DIY: The Ultimate Subframe/Oil Pan/Timing Case Service Guide

This section holds all DIY's directly related to the e36 chassis. Everything from changing the oil on the m3 to swapping an s54 into your 325i.

DIY: The Ultimate Subframe/Oil Pan/Timing Case Service Guide

Postby Caligula » Sun May 31, 2009 7:01 am

This DIY article is currently under construction. Content and instructions may change over time.

Without words like "should" and "probably" there would be no hope in even trying.
    -SQ Bimmer

Never will you tackle a bigger mission then this without completely removing the engine from your car. This is the Complete, Comprehensive, Universal, and Ultimate Front Subframe/Oil Pan/Timing Cover Service DIY for the M50/M52 series engines. In the following guide you will learn how to completely tear down the front undercarriage of your car to ultimately expose the bottom end of the engine's rotating assembly and chain drive, allowing you to make a number of repairs that would otherwise be only possible by fully removing the engine from the car's body or pulling the cylinder head. Once completing the disassembly phase of the DIY, you will be in position for replacing the timing chains and their plastic guides, as well as the oil pump and its related parts, without going through the costly process of removing and resurfacing the head. This is not a task to be tackled for anyone that is not 110% confident about their ability to not only tear their car apart but to properly and safely put it back together.

The time required will vary greatly by the person preforming the service. It took myself a total of 3 days, though i was taking my time and snapping photos every few minutes. This would be considered a full weekend project for most, taking up more time if a lift is not utilized for the job. Figure 12-14 man hours if a lift and air tools are used, and 16-20 hours if the project is done on the ground with jack stands.

You will need the following tools:

A complete Metric automotive toolset in 1/4", 3/8", and 1/2" drive, including wrenches and sockets up to 32mm, hex and torx bit sockets, external torx sockets, crowsfeet sockets, allen keys, offset box wrenches, u-joints, nut drivers, several feet of regular and wobble extensions, breaker bars, and various sized ratchets. As well you should have Torque Wrenches in 1/4", 3/8", 1/2", and 3/4" drive and adapters to fit each size, pliers, cutters, clamps, screwdrivers, picks, prybars, flexible spinner handles, palm ratchets, and plastic wedges. You will also need a good flashlight, inspection mirror, magnetic pickup, and flexible grabber for any hardware you inadvertently drop.

As well, having an air compressor and impact tools will expedite this job.

Specialty tools you will need:

M50/M52 Camshaft Locking Blocks and Flywheel Locking Pin.


BMW Sprocket Turning Tool


Primary Chain Tensioner Tool


Fan Clutch/Water Pump Pulley Tool and 32mm thin wrench


Chain Wrench


Hose Pinch-off Tool


You will need the following supplies:

At least 8 quarts of fresh Oil of your preference, at least 3 gallons of Distilled Water, and genuine blue BMW Coolant.

1 gallon BMW Antifreeze/Coolant: 82141467704

As well you will need some high quality hi-temp RTV silicone, rags, paper towels, several cans of brake/carb cleaner, White Lithium grease, PB Blaster, Red and Green Loctite, assorted crush washers, zip-ties, securing wire, rubber gloves, razor blades, wire brushes, drainage basins, and wooden blocks.

Of course, it is always handy to have at least a small collection of OEM nuts, bolts, and other fasteners on hand.

If preforming this DIY on the ground, you will need at least two Floor Jacks, three sets of Jack Stands, a Transmission Jack adapter for your Floor Jack, and a Transverse Engine Brace or Engine Crane to support the engine inside of the engine bay. If preforming this on a lift, you will need a telescopic support stand and a telescopic transmission stand.

Parts Required For This Project:

Valve cover gasket:
    92 Non-VANOS: 11120034106
    92-95 325, M3: 11120034107
    96-99 323, 328, M3: 11120034108
Left timing case gasket:
    92-95 325, M3: 11141720638
    96-99 323, 328, M3: 11141740843
    (parts are interchangeable)
Right timing case gasket:
    92-95 325, M3: 11141720639
    96-99 323, 328, M3: 11141740846
    (parts are interchangeable)
Coolant pipe o-ring:
    96-99 323, 328, M3: 11531703848
Oil pan gasket: 11131437237
VANOS to cylinder head gasket: 11361740840
VANOS oil line, P/S line Gasket Rings: 32411093596
Primary Chain Tensioner Gasket Rings: 07119963418
Oil Filter Kit:
    92-95 325: 11421730389
    96-99 323, 328: 11427512300
    95-99 M3: 11427833769
Tech Tip: Not all filters are made equally! Only use Genuine OEM oil filters on your BMW from the manufacturers Mahle, Mann, or Hengst. Those with 325's can also use the M3 oil filter as they are interchangeable.

Optional OEM Replacement Items:

Front crankshaft seal:
    325, 323, 328: 11142249532
    M3: 11141275466
One-piece Primary Timing Chain Tensioner:
    92-95 325, M3: 11311405081
    96-99 323, 328, M3: 11317838675
Upper Timing Chain Tensioner: 11311738700
Upper Timing Chain Guide: 11311722651
Lower Timing Chain Guides:
    92-95 325, M3: 11311703717 (left), 11311726480 (right)
    96-99 328, M3: 11311726503 (left), 11311726480 (right)
Primary Timing Chain: 11311432176
Secondary Timing Chain: 11311432177
Oil Pump Chain: 11411719936
Oil Pump Sprocket Nut: 11411735137
Subframe bolt: 31106766218 (x4)
Crankshaft bolt: 11211720633

Use to find part numbers for any other bolts, nuts, gaskets, clips, hose clamps, or other hardware you might need.

A Note on Reusing Hardware: Before reassembling anything on your car, you should take the time to clean and inspect EVERY PIECE of hardware you are installing back into your engine. Over the countless heat cycles and years of vibrations, any nut, bolt, or screw on a car can fail. Every piece of hardware out of my engine i individually inspected, sprayed with carb cleaner, and wire brushed until all grime was removed from the bolt head and the threads were clean. This will ensure the best mate up between the threads on the fasteners and whatever part of the engine they are being threaded onto. Any bolts that have excessive oxidation, stripping or ANY deviation in the threads, discard them and replace with new OEM hardware. I found about three oil pan bolts like this, reusing them would have surely resulted in snapped threads.


A Note on Torque Specs: The torques specs listen in the Bentley Manual and the BMW TIS refer to the torque you should apply to NEW hardware on a NEW threaded surface. After years of wear and heat cycles, materials will change slightly and alter their fit. Additionally, the continued torquing and loosening of any one bolts will progressively remove slight amounts of the thread's friction surface, lessening the amount of "grip" the fastener can provide with each consecutive tightening. This is why most mechanics never use a Torque Wrench on any but the most exacting repairs, and will commonly over-torque fasteners when tightening by hand in a rather inept way of compensating for worn fasteners, leading to the occasional and very costly stripped threads and broken heads. Though on the contrary side, a worn fastener may not provided the grip necessary to preform its task when torqued down to the stock torque setting.

Next to many of the Torque specs listed you will see an alternate torque spec in italics. This is the "Caligula Spec" torque setting. For worn, used fasteners, you may choose to set your torque wrench to a setting between the factory torque spec and the CS setting to provide the extra clamping force needed on the fasteners. The are specs that have been tested personally by myself on my own car, and i feel they give the extra few degrees of movement necessary to torque down a older fastener with confidence. Though again these settings are from my own personal experience and must be utilized at your own risk of damaged nuts and bolts.

Let's begin.

1. We'll begin this project by getting your E36 up on jack stands or your lift. Use only the designated lift points, on the jack pads, when lifting the car. If a jack pad is missing, replace it with a shop rag rolled into a knot to help cushion the chassis between it and the stand. Once that is done, go ahead and remove the front wheels with a 17mm socket and set them aside. This will improve the ease of working under the car.

Tech Tip: If using jack stands, it is important to get the car as high as SAFELY possible to allow the most room for removing the subframe and oil pan.

Place a basin under the engine and proceeded to drain the oil out of the car with a 17mm socket to loosen the Drain Plug. Store the oil in a sealed container until it can be disposed of properly. After it has all drained, go ahead and replace the drain plug with a new crush washer and torque accordingly.

    Drain Plug to Oil Pan (M12): 18ft-lb

Tech Tip: Replace the stock Drain Plug with one that has a magnetic tip to see what level of metallic sludge accumulation your engine is dealing with. M12 Magnetic Drain Plugs are available from auto outlets and only cost between $2-3. Be sure to always use a new crush washer when replacing the Drain Plug.

Remove any OEM or aftermarket under panels you have under the front end of the car. For the OEM panels, you will need a 8mm socket to remove the body screws and a clip tool or needle nose pliers to remove the plastic push rivets. Set the panels aside.


If you have an X-brace subframe reinforcement on your car, now would be a good time to remove it. Using a 13mm and 15mm socket, loosen the 6 bolts holding the X-brace in place. Set the brace aside.


Finally remove your drive belts. Locate the primary belt tensioner between the alternator and P/S pump and remove its round plastic cover. Using a 8mm hex socket with a long ratchet, press the ratchet in a clockwise motion to compress the spring/piston and let the belt go slack. Use your free hand to pull the belt off the pulley.


Do the same thing with the A/C belt tensioner. This will be easiest done from under the car.


2 - For Timing Case removal only. Continue above the engine by removing the plastic engine and fuel rail covers from the top of the engine with a 10mm socket. Use a flat-head screwdriver to pop up the plastic bolt covers.

Unplug the six Ignition Coils from the engine harness by sliding up the metal bracket over each coil's plug. Then pull the cables up to the harness above the valve cover. Using a 10mm socket begin loosening the fasteners that connect the ignition coils to the valve cover.


For M50/S50 engines: Using a 10mm socket, unscrew the twelve M6 nuts that hold down the ignition coils to the valve cover and set aside. Using a 8mm socket, remove the grounding strap from each side of the valve cover.

For M52/S52 engines: Using a 10mm socket, unscrew the twelve M6 bolts that hold down the ignition coils to the valve cover and set aside.

Using a 8mm socket, remove the grounding strap from each side of the valve cover.


Pull the Ignition Coils with their boots out from the spark plug tunnels and set them aside. Continue removing the valve cover using a 10mm socket on each of the 15 valve cover bolts. Before pulling the valve cover, disconnect the crankcase vacuum line from the right side of he valve cover.


Use a pry bar or flat-head screwdriver to pray open the valve cover if it will not budge by hand. Lift the cover out and forward, exposing the camshafts.


Discard the old valve cover gaskets. The bushings on the outside of the valve cover can be reused. Pull off the plastic camshaft cover from over the intake cam and set aside.


