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Old 08-06-2015, 11:13 AM   #1
smokeyyank
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**DIY tips and tricks for intake manifold and valve adjustment

Howdy all,

So over the past week I went through and changed tons of parts to get my e30 up and running. I read tons of the DIY threads and watched videos on youtube to understand what I was getting into and what need to be done. Basically with the exception of the head I freshened up the entire top end. I did the timing belt, ignition system, cam shaft seals, adjusted the valves, water pump, intake manifold gaskets, upgraded fuel injectors, swapped the fuel filter, replaced hoses and cleaned up some other things. I did all of this without a Bentley or manual which probably would have made life easier, but I had the time and I like to be able to find things out on my own and resort back to the resources when I get stuck. Plus once I do it myself without instruction it sticks with me. I’ve also been working on cars for year so I have a pretty good idea of what to do. Overall, I would say this is one of the most intense things I’ve done car wise, but it really wasn’t that hard. Just very time consuming to remove a lot of stuff. On a scale of 1-10 I would rate this as a 6-7 to do what I did just because of the amount of parts you have to remove and the time that was involved.

A little back ground on the car; I got a 88 325ic 5 speed that when I bought it, it ran but not well. The idle was horrible and the car just felt bogged down and had no go. Under hard acceleration it would sputter and then slowly pick up. I knew I was going to have to do the timing belt so being proactive I went ahead and changed out a lot of the other parts. I know a lot of people will say to check parts before diving in and replacing them, but there were just certain things I knew needed to be replaced without going through to examine them. I also removed the hood which I highly, highly recommended. Made moving around the car so much easier and I like having space when I work. If you do take the hood off just make sure to mark where it currently is to make lining it up easy when you put it back. I’m not going to get into details on how to swap out all the parts but just wanted to share some tips and tricks.

Intake manifold

-Removal is not that tough but it can be tedious to get to some bolts. I started by removing my intake boot, AFM and air box to clear some space. I then removed as many of the other parts and electrical connectors as I could. I highly recommended labeling the wires you pull just makes it easier to put it all back together. Once I had cleared some space I started unbolting the manifold. I was already replacing my thermostat so I had pulled the housing off, you could probably get away with leaving this on, but it did make it easier. There are a total of 12 bolts all you can see with some bobbing around to find. Basically from the front of the car, look for the first bolt on the bottom left of the intake runner on cylinder #1 and the next is on the top right the pattern is the same all the way down. I used a 6” extension and deep socket to remove them. I didn’t have any wiggle extension or sockets and I was still fine. I would make sure to lay a blanket or something under the car to catch any loose bolts because it will happen unless you have a magnetized socket. I didn’t worry about saving the washers and just bought new ones. After all the bolts have been removed I wiggled the intake a little to make sure it was loose. Then comes the infamous “bitch tube” or oil breather tube. I pushed it down and moved the intake out of the way once I made sure nothing was still attached. That was the easy part. After pulling it off I went through and cleaned the holy bejebus out of it as the entire intake manifold. It was just covered in oil. I don’t think the PO ever cleaned the intake system. I replaced all the gaskets, O-rings on the breather tube and the fuel injectors. All pretty easy, just make sure you get everything nice and clean before putting new parts on, especially removing the old gaskets. Now for the tough part which I found a few tricks to do, putting the manifold back on. Even if I had someone to help hold the breather tube down the way I did it made it so frickin easy. I tried the zip tie thing and it was a headache and I couldn’t find a zip tie that was small enough. So what I did was, I put the tube back in, I pressed it down and then I used a small wrench (think it was a 10mm) and placed it in between the breather tube and two of the head stud bolts. It moved the tube out of the way so I could line up ALL the bolts and slide the manifold on. Once the manifold was on I simply pushed down on the tube to release pressure on the wrench , moved the wrench and viola done. No zip ties to cut the manifold was on and the breather tube was set as well. You could almost use anything that is small and strong to keep compression on the spring while you line up the intake. Most times I never recommend putting stress on the head bolts, but it was light enough that I don’t see any problems with doing it. The next hard pat which I made a breeze was putting the washers and nuts back on. For the ones I could get at I did those first. For the tricky ones I used the longest skinniest screwdriver I had (any long skinny object will work) and put the washer on at the top, lined up the tip of the screw driver with the stud and then let the washer/bolt slide down and then got my paws in there to loosely tighten the bolt down. Once the bolts where loosely on it was pretty easy to go back and tighten it all up.
Valve adjustment

