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      08-09-2017, 09:51 AM   #1
dlwmacgregor
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Seized bolt while changing VCG

I had a slight oil leak that was making my engine smoke from oil dripping on my catalytic converter. It is a 2008 328i with 92,000 km (about 55,000 miles).
It was diagnosed as a Valve Cover Gasket problem by my Independent Garage here in Ottawa (Young Street Garage).
Unfortunately one of the bolts holding it in place was seized from rust caused by water pooling in the bolt well (see pictures).

He said he didn't know how the water got there but he did ask me if I ever washed my engine. I said no because I never do.

He tried to drill out the bolt but was unsuccessful. He didn't want to try too hard for fear of damaging the cylinder head and I agreed. He said it would not make a difference in the stability of the Valve Cover but he would apply some high temperature silicone to the area to seal it.

Anyone here ever seen a seized bolt like this before? He said he had never seen it before.

He quoted me $777 to change the gasket. After viewing several videos on Youtube on this procedure I understand why. I used to own Volvos and I thought they were complicated.

To make matters worse he said that a small "screen" normally attached to the underside of the Valve Cover had become detached and that in his experience, trying to glue it back on was not successful. He will show me what he means when I go to pick it up later this week because I can't see it in any of the pictures I can find.

So, long story short... need a new Valve Cover! $629 Cdn. So this is turning out to be a $1500 bill for a $50 gasket.

This is our first BMW and after this episode and one 2 months ago when we found out that the evaporator for the AC was leaking and would cost $3400 to replace (we said no) we are quickly becoming disappointed in the brand.
He did warn us that BMW's "don't break often but when they do it's expensive". We finally stopped buying Volvos because they were becoming prone to breakdown and expensive to fix.

One other thing he noticed was rusted bolts on the intake manifold and leaves under it (picture included).

He asked me if we park it on gravel and under a tree and the answer to both was "yes". How in the world did the leaves get under the intake manifold?

Anyways, any thoughts on the Valve Cover issue?
Thanks.
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      08-09-2017, 10:24 AM   #2
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No idea on the seized bolt, but I'd bet a dollar the leaves are from a rodents nest.
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      08-09-2017, 10:35 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fravel View Post
No idea on the seized bolt, but I'd bet a dollar the leaves are from a rodents nest.
Now there's a thought. I'll check with my mechanic.
Thanks.
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      08-09-2017, 12:24 PM   #4
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Without that bolt you might have oil leak into the spark plug wells around it, resulting in fouled coil and misfire. It's best to fix it while the valve cover is off.
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      08-09-2017, 12:26 PM   #5
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you definitely have some sort of animal living under your intake manifold.
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      08-09-2017, 01:08 PM   #6
dlwmacgregor
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El Cheapo Loco View Post
Without that bolt you might have oil leak into the spark plug wells around it, resulting in fouled coil and misfire. It's best to fix it while the valve cover is off.
I understand what you are saying and that is why my mechanic is going to seal it with high temperature silicone. the bolt is made of harder stuff than the cylinder head.
If too much force is applied trying to get it out there is a real possibility that the head could be cracked.
I'd rather take the chance of a fouled plug and coil than a cracked cylinder head.
Besides that, it will have brand new gaskets around the spark plug holes as well, rather than the 9 year-old, 55,000 miles ones that were in there before.
Thanks for the suggestion.

Last edited by dlwmacgregor; 08-09-2017 at 02:18 PM.
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      08-09-2017, 02:47 PM   #7
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the bolt is steel and the head is aluminum. The proper fix is to drill out the bolt, and if needed, helicoil the threads and replace the bolt.

You're spending $1500 on a gasket that is likely to need redone due to this broken bolt.
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      08-09-2017, 05:12 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hassmaschine View Post
the bolt is steel and the head is aluminum. The proper fix is to drill out the bolt, and if needed, helicoil the threads and replace the bolt.