3 - For Timing Case removal only. Now you will need to position the engine at Top Dead Center and lock it into position. Using a 22mm socket and long ratchet, rotate the crank bolt until the two front most cam lobes are pointing towards each other at about 45 degrees, and the rear blocks of the camshafts are parallel to each other. As well ensure that the engine is not between cycles, check that the O/T mark is lined up with the dash formed into the timing cover.


Tech Tip: You can confirm that the engine is at TDC by checking that the corresponding marks on the timing ring and timing case line up. You can also unscrew the #1 spark plug and stick a screwdriver down into the hole to see when the piston is at its highest position.


Now from under the engine, on the right side of the engine block, there is a hole that you will need stick the locking pin into to lock the crankshaft. You cant directly see it, though it is right above where the oil pan, block, and bellhousing meet, in the first recess above the oil pan. There should be a white plastic plug in the hole to prevent dirt from getting in. Remove the plug and stick a screwdriver in to ensure that the hole on the flywheel is lined up with the hole on the engine block. If not, then wiggle the crank bolt a little to the left and right to get it lined up. Once that is done, remove the screwdriver and insert the BMW Crankshaft Locking Pin or a 6mm allen key into the hole to lock the flywheel and crankshaft at TDC.



4 - For Timing Case removal only. Moving back up to the front of the engine, locate the VANOS unit and the cable for the Crankshaft Position Sensor clipped in front of it. Using some needle-nose pliers remove the two metal clips holding the plastic Crank Position Sensor Cover in place. The cable for the crank sensor will be pressed into the cover, remove the whole cover from the studs without separating it from the cable. You will remove the sensor later.


Follow the cable coming out from the rear of the VANOS solenoid under the intake manifold to the plug connecting it to the engine harness, go ahead and unplug the solenoid.


Using a 19mm wrench, loosen the Banjo Bolt connecting the VANOS oil line to the housing. Once its broken loose, place a rag underneath the bolt hole to catch the oil that will drip down as you remove the bolt. Be sure to remove the two crush washers on both sides of the oil line. They may need to be picked off.



Wrap the end of the hose in a shop rag and move it aside.


Using a 19mm wrench, loosen and remove the two access ports on the front of the VANOS housing. Then continue to use a 13mm socket on the two M8 bolts holding in the Engine Hook. Remove the engine hook, and push aside the grounding strap.



Proceed to use a 10mm socket to remove the six M6 nuts along the bottom of the VANOS unit.


5 - For Timing Case removal only. The VANOS unit cannot be fully removed from the cylinder head without the Secondary Camshaft Sprockets being rotated clockwise to eject the VANOS's helical shaft from the inside intake sprocket. Now though the VANOS can not yet be completely removed, it can still be broken free from the cylinder head. Using a flat head screw driver, begin working along the edges of the VANOS unit, moving back from one end to another, wedging the unit free from the cylinder head. You should only be able to separate the the unit from the head about 0.5cm without rotating the sprockets.


With the engine at TDC, you will notice that the four external torx bolts holding in the exhaust sprocket are now perfectly aligned with the bottom two in-line with the access ports on the VANOS housing. Using a E10 socket, loosen the four torx bolts holding the Primary and Secondary Exhaust Sprockets on to the exhaust camshaft. With this done you will now be able to move the secondary timing sprockets independently of the crankshaft.


Tech Tip: Stuff a shop rag in the space under the exhaust sprockets before removing the bolts as insurance against dropping a bolt down into the oil sump.

Now to remove the VANOS unit, you will need the BMW Sprocket Turning Tool. Already the VANOS unit should be broken free of the cylinder head, with the VANOS shaft fully extended. As you will notice, the matching splines on the VANOS's helical shaft and the intake sprocket are slanted as to hold each other in place dependent on the position of the VANOS piston. To break them free you will need to use the sprocket turning tool on the now loose secondary exhaust sprocket to rotate both secondary sprockets clockwise, pushing the helical shaft from the intake sprocket.


Place the Sprocket Turning Tool onto the secondary exhaust sprocket. As you are pulling the VANOS unit outward from the engine, rotate the cam sprocket CLOCKWISE. This will cause the helical shaft to move outward form the intake sprocket, and with the force of the VANOS being pulled out, should pop right out from the camshaft.


Slide the VANOS assembly from the cylinder head studs and place aside.


Tech Tip: During this process oil may continue to drip or squirt out from where the VANOS oil line was disconnected from. Make sure the shop rag you placed in the area earlier is still soaking up any oil that is expelled.

6 - For Timing Case removal only. Now remove the two rear-most valve cover mounting studs from the cylinder head with a 10mm deep socket. Next slide the BMW Camshaft Locking Blocks on the rear squared portion of the camshafts to lock them in position. If they are off by a slight amount, you can use a 24mm open-end wrench on the hex patterns milled into the camshafts to slightly turn either one of them until the cam block fall into position. If you do not have the locking blocks, you will need to use a straight edge to manually realign the cam timing before reinstalling the VANOS unit on the engine. More on this later.



Tighten down the alignment blocks to prevent the cams from shifting.


You will now need to drain most of the coolant out of your engine. Unscrew the radiator cap from the expansion tank. Then with a collection basin in position under the radiator, open up the Radiator Bleed Screw and drain all the coolant from the radiator. Place your mouth over the filler neck on the expansion tank and blow in air while it is draining to force more coolant out. To expel the most coolant possible from the engine, loosen the Block Coolant Drain Plug located on the left side of the engine, under the exhaust manifolds.


Replace the radiator cap when finished.

7. Once the coolant is drained continue by pulling the radiator and shroud. While not a direct obstruction, you will later need to be removing the crank pulleys and the long crank bolt which will be blocked by these.


First use the BMW Fan Clutch Tool or another or other pulley tool to remove the fan clutch and engine fan. Using the end of the fan tool with the extended slot from the left side of the pulley, place the smaller hole over one of the bolt heads on the pulley, and position the longer slot over the bolt head to the left of the first. With the pulley held in place, use a 32mm thin wrench to turn the clutch nut clockwise to loosen it. The threads on the fan clutch/water pump shaft are REVERSE THREADED.


Tech Tip: Those with a Fan Delete Mod can skip this step. If you have the large water pump nut that covers the threads for the fan clutch, you will need to remove it before attempting to remove the fan shroud. Use a 30mm wrench along with the BMW Fan Clutch Tool to remove the nut, turning clockwise to loosen.

Remove the Radiator Cover's 8mm screws and push rivets, and place the cover aside.


From under the front end of the car, remove the four screws for the Radiator Drip Tray with a 8mm socket. Set the plastic tray aside.


Then remove the two rivets on either end of the fan shroud, along with any other fasteners your cooling setup uses.


Lift and push forward the fan shroud to expose the bleed hose that runs from the expansion tank to the right top port on the radiator. Unscrew the hose clamp on the end of the hose that plugs into the radiator, and use a hose crimp tool or clamp to temporarily seal the end of the hose from leaking out.


Unplug the coolant level sensor.


With an upward motion, lift up the fan shroud a little. The hose that connects to the bottom of the expansion tank will be coming up with the shroud along with the expansion tank itself. This hose runs from the expansion tank, inside the bottom of the fan shroud, then out along the chassis until turning back under the intake manifold. Pop the hose out of the clips that retain it to the chassis, as well as the tabs that hold it in the fan shroud.




Tech Tip: For those like me with a custom cooling setup, your procedure may require a little squeezing. I did not have an engine fan, as ive done a fan delete, though i had the water pump thread covering nut installed, as well as a SPAL 16" slim fan. These two items did not allow me to raise up the shroud so easily. Using a fan clutch tool, i removed the water pump nut with a 30mm wrench which allowed a few mm of space. Like mentioned earlier, you may need to pull up the expansion tank hose separately from the fan shroud to get it out. Also unfastening the radiator clips up top may allow you to tilt the radiator forward enough to get the room you need. The way my SPAL fan is attached made removing it from the radiator not an option.


As you lift up the fan shroud, you will need to squeeze the assembly past the water pump and pulley. Lift the coolant hose in the fan shroud up past the threads on the pump, then squeeze the VERY CENTER of the fan shroud past the threads after it. You will find the shroud will bend slightly allowing you to pull it through, though take care not to damage the tabs that hold the coolant hose in place. As you continue to lift up, rotate the assembly clockwise, pivoting from the lower coolant hose at the lower right corner of the shroud.


Rotate the entire assembly clockwise as far up as it will go, and rest the shroud with everything attached onto the engine.


8. With that out of the way. Unscrew the hose clamps going to the thermostat housing and remove the hoses. Ive found this is easier then removing them from the radiator itself. There may be some coolant still inside, so position your collection basin under the engine.

Unplug the temperature switch on the left end tank. Also unplug the electric cooling fan if applicable.

With a small flat-head screwdriver, push down into the hole in the middle of the radiator clip. This will cause it to disengage.

For those with an Automatic Transmission: Your cars come with a transmission oil cooler that screws to the radiator frame with 8mm body screws and speed nuts. Use a 8mm wrench and socket to remove the two screws at the top, and one screw at the bottom of the A/T cooler. Now use a piece of wire or a few zip-ties through one of the bolt holes to hold the oil cooler up in position by tying it off to one of the free radiator supports.

The radiator will now pull right up. Set it aside someplace safe.

9. Much of the work involved is in removing the various engine components surrounding the subframe and oil pan. Much of this wont seem necessary until you get to the point where something cant get out around something else, and you will have no choice but to backtrack. Trust me, i learned the hard way.

First you should start with the two Sway Bar Brackets. Using a 13mm socket, loosen the four locknuts. You can just let the bar hang from the endlinks while you are working.

Then unbolt the two Control Arm Bushing Carriers on both sides of the chassis with a 17mm socket.

You will also need to unbolt the P/S pump. Wtih a 13mm socket. Unbolt the two long bolts holding the P/S pump to the alternator bracket from the front of the pump, then move to behind the pump where there is another bracket securing the pump to the oil pan. Those with an Automatic Transmission will find the transmission's oil cooler lines bolt to this backet, and will have to be unbolted with a 10mm socket to get to another fastener on the P/S pump.



Tech Tip: You can loosen and rotate the hose clamps if they are in the way, be sure to re-tighten them or else they will leak fluid.

10 - For Timing Case removal only. You will be needing to remove the A/C compressor and the associated carrier bracket. Doing this will NOT require you to expel the system. First you will need to remove the A/C belt tensioner. This is done with a 13mm socket to these three bolts. Do do not need to pull the bolts out completely from the tensioner.