-This was my first time ever adjusting valves on a car. I watched E30sources video on you tube and he does a good job of explaining everything but misses a major point in my opinion, how to actually adjust the dang things. I read a bunch about how to properly adjust the valves and was feeling confident I knew what I was doing. Well I adjusted the valves as the video said but after they sounded horrible. So I did some more reading and had a better idea of how to adjust them. I had thought about buying the actual tool to use, but to me there is just something awesome about being able to tune and adjust things based on feel without special tools. Everything I watched said you loosen the eccentric put the feeler gauge in and tighten it. Well kind of. What threw me off was that the rocker would have space on both the cam and the valve and nothing every got into detail about the amount of “pressure” you needed to have to the rocker, hence the reason the tool is made. So as the rocker is at TDC it will wiggle back and forth or on the cam on the valve. What I did that worked and made sense to me was, I loosened the eccentric enough that I could move it with a small amount of resistance with the allen wrench, but not too loose that it could just freely wiggle wherever. Once the eccentric was loose I put the allen wrench in and adjusted it all the way to its loosest position or where it had a lot of wiggle back and forth. I then slide the feeler gauge in and slowly moved the eccentric in a back and forth motion (think of it as applying pressure take a little off, apply more pressure take a little off) until it couldn’t go back and forth anymore. Once I couldn’t get it to move, I then tweaked it until I felt I had enough “drag” on the feeler then I tightened it down and moved to the next. After they were all done I then went back and doubled checked so make sure it was all still tight and did the wiggle test. The wiggle test was having the rocker at TDC and moving it back and forth to see if it was loose or tight. After adjusting a few valves I had an idea of what a properly adjusted valve felt like vs a badly adjusted valve. If it’s done right it should feel pretty tight and you should be able to rock it back and forth fairly quick, if it’s still too loose it will have a lot of slop. I started it up and it sounded sooooooo much smoother and driving it was like having a new car, but that was also in part to swapping out everything else I did.

A few other little random things I learned.

-I replaced the spark plugs and wires, but I got thrown off as the old plugs terminal was threaded and the new ones had a “cap” on them. Well I figured out you have to unscrew the cap as some plugs are considered a “loose” terminal. Here is a good website that helped me get it http://www.ngksparkplugs.com/pdf/TB-...20Bulletin.pdf

-To remove the accessory belts and put them back on is actually easy. The weird geared nut thing was new to me, but I figured out after the power steering pump how they worked. Basically loosen all the bolts including the one on the back of the tensioner nut and everything will loosen up from there. To put it back together keep things loose then get tension on the belt, tighten all the bolts leaving the gear nut bolt for last. Once you get to it tighten it and remember the tensioner nut is reverse. So to tighten it and put more tension on you would need to act like you are trying to loosen the nut.

-For removing the clutch fan I didn’t have the skinny wrench, which in hindsight would have been worth it. How I got it off was I removed the plastic part of the fan (4 allen bolts) and then 1 bolt from the water pump pulley. Don’t loosen them all I made that mistake and it was a pain putting those back on so I could remove the fan. Once 1 bolt is off I had enough room to get my crescent in and loosen it.
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Old 08-27-2015, 10:16 PM   #2
MikiDaCat
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thanks for the tips, always good to read through these kinds of threads to pick up bits and peices of info. When i adjusted my valves the first time they sounded like garbage to, just something you have to do a few times to really get the hang out of.
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Old 08-27-2015, 10:16 PM   #3
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thanks for the tips, always good to read through these kinds of threads to pick up bits and peices of info. When i adjusted my valves the first time they sounded like garbage to, just something you have to do a few times to really get the hang out of.
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Old 08-28-2015, 04:24 PM   #4
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And the easy way to check your valve clearance is to set the cam lobes so they make and inverted V over the cylinder/valves. Done properly, when you give the rocker arm a wiggle, you should hear a very faint clicking sound when you move it. At this point, neither lobe is putting tension on the valve spring. You can slip your angled feeler in on both, and if you're in spec (and you should feel some decent resistance, but be able to slide the .010" feeler through), move on to the next.

Since I have an open diff, I jack up the right rear wheel and put the transmission in 5th. I use a piece of tape at 12:00 when I'm on cylinder 1. Approximately a 1/4 to 1/3 turn of the tire will advance the engine to the next cylinder in the FIRING order (check your Bentley - I actually wrote this on the inside of the binder I have my copy in so I don't have to find the page). Shouldn't take you much more than an hour-90 minutes at best.

I've had my E30 over 2.5 years, and I've only made two adjustments.
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Old 09-16-2015, 04:01 PM   #5
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This is actually really helpful, I adjusted my valves 3 times and I still don't feel that I did it totally right, but it was the best I could get it. I'm gonna get back in there in the next week and see if I can do better. Thanks for the tips!
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Old 09-16-2015, 10:25 PM   #6
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So nice to read about someone else who's done stuff I've done/stuff I need to do. My car is doing a weird hesitation and as soon as I get a second daily driver I will be taking the bmw off the road and doing some kind of major rebuild. But until then it's nice to gather information and form a plan of attack.

