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DIY: Timing Case Cover Gaskets and Chain Guides
DIY: Timing Case Cover Gaskets and Chain Guides
Published by CirrusSR22
Default DIY: Timing Case Cover Gaskets and Chain Guides

DIY: Timing Case Cover Gaskets (Upper and Lower), Timing Chain Guides, Timing Chain Tensioner, Thermostat.


I decided to finally tackle an intermittent oil leak. From what I could tell this leak was coming from the lower timing case cover gasket. I never found the leak specifically as the lower front half of my engine is just a thick mess of oil, dirt and road grime. The leak definitely is not coming from the oil filter housing - that area is dry and I have already fixed a leak there. It was coming from the passenger side (LHD), near the AC compressor.


Parts (M44 Engine):

Full Timing Case Cover Gasket Set: 11141432099
Profile Gasket (between upper and lower covers): 11141247837
Thermostat Gasket (in lieu of thermostat replacement): 11531743179
Front "Main" Seal: 11141439570
Timing Chain Tensioner Gasket: 07119963355
Valve Cover Gasket: 11121721876
Spark Plug Tube Gasket (3x): 11121721476
Spark Plug Tube Gasket (1x): 11121721475
Oil Squirter Seal: 11121247948

Timing Chain Guides / Tensioner
Timing Chain Tensioner: 11311743187
Timing Chain Tensioner Guide (Right Side of Engine): 11311743262
Full Guide Rail (Left Side of Engine): 11311247470
Deflection Guide (Lower Right Side of engine): 11311739130
Top Guide: 11311743046
Bottom Guide: 11311734694

Main Crank Bolt: 11211721100


Here's what I was dealing with It was leaving numerous oil spots on the ground. A few times over the past year it left quite a large amount of oil - literally a small puddle.


To start, you need to follow the instructions in the valve cover gasket DIY thread. The valve cover needs to come off.


Remover the intake snorkel, snorkel "rest" and cooling fan. This will give you a lot more access to the front of the engine.

Drain the coolant. Remove the thermostat and two main radiator hoses.

Remove the two engine belts. Remove the A/C belt tensioner.

Remove the water pump pulley. Four bolts.

Unbolt the cam postion sensor.

The upper timing case cover can now be removed. With both the upper and lower timing case covers, make sure you keep track of which bolt goes where as there are different size/length bolts involved.

Now the AC compressor bracket needs to be loosened. There are five bolts holding the bracket to the engine. Two on the front of the lower timing case and three that need to be accessed from under the car. Unfortunately one of those bolts is blocked by the compressor itself. So you need to remove the 3 bolts (allen head) that hold the compressor to the bracket. That allows the compressor to move enough to access one of the bracket bolts.

Remove the A/C belt pulley off the front of the vibration dampener. Three bolts

Now comes time to remove that main vibration dampener/crankshaft bolt. It's a M16x120mm; 12.9 bolt - huge. You need a 22mm socket and either an impact gun or a very large breaker bar. in addition, you will need to hold the crankshaft in place as it will obviously just rotate as you attempt to turn the bolt. From what I understand you can "pin" the flywheel through the flywheel locking hole (the one used to lock the engine at TDC during the timing procedure). I decided to use the tool made for the job. It consists of a large holder bar (SIR Tools 3034-2 or BMW Tool "11 2 150") , a spacer piece (BMW Tool #11 2 410) and three bolts (that I bought). I bought M8x60mm; 12.9 bolts, but they turned out to be too long so I had to add the nuts in the photos as a spacer. M8x50mm should be ideal.

The tool.

Bolt the holding tool in place and position the arm downward. I set it up so the force of the tool pushes down on my floor jack which worked perfectly.

Tutorial Tools

By CirrusSR22 on 11-03-2011, 09:41 PM

I tried to remove the bolt with my little impact gun but it couldn't do it. What I think it did though is loosen it a tad as when I switched to my long ratchet and a 3' pipe, I barely had to give it any force and it loosened right up! Getting this bolt loose was my number one concern with this project.

