willing to tackle a fairly major project.

    A couple of additonal notes. You _could_ adjust the valves w/ the timing belt off, it's fairly easy to turn the camshaft using a socket wrench and (torx?) socket, compared to having to turn the whole engine w/ timing belt installed. HOWEVER, there are a few warnings that go w/ that suggestion. You'd want to turn the engine so _all_ the pistons are down, so that as you turn the camshaft when adjusting the valves, you don't run the valves into the pistons. A good way to check that is with one of those flexible shaft lights (http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=95414), which you can poke into the cylinder bore through the spark plug holes and see the cylinder's position. Adjusting the valves is easier if you pull out, (or at least loosen) the sparkplugs, regardless of whether the timing belt's on or not (you're not fighting the engine compression that way).

    The tradeoff for the ease of turning the engine is that you now have to absolutely ensure that you get the engine and the camshaft aligned back into their perfect positions, dead on. One tooth off on the camshaft and the car will probably run like it's got a miss, and you'll have to pull it all back off to fix that. You get it way off, and the valves will crash the pistons (really disastrous). The Bentley manual explains how to check those alignments, and it's not particularly hard to get it back, or lined up, but it's one of those check-it-three-or-five-times-to-make-sure-you-have-it-right things before you continue w/ the next step of re-installation.

    However, w/ the radiator out, access to the crank nut to turn the engine is pretty ez, so that's not a bad way to go by any means, just a bit more effort required, or there's the option of connecting the battery and using a remote-start switch.

    Anyway, good luck w/ it all when you get to it.
    • Member

    az3579

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    Adjusting the valves seems to be the most complicated part of this all; replacing the belt, distributor cap and rotor; all seems to be cut-and-dry remove and replace, but the valve adjustment is starting to scare me...


    Consider this: I've never even taken the valve cover off before to see what's inside! I've seen photos and all, but you can't see all the minute details in a photo. I don't know what I'm looking for and quite frankly, I'm afraid to do it because I don't feel like buying another car if (or possibly when) I screw up.






    At least I have the comfort in knowing the new drain lug is superb. :rolleyes:

    Autohaus guest

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    I would strongly suggest you bring the car to an independant BMW mechanic to do the valve adjustment. I know you are on a budget and there isn't a BMW mechanic right around the corner from you, but this is one job that cannot be gambled with. Unfortunately, Bimrs.org doesn't list every BMW independant shop that exists.

    cj morgan guest

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    adjusting the vavles has got be easier than changing the timing belt. correct? I'm considering doing a valve adjsutment on my own. Is that such a bad idea?
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    az3579

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    I was told that it is an easier job than it seems and that the timing belt is a lot more work because of the disassembly that's required. Based on the information I was given, I would say that I'm overdue for an adjustment and that it's just another thing I should do to keep the engine in the tip top shape it is.

    Autohaus guest

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    Did you manage to perform the valve adjustment over the weekend?
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    az3579

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    My brother let me down once again by not showing up (I always do major projects with him so I don't screw anything up) so I gave up and will take it the shop across the street. They want $200 for the timing belt/tensioner replacement and distributor cap/rotor replacement. I forgot to mention the valve adjustment, but I'm sure that the whole thing won't cost so much.


    I wanted to replace my distributor cap/rotor this weekend myself without removing the radiator as some places say it's possible to do it without removing the radiator, but I found that they don't know what the heck they're talking about. It's impossible to get to a few of the nuts on the distro-cap without effectively diminishing your hand to bone (for me, at least). I had no access to a yard (park on the street) over the weekend, one day because it was raining and the other because somebody else was using it. Even if I was to put off the timing belt for the next weekend (third one in a row because of him), I can't live without replacing the cap/rotor because just on the way to work this morning, the car stalled 3 times. I have to take the car in on Wednesday and I do the bank runs for my company; one of the banks is 10 miles away. I just can't afford to stall in the middle of traffic.


    Everything aside, I wouldn't be able to do the belt job anyway because I don't have a torque wrench that can do the 400+ ft/lbs of torque needed for one of the components to put it back together and am not prepared to shell out close to a thousand bucks for one.

    Imagine my frustration. :mad:

    Autohaus guest

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    You should be getting the stimulus check that Bush signed off on. That should help you out big time. Does your job reinburse you for gas money? Some people remove the radiator so they won't damage it. I believe my mechanic doesn't do it as he has done these a million times and could do it in his sleep. The $200 quote is a very good price. Let me know whats up.........

    cj morgan guest

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    haha $200 price quote. thats amazing. does this place know what they're getting into?
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    az3579

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    The shop I'm taking it to is garbage at diagnosing, but very good with installing (if you tell them what to do). Our family is good friends with the owner, so I guess the $200 price is actually discounted on my part.

    Stimulus check? What do I need to qualify for it... actually, nevermind. Methinks it's too late anyway. My employer also does taxes, so he would have done that for me if I was eligible and he didn't say anything about that to me.
    And no, my job does not reimburse me for gas despite my absolutely pathetic salary. I'm in very good standing with my bosses though and would be considered a friend of the family (seems to be a trend going on here, no?), so I could easily just ask them for a reimbursement and would probably get it. I just don't have the guts to ask because I'm not the kind of person that asks for anything; I tend to work for it.


    Of course, after countless miles at $4.07/gallon for 93 octane, several breakdowns, several repairs costing quite a lot of money, I think I deserve it.



    So on Wednesday my car will be in tip-top shape and I have a nicely bulging folder of service records in it, despite the fact that this car will never see another owner. I will drive it 'till it dies! And when it does (assuming there's no actual engine damage), I will take some of Jeremy Clarkson's ideas and make a cup-holder out of my head gasket, a coat hanger out of my pistons, and a nice chair out of my black pleather-vinyl-whatevertheyare seats. :cool:




    (Oh, and if there are any more "maintenance" items that are suggested that I perform within a month of this service, I am going to stab myself before my bank account gets a chance to bounce! :D)

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