I discovered that my car has an LSD when doing my valve adjustment by trying to turn the motor by jacking up one wheel only to discover it wouldn't turn. I had to put the car in 5th gear and push it forward along the driveway until the valves were in the correct place! That was a fun time!

It's technically time for me to adjust the valves again so I guess that should happen at some point when I have a day off from work.. along with some suspension stuff etc

If you ever feel like you write too much, please, throw that thought away and flush the toilet. Just do both and don't question it. I love to read descriptive shit about car stuff, especially when I'm bored out of my freakin mind at work and every word is like a drug to take my mind off the monotony. Sentences become trips and I dive into the words of someone else who's gone experienced the same labor I have. It's like self-realization, through someone else's words. While I'm bored out of my mind. How good can it get??

In all seriousness, I loved reading your post. Please post more!
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Last edited by Das Delfin; 09-16-2015 at 10:30 PM.
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Old 09-17-2015, 08:36 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Das Delfin View Post
So nice to read about someone else who's done stuff I've done/stuff I need to do. My car is doing a weird hesitation and as soon as I get a second daily driver I will be taking the bmw off the road and doing some kind of major rebuild. But until then it's nice to gather information and form a plan of attack.

I discovered that my car has an LSD when doing my valve adjustment by trying to turn the motor by jacking up one wheel only to discover it wouldn't turn. I had to put the car in 5th gear and push it forward along the driveway until the valves were in the correct place! That was a fun time!

It's technically time for me to adjust the valves again so I guess that should happen at some point when I have a day off from work.. along with some suspension stuff etc

If you ever feel like you write too much, please, throw that thought away and flush the toilet. Just do both and don't question it. I love to read descriptive shit about car stuff, especially when I'm bored out of my freakin mind at work and every word is like a drug to take my mind off the monotony. Sentences become trips and I dive into the words of someone else who's gone experienced the same labor I have. It's like self-realization, through someone else's words. While I'm bored out of my mind. How good can it get??

In all seriousness, I loved reading your post. Please post more!
Damn...and it's not even Friday yet. Your job must be pretty shitty.
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Old 09-17-2015, 10:28 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Das Delfin View Post
I discovered that my car has an LSD when doing my valve adjustment by trying to turn the motor by jacking up one wheel only to discover it wouldn't turn. I had to put the car in 5th gear and push it forward along the driveway until the valves were in the correct place! That was a fun time!

It's technically time for me to adjust the valves again so I guess that should happen at some point when I have a day off from work.. along with some suspension stuff etc
So why didn't you just put the tranny in neutral and turn the crank bolt with a 22mm? Does the same thing.

I prefer the wheel method because I don't have a decent long 22mm ratcheting wrench, I have an open diff, and I can do it by rote now.
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Old 12-02-2015, 08:25 AM   #9
smokeyyank
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Thanks for all the replies and glad I can help! Love this car and engine. Wishing I would have had one a long time ago.
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Old 12-03-2015, 06:38 PM   #10
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Good info! Another tip for adjusting the valves is to remove the main relay and bump the starter to turn the engine just a bit, for each cam lobe that is pointing downwards adjust that valve. Mark the top of each rocker with a paint pen to keep track of which valves you have adjusted. I like to adjust them to a tight .010" where there is a decent amount of resistance when pulling out the feeler gauge.
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Old 12-10-2015, 12:54 PM   #11
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IMO I've adjusted my valves without and with the valve spring tool, and the precision + ease of adjustment you get from the spring tool definitely justifies the $25 you have to spend on it.
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Old 12-10-2015, 02:13 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mushroom Stew View Post
IMO I've adjusted my valves without and with the valve spring tool, and the precision + ease of adjustment you get from the spring tool definitely justifies the $25 you have to spend on it.
+1 on that. it really takes a lot of the guess work out of it.
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Old 12-05-2016, 06:30 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Mushroom Stew View Post
IMO I've adjusted my valves without and with the valve spring tool, and the precision + ease of adjustment you get from the spring tool definitely justifies the $25 you have to spend on it.
Which tool do you recommend? I've adjusted my valves a few times, but I just don't feel confident they are 100% right. I think that tool would put my doubts to rest.
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Old 12-05-2016, 09:06 AM   #14
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There's only one tool that BMW made for that job specifically.

http://www.ntxtools.com/network-tool...LP2RoC0m_w_wcB
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Old 12-05-2016, 02:31 PM   #15
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There's only one tool that BMW made for that job specifically.

http://www.ntxtools.com/network-tool...LP2RoC0m_w_wcB
Thanks, but, yeah for that tool, all you need is a short piece of wire coat hanger. I don't see how that tool would add precision to the adjustment process. Is the other poster referring to some other (non-BMW) valve adjustment tool?
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