Unplug the A/C compressor, the plug located on top of the unit. Using a 13mm socket, loosen the four long bolts going in horizontally towards the engine, you will not be able to pull them completely out. Once these are out you can let the compressor hang forward from the hoses. Notice that having the sway bar unbolted will allow the compressor to swing farther out of the way.

With that off, continue to remove the four 13mm bolts fastening the compressor bracket to the block. There are also two bolts securing the bracket from the front of the engine, though you will not be able to reach them as they are covered by the timing wheel.

11. At this time you can go ahead with pulling the two crank pulleys. With the crank locked at TDC, use a 13mm socket to remove the six bolts holding the pulleys to the crank flange. The two pulleys should come right off.

Tech Tip: Strike the ratchet rather then just pull it when breaking these bolts.

With the two piece vibration dampener removed you will be able to easily remove the two remaining bolts on the A/C compressor bracket. Behind this bracket is where i found the oil leak on my car.

12 - For Timing Case removal only. This is a good time to loosen the giant M16 crankshaft bolt holding the front crankshaft hub in place. I advise having a 2nd person assist in breaking the bolt loose. With the crank already locked in place from the flywheel, take a BMW Crank Pulley Tool or a hub tool as i used here and secure it to the crankshaft hub. If using the BMW tool, grab the 13mm bolts the you removed from the crank pulleys and use them to bolt the pulley tool the the crankshaft hub. If using a holder tool like mine, arrange it so the the friction surface is facing to the right of the engine, causing it to grip as you oppose the counterclockwise turning of the crankshaft bolt.

Tech Tip: When using a chained holder tool as i am, it is very important to position the chain exactly centered on the hub. It may take several attempts as the surface you are trying to hold onto is very thin.

While a assistant firmly grips the holding tool, use a large 22mm socket and a breaker bar and pipe to break the bolt free (it is standard threaded, not reversed). It will take several attempts due to the immense torque holding the bolt in. Make sure your assistant has a firm hold, and jerk the bar with an impact style force. After a few attempts it should break free. It is recommended you use at least 3 feet worth of leverage for this.

Once it breaks loose, loosen the bolt completely by hand and remove it with its washer. With your fingertips around each side, pull out the crankshaft hub from the crankshaft and set it aside. If you have difficulty pulling the hub off, you can lightly wedge it out using a pry bar around the edges of the hub.

13. Now proceed to the steering rack. You will only be unbolting it from the subframe, NOT the steering column. To remove it from the column involves disconnecting a splined shaft and realigning it perfectly, and draining the entire P/S system. To drop the subframe you simply need to push it out of the way while it is still connected to the steering column and P/S hoses.

Using a 15mm socket on the bolt head and a 16mm box wrench on the collared nut, unbolt the two fasteners holding the steering rack to the subframe. The subframe will not want to move completely out of the mounting brackets when you unbolt it. Simply push it out as much as you can (the side farthest from the steering column will move out the farthest), and let it sit. It will come out completely when you lower the subframe.


14 - For Timing Case removal only. Now continue to the front of the engine. Use a 5mm hex socket to remove the crank position sensor from the front of the timing case. Move the sensor up and out of the way behind the oil filter housing (OBD1 only).


You will also need to remove the water pump. Using the BMW Fan Clutch Tool or other pulley holder tool, remove the 4 bolts holding the pulley to the water pump with a 10mm socket. With the pulley off you will need to pull the pump out. There will still be some coolant behind the pump, so position your basin under the engine. You may be able to remove it with a quick jerk outward, if not you can use two M6 bolts in the threaded holes on either side of the pump to press it out from the head.


15 - For Timing Case removal only. With the engine locked and the valve cover off, you will need to remove THREE E8 torx bolts that screw down into the timing case from inside the cylinder head. First locate the secondary chain tensioner between the two cam gears. On the backside of the tensioner is a pin hole where you can stick the BMW Locking Pin or a small allen key through it to hold down the tensioner surface. Press down the tensioner with your thumb a few times to force out any oil that is inside of it and put the pin through to lock it down.

The first bolt is to the right of the intake cam, at the right-bottom corner of the head. This bolt you can get to with a socket and extension, though you will not be able to pull it completely out past the cam gear.

The second one is on the opposite side under the exhaust cam gear. This one will require you to unbolt the cam gear to get the socket onto it. With a 19mm wrench, unscrew the two ports on the front of the VANOS unit. With the engine at TDC, the bottom two torx bolts will line up with the holes in the VANOS unit, allowing you to fit the socket through. Now before you unbolt the exhaust sprocket, TAKE A PICTURE OR WRITE DOWN the position of the arrows on the exhaust cam sprocket. The goal of this is to be able to position the sprocket exactly the way it was to begine with when you are reassembling the engine, here you can see they are pointed at about ******* degrees from center.

Unbolt all four torx bolts with an E10 socket and wiggle the cam gear out from the chain. Move the timing chain to the right to expose the bolt. The recess its in may be filled with oil, if so use some compressed air to blow it out. Use the torx socket to remove the bolt.

The third, the longest, is at the rear most of the secondary chain tensioner. It s the only one clearly accessible between the tensioner and cam tray.

16. Just a few more steps before dropping the subframe. With a stubby ratchet, unscrew the 10mm bolt that holds the Oil Dipstick to its bracket on the intake manifold. The tab of the dipstick is sandwiched in between the intake manifold bracket and the bracket for the soft fuel lines. You can do this from either above or below the car.

With the dipstick unbolted, a few twists and jerks upward should pop it out of the oil pan. You can just let the dipstick hang where it is, letting the surrounding lines hold it up in the engine bay.

Then finally unbolt the Engine Mounts from the subframe using a 17mm socket with a u-joint and extension. Stick the socket through the holes in the control arms to reach the nut. The sizes of the engine mount nuts may vary.

17. Before dropping the front subframe, you will need to support the engine as you remove the frame that it sits on. The method of doing this will vary depending on how you are working on your car. If working on jack stands, it will be best to use either an Engine Crane or an Transverse Engine Brace to support the engine while you are working. If using a lift as i was, you can either use the above engine brace, you use a support stand on the transmission bellhousing.

Though before you position a stand behind the oil pan, you should remove the rear most bolts that hold the oil pan while the space is available to do so. From the transmission to the oil pan, there are three torx bolts with washers. Use a E10 socket with a u-joint and extensions to remove these. As well there are two hex bolts that thread in from inside the bottom of the transmission bellhousing, these can be reached with a 10mm socket and an extension.

With that done you can position the support stand under the bellhousing. Position it as far back as you can on the bellhousing, as you will need the space directly behind the oil pan to slide it out once it is unbolted. Do not attempt to use the transmission oil pan for a support. You will only need to support the engine, there is

Tech Tip: You will see that i positioned the support very close to the oil pan. This resulted in me having to drop the subframe farther then i would have needed to if i had placed it farther back.

Now proceed with a second support stand, or a transmission stand as i used here. Raise it up under the subframe, but not as to snag on the sump on the oil pan or the sway bar which is hanging. You will want to leave about an inch between the platform and the subframe.

18. Finally you can begin to drop the subframe. Using a E18 socket and a breaker bar, loosen the four large bolts in an even progression, moving back and forth from one side to another. Eventually the subframe will make contact with the transmission stand, you can then fully unscrew the bolts.

While this is happening, the steering rack should stay in position, and the struts should arc out as the subframe lowers. Make sure nothing is snagged while you are lowering the subframe. 6" of clearance should be enough to get the oil pan out, though you may find it easier to drop it even lower.

At this time the subframe removal is near complete. If your goal is to simply remove the subframe, all you would need to do to completely remove it is to unbolt the 22mm nuts on the control arm's center ball joints. Then use a pickle fork on the ball joint or hammer on the bolt face to seperate the control arms from the subframe. The size of the nut may vary by car.

19. With the subframe out of the way, you can now proceed with the oil pan removal. With a 10mm socket, u-joints, and several extensions of various lengths, you will need to go around the oil pan, removing all the M6 bolts along the edges of the pan.

All of them.

The bolts above the sump can be reached with a u-joint and several long extensions.

Tech Tip: Use the shallowest angle possible when loosening a bolt with a u-joint.

As well unscrew the two bolts at the rear of the pan that enter in diagonally into the block.

With all the bolts out, use a rubber mallet to tap around the sides of the pan until it comes loose. You will need to manipulate the oil pan in order to pull it out from between the subframe and engine block. Moving back and fourth, make sure the subframe is dropped enough for the front of the pan to clear the oil pump sprocket and the rear to clear the transmission bellhousing. During this expect to have to rotate the oil pan from side to side, while pushing down on the subframe and steering rack to squeeze it through.

If your goal is to simply remove the oil pan from your car, you can stop now. All that needs to be done from this point is to clean off the old gasket material on the block and pan, and to install the new gasket.

20 - For Timing Case removal only. Proceed to the timing case cover at the front of the engine. At the rear of the timing case on the right side, behind the VANOS solenoid, is a hose barb that connects to the main coolant distribution hose that runs under the intake manifold. Using a flat head screwdriver, loosen the hose clamp and pry the hose off. There should be little to no liquid left in the hose.

For those with a 96-99 OBD2 engine: OBD2 cars will have a pressure fitting instead of a hose barb that connects to a hard coolant line that runs under the intake manifold. You will not be able to completely remove the pipe with the timing case in place. Begin to wedge it off using a flat-head screwdriver, and once the left side of the timing cover is broken free, it will be easier to completely remove the pipe from its fitting as you pull off the timing cover.

Tech Tip: The hose is in a very tight spot. To get your hand onto it, reach around from the right rear side of the oil filter housing and under the intake manifold.

Start loosening the fourteen M6 bolts that hold the timing cover in place. Once they are all free you will need to break the cover loose, which will be adhered to the engine block by the old gasket and silicone. Where the timing cover meets the block on the right side of the left side of the engine, towards the top, you will see a small hole in the block where a metal alignment pin from the timing case is inserted. Using a pin punch and a mallet, give a few hard taps to the pin to break the left side of the cover free.

If it is still holding on the right side, use a pry bar against the lip above the hose barb and lever it against the intake manifold. Jerk the bar back several times until the cover breaks free. Pull the timing cover down and away from the head.

At this time Timing Cover removal is complete. You can now proceed to replace any items such as the timing chain and guide rails which tend to wear down on these cars after 100,000 miles. You will also want to take advantage of the opportunity to do the oil pump nut fix by either tack welding (as I have done), safety wiring the pump's sprocket nut in place, or re-torquing it down with Green Loctite applied. You could also proceed in removing the transmission and pulling the crankshaft and pistons if you were so inclined to replace the main bearings or piston rings. You can also easily replace the engine mounts if they show wear, as well as the Turner subframe reinforcement kit as i had done previously. From this point on, we will be focusing on the proper re-installation of the timing cover, oil pan, subframe, and engine components back onto your engine, along with the proper timing of the camshafts and VANOS unit with the exhaust sprocket removed.