You're spending $1500 on a gasket that is likely to need redone due to this broken bolt.
I realize that but the problem is the position of the offending bolt and the angle it would have to be drilled at. I do NOT want to run the risk of harming the cylinder head.
It can't have been the front one - no, it had to be the rear one!
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      08-09-2017, 06:33 PM   #9
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The amount of rust at intake manifold bolt and nuts and what looks like salt residue on the plastic parts looks excessive for the mileage, even for Canadian winters. Car may be missing some of its hood seals:
http://www.realoem.com/bmw/enUS/show...diagId=51_5861
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      08-09-2017, 06:46 PM   #10
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That engine looks like it spent time under salted water looking at intake bolts in pictures......my car is almost 9 years old and the vcg bolts looked pristine minus the oil on them when I did vcg.
I would have them do it properly as hassmachine stated.
GL Op.
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      08-09-2017, 06:49 PM   #11
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he lives in the northeast of Canada - they salt the ever living eff out of the roads there. They probably consider that a "rust free" car.
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      08-09-2017, 06:50 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dlwmacgregor View Post
I realize that but the problem is the position of the offending bolt and the angle it would have to be drilled at. I do NOT want to run the risk of harming the cylinder head.
It can't have been the front one - no, it had to be the rear one!
Your mechanic would just have to undo the hood struts so the hood can be pointed straight up. I don't see how there's an issue drilling the bolts straight.
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      08-09-2017, 06:55 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hassmaschine View Post
Your mechanic would just have to undo the hood struts so the hood can be pointed straight up. I don't see how there's an issue drilling the bolts straight.

maybe the mechanic is just not experience enough and does not even want to try it.

hint hint , maybe try a different mechanic
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      08-09-2017, 07:00 PM   #14
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Seriously, if my mechanic was charging me $1500 and wanted to use a bunch of goop to fix his mistake, I'd be pissed. Plus helicoils are not even uncommon or all that expensive - compared to doing it all over again in a few months when it starts to leak again..
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      08-09-2017, 07:08 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hassmaschine View Post
Seriously, if my mechanic was charging me $1500 and wanted to use a bunch of goop to fix his mistake, I'd be pissed. Plus helicoils are not even uncommon or all that expensive - compared to doing it all over again in a few months when it starts to leak again..
I don't think I'd class it as "his mistake". Somehow water got to the indentation surrounding the bolt and seeped into the bolt threads causing the corrosion.
It's costing $1500 because of a faulty screen in the valve cover, obviously a manufacturing problem, not the fault of the mechanic.

I have 38 years with this mechanic and his shop. I trust him completely.

I will ask him if he has considered helicoils.

Thanks.

Last edited by dlwmacgregor; 08-09-2017 at 07:14 PM.
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      08-09-2017, 08:56 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dlwmacgregor View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by hassmaschine View Post
Seriously, if my mechanic was charging me $1500 and wanted to use a bunch of goop to fix his mistake, I'd be pissed. Plus helicoils are not even uncommon or all that expensive - compared to doing it all over again in a few months when it starts to leak again..
I don't think I'd class it as "his mistake". Somehow water got to the indentation surrounding the bolt and seeped into the bolt threads causing the corrosion.
It's costing $1500 because of a faulty screen in the valve cover, obviously a manufacturing problem, not the fault of the mechanic.

I have 38 years with this mechanic and his shop. I trust him completely.

I will ask him if he has considered helicoils.

Thanks.
Hmm....I'm not even a mechanic and I could fix your problem in my driveway .....so I find it very odd your mechanic seems to be challenged by such an insignificant problem which he should be able to solve given he's supposed to be professional which you completely trust.
I suppose he just wants a little more money.:
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      08-09-2017, 09:22 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hassmaschine View Post
he lives in the northeast of Canada - they salt the ever living eff out of the roads there. They probably consider that a "rust free" car.
Amount of rust is still excessive. And water on the top of the engine is not something expected. Something is off.
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      08-09-2017, 10:29 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dlwmacgregor View Post
I had a slight oil leak that was making my engine smoke from oil dripping on my catalytic converter. It is a 2008 328i with 92,000 km (about 55,000 miles).
It was diagnosed as a Valve Cover Gasket problem by my Independent Garage here in Ottawa (Young Street Garage).
Unfortunately one of the bolts holding it in place was seized from rust caused by water pooling in the bolt well (see pictures).

He said he didn't know how the water got there but he did ask me if I ever washed my engine. I said no because I never do.

He tried to drill out the bolt but was unsuccessful. He didn't want to try too hard for fear of damaging the cylinder head and I agreed. He said it would not make a difference in the stability of the Valve Cover but he would apply some high temperature silicone to the area to seal it.

Anyone here ever seen a seized bolt like this before? He said he had never seen it before.

He quoted me $777 to change the gasket. After viewing several videos on Youtube on this procedure I understand why. I used to own Volvos and I thought they were complicated.

To make matters worse he said that a small "screen" normally attached to the underside of the Valve Cover had become detached and that in his experience, trying to glue it back on was not successful. He will show me what he means when I go to pick it up later this week because I can't see it in any of the pictures I can find.

So, long story short... need a new Valve Cover! $629 Cdn. So this is turning out to be a $1500 bill for a $50 gasket.

