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Late model M42 Timing Case Swap info

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    Late model M42 Timing Case Swap info

    Ok quick backstory: Head cracked and i figured this would be a good opportunity to tear into the motor a bit and replace all/most of the timing bits while i was in there. However i have a few questions before i reassemble everything.

    1. Using a Goetze headgasket with ARP studs, any need for the copper gasket spray? I've read mixed opinions on this.

    2. I inspected the idler wheel for the timing chain (yes i know the right way to do it is switch to the later case but that's not in the cards right now) and it has a very small amount of play. Does any amount of play in these bearings necessitate replacement? EDIT: (Bought a Late M42 timing case, see below)

    3. Any "the right stuff' need to go on the profile gaskets? I figure where the front and rear gaskets meet a little drop couldn't hurt.

    Thanks in advanced! Cant wait to pick up my head this friday from Shant @ Bimmerheads! Will post pics of the awesomeness then.
    Last edited by Balleristic31; 10-23-2015, 09:55 PM.


    1) Metric Mechanic sent me a replacement HG that they coated with some sort of metallic silver paint. I asked them about it and they said it was just for a little extra sealing around the oil bores. Anyway, I have no idea whether you should use it or not...half of the internet says you must and the other half says it will kill your engine.

    2) I have a new-ish one sitting on my desk at work, still bolted to the part of the timing case that snapped off. There is a tiny bit of play in the bearing. You really are taking a big risk in continuing with the original style timing case.

    3) You are correct that you will want some sealant where the PG ends meet. Use a sealant that cures (not sure if TRS does). Don't seal the ends until the head is on and you are putting the front PG on, obviously. As for the rest of the PG, I have not used sealant on the main mating surfaces and things have been fine.


      I have a spare timing case off of a m44 I will sell for cheap if you like. Just finished my rebuild and don't need it. Just let me know.



        You should copper spray it, only Genuine BMW gaskets come factory sprayed. Why would it hurt to add the copper spray?

        Another easy thing you should consider is replacing the timing chain tensioner, it is a pretty simple and inexpensive procedure.
        The fun never ends :-?

        89 318iS
        R.I.P 89 325i coupe
        89 335iC


          Originally posted by Ronan View Post
          I have a spare timing case off of a m44 I will sell for cheap if you like. Just finished my rebuild and don't need it. Just let me know.

          I think the OP should consider doing this. BUT, is it the late style one with no bracket for the crank sensor? If it doesn't have the sensor bracket at the bottom, then an expensive adapter is needed.

          Also, the M42 and M44 have different oil passages in the back of the timing case, and you must use the metal M44 timing case gasket.


            Well update: got my head back and everything on it looks awesome (thanks Shant @bimmerheads) and I'll post pics when I get some decent ones to show the port work.

            Also, spent 3 hours today at the junkyard 2 hours away from home pulling a late model timing case from an e36, only to have it snap as I was removing the case :( does anyone have any suggestions on removing this thing next time without breaking it? It was almost fused to the block it was so stuck, and no amount of careful prying or soft blow hammering made a difference. Only after I broke it was I ok with prying the shit out of it and it finally popped off, meaning I didn't forget any fasteners (I stripped the entire motor down to bare block including oil pan).

            Complete waste of a trip as it was the only e36 with m42 in the yard.



              Wow. That is crazy. That giant paper gasket behind it can get baked and all, but I have never ever had one THAT badly stuck. Maybe that sucker overheated or something. It should pop off relatively easily with a soft-blow hammer and a couple of firm whacks, if it doesn't just pull off.

              Ask around on here, Bimmerforums and M42Club. I picked up a very clean M44 timing case for $75 from a guy a couple of years ago.


                Alright guys time for a bit of an update on this

                Thanks to DesktopDave (Dave) I finally procured a late m42 case off of ebay for about $90 including the front cover which i didnt need.

                Tonight i finally had time to pull my case off of the block. Here's what i found. Pretty nasty!

                Clean case for comparison:

                Also through my research on the timing case swap, I kept seeing that there are two different style gaskets depending on the production date of the case. One metal and one paper. My stock case had a paper gasket as all e30 m42s do, however, when i looked at my new case, it was clear that i needed the metal gasket. You can really see the differences in the pictures. Luckily I had both cases and gaskets to compare.

                Here are the two cases side by side. Early on left and Late on right:

                Take note of the different channels on both cases:

                Now notice how each gasket matches the cases and how they are definitely not interchangeable:

                There are 13 total fasteners holding the case to the block
                2 6mm allen cap bolts
                1 17mm Hex bolt
                3 13mm Hex bolts
                and 7 10mm hex bolts

                Hopefully that helps others in the future! Off to install!



                  nice progress. That gasket is shot!!

                  Turbo M42 Build Thread :Here
                  I like the tuna here.
                  Originally posted by lambo
                  Buttchug. The official poster child of r3v.


                    Thanks for taking the time to document this so well. It will surely be helpful to people in the future!


                      Good work, thanks for posting this with pics. Any idea on part numbers for cover and gasket? I need to do a full rebuild and would like to do everything possible to prevent blowing it up afterwards.
                      1991 318is x 2 .


                        early m42 timing case: 11141727191
                        early lower timing case gasket (paper):11141734363

                        Late m42 timing case: 11141739699
                        Late lower timing case gasket (metal): 11141739868

                        Also made a relevant and slightly annoying discovery working on this for a few minutes tonight. The lower timing chain guide under the crank sprocket is different between the early and late cases as well. I had a new early lower guide and went to bolt it up and this happened:

                        real oem confirms that they are different numbers, another couple days to wait i guess.

                        Late: 11311734694

                        Also just for fun snapped a pic of the updated piece of the updated oil pressure relief valve next to the old one:

                        That's all for today. More to come tomorrow.



                          Subbed as I'll probably be doing this when I get a new daily, hopefully within the year.

                          '02 ///M3 CarbonSchwartz 6MT daily beast
                          08/91 Mtechnic II 325IC alpine/lotus
                          318iS, slow build/garage queen...
                          '37 Chevy pickup, the ├╝ber project
                          Originally posted by roguetoaster
                          Be sure to remind them that the M42 is one of the best engines ever made, but be sure to not mention where it actually falls on that list.


                            also subbed because my m42's lower case seal is very tired and leaky :(


                              Made a little more progress last night after work,

                              Deep cleaned both oil pans (sorry no pics but you know what an oil pan looks like). Removing the upper pan did require unbolting and lifting the motor as stated everywhere, but it wasn't that difficult. With the head off the motor it was fairly easy to manipulate it solo from the bottom.

                              Bolted up the upper pan, no drama. Don't forget to red loctite the 6 upper pan bolts inside the lower pan! (awesome mess i made taking the pic)

                              Then came reinstalling the oil pickup tube. Important thing to note here is that you want to make sure you have a new gasket in place. The previous person who worked on my car installed mine without one completely.
                              Heres the gasket with pn:

                              And in place:

                              Super exciting stuff. Used grey rtv as the lower pan gasket as I've had success before with using that method.
                              Then spent some time cleaning the pistons, block deck, and headbolt threads in prep for the ARPs and new head!