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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > DIY Guides > N55 - Replacing PCV w/out replacing Valve Cover



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      05-15-2017, 08:29 PM   #1
AJ9x
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N55 - Replacing PCV w/out replacing Valve Cover

My engine developed a high pitch whining noise (sounds like it is coming from under the engine). At first, thought it was a squeaky belt. Sprayed some water on it, nope. A telltale sign is removing your oil cap at idle. Noise goes away with a sensible vacuum pull on the oil cap. If this sounds like you, probably a bad PCV (in particular, the rubber diaphragm).

Local BMW shop (non-stealership) quoted me at around $1500 to replace the entire valve cover as the PCV valve is built into the valve cover.

I dug around and found a very informative thread (http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1197666). I went to a website (https://vanos-bmw.com/membrane-for-b...er-11127570292) that sold a PCV repair kit for about $40 which involves a little patch job. They have a $20 option to replace just the diaphragm, but from experience, the $40 replacement part is the way to go. Much easier when installing it. Obviously as the PCV is built into the valve cover, you'll need to cut the old one out. Yes, I said cut, but don't be alarmed! It's actually fairly easy. I did this in about 30 min.

Things I needed:
1) Nut driver (hose clamps to remove air intake)
2) Small hand saw (pilot cut on PCV)
3) Oscillating saw (cut out PCV)
4) Small broomstick (to hold down new PCV against spring pressure)
5) JB Weld

First thing I did was remove the engine covers and pulled the air intake out of the way. I more or less modified my engine cover for ease of access, but you certainly don't have to. The PCV valve should be completely exposed. It is on the top of the engine about mid way back, looks like a big cap with a little 90 degree air port on the top. It sits in between the Y shaped fuel rail tubing.

The next thing you'll want to do is measure how much of the PCV valve to cut based on how tall the replacement PCV part is so it'll be about the same height when it's finished. To make the cut, I used a small hand saw to cut a pilot groove all the way around, then used an oscillating saw to make the full cut. (pics attached)

With the PCV valve now open, you can discard the old top of the PCV, but KEEP THE SPRING! When I removed mine, I saw my PCV diaphragm had some tears in it indicating failure. With the PCV area open, there's probably a little gunk build up inside and on the spring. Clean it all up with some rags and solution (pics attached). Make sure you are thorough since you did just cut plastic into the PCV area. I also used some paper towels to cover the small opening into the engine after cleaning it out. Replace the spring back inside properly (pics attached). Next, place the new replacement part on top of the spring with the spring lined up (pics attached). There are some alignment guides that will ensure the new part is on properly, you will feel this. Spring pressure will want to push up on the replacement part once you have it on and aligned, but I used a small broom stick to place on top of the PCV and wedged it in a spot on the underside of my hood. This helped keep the top of the PCV in place against spring pressure while I sealed it together. (pics attached)



To seal this together, I suggest using JB Weld over Plastic Epoxy because it has a longer working time. I used about a quarter size of the black stuff and a quarter size of the white stuff. I used a small paint brush to apply the JB Weld all the way around. IMPORTANT - DO NOT PUSH THE JB WELD INTO THE INSIDE OF THE PCV. Doing so will obstruct the internals of the PCV valve and you're back to the same problem you started with. Once the JB Weld is on, use a scraper to even it out (pics attached). Make sure there are no holes/gaps in the JB Weld after applying it (pics attached). Once the JB Weld is on, let it dry (15-24hrs).

After the JB Weld dries, replace everything you took out (air intake, engine covers) and you should be good to go. One more note, do not use a clamp or anything that will compress the sides of the PCV as it is very sensitive to external pressure. This can cause interference with the internal operation of the PCV and the noise will come back. Sounds weird, I know, but this is experience talking.

Seems like a weird patch job, but it did the trick. No more high pitched whining noises. And while it might be best to remove the entire valve cover to do this, if you're going to go through that trouble, might as well replace the valve cover itself.

Hope it helped!

http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y87...514_122643.jpg
http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y87...514_122534.jpg
http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y87...514_122525.jpg
http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y87...514_122651.jpg
http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y87...514_123511.jpg
http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y87...514_124022.jpg
http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y87...514_124430.jpg
http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y87...514_124645.jpg
http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y87...514_130754.jpg
http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y87...515_084840.jpg

Last edited by AJ9x; 05-16-2017 at 12:29 AM..
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      05-15-2017, 11:39 PM   #2
vespa
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Wow! Nice work! How hard was it to get all the plastic chips out after cutting? Do you have any pics of the failed diaphragm? Any idea what might have caused it to fail?
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      05-16-2017, 12:26 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vespa View Post
Wow! Nice work! How hard was it to get all the plastic chips out after cutting? Do you have any pics of the failed diaphragm? Any idea what might have caused it to fail?
Not bad, most of the saw dust fell outside of the engine. The little bit that fell inside was easy to clean up and the crankcase port was easy to clean out.