Optional: Replacing the Front Crankshaft Seal

Every time you remove the timing cover, it is recommended that you change the front main seal. While this guideline may be excessive, if this is the first time you have ever removed the cover, it is advisable for you to replace this relatively cheap part.

With the timing cover removed, use a flat-head screwdriver and mallet on the backside of the timing cover to separate the seal from the cover. Position the tip of the screwdriver on the seal where it meets the cover and begin tapping while moving around the perimeter of the seal. Eventually it will pop out.

With the timing cover on the bench of already bolted to the car, begin by taking your new Front Crankshaft Seal and coating it in a small amount of engine oil to aid with installation. Ideally, you would want to use a large socket with the outer diameter roughly the size of the seal. If not the case, you can easily tap it in with a pin punch.

Position the seal on its opening on the timing cover, shown here already mounted on the car. Take note of the ledge below inside the opening that you will need to tap it down on to. Press it down as far as you can by hand, then begin with a larger pin punch and begin to LIGHTLY tap around the edge of the seal, making sure it is going in evenly all around. Continue until you feel it settle on the ledge on the timing case. When it feels to be evenly seated all around, you may proceed with Step 9 on installing the Crankshaft Main Bolt.

1. With all the necessary timing components replaced and other repairs completed, you will need to prepare the surfaces of the engine block, timing case, and oil pan for the new gasket material. First take a can of carb cleaner and spray down the areas you will be working on, removing any oil and grime from the engine block, oil pan, timing cover, and any other engine component near the places you will be working on.

With the area sprayed down, take a razor blade and begin scraping all the mounting surfaces of the block, oil pan, and timing cover for ALL remnants of the gasket and sealant material. Be sure to get the very rear of the oil pan mounting surface that is partially covered by the bellhousing. Also clean the protruding section of the head gasket as this will make contact with the top of the timing cover. Use a brass wire brush to clean out the bolt holes on the oil pan, timing cover, and block as well as cleaning any rust that has accumulated inside the circular area to the right of the timing chain where the water pump impeller sits.

Now take some coarse (100-150 grit) sandpaper and on the OIL PAN AND TIMING CASE ONLY use the sandpaper in light smooth motions to LIGHTLY burnish the surface of the two covers. This should be done with stiff fingers and a wooden block, though with little to no pressure on the metal surface. You are only trying to burnish the surface, NOT remove any material from the cover and pan.

Do this only a few times over the flat surfaces. As well as around any pins protruding from the timing case. Finish the preparations with another spray down of carb cleaner over the oil pan, timing cover, and block to remove any debris.

Tech Tip: Use a small wooden block wrapped in sandpaper to prevent rounding at the edges of the surface.

2. Back on step 15 of the removal process, you had to tap one of the alignment pins on the timing cover with a pin punch to break it from the engine block. It is possible that the pin could have moved out the front of the timing cover from the impacts of the pin punch.

Inspect the two alignment pins and make sure they are protruding out from the rear of the timing cover and are flush with the outer surface of the timing cover. Use the pin punch and mallet to tap them into position if necessary.

For those with a 96-99 OBD2 engine: The pressure fitting on the right-rear of the timing case uses two o-rings to create a seal between the cover and the coolant pipe that runs under the intake manifold. Replace these two o-rings with part #11531703848 before proceeding.

3. This is one step where some may disagree on the use of silicone, use what you are comfortable with. With the mounting surfaces prepped, take a small amount of high quality automotive RTV Silicone in your index finger, only a little larger then a pea size, and with a firm steady motion drag your finger across the edge of the timing case cover, spreading a very thin, even coat of silicone. When you run out, put another pea sized amount on your finger and continue all the way around the mounting surfaces. You do not need a large amount, just enough to fill in the imperfections in the timing cover, and there should be little to no excess out the sides of the mounting surface if done properly. Be sure to get it evenly all around the bolt hoes and alignment pins on the timing case. Use a screwdriver to get it around the pins if necessary. Wipe off any excess silicone.

Take out your Left and Right Timing Cover Gaskets and place them onto the timing cover, taking notice of the holes for the alignment pins. LIGHTLY press down the gaskets with your fingertips.

Now repeat the process from before and add a thin layer of silicone to the exposed surface of the timing cover gaskets, though this layer should be absolutely minimal, just a film.

Tech Tip: Take care with the metal timing case gaskets for later E36 models as they bend easily, and will complicate installation of the timing cover.

Finally, look to the top of the timing case where it will meet with the head gasket. Put a thin layer of silicone here as well, taking note of the machined areas that contact the gasket.

Remove any excess silicone from the inside and outside surfaces of the timing cover.

4. Remember the Torx bolts going down from the head into the timing cover, and the one on the far right that you couldn't pull completely out? Looking up at the engine block, you may see that it is hanging down where it will complicate pushing the timing cover into position. From the top of the engine, use a magnetic pick-up to grab the head of the bolt and lift it up as far as it will go. Place the pick-up down over the engine so that the magnet is still holding the bolt out of the timing case area.

Tech Tip: The Crank Position Sensor may be in the way on OBD1 cars and complicate moving the timing cover into position. Use a zip tie to hold it out of the way.

With your timing cover ready, and your hardware cleaned and ready nearby, take a look where your timing case will be sliding into. The alignment pins on the timing cover will assist in holding the gaskets in place as you slide it upward, though it is VERY IMPORTANT that you move the timing cover into position without scraping or dragging any surfaces of the timing case where silicone is present. Doing so will damage the even layers you have prepared and may lead to new leaks from your timing case later on.

With the top edge of the timing cover angled towards the block, only an inch or two away, move the timing cover in an up-right motion, moving it into its mounting position. Take note of the slight rotation that will be necessary to move the upper right side of the timing cover around the belt tensioner. The timing chain assembly should not make contact with the cover at all. You should feel the two alignment pins on either side of the cover slide into their respective holes on the engine block, and the timing cover should be pressed firmly into the headgasket.

While pushing the timing cover up in position, use your free hand to thread in at least two bolts. The longer ones go towards the top of the timing cover (they are the only ones that will thread in the holes). Continue to hand tighten the remaining bolts using a 10mm socket.

5. Once all the front timing cover bolts are hand tight, move back to the top of the car so that you can tighten the three torx bolts holding the timing cover to the cylinder head. Using your E8 torx socket and some extensions, hand tighten the three torx bolts back into the head, removing the magnet pick-up you used earlier.

Then move back down to the front cover and torque down all the front timing cover bolts to 89in-lb. These you need to tighten FROM THE BOTTOM TO TOP, alternating from one side of the timing cover to the other as you go. Once the front bolts are done, return to the three torx bolts in the cylinder head and torque them down to approximately 89in-lb.

    Timing Cover to Engine Block (M6): 89in-lb CS:108in-lb
    Cylinder Head to Timing Cover (M6 Torx): 89in-lb CS:96in-lb

Behind the top right corner of the timing cover, you will see the exposed hose barb sticking back out towards the intake manifold. Reach around the oil filter housing and plug the hose back in, arranging the hose clamp so that its bolt head is pointing straight up. Use a flat-head screwdriver or 6mm socket to tighten the clamp back down.

For those with a 96-99 OBD2 engine: Press in the rigid coolant hose after replacing the o-rings on the timing cover's pressure fitting.

Tech Tip: Replace the hose clamp if necessary with a OEM or equivalent German style hose clamp. Do not use the cheaper American style clamps with the rectangular teeth cut out of the metal strap.

6. Now onto the oil pan, which should already be prepped and cleaned. Use a rag to clean up any sludge that has built up in the sump of the oil pan from years of use. Like with the timing cover, you will need to use your index finger to create a VERY THIN coat of silicone along the mounting surface of the oil pan. Much is not needed as the oil pan gasket consists of a combination of rubber/metal materials.

Proceed to unwrap the oil pan gasket and place it on the oil pan, pressing down lightly with your fingers to embed it into the silicone. Take note that the gasket is not symmetrical.

Tech Tip: Much like the timing case gasket, it is easy to accidentally put a bend in the oil pan gasket much like was done here. This will allow the gasket to more around when installing the oil pan and smear the layer of silicone underneath it. To fix this, you can use something to weight down the area of the gasket that is not making contact with the pan until the RTV Silicone sets enough to "grab" onto the gasket and hold it to the surface. Using a full socket rail works very well for matching the width of the gasket.

On the bottom of the engine block you will need to put a bead of silicone over the two seams at the front of the engine where the timing cover meets the block, as well as at the rear of the engine where the block meets the rear main seal. Use your finger to place a decent line of silicone over the inch long seams. Remove any excess silicone from the inside and outside of the block.

Finally, while you were working on the timing cover installation some additional engine oil will most likely have propagated down through the block and be leaking out of the lower left side of the oil pan mounting surface. Use one last spray of carb cleaner to remove all the oil from the oil pan mounting surface and inside of the block. Spray some up into the block to clean out any trails of oil that may run down while you are installing the oil pan. It is important to have a clean bare surface for mounting the oil pan.

7. Now this i found to be the most difficult part of the job surprisingly. Like the timing cover from earlier, you will need to manipulate the oil pan in and around the oil pickup and oil pump sprocket. As well you will need to push and pull back the steering rack, power steering pump. It is VERY DIFFICULT to do this without a 2nd person assisting you, and highly unrecommended. Scraping any of the silicone on the pan or block may lead to leaks later on.

With your cleaned, inspected hardware, approach with the oil pan from the rear of the engine on the driver side. Have your assistant at the front of the engine, pulling back of the steering rack and subframe with one hand while helping to maneuver the pan in and around the oil pump sprocket with the other. Slowly move it forward from the rear of the engine, rotating the pan clockwise as needed. Once your assistant is able to get the pan past the oil pump sprocket, you can rotate it back and move it upward towards the block. Make sure everything is lined up and with a 10mm socket hand thread a couple of oil pan bolts on both the front, rear, left, and right of the oil pan to keep the pan from leaning any one way before you get the remaining bolts in.

8. Hand tighten the remaining bolts around the perimeter of the oil pan, remember the two bolts at the rear edge of the pan that go in diagonally.

As well the two bolts that thread from inside the bottom of the bellhousing.

Also thread in the three M8 torx bolts that fasten the transmission bellhousing with an E10 socket.

Tech Tip: The two outer most torx bolts can be reached easily with a u-joint and some extensions, though the middle one may be obstructed if you used a stand to support the engine from the transmission bellhousing as i did. If so, proceed to thread and torque down the outer bolts as instructed, and install the final bolt once the subframe is installed and the support stand has been removed.