This is our first BMW and after this episode and one 2 months ago when we found out that the evaporator for the AC was leaking and would cost $3400 to replace (we said no) we are quickly becoming disappointed in the brand.
He did warn us that BMW's "don't break often but when they do it's expensive". We finally stopped buying Volvos because they were becoming prone to breakdown and expensive to fix.

One other thing he noticed was rusted bolts on the intake manifold and leaves under it (picture included).

He asked me if we park it on gravel and under a tree and the answer to both was "yes". How in the world did the leaves get under the intake manifold?

Anyways, any thoughts on the Valve Cover issue?
Thanks.
Car looks like it was in a flood and shipped off to be resold in an area where you wouldn't even think to check for flood damage. That is either an animal living in your intake manifold or leaves a debris leftover after being submerged. Tell tale sign is if you lift the carpet and look for water marks and or damage inside the car. Just like a home you will see a high water mark. After hurricane Katrina that hit the USA some shady people shipped alot of the cars that had flood damage to Phoenix because people here would never look for flood damage and they would be easy to sell.

Or it sat without a hood in a junk yard till someone came along and bought it and fixed it then turned around and sold it to you.
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      08-10-2017, 12:35 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdavis42 View Post
Car looks like it was in a flood and shipped off to be resold in an area where you wouldn't even think to check for flood damage. That is either an animal living in your intake manifold or leaves a debris leftover after being submerged. Tell tale sign is if you lift the carpet and look for water marks and or damage inside the car. Just like a home you will see a high water mark. After hurricane Katrina that hit the USA some shady people shipped alot of the cars that had flood damage to Phoenix because people here would never look for flood damage and they would be easy to sell.

Or it sat without a hood in a junk yard till someone came along and bought it and fixed it then turned around and sold it to you.

I could easily see that car going nose first into a body of water ... there's a lot of small lakes as well as the Ottawa river ... or even Lake Ontario. IF it's a local car. Regardless my thought it nose dive into a body of water and sat. If the previous owner got it running without any sort of claim, you'd never know it.

Having water that high up on an engine doesn't typically happen. Especially to the extent that it would cause all that much rust and water seeping through your valve cover. With that nest of debris ... it looks like it's been sitting for awhile.
(regarding the salt ... Yes up there they salt the crap out of the roads so road salt being sprayed up into the engine bay isn't abnormal)


.... but regardless of any of this. Personally I'd try another mechanic to see what they would charge. You've been a customer for the past 38 years ... I can't imagine he'd be that ticked if you got another quote. If he's that trustworthy, I'm sure he'd understand ... $1500 is a goodly amount of money.
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      08-10-2017, 03:09 AM   #20
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That bolt has a sleeve/dowel around it, that maybe why the mechanic is leary to drill it out. Helicoil drill size may not fit inside the sleeve. Though no dowel vs no tight down bolt which is worse ...
https://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl...act=mrc&uact=8

Last edited by PhaseP; 08-10-2017 at 03:16 AM.
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      08-10-2017, 07:39 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdavis42 View Post
Car looks like it was in a flood and shipped off to be resold in an area where you wouldn't even think to check for flood damage. That is either an animal living in your intake manifold or leaves a debris leftover after being submerged. Tell tale sign is if you lift the carpet and look for water marks and or damage inside the car. Just like a home you will see a high water mark. After hurricane Katrina that hit the USA some shady people shipped alot of the cars that had flood damage to Phoenix because people here would never look for flood damage and they would be easy to sell.

Or it sat without a hood in a junk yard till someone came along and bought it and fixed it then turned around and sold it to you.
My mechanic bought it from Montreal and drove it for 2 years before I offered to buy it (in 2015). It had one owner previous to him.
We have had a ton of rain since March and I do mean a ton. It is the wettest Spring/Summer in Ottawa's history going back to 1873. And a lot of that was heavy driving rain. So the car has been sitting on my gravel driveway thru all of that. Young Street Garage is NOT shady.
And to make clear again...it's not $1500 for the gasket. It's $1500 dollars because of the faulty valve cover screen. The original quote was $777 plus valve cover gasket kit.
The valve cover is $629 CDN.

I appreciate all these thoughts. Thank you.
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      08-10-2017, 07:43 AM   #22
dlwmacgregor
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Needbmwpartzz View Post
Hmm....I'm not even a mechanic and I could fix your problem in my driveway .....so I find it very odd your mechanic seems to be challenged by such an insignificant problem which he should be able to solve given he's supposed to be professional which you completely trust.
I suppose he just wants a little more money.:
Could you do it without cracking the cylinder head? How would you make sure that the drilling angle was just right if you couldn't position yourself right over it?
I'm asking not criticizing.

Last edited by dlwmacgregor; 08-10-2017 at 05:58 PM.
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