Here's a pic of the failed diaphragm. Doesn't look like much, but when you're talking vacuum, it doesn't take much.

http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y87...217_161504.jpg

My guess on what caused it to fail (other than age @55k miles) is running higher boost on an E85 mix/JB4. The noise changed very noticeably depending on my boost setting. The specific mechanics on it, I'm not exactly sure. Just know that with more boost came more crankcase vacuum and more noise.
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      06-11-2017, 01:28 PM   #4
remixsecret
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vespa AJ9x Hey guys, I did the fix for this as well but the squeal or howling is reduced but still exist. What else could be done to fix this completely? Its driving me nuts..
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      06-18-2017, 04:30 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by remixsecret View Post
vespa AJ9x Hey guys, I did the fix for this as well but the squeal or howling is reduced but still exist. What else could be done to fix this completely? Its driving me nuts..
What I did before the fix was bought a new gas cap, drilled two 1/2" holes in it (make sure not to drill into the cap's seating surface), fed in a pcv elbow I got from the local parts store into the holes and clamped on two tiny air filters on the ends of the elbows. Ghetto, but it kept me going for a while. Other than that, probably looking at trying the repair again or getting a new valve cover.
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      10-08-2017, 03:22 PM   #6
miris32
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Great info. AJ9x when I try to open the photos with Photobucket I am getting an ad to upgrade to P500. Is there any other way that I can access the photos?
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      10-11-2017, 11:09 AM   #7
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What is the difficulty of valve cover replacement diy vs this diy?

Will any dust go inside of the engine (fall into engine from pcv)?
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      11-08-2017, 01:53 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hzehn View Post
What is the fantastic list of bingo sites of valve cover replacement diy vs this diy?

Will any dust go inside of the engine (fall into engine from pcv)?
If you're careful you can avoid dust going in there. I was able to do it and I'm no expert.

Last edited by EarlCey; 07-15-2019 at 02:45 AM..
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      02-20-2018, 10:00 AM   #9
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AJ9x - how is this holding up for you? I'm about to attempt the same thing, thanks to your guide.
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      05-27-2018, 08:39 AM   #10
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This post was very useful. Thanks!!
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      05-27-2018, 06:09 PM   #11
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I have a similar chirping/ringing/whirring noise coming from near the PCV area. The car has now done 50,000KM and it is a 2011 n55 335i model.

I performed a quick test as described for the water test. There wasn't any bubbles at low revs, however, when I hit the throttle, I can see the water being sucked in/out.
Can this also be a dead PCV issue? The noise is really doing my head in!

I have also recently done a full engine oil flush, replacing the oil filter. I have also recently changed the boost solenoid which hasn't resolved the issue.

Any help would be much appreciated..

Here is the video of the noise from the engine:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgVW...ature=youtu.be

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eND7...ature=youtu.be

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48om...ature=youtu.be

Last edited by jnrz78; 05-27-2018 at 11:55 PM.. Reason: add link to video
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      06-07-2018, 12:54 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neejay View Post
AJ9x - how is this holding up for you? I'm about to attempt the same thing, thanks to your guide.
I just did it on mine. It MOSTLY alleviated the noise. I had to park my car because the noise was so bad and loud. It literally hurt my ears when I popped my hood (initially). Now it only happens when idle (letting my car warm up, but not often anymore).

I took it to the dealership after doing this mod and still hearing the noise. They recommended a new valve cover. He said he didn't see much oil from the rear seal and didn't hear any noise at the front seal (used a tool to listen).

I was quoted $1,700 to replace the valve cover, and $2,500 for the rear main seal...lol. Needless to say, I'll just do the valve cover myself. Rear main seal: I'll wait until the bastard is super leaking and/or making noise.
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      06-19-2018, 04:49 PM   #13
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So I'm new to the bmw world. I just bought an 11 335xi. My pcv has failed I did this repair it worked for a day rough idle cleared up noise went away everything was great. The next day it failed again. The noise came back so I'm assuming the grommet cracked again. I'm also assuming that its due to a boost leak. Does anyone have any recommendations on wear to look or what might be causing it to fail.
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      06-19-2018, 04:51 PM   #14
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I did this replacement my pcv nad cuts in the grommet it worked great for a day idle cleared up noise went away and the next day it returned I'm assuming the grommet failed again any ideas on what's causing it?
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      06-23-2018, 10:09 PM   #15
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I too have this issue. I found an easy way to remove the PVC. See image attached. Just go around with that tool and don't cut too deep. Go from one fender and walk around to the other fender. Once you cute as deep as the wire from the tool, just pop off the old pvc. Unfortunately this didn't solve my problem.

Has anyone solved this problem by replacing with a brand new valve cover?
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      06-24-2018, 06:29 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by remixsecret View Post
vespa AJ9x Hey guys, I did the fix for this as well but the squeal or howling is reduced but still exist. What else could be done to fix this completely? Its driving me nuts..
What did you end up doing to fix it. I replaced the pcv cover but and the whistling stopped somewhat but the car still has the issue albeit much quieter.
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      07-08-2018, 01:46 PM   #17
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If you still have the problem, your crankshaft seal must have weakened. It has to hold back at least -.5 psi of pressure.
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      11-03-2018, 03:22 PM   #18
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Pressure testing pcv valve

Is there a tool I could use to provide positive pressure to test the valve? Where would I find one of those and is it something a technician friend of mine might already have?
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      01-12-2019, 11:50 PM   #19
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i've also found this video that shows how to do it, hope its ok to post it.
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      09-18-2020, 11:53 PM   #20
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Exclamation

For those of you having this issue or problem, i beg you NOT to follow either the original post, or even this youtube video...


Those are too much work ! There is much more simple than that.

I did it myself and it only took me about 15 min, doing it very slowly.

Refer to my Post here:
https://f30.bimmerpost.com/forums/sh....php?t=1758775

My Cost: $15
My Time: 15min

None of the above steps can beat it.


Have fun guys


Dont follow this video below X! If his steps are easy, mine are the easiest !
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i've also found this video that shows how to do it, hope its ok to post it.
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