Now begin to torque the oil pan bolts FROM THE FRONT OF THE PAN TO THE REAR, while alternating from one side of the pan to the other. You will need to use a u-joint and over 12" of extensions of reach the bolts under the sump of the oil pan, it is recommended that you use this same setup for every small bolt on the oil pan in order to limit the torque variances from using then removing a u-joint from your socket. Torque all the M6 bolts to 89in-lb including the longer ones at the rear of the pan.

    Oil Pan to Engine Block (M6 8.8): 89in-lb CS:108in-lb
    Transmission to Oil Pan (M8 Torx): 16ft-lb CS:19ft-lb

9. Now take the Front Crankshaft Hub and clean it off with some carb cleaner and a rag. Use a small amount of clean engine oil on the inside of the hub as well as the edge of the front crankshaft seal to aid in installation. Look for the Woodruff Key embedded into the crankshaft spindle and line it up with the slot inside the crankshaft hub. Push forward until the hub is fully seated. You may use a few light taps from a mallet to assist, though little to no pressure should be needed to slide the hub on.

Once the hub is in place take the large crankshaft bolt and its accompanying washer and begin to thread it into the hub and crankshaft, the washer should have its widest side facing the engine. Tighten this as far as you can with a standard sized ratchet.

Now take the hub holder tool from before or the BMW Crank Pulley Tool and set it up on the crankshaft hub once again. Using a holder tools like mine, the friction surface will now be facing to the left of the engine, to grip as you turn the crankshaft bolt clockwise.

With an assistant gripping the holder tool, take a 22mm socket along with a 3/4" torque wrench and set it for 300ft-lb. Begin to ratchet the torque wrench, it will take several passes before you reach the desired torque. On the last few passes, coordinate with your assistant as both of you will need to systematically putting force on both of your tools to tighten it the last few turns. Once the bolt is sufficiently torqued, you can remove the holding tool.

    Crankshaft Hub to Crankshaft (M16): 302ft-lb ±15ft-lb

NOTE: The manual highly recommends replacing this massive crank bolt with every use. Every mechanic and enthusiast ive consulted has expressed that this is a unnecessary expenditure, and the bolts can be reused a couple to several times before replacement. Reuse this bolt at your on risk.

10. Continue by bolting back together the various engine components. Clean off any accumulated grime off the A/C compressor bracket and begin installing it back onto the engine block with a 13mm socket. Then insert the four long bolts into the A/C compressor as its hanging from the A/C lines, and push it upward. You will notice the two of the bolt holes on the compressor bracket have alignment rings around them and will assist in positioning the compressor onto the bracket. Tighten down the bolts for the A/C compressor and reconnect the black power plug.

Take the A/C tensioner pulley and position it back onto the compressor bracket. With a 13mm socket, tighten down the three respective bolts. Note that the bolts are not interchangeable and will only thread into their proper holes.

Now move on to the Power Steering Pump. First screw in the two main bolts for the pump into the alternator bracket, do not tighten them yet. Move to the back of the pump and screw in the bracket that fits between the pump and oil pan as shown below using a 13mm socket. Note the fork on the bottom of the bracket, its two sides are made to slide over a raised edge on the oil pan, facilitating the proper alignment. Once the bracket is in place, proceed with tightening down the bolts to the P/S pump.

For those with an Automatic Transmission: You can now proceed with reinstalling the oil cooler lines to the two black plastic brackets on the oil pan and P/S bracket. Position the two hard lines into the black brackets as shown and use a 10mm socket to hand tighten them to the oil pan and P/S bracket respectively. The rear most one uses a bolt with its head slid into the bracket molded into the oil pan to create a stud for the plastic bracket to bolt to.

11. You can re-install the water pump at this time. Inspect the water pump by spinning the impeller by hand, if the motion of the impeller binds up or feels that it is grinding, replace the water pump. Use a small amount of white lithium grease to the water pump o-ring to aid in its installation. Arrange the pump with the round protrusion on the outside of the pump facing downward, and press it in to the timing cover by hand. Use a 10mm deep socket to install the nuts onto the four water pump studs and torque to 89in-lb.

Take the water pump pulley and reattach it to the hub with a 10mm socket, putting a small amount of Blue Loctite on the bolts before threading them. Tighten the bolts down by hand then use the BMW Fan Clutch Tool to hold the pulley in place while you torque the bolts to 89in-lb.

    Water Pump to Timing Cover (M6): 89in-lb CS:108in-lb
    Water Pump Pulley to Water Pump (M6): 89in-lb CS:108in-lb

12. You can now prepare to reattach the Front Subframe into the car, having an assistant for this part is advisable. Begin by jacking up the transmission stand or floor jack that you are using to support the subframe. While this is being done, you will need to have your assistant pull the steering rack and sway bar forward to clear the space for the subframe to move up through. As the subframe approaches the engine, you will see the struts being pressed outward, restoring the camber to the front suspension. As you raise the subframe up, you need to line up the studs coming out from under the engine mounts into their appropriate mounting holes on the subframe. Continue to jack up the subframe while using a pry bar to guide the studs into the mounting holes. I found that you will also need to press the steering rack out of the way at this point to get the mounts into their holes.

Even after the engine mount studs have been inserted, the four bolt holes on the front subframe may not be lined up. Use a pry bar against the edge of the subframe and chassis as you push it either forwards or backwards as needed.

Once the holes are lined up, insert the cleaned subframe bolts into the chassis and tighten them by hand. Slide the steering rack into its brackets on the front of the sibframe.

Using a E18 socket, evenly tighten the subframe bolts moving from one side to the other. Once they are hand tightened, use a 1/2" torque wrench and torque the subframe bolts IN A ZIG-ZAG PATTERN.

    Subframe Crossmember to Chassis (M12 Torx): 81ft-lb

NOTE: Like the crankshaft bolt, the manual also calls for these large M12 bolts to be replaced with each use. Again many suggest that they can be reused multiple times. It should be noted the original bolts have a standard hex head with a zinc finish, though that part has been superseded by BMW part #31106766218, which has a galvanized finish and a torx head. These newer bolts are considered to be much more durable then the original part. Though regardless, reuse these bolts at your own risk.

With the front subframe bolted to the chassis. You can remove the transmission lift or other stand you used to support it from under the engine.

13. Next SLOWLY lower the support stand that was holding the engine in place, allowing the engine to settle its weight onto the front subframe. Remove the stand from under the car. Now with a 17mm socket, u-joint, and an extension, reinstall the two nuts back onto the bottom of the engine mounts. Insert the socket through the holes in the control arms to reach the engine mounts, and torque accordingly.

Remember the bottom most torx bolt that goes from the transmission to the oil pan, that you may not have been able to insert as a result of the support stand beign in the way? If you have had not been able to do so already, use a E10 socket to tighten down and torque the final bolt to 16ft-lb.

Now proceed to the steering rack, which should already be slid into its brackets on the front subframe. With the set of two M10 nuts and bolts, insert the bolts into the steering rack from the bottom, and hand thread the nuts in from the top. Reaching from the rear of the steering rack, use a 15mm socket and 16mm wrench to tighten down the steering rack. The sizes of the fasteners used may vary by car.

Press the control arm bushing "lollipops" onto the alignment dowels molded around their respective bolt holes. Using a 17mm socket, tighten down the lollipops to the chassis and torque accordingly.

Finally bolt the sway bar back in place by lifting and inserting the sway bar bushing brackets onto the mounting studs coming out of the frame rails. Using a 13mm socket, install four new locknuts onto the bushing brackets. If new locknuts are not available, use a small amount of Blue Loctite on the used hardware before installation and torque to 16ft-lb.

    Engine Mount to Subframe Crossmember (M10): 31ft-lb CS:35ft-lb
    Steering Rack to Subframe Crossmember (M10): 32ft-lb CS:35ft-lb
    Control Arm Bushing Carrier to Chassis (M10): 34ft-lb CS:39ft-lb
    Sway Bar Bushing Bracket to Chassis (M8): 16ft-lb CS:19ft-lb
    Transmission to Oil Pan (M8 Torx): 16ft-lb CS:19ft-lb

14. Finish up on the lower engine assembly by bolting the two piece Vibration Dampener/Crank Pulley back to the front crankshaft hub. Take the larger piece with the timing ring and rotate it on the hub until the alignment pin on the hub slides into the corresponding hole on the pulley.

Then place the smaller pulley inside the larger and line up the bolt holes. Begin to thread in the six M8 bolts into the crankshaft hub and torque accordingly.

    Vibration Dampener to Crankshaft Hub (M8): 17ft-lb CS:20ft-lb

For OBD1 cars only: Reinstall the Crankshaft Position Sensor back onto its bracket on the timing cover using a 5mm allen key. Slide the plastic cable holder back over the studs extending from under the VANOS unit and reinstall the metal retaining clips to hold the cover in place.

Lastly reinstall the Oil Dipstick back into the oil pan sump. Check to make sure you insert the dipstick tube back into the sump WITHOUT pressing the o-ring into the oil pan. With the tube all the way into the pan, remove the dipstick itself and tap the tube from the top with a rubber mallet until you feel the tube pop into place. You can reinsert the dipstick back into the tube.

Then proceed to bolt the metal tab about six inches down on the dipstick tube to its corresponding bracket on the intake manifold. This tab will be sandwiched between the intake manifold bracket and the fuel line bracket. With these three metal tabs sandwiched together, the holes should line up allow you to insert a 10mm bolt into the threads on the intake manifold bracket. Hand tighten down.
User avatar
Site Admin
Posts: 6782
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2007 1:06 pm
Location: Ventura, CA

1995 Almera

Re: DIY: Subframe/Oil Pan/Timing Case Servicing

Postby Caligula » Fri Jun 19, 2009 3:57 am

15. We will now prepare the rest of the cooling system for re-installation. First straighten any bent or broken cooling fins on the radiator, A/C condenser, and A/T oil cooler if applicable. With a small straight pick, use the tip to clean up and straighten any deformed fins on the cores.

Also take this time to replace any warped, brittle, or damaged components on you cooling system. Virtually every part shown below will need to be replaced at least once during your car's life, and in some cases several times. You can find part numbers for all the items below by visiting: ... g=17&fg=05

Your radiator should be ready to go with the two main hoses still attached. Make sure the drain plug is firmly screwed in before proceeding. Lower down the radiator assembly, moving the hoses with your free hand to get them around the front of the engine. The two rubber buffers on each side of the engine should come to rest on the radiator mounts protruding in from the frame rails.

