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BMW E46: 2001 330Ci Coupe Automatic Engine Valve Cover Gasket Replacement

Car Model: BMW 330Ci Coupe Automatic
Series: E46
Mileage: 207,xxx km

Weather is warming up and it is time to replace my new BMW’s engine valve cover gasket. I originally plan to replace it for my old 1992 Prelude, but sold it.

I bought the BMW with minor leaky around engine valve cover gasket. This is 13 year old, so it is fair to see leakage.

When buying a used car, it is helpful for me to see precisely how the previous owners maintain and keep up the car. This gives me a clear indication for ongoing car maintenance for the entire cost of ownership.

This repair cost $150 - $360, depending on the quality of the gasket and hourly rate for the labor ($360 - $500 will be dealer price). I read the DIY from BMW forums as well as YouTube for a day to fully aware of the procedure.
For the engine valve cover gasket, it is a very easy job, although it has lots of screws. For this car, it has about 36 screws and nuts. I bought a Made in China gasket which cost CAD$25 plus CAD$30 shipping from Original BMW gasket will cost about $100, which has proven to last about 10 years, so I am risking to use China gasket that should last 5 – 8 years. The company, Victor Reinz, is a US company, but its part is manufactures in China, so this gives me some feel of quality compare to crappy Made in China company.

I am actually replacing 3 gaskets, which comes together in the package. The entire replacement took about 1 hr, but I spent another 2.5 hr trying to clean up the engine valve cover itself and the oil contamination. I discovered additional parts (CCV) are starting to fail in the process, which is good, because that is a $70 repair that I can DIY as well. This is shown in the last picture where you see the tube is full of yellow color oil.

The car still has original gasket with printing showing it assembled in Germany back in 2000. When I trying to remove the old rubber gasket, few of them cracked like biscuits, so I have to slowly remove them with extra caution. It is going to be more difficult to clean up the debris. I am glad I do this myself, else the mechanic going to charge me more due to longer time spend to remove the debris. They are often rough and not gentle.

Installing the new gasket is quick, like 10 sec. Following are the pictures

This is the PCV valve (part of CCV) which connects to the front of the engine valve cover. This yellow sludge indicates either to find compress air to clean the entire 5 parts CCV, or replace the CCV system, which is another $70 repair DIY. If you are looking for one, don't buy ÜRO Parts, because 2 of the hose won't fit, although all of the hose are manufacturered by ÜRO Parts

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