Love this compact little impact gun (Klutch, from Northern Tool), but it's a little weak for something this big.

3' pipe.


Now we have full access to remove the lower timing case cover. The A/C compressor bracket is still attached in this photo.
Last edited by CirrusSR22; 11-04-2011 at 11:08 PM..
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By CirrusSR22 on 11-03-2011, 09:51 PM

Engine shots

You can now replace the timing case cover gaskets, but I will also dig further in at this point and replace the timing chain guides and chain tensioner. I haven't heard of many issues with timing chain guides on the M42 or M44, but after 15+ years and 210,000 miles, how good can plastic internal engine parts be??

To remove the guides you will need to remove the timing chain and its sprockets. The instructions are in the Bentely manual, and you will also need the timing tools which are a cam locking jig and a flywheel TDC pin.

Once the engine is locked, you can remove the chain tensioner.

Now remove the cam sprocket bolts. I suggest zip tying the chain to the cam sprockets and also not letting the chain "skip a tooth" at the crankshaft sprocket as you remove it. Keeping the chain and sprockets matched simplifies the installation.

Here's the chain and sprockets removed as one unit.

And the engine without its chain.
Last edited by CirrusSR22; 11-03-2011 at 09:59 PM..
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By CirrusSR22 on 11-03-2011, 10:03 PM

Now comes time to remove the chain guides. It's a very simple, just unbolt and reinstall. No special tricks upon installation other that the top bolt on the driver's side (LHD) rail has weird sleeve. Instructions for that one are on page 117-4 of the Bentley manual. I also suggest a coating of grease on the sliding surface for the initial engine start up.

The engine minus the chain and guides.

Here's what happened to the lower guide upon removal. The rotation force of just removing the little bolt was enough to snap it.

Wear on the old guides vs. the new ones.

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By CirrusSR22 on 11-03-2011, 10:16 PM

After the guides and chain are reinstalled, the new chain tensioner can be installed. There was a note with my new tensioner saying to run the engine at 3,500 RPM for 20 seconds immediately upon first start up. I'm assuming this is to build oil pressure up on the tenisoner right away.

Please follow the proper timing procedures listed in the BMW TIS or Bentley! Triple check your timing beofre you button it back up!

I installed the new gaskets using Hylomar Universal Blue gasket sealer, until I ran out. I then used Permatex No. 2 Gasket Sealer which is a similar type product.

To hold the gaskets in the place I made these little tools (which I think is also a BMW "special tool"). Just long, M6 bolts with the heads cut off.

In addition, install a new front oil radial seal. You need to forcefully pry the old one out and carefull tap in the new one. These are difficult seals to set, just like rear main seals. I suggest generously oiling/greasing the seal's lip and well as the vibration dampener surface which it contacts.

Once the lower timing cover is in place you can reinstall the vibration dampener. Using the crank holding tool again, torque a NEW main bolt to 244 ft.-lbs. I needed to borrow a torque wrench from AutoZone that went up to 250 ft.-lbs., mine only goes to 150.

That's about it - just work backwards from there, following the tips on the Bentley manual, chapter 117. While my car didn't need it, I decided to replace the valve cover gasket, spark plug tube seals, oil seal for the cam sprayer and the thermostat.
Last edited by CirrusSR22; 11-04-2011 at 06:48 AM..
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By CirrusSR22 on 11-08-2011, 09:33 PM

Looks like that took care of it thankfully After I did this I degreased the engine (should have done it before) and hosed it down. Nearly a week later it's dry as can be.
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By 540318 on 12-28-2011, 12:10 AM