For those with an Automatic Transmission: The oil cooler for the A/T should already be held up in position against the A/C condenser. If not, proceed to use a piece of wire through one of the top bolt holes of the cooler to hold it up while you lower the radiator into the engine bay. Once the radiator is in place, use a body screw with a 8mm socket to attach the oil cooler to the two speed nuts on the top of the radiator frame. You can use a metal or nylon washer as i did here if needed.

Then from under the car, insert another body screw into the lower mounting hole on the oil cooler. Use a 8mm wrench or socket on the lower mounting hole to fasten it to the bottom edge of the radiator.

Proceed to attach the plastic Radiator Tray from under the car using four body screws and a 8mm socket. Press the tray up with the Auxiliary Fan ducting inside the two risers of the tray. Make adjustments to the rear to fit the A/C line to the left of the engine and the A/T cooler lines if applicable.

Press in the two radiator clips on the front crossmember into the corresponding slots on the radiator, pressing down until you feel at least two clicks. Then plug in the Auxiliary Fan Switch to the radiator end tank.

Tech Tip: Living in a warm climate? You can get a cooler 80/88C Auxiliary Fan switch that will have the fan kick in at a cooler temperature then the stock 91/99C fan switch. Depending on your build date, it will be BMW part number: 61318361787 (up to 9/95) or 61318376440 (9/95 and up)

16. Now begin with reinstalling the Fan Shroud. The most difficult part for me came with pressing the bottom of the shroud and the lower coolant hose past the threads on the water pump. This was due to the 16" SPAL fan i had mounted to the radiator core. Those with a stock setup will find inserting the fan shroud assembly much easier then i did. Though for those with modified setups, we'll be going through the process of squeezing the shroud into the engine bay past an electric cooling fan.

NOTE: Those with a front strut brace will need to install the valve cover prior to installing the fan shroud. The brace will force you to insert the valve cover by sliding it between it and the radiator, and may be impeded by the shroud and expansion tank.

First arrange the upper radiator hose on the right so that its behind the lower expansion tank hose.

Begin to rotate the fan shroud counterclockwise and lower it down into the engine bay.

The Expansion Tank and the rest of the fan shroud should slide down with little obstruction. Its the very center of the bottom edge of the fan shroud that will give the most difficulty. With the coolant hose popped out of its clips inside the shroud, center the threads from the water pump between the two hose clips (youre trying to avoid stressing and breaking these clips). The plastic will flex a little, try to flatten it out as you push the shroud between the water pump and electric fan.

Once you are able to get the fan shroud past the water pump, you will easily be able to squeeze the hose past as well.

Continue to move the fan shroud downward, rotating it back and forth to maneuver it past obstructions. Once the fan shroud is completely lowered over the radiator, press the coolant hose back under the retaining clips on the inside of the bottom of the shroud, pulling the hose through the opening in the right of the shroud if extra length is needed.

On the left and right sides of the fan shroud you will see a total of four plastic tabs extending out. These rest into the corresponding brackets on the radiator end tanks. Ensure that all four of these tabs are resting INSIDE of the brackets, pushing the fan shroud upward if necessary to snap them in.

Also make sure that the thin Coolant Bleed Hose is pressed into its retaining clips on the inside of the fan shroud. Then ensure that the tab on the very top of the shroud, in front of the "hump", is attached to the top of the radiator core.

Then insert two push rivets into the two holes on the two corners of the radiator shroud. One is just inside of the barb for the bleed hose, and the other is between the expansion tank cap and end tank.

Finally ensure that the lower expansion tank hose is secured into its clips on the frame rails. Follow the hose as it moves under the intake manifold, and make sure it is secured into its clips there as well.

17. Loosen the hose crimp tool over the end of the radiator bleed hose and reinsert it into the barb on the radiator end tank. Replace the hose clamp if necessary and tighten it down with a 5 or 6mm socket.

Proceed on to reinstalling the large radiator hoses onto the thermostat housing. Replace the hose clamps and hoses if necessary, and tighten down the clamps with a 6mm socket.

Tech Tip: If your car has the original black plastic Thermostat Housing, take this time to replace your thermostat and upgrade to the aluminum housing. Its only a few dollars, actually cheaper then replacing the plastic part, and is valuable preventative maintenance against an overheat. The part numbers needed are:

    Thermostat Housing (specify aluminum): 11531722531
    Profile Gasket: 11531740437
    Thermostat 88C: 11537511580
    Thermostat 80C: 11531466174

Plug in the Coolant Level Sensor, and the electric fan if applicable.

18. Continue with reinstalling the Serpentine Drive Belts onto the engine, first with the main water pump, P/S, and alternator belt. Using the diagram below, route the belt around the engine components. Prepare for sliding the belt onto the tensioner by positioning the loop above the crank pulley as shown below in red. Once this is done, use a 8mm hex socket and long ratchet on the hole in the tensioner pulley to compress the belt tensioner. With your free hand, slide the free loop in the belt over the pulley. BEFORE RELEASING TENSION, ensure that the ribs in the belt are properly engaged to the ribs on each pulley it make contact with. When everything looks good, SLOWLY release the ratchet to put tension on the belt.

The A/C compressor belt is simpler to put on though in a tighter spot. Position the belt as shown below with the belt seated top of the crank pulley and A/C compressor pulley. Push the lower part of the belt as far up as it will go with the tensioner fully extended. Using a 8mm hex socket, position your ratchet so that the bit is inserted into the hex bolt with the belt onto of the ratchet head. Compress the belt tensioner with the ratchet and use your free hand to press the belt inward and over the tensioner pulley. Make sure that the ribs on the belt are properly engaged with the pulleys before you let pressure off the ratchet and put tension on the belt.

Tech Tip: With the fan shroud installed, some may find themselves unable to get their ratchet head with a 5mm hex bit socket to fit into the tensioner pulley due to the lack of space. If you cannot, use a 8mm allen key with a box end wrench to provide the necessary leverage to compress the belt tensioner.

Proceed to reinstall the fan clutch and mechanical engine fan if your car is equipped with one. Lower the assembly down into in front of the engine and line up the threads on the clutch with the threads on the water pump. The threads are REVERSE THREADED, to spin the fan counterclockwise to engage them. Using the BMW Fan Tool, hold the water pump pulley in place and use a 32mm thin wrench to tighten the clutch nut. The spec for this coupling nut is 29ft-lb, so simply tighten it as much as you can by hand with the long wrench you are using. The reverse threading will "impact" the coupling in place on startup if not tight enough on its hub.

    Fan Clutch Coupling to Water Pump: 29ft-lb by hand

19. From this point forward, we will be focusing on the reassembly of the timing and valve cover components. So far the crankshaft should be locked in place via a pin in the flywheel, as well the cams should be locked in place at their rears by the Camshaft Locking Blocks. As well the exhaust cam sprocket should be unbolted with the Secondary Chain Tensioner and VANOS unit removed from the head. Ensure that the crankshaft is still at Top Dead Center by checking if the mark on the timing cover lines up with the corresponding "O/T" mark on the timing ring. If not, use a 22mm wrench on the crankshaft bolt to nudge it left or right as needed, then proceed under the engine to ensure the Crankshaft Locking Pin is still firmly in place.

With everything locked in TDC, proceed to loosen the Primary Timing Chain Tensioner using a 32mm wrench and remove it completely from the engine block. You may find that you have to unbolt the Windshield Washer Reservoir in order to fit a wrench on this size onto the tensioner. Begin by unplugging the connectors for the A/C Compressor, Windshield Washer Pump, and Fluid Level Sensor and place the section of harness aside.

Using a flat-head screwdriver, unscrew the plastic nut to the left of the reservoir that holds down the tank's bracket.

With the nut removed, rotate the tank up and forward while still leaving it attached to the washer fluid hoses. This will provide you the room needed to fit a 32mm wrench onto the tensioner.

Remove the Primary Chain Tensioner from the cylinder head. The tensioner will be filled with oil when you remove it so take care with handling it.

20. Using the video below, properly install and align the primary and secondary exhaust sprockets. The three nuts on the intake sprocket should already be loosened with a 10mm socket to ease movement of the secondary sprockets during installation. On hand you should have the Primary and Secondary Exhaust Sprockets, the Secondary Timing Chain, the Secondary Timing Chain Tensioner assembly, large thrust washer, as well at the four M7 torx bolts that go into the exhaust camshaft and the four M6 bolts that hold the secondary tensioner. Be sure to dip the sprockets in oil prior to installation to prevent grinding on startup.

The primary exhaust cam sprocket should be on the exhaust cam with one of the arrows on the gear face pointing directly upward, inline with the camshaft, as well as having the holes from the camshaft BIASED TO THE LEFT of the four slots on the cam sprocket. Make adjustments to the sprocket as needed.

With this in place, go ahead and reinstall the Secondary Timing Chain Tensioner with the four various sized M6 bolts. Clean off the bolts and threads with some carb cleaner before inserting, then screw in the bolts with a 10mm socket and torque accordingly. DO NOT yet release the pin holding the spring loaded guide rail in place.

Take the secondary sprocket you removed from the exhaust cam earlier and slide it into the slack secondary timing chain. The cup of the exhaust cam sprocket should be facing inward toward the camshaft, with the arrows on the sprocket roughly pointing in the same direction as those on the primary sprocket. Now with the exhaust sprocket in place, the two secondary timing chain sprockets should be able to rotate back and fourth a few degrees with ease. If not, then something in binding up on the intake side.

Now use the BMW Sprocket Turning Tool to rotate the exhaust sprocket, and in turn the intake sprocket as well. You will notice that the intake sprocket has slots on it that with the three studs on the intake camshaft only allow the sprocket to shift a few degrees in each direction. Notice that the boltholes on the exhaust camshaft may not be aligned to any one side of the slots of the sprocket in front of it. These bolt holes will need to be aligned fully to one side or the other when the intake sprocket is rotated fully in one direction or the other. With the four bolts inserted, the sprocket will need to rotate back and fourth with slots moving around the torx bolts. The holes are in a rectangular pattern, so there's only two ways the sprocket can fit. When installed properly the holes will align to one side or the other with each complete turn of the sprocket, visibly moving inside the slots as you rotate the sprocket back and fourth.

With that done, take the large thrust washer and position it inside the cup of the sprocket with the holes lined up with the boltholes of the camshaft hub. Take the four torx bolts and with a E10 socket lightly thread the bolts in. Do not yet tighten these down.

Using the Sprocket Turning Tool you should be able to freely rotate the secondary chain assembly left and right through its full range of motion. Proceed to pour some oil over the intake sprocket assembly then tighten down the three nuts on the front of the assembly with a 10mm socket to 89in-lb.

