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Discussion Starter #1
This is my first post, and I make it with high hopes. I attempted to change the head gaskets and am in the process of repeating this job. I am sure that I did not follow the RAVE instructions and did not ever block the camshafts or bring the crankshaft to 45 degrees off top dead center. I have the heads off and the block at TDC with the pin in the transmission.

I don't think I could take a third stab at this, so I ask for any help any of you may have. I have pretty much assured myself that I did not warp the heads, but I did use the same head gaskets guides and forgot to change out the o-ring on the head the first time. I have all new gaskets and have cleaned out all bolt holes and channels. I just need to know how I get the heads on for timing purposes. Do I leave off the blocks on the cams until I put the head on the block? Or do I rotate the engine to 45 degrees off TDC and bock the camshafts then ratchet the new headbolts?

As I have said, this project has been one of a kind. I do not like exhaust manifold bolts. I have a multimeter and the vanos units have been reconditioned and are ready to be put back with all the rest of the covers, etc. So, how do I put things back without breaking them? Please advise.
 

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If the pistons are set to cylinder 1 TDC and you have the locking pin in the transmission then all you would need to do is set the camshaft timing with the cylinder heads removed, install the camshaft locking tools and then install the heads to the block. Make sure to follow the RAVE manual instructions for setting up the VANOS timing.

What went wrong on your first attempt and do you have a copy of the RAVE manual?
 

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How strong are you? The more parts you have on the head the heavier it will be and the more difficult it is to work with. For me the most important item was having the exhaust manifolds installed with the head and then inserting these as a unit. Make sure the hoses don't get pinched and the manifold studs slide into the exhaust side. For me this was the most important part of the operation. Now if you are strong and/or have a helper or lift attached you can do this with less issues. Playing with the exhaust manifold after head installation I find more difficult as torquing is a guess.

The way I did mine was to follow RAVE for the most part. It is pretty darn good. I put the cams and related on after the head (and manifold) were installed and torqued. Rave has instructions on where the engine should be set and the correct orientation of the cam lobes so that minimal valve spring forces are applied as the caps are installed.

RAVE can be downloaded and is found in the sticky section. Your life will be easier if you follow it.

Now if you want to leave the blocks on some of the valves will be lowered - this should not cause an issue if your engine is pinned at the transmission. It is just more problematic to work on the head as at least one valve is extended.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you both for the advise. The first time I did not have both of the gasket holders installed, and did not know that two of the head bolts go through the holders. Leaving one out I think doomed me. So, I rotate the camshafts to TDC (with letters and numbers facing up at the ends) off the block, then put the camshaft holders in place and tight, then I put the heads back on the block leaving the pin in at TDC the whole time. Is that right?

I will look out for the the oil return hoses and have found cracks in at the ends of the two connected to the conical shaped oil separator at the back of the manifold which I have replaced. I have been able to pull each head off without help, but you mentioned that after I put on the camshaft blocks and tighten them I will have one or so cylinders with valves that extend down farther than the bottom of the head. I have both sitting on a piece of 4" thick foam rubber, and hope this will help.

Rave says to change out an o-ring on the cylinder block and replace both of the gasket guides (small metal hollow inserts). I ordered and now have four new guides, but I can't figure out what o-ring Rave says needs to be replaced. Does anyone have the part number for that block O-ring?

Thanks again for taking the time to help me.
 

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Getting your terms mixed up. Engine block vs Cylinder heads. But you keep saying cylinder block. Assuming you mean the o-ring on the cylinder head, it would be #7 in the attached pics located on the bank 1 heads aka passenger side. With that being said, I rebuilt my engine and did not replace it because mine appeared to be in good shape.
 

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Question: "Thank you both for the advise. The first time I did not have both of the gasket holders installed, and did not know that two of the head bolts go through the holders. Leaving one out I think doomed me. So, I rotate the camshafts to TDC (with letters and numbers facing up at the ends) off the block, then put the camshaft holders in place and tight, then I put the heads back on the block leaving the pin in at TDC the whole time. Is that right?"

No. You need to pull up RAVE. As I recall a certain lobe needs to be pointed in a certain direction (different for Bank 1 vs Bank 2)(But stated in RAVE) to install the cam caps. This is to minimize stress on the cam. This is the proper way so that the cam doesn't bind and/or bend. I know many just go really slow - but just follow the instructions and it will turn out correct. After this you can move the cams so they are with the rear cam letters are pretty close to straight up. Valve springs tension will want to rotate them, but you make this final adjustment when the head is on and you are installing the blocks. Keep an eye on any extended valves so you don't bend them (not likely but worth being aware of). Rotating the cams manually is not a bad idea to make sure you have no binding. To do this turn the engine to 45 degree mark. I suggest you do this with the head off so you see exactly what you are working with for distance of valve to piston. A visual understanding will answer all your questions on what exact approach you want to take.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I think I got what all of you were saying. Does anyone know if leaving out a dowel on the engine block for the gasket to sit on would be the reason for a head gasket failure? I have installed 4 new dowels, and I now know where the o-ring is (thank you Rovah). I realized that I did not get a replacement for the tensioner o-ring (little green one on my truck), and I wanted to ask anyone if this o-ring fails would it lead to a head gasket failure.