Great post Cirrus, good pics too...
I have the same leak pattern, i.e, passenger side oil mess, filter side ok.
So I'm thinking to take the plunge, but how many hours do you figure it takes an "average" DIYer to do this?? I did the valve covers on my 540, so I have a feel for it, but... the crankshaft seal looks scary here. Also where do you buy the BMW tool? Thanks for the input.
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By CirrusSR22 on 12-28-2011, 03:35 PM

The crank pulley holder is a SIR Tools #3034-2. I got it at PelicanParts.com - $58.80 right now. I couldn't find an aftermarket spacer piece so I ordered one right from a BMW dealer. The tool number is "11 2 410" which equates to BMW part #83300490884 (I think). $33.92 at HuskerBMW / www.bmwmercedesparts.com

The project took me just a tad over one full day, taking my time and trying to do things "right". I used one overnight to allow the gasket sealer to cure basically. The second day was just refilling the cooling system and double checking my work. It's really not too bad, just kind of involved. The crankshaft seal is actually the easiest of this type of seal I have come across. This is because it's pressed in to the lower timing case cover, but you remove the cover so the seal can be removed and installed while sitting on your workbench. You just pry it out and take your time (and a few attempts) tapping it back in to place.

As an update to this DIY I still have a slight (but much reduced) oil leak. I'm pretty sure it's the oil pan gasket in this case which I have suspected to leak for many years - I'll do that next summer. The quadfecta* of oil leak repairs will maybe give me an oil-leak free car for the first time in 8 years when I bought this!

* Valve cover gasket, oil filter housing gasket, timing case cover gaskets, oil pan gasket
Last edited by CirrusSR22; 12-28-2011 at 03:47 PM..
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By 540318 on 12-29-2011, 01:52 AM

Hey, thanks for the reply, I look forward to getting this done.
I went to my local independent to find out if he had the tools to lend me. His approach to the crankshaft bolt: He puts a socket on it and has a long breaker bar that reaches the floor. Once he's sure he's got the engine/socket/breaker bar going in the right direction, he tickles the ignition and the bolt breaks loose. Cool.
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By pdxmotorhead on 12-30-2011, 05:40 AM

Just my .02 cents, looks like a good job.

As far as sealers, when I do AL to AL I use aviation form-a-gasket.
Basically glues the parts together. Its the stuff they use to glue aircraft engine case halves together.Never leaks. Also a SOB to get off.... LOL

Usually on a oil facing surface you need to use the high temp red silicon if your going to use silicon at all. Silicone bonds and seals with humidity. If the surface gets too dry before the parts are joined youll sometimes fail to bond and get leaks. You also need full torque befoe it cures or it will squeeze out.

Like I said just a couple cents to maybe help out...
There are a lot of opinions on sealing and mine is just 1....

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By CirrusSR22 on 01-09-2012, 07:44 AM

I usually use Permatex Ultra Grey for everything and that was my plan for this project. Then I read someone's theory online about the excess silicone squeezing out (inside) and breaking off eventually. That then stars to partially clog the oil pump screen. Well, I bought into it (kind of) and it scared me off, especially this project where there is a lot of surface that gets coated with a sealer. Oh well, Ive had good luck with these other sealers in the past and they appear to be doing a good job.
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By SSpeedracer on 01-19-2012, 05:40 AM

Originally Posted by 540318 View Post
Hey, thanks for the reply, I look forward to getting this done.
I went to my local independent to find out if he had the tools to lend me. His approach to the crankshaft bolt: He puts a socket on it and has a long breaker bar that reaches the floor. Once he's sure he's got the engine/socket/breaker bar going in the right direction, he tickles the ignition and the bolt breaks loose. Cool.
How do you torque it back on?
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By eurohb on 05-01-2012, 12:18 AM

can I use a water pump pulley tool to remove the crankshaft ?
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By eurohb on 05-03-2012, 07:14 PM

No one has the answer?
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By Entropyman on 05-08-2012, 02:00 PM

Do you mean the vibration damper that is attached to the end of the crankshaft? It didn't sound like it needed a puller.
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