    Secondary Timing Chain Tensioner to Cylinder Head (M6): 89in-lb CS:108in-lb
    Intake Camshaft Sprocket to Camshaft Stud (M6): 89in-lb
    Secondary Exhaust Sprocket to Camshaft Hub (M7 torx): Stage I: 44in-lb, Stage II: 17ft-lb

21. At this point the timing of the two camshafts is complete, now we will proceed to properly align the VANOS unit with the intake sprocket and camshaft assembly. Prepare the VANOS unit by cleaning off all grime and residual RTV Silicone from the mating area of both the VANOS and the cylinder head using a razor blade, wire brush, and some carb cleaner.

Much like with the timing cover, you will need to spread a small amount of RTV Silicone over the mating surface of the VANOS housing. Using your index finger and a small bead of silicone, spread a thin even layer over the flat mating surface. Continue this all along the surface. Use some paper towels and a pick to clean any residual silicone out of the bolt holes.

Place the black VANOS Unit Gasket onto the cylinder head, sliding its holes through the cooresponding studs protruding from the head.

At this time the three nuts on the intake sprocket must be TORQUED DOWN properly, with the four bolts on the exhaust sprocket LOOSELY THREADED. As well the two access covers on the front of the VANOS housing should be off. Use a 19mm wrench to remove them if you have not already. As well the secondary timing chain assembly should be TURNED COMPLETELY CLOCKWISE BEFORE PROCEEDING! This is essential to correctly installing the VANOS unit as you will see in the video below.

With the VANOS unit prepared, dip the splines of the helical shaft in oil, and slide the housing onto the studs extending out form the front of the head, taking care not to scratch the thin layer of silicone. Slide it forward, until the helical shaft makes contact with the center of the intake sprocket.

Using a small flat-head screwdriver, press in on the rear of the helical shaft front above. Press in and to the left on the rear of the splines to force them to make their initial contacting position. You will not be able to fully insert the splines yet, though you will feel when they line up initially when you insert them into the sprocket.

Using the BMW Sprocket Turning Tool on the exhaust camshaft sprocket, begin to put pressure on the handle of the tool to turn it counterclockwise while simitainiusly pressing inward and left with the screwdriver on the rear of the helical shaft to force the splines of the shaft into the center of the sprocket.

When done properly, the initial turning movement of the camshaft sprockets will draw in the helical shaft and force the splines into each other, drawing the shaft and the VANOS unit towards the cylinder head.

Hand tighten in the six M6 nuts onto the lower edge of the VANOS housing.

Tech Tip: BMW has since upgraded the original M6 flange nuts for the VANOS housing to a improved nut with a captive washer attached. These nuts may also be used to replace the four nuts holding the water pump in place. To order, use BMW part #07129904553.

Then proceed to reinstall the engine lift bracket to the engine. Reinstall the short M8 bolt onto the thermostat housing and tighten down. Then take the longer M8 bolt and slide the grounding connector coming from the engine harness over the bolt. Thread in the bolt while holding down the electrical connector to the left as your tighten (the connector will want to rotate to the right as you torque down the bolt).

Torque down the nuts and bolts on the VANOS unit and engine lift bracket accordingly. Being to torquing the fasteners closest to the center and moving outward.

Use a rag and razor blade to remove any residual silicone from around the mating areas of the VANOS unit. Take the cord coming out from the rear of the VANOS Solenoid and plug it into the loose connector under the intake manifold. Use a zip-tie if necessary to keep it from resting on any metal parts of the engine.

    VANOS Housing to Cylinder Head (M6): 89in-lb CS:108in-lb
    Engine Lift Bracket to Cylinder Head (M8): 17ft-lb CS:19ft-lb
    Thermostat Housing to Cylinder Head (M8): 17ft-lb CS:19ft-lb

22. Now it is time to insert the BMW Primary Chain Tensioner Tool into the side of the cylinder head. Fully retract the threaded shaft from the front of the tensioner, then thread in the body of the tensioner tool to the cylinder head.

Tech Tip: The instructions are referencing to an engine with the upgraded one piece Primary Chain Tensioner. Shown below are the two styles of tensioner, the one inset in the lower left corner is the older two piece unit that was later superseded by the more durable, easier to install one piece tensioner. It is highly recommended that owners of the older stly tensioner upgrade to the newer unit. To order the upgraded chain tensioner for your car, use BMW part #11311405081 (92-95 325, M3) or #11317838675 (96-99 323, 328, M3).

Proceed to use a 10mm socket and a palm ratchet on the hex pattern on the threaded shaft of the tensioner tool to extend the shaft inwards towards the timing chain guide rail.

NOTE: The size of the socket used on the shaft may vary by the tool's manufacturer.

Looking down through the front of the head, you will see the tip of the tensioner tool being threaded into the head. Continue ratcheting the threaded shaft until it makes contact with the backside of the timing chain guide rail. Continue to slowly turn the shaft as it pushes the rail forward and tensions the timing chain. You should see the Primary Exhaust Sprocket moving counterclockwise while this happens, if not, loosen the four torx bolts on the exhaust camshaft to relieve pressure on the sprockets. The spec for the tensioner tool is exactly 1.3Nm, which is barely finger tight. Simply continue to tension the chain until you feel that it cannot be extended any more, then stop.

    BMW Primary Chain Tensioner Tool: 12in-lb by hand

Now remove the retaining pin from the Secondary Timing Chain Tensioner. The guide will pop up and tension the secondary timing chain.

With the camshafts locked at TDC, the lower two of the four bolt holes on the exhaust camshaft will line up with the access ports on the front of the VANOS housing. With a E10 socket and extension, begin to hand tighten the four torx bolts down by hand. These bolts need to be tightened down in two stages, first to a light 44in-lb.

With this done, use your 3/8" torque wrench to finish tightening don the four torx bolts to 17ft-lb. You will see the Primary Exhaust Sprocket wanting to move when doing this, though the Primary Chain Tensioner Tool will prevent it from moving.

Now retract the threaded shaft from the chain tensioner tool and follow by unscrewing the tensioner tool's body from the engine block completely.

Continue by cleaning of the Primary Chain Tensioner and replacing the metal Gasket Ring around the base of the tensioner's threads. Screw in the chain tensioner by hand, ensuring that the tabs on the tip of the tensioner are parallel to the timing chain guide rail (OBD1 only), and align properly with the guide rail while you thread it in.

Torque the tensioner down to 37ft-lb using a 32mm wrench. You will find it is not possible to fit a full sized socket onto the tensioner body, so tighten it down by hand.

Replace the two access ports on the front of the VANOS unit with the corresponding plugs and torque accordingly.

Finally, replace the Windshield Washer Reservoir back into the engine bay. Ensure that the "hook" on the bottom of the tank slides into the bracket on the wheel well, and screw in the plastic nut through the bracket on the left side with a flat-head screwdriver. Plug in the Windshield Washer Fluid Level sensor, the Washer Pump, and A/C Compressor plugs back into place.

    Secondary Exhaust Sprocket to Camshaft Hub (M7 torx): Stage I: 44in-lb, Stage II: 17ft-lb
    Primary Timing Chain Tensioner to Cylinder Head: 37ft-lb by hand
    Access Plugs to VANOS Housing (M22): 37ft-lb

Congratulations, the timing of your engine is complete. You can now remove the Camshaft Locking Blocks from the rear of the cylinder head, as well as removing the Flywheel Locking Pin from its hole in the engine block. Be sure to reinsert the plastic plug back into the hole the pin was inserted in, and to replace the valve cover studs you had to remove n order to fit the camshaft blocks. Tighten them down with a 10mm deep socket after spraying away any oil from the studs and the holes.

    Valve Cover Stud to Cylinder Head (M6): 89in-lb

At this time you should use a 22mm wrench or socket on the Crankshaft Bolt to manually turn the engine at least two full revolutions to ensure that nothing is binding, striking, or scraping. Only turn the engine clockwise.

23. Now continue to close up the top of the engine by installing the valve cover and ignition coils. Before proceeding, pour one quart or more of the oil you will be using over the camshafts, camshaft gears, and VANOS helical shaft to prevent startup friction as you car would have been sitting for several hours if not days by now. Be sure not to get any into the spark plug holes. When done, snap the plastic Camshaft Cover into place over the intake camshaft. It can only go on one way.

Using a razor blade and wire brush, remove any excess and residual silicone and other debris from the mating surfaces of the valve cover and cylinder head. Use the wire brush to lightly burnish the surfaces of the top of the cylinder head as well as the crevice that extends along the edge of the valve cover. Prepare the Valve Cover Gasket by taking it out of its package and position it with the two half circle shaped lobes facing upward. Use a small bead of RTV Silicone here on the corners of the two lobes.

As well use a small amount of silicone on the two seams where the VANOS unit meets the head.

When complete, slide the valve cover gasket over the cylinder head and place it on the cylinder head once you have lined up the holes in the gasket with the corresponding valve cover studs protruding from the head.

Tech Tip: M52/S52 owners with a plastic valve cover may find it easier to press their valve cover gasket into the valve cover and install it pre-assembled onto the head.

Place the two spark plug tunnel gaskets over the center of the cylinder head

Prepare your valve cover by pressing in any rubber grommets that had slipped out. When ready, slide the valve cover into position over the head, align its holes with the studs protruding form the head, and press it firmly into the cylinder head. With a free hand, being screwing in the valve cover hardware. There should be a rubber grommet, followed by a washer, followed by the 10mm valve cover nut.

Tighten all these down by hand, using extensions where necessary. The two valve cover nuts with studs protruding from their tops go on the outer edges of the center row of nuts. These extra studs are used for the securing the grounding straps.

Torque down all the nuts accordingly with a 10mm socket starting from the center of the valve cover and working your way outward. Finally use a razor blade to remove any excess silicone from around the valve cover, and plug in the Crankcase Ventalation Valve to the front-right of the valve cover

    Valve Cover to Valve Cover Stud (M6): 89in-lb CS:108in-lb

24. Continue with inserting the Ignition Coils into the spark plug tunnels. Inspect the Spark Plug Connecting Boots and replace all six if any cracking or excessive wear is found. Take the two grounding straps and insert one onto each of the studded valve cover nuts at each end of the Ignition Coils, and tighten them down by hand with two M5 nuts and a 8mm socket.

For M50/S50 engines: Install the coils over the studs in the valve cover. Attach the grounding straps to the nearest stud and tighten down with one of the ignition coil nuts. Take the two metal Cable Holder brackets and slide them over the valve cover studs underneath the two sets of wires coming from the engine harness. Take the two metal Cable Holder brackets and slide them over the valve cover underneath the two sets of wires coming from the engine harness and line them up with the two available studs. Continue and hand tighten the rest of the M6 nuts on each of the valve cover studs with a 10mm socket, securing the Ignition Coils.