I have both heads on top of a 4 inch foam rubber pad and each camshaft is positioned according to RAVE (ie ends with writing facing up and cam lobes facing each other at the right place for each head). Do I bolt the heads down with the pin installed at TDC, then block the camshafts and install the vanos (as per RAVE instructions)? What I don't understand is what rotating the crankshaft counter-clockwise 45 degrees off TDC does or its importance. With the heads off already, does this step get eliminated from the RAVE instructions?

Thank you Rovah for pointing out the o-ring. Mine also seems undamaged and not hardened, and since I did not order replacements, I will reuse the ones I have. My plan is to bolt the heads back down while leaving the pin installed at TDC, then follow RAVE through the rest of the install. Does this sound right? This means that the camshafts are not blocked until I get all 10 bolts (and ten washers*) torqued as per RAVE, then I use the blocks and get the Vanos installed, ect. (per RAVE instructions). I don't think I could install the end bolts with the camshafts already blocked anyway.

So my last question is do the heads go back on with the pin in at TDC, or do I remove the pin and back the crankshaft off TDC by 45 degrees prior to bolting the heads back onto the block. All of the advise I have been given is much appreciated. I now believe the second time will be a charm.....hopefully. Does the fact that my anti-freeze seems to be oil free help understand what happened? The oil definitely was contaminated by anti-freeze, but the anti-freeze I drained does not seem to be contaminated with oil.

* I now know that I had installed one of the head bolts without a washer the first time around as well as having only one dowel inserted on the right side. Thus, my research has shown that making these two bonehead mistakes can, and in my case will, result in a blown head gasket.
 

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Can all the head bolts be tightened down with the camshafts installed and the camshaft blocks in place? If so I would set the camshaft timing and install the blocks before installing the heads to the block just because it would be a little easier to install the camshaft blocks with the heads on a bench than reaching over to the back of the engine compartment. If you can install the heads with the camshafts already installed and the blocks in place than you should be able to leave the pistons at TDC with the pin in place.

Rotating the crankshaft 45 degrees counter-clockwise would make it so that none of the valves would hit the pistons if you had to rotate the camshafts to set the camshaft timing before installing the timing chains. If you are unable to access all of the head bolts with the camshafts installed and you have to set the camshaft timing after bolting the heads to the block then remove the pin and rotate the crankshaft 45 degrees counter-clockwise. After you install and set the camshaft timing with the block installed rotate the crankshaft back to TDC and install the pin. Then follow the instructions for setting the VANOS timing and installing the timing chains.

Hope this helps!
 

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Head.JPG

Sorry if the font and picture size are messed up. Are we talking #5 and #6 here? One being a check valve and the other an "o-ring"? This is pulled from a BMW diagram for the M62. Most people don't address this "o-ring" - I failed to do it w/o any issues, but if the head is off it would be worth changing.

BMW Part # is 11111739185 and it is listed as a "Space Sleeve" - one on each head so you need two. I will address your other questions in another post.




 

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You need to step back and do some looking like I suggested above. The heads are off so take a look at the position of all of the pistons - noting how far up they are focusing on how much space you have in the event a valve hits them. Now rotate the engine to the 45 mark and watch the piston positions. You will notice that at 45 mark all the pistons are situated in such a manner a valve cannot hit them. Rotate the engine back to the timing mark and observe again. Now move it back to the 45 mark and leave it - you cannot do any damage when the crank is set here. As the chains are not on the cams will not move - don't worry about timing at this point. Your goal is to get the heads on without causing any issues. The locking pin has to be removed for this. Now look at your head and where the valve(s) are sticking out and visualize the next paragraph (read first) and see the relationship of pistons, valves and crank timing. This will answer all your questions.

Position the cams with the letters facing up - the blocks don't need to be on you just want to be close enough. If you want to put the blocks on feel free to do so, but once you are satisfied you have the positioned correctly take them off as you don't need the weight. (It sounds like you are at this point now) So install the heads, torque them down, and when you are finished with all the technical stuff you can put the blocks on loosely. Next rotate the engine from the 45 degree mark to the timing mark - turning it the shortest distance (if I recall it is counter clockwise). Set your timing pin and proceed with the rest of the install. For block install you want to move the cams clockwise or counter clockwise the shortest distance - you don't want to make a complete rotation. Basically you will just move the cams (from the appropriate spot on the cam) a few degrees so you can get the timing blocks to sit flush.

If you go through this exercise you truly understand what is going on. Right now I think you are following advice and RAVE wo understanding.

The dowel pin is usually there to keep the head gasket in place. What are your issues with the dowel pin or did you just forget it? Lacking a washer could cause issues as torque could be affected. Did only one side leak or both? Did you check your heads for flatness? Did you check your block for flatness? How much cleaning did you do on both of these surfaces?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I found the washer I thought I forgot to install. It had found its way to the passage that connects the intake and exhaust in the middle of the head. The advise to go slow and recheck was good advise. Does anyone know if there is a way to remove any of the oil remnants of oil mixed with coolant?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I will report back when I get all the rest of the engine back together, and I hope to hear a nice hum of the engine and a temperature gauge that stays in the middle without the billowing white smoke coming out the tailpipe.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I don't know if both gaskets failed, but I did find moisture in one of the exhaust ports and in that port's mainifold opening. It was the side I forgot to install the gasket dowel. I probably installed the gasket just off the mark without the pin keeping it exactly where it needed to be when torqued. I could not tell from looking at the head gasket I just replaced if the other side also failed. There was no tell-tale sign of failure on the gasket, and neither the head nor the block had signs of connected adjoining channels.
 
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