For M52/S52 engines: Install the coils into spark plug tunnels with the coil's metal plugs facing downward. Take the two grounding straps and place them over the closet bolthole on the adjacent Ignition Coil. Use two of the ignition coil bolts to secure the grounding straps over the coils. Take the two metal Cable Holder brackets and slide them over the valve cover underneath the two sets of wires coming from the engine harness and line them up with the two available boltholes. Continue to insert the remaining M6 bolts with a 10mm socket.

Continue and hand tighten the rest of the M6 fasteners on each of the valve cover studs/threads, securing the Ignition Coils in place. Torque all the ignition coils down to 89in-lb.

Snap in the plastic ignition wire holders into the brackets between the Ignition Coils for cylinders 3, 4, and 5, and press in the wires into their appropriate positions on the holder. Plug the appropriate wires into the Ignition Coils, taking note of the numbers printed on the wires to signify which coil they are to be plugged into.

    Ignition Coil to Valve Cover (M6): 89in-lb
    Grounding Strap to Valve Cover (M5): 52in-lb by hand

Place the plastic Valve Cover and Fuel Rail Trim pieces over the appropriate studs and boltholes respectively. Use two M6 nuts on the valve cover trim to secure it to the rubber mounts protruding from the valve cover. The fuel rail cover is secured by two small M6 bolts. Tighten all four fasteners by hand with a 10mm socket.

Replace the Front Radiator Cover with some 8mm body screws and push rivets. Replace the Alternator Duct if applicable.

Finally fill your engine with some fresh high-quality oil, subtracting what you earlier poured in directly over the camshafts. The M50/M52 series engines require 7.5 quarts of oil.

Replace the front wheels onto the car using a 17mm socket to hand thread in the five Lug Bolts on each wheel. One the car is ready to be lowered onto the ground, lower it just enough for the front tires make contact with the floor, then torque the lug bolts in a star pattern to about 80ft-lb. Check the torque of the lug bolts once more after the first few initial miles of driving.

    Lug Bolt to Wheel Hub (M12): 77ft-lb ±5ft-lb

Do you know what youve just done? Youve just completed the Ultimate Front Subframe/Oilpan/Timing Cover DIY! Go have a cigarette, youve earned it. At this time you can proceed to do some housekeeping procedures. Fill your oil, check your fluids, and replace any underpanel setups you have to the font body. While under the car, make sure the Brake Ducts and Temperature Sensors are are in their correct locations, as they may have become dislodged during your work. As well begin to clean up your tools, as you will only be needing a phillips head screwdriver from this point forward. Also you will want to check your tool inventory to make sure you haven't left any tools inside the engine bay, or worse, inside the engine.

With the underpanels installed and fluids checked, you will need to bleed out the radiator on your first startup, so go ahead and remove the Radiator Cap and Bleed Screw from the expansion tank, and have a few jugs of Distilled Water on hand.

Tech Tip: Mixed metal and high performance engines like ours should only use pure Distilled Water with the genuine BMW blue coolant. This will help prevent calcium deposits, gasket failures, and rust.

As this is the first startup up the engine after major work, you should be in the cockpit, with an ear toward the engine, listening for anything awry. Reconnect the battery, and reset your clock, then go ahead and crank the engine. It will be rough at first, though you can give a SMALL amount of throttle just to keep it alive as the ECU relearns the engine's optimal idle speed. This is the crucial time for the ECU's learning, so while you DO NOT UNDER ANY MEANS REDLINE THE ENGINE after this kind of work, you are going to want to go out for a good hour long cruise or so to let every new part, gasket, and fitting fit in. DO NOT exceed 4000rpm/75mph for the first 100 miles or so, and then slowly move back into your regular driving habits. It make take up to about 300 miles of regular driving for everything to fully settle.

After about 300 miles, change your Oil Filter as well. After having the engine opened for and extended period of time, you will bee surprised see the amount of debris, silicone, insect parts, and even human hair (many which looked surprisingly like the ones on my forearms) clinging to the oil filter. Replace with only an OEM oil filter (see part list above for part numbers).

Below you will see the procedure for bleeding the cooling system. Proceed to follow up with this important final step once you have confirmed that the engine is running and idling properly.

Bleeding Your Engine's Cooling System

1. If the car is not on an incline, jack up the front end just a few inches. The goal of this is to make the bleed line is the highest point on the cooling system and not the heater core. This will allow for a more rapid bleeding as well.

2. With the engine running, turn the interior heater controls to full hot, fresh air setting, and with the fan set to its maximum. This will open up the heater valves and fill the heater core, forcing out trapped air.

3. Begin to fill the Expansion Tank Filler Neck with distilled water, adding coolant from your jug of BMW blue coolant. Rev the engine by actuating the Throttle Body while doing this to help circulate the coolant and water.

4. Soon the cooling system will fill and a steady stream of coolant mixture and bubbles will be pouring out from the bleed screw. At this time you can install the Radiator Cap, though leave the bleed screw off.

5. Your engine may take up to 15 min to completely warm up just by idling, this will lessen with the amount of revving you do with the throttle. Squeezing the two large radiator hoses will also aid in forcing out air bubbles. Continue to rev the engine periodically until you stop seeing bubbles coming up from the screw.

6. At this time go ahead and close up the bleed screw with a phillips head screwdriver and continue to rev the engine for several minutes, simulating normal driving. Open up the bleed screw periodically and observe the foam of coolant and bubbles coming out. When you see the air bubbles turn to solid coolant, quickly close the screw back up. Have a jug of Distilled Water nearby as you may need to refill the expansion tank if you loose too much coolant during this process.

7. Continue the above process until all that comes out of the bleed screw is solid coolant. Then lower you car down and take it out for a spin, observing the break-in period specified earlier. Pull over of an INCLINED piece of road every few miles to open up the bleed screw and let out some more of the accumulated air bubbles. Continue until all air bubbles are gone.

This article along with the work done to my E36 would have not been possible without the support and assistance of several people in our local community. First and foremost a great thanks needs to be given to Andy of Foreign Car Care in Simi Valley, CA. Over 5 days i was using his lift, tools, and expertise when he could have been working on other customer's cars, and without his oversight, this project may have never been completed. Thanks as well to The Polish Mechanic, Miroslaw of German Tech Auto in Thousand Oaks, CA As much of an ass as he tries to be, he would always come through in a bind. Big thanks as well to Beisan Systems for their assistance with the VANOS unit, and to our long time Forum Sponsors Pat and Yeve of BMA Auto Parts for their excellent parts service. Also props to Kinetik Tools for their affordable BMW engine tools used during this project. Without the support of shops and vendors like those listed above, you wouldn't see people like you or me around with the resources to bring the abilities of the dealerships to our own home garages.
User avatar
Site Admin
Posts: 6782
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2007 1:06 pm
Location: Ventura, CA

1995 Almera

Re: DIY: The Ultimate Subframe/Oil Pan/Timing Case Service Guide

Postby Caligula » Mon Apr 19, 2010 1:38 am

User avatar
Site Admin
Posts: 6782
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2007 1:06 pm
Location: Ventura, CA

1995 Almera

Re: DIY: The Ultimate Subframe/Oil Pan/Timing Case Service Guide

Postby crookc » Mon Oct 18, 2010 4:58 pm

Dam you are good.. :-)
Posts: 80
Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2009 11:00 am
Location: Thousand Oaks, California

Re: DIY: The Ultimate Subframe/Oil Pan/Timing Case Service Guide

Postby cj.surr » Tue Jul 05, 2011 12:47 am

What amazes me about this website is that it has the most comprehensive E36 DIY I've ever seen, but it only gets one response in over two years.

Very nice write-up!
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun May 22, 2011 10:19 pm

Re: DIY: The Ultimate Subframe/Oil Pan/Timing Case Service Guide

Postby Caligula » Thu Jul 07, 2011 2:22 am

Thanks, i really should get all the pics together and finish this thing. I think theres a part missing in there about removing the cooling system but pretty much everything you need is there. Theres something to be said about loosing the skills you acquire from lack of practice. Doing all these repairs are straight forward once you understand the process or removal and replacement, though i wouldn't count on being able to rewrite all this again if i had to, this took weeks to get all down on paper. :D
User avatar
Site Admin
Posts: 6782
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2007 1:06 pm
Location: Ventura, CA

1995 Almera

Re: DIY: The Ultimate Subframe/Oil Pan/Timing Case Service Guide

Postby benni320i » Thu Sep 01, 2011 12:47 am

you rock, very educational. ive found it very difficult to find ANY accurate information, (rearding tech specs and procedures.) even the service manual i downloaded didnt specifically cover my 1991 320i. your post has raised some questions though:
does the american released e36 differ from the australian, and if so how? or where might i find the info?
are the specialist bmw tools readily avalible? and if so can someone suggest an outlet?
did the 1991 e36 320i come out with 14" or 15" wheels? (mine has bmw 15"s im unsure if they are original)
how long do these motors usually last? (3,4,500000 kms) i believe its an m50.
Why would you want to drive anything else?...
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2011 12:16 am
Location: Adelaide South Australia

Re: DIY: The Ultimate Subframe/Oil Pan/Timing Case Service Guide

Postby Caligula » Tue Sep 27, 2011 3:29 am

The engine in a 320i is still an M50, so most everything will apply. If you check the end of the article i listed a few places you can checkout. Kinetik Tools is one, as well as El Paso Tools, and ZD Mak are all decent outlets for replica BMW service tools. These motors will last as long as you're willing to do services like whats listed here.
User avatar
Site Admin
Posts: 6782
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2007 1:06 pm
Location: Ventura, CA

1995 Almera

Re: DIY: The Ultimate Subframe/Oil Pan/Timing Case Service Guide

Postby lyric4christ » Tue Oct 11, 2011 1:55 pm

Great write up!

If I just need to replace the oil pan gasket on a friends e36, do u have to remove any sub-frame components...
God is not a Christian - he's just God. A Christian is not God - they're just man. But don't take my word for it, take God's, they're in the Bible.
Posts: 34
Joined: Thu May 12, 2011 12:26 pm

1998 Hardbody Truck

Re: DIY: The Ultimate Subframe/Oil Pan/Timing Case Service Guide

Postby Caligula » Tue Oct 11, 2011 2:02 pm

If the whole subframe counts as a component, then yes. As well as the p/s and a/c pumps.
User avatar
Site Admin
Posts: 6782
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2007 1:06 pm
Location: Ventura, CA

1995 Almera

Return to E36 Specific DIY's

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest