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KenC
04-09-2006, 06:53 PM
Would like reccos from this board on a place to replace the e36 M3 valve retainers with the reinforced retainers. This is my son's vehicle.

I've done some research and while there are those that say you have to pull the head to do it, others say definitely not. My gut feeling, after reading all of the write-ups, is: a mechanic with experience probably doesn't have to pull the head.

All input is greatly appreciated for this expensive, preventive maintenance.:mad:

TIA,
Ken

Roy
04-09-2006, 08:02 PM
Mike Miller, author of Tech Talk for Roundel recently wrote a reader on this topic, saying "Replace the retainers, Jim. It is not a big job on this car."

I spoke with my mechanic Tom Baruch (a longtime CCA member and track enthusiast), and he said it's about an 8-10 hour job because you have to remove the cams and put compressed air in the cylinders to keep the valves from dropping down into the cylinders. He agrees that this is prudent to do on a tracked car and that he strongly recommends it.

I wrote Mike Miller and told him what Tom had said. Here is his reply:

"I suppose I should not have said, "It's not a big job." That depends on who is doing the work!

Yes, I've done it before. I don't remember precisely how long it took, but I'm thinking about five hours. You can approach the job in two ways -- pressurize the cylinders if you have a leakdown kit, or put the pistons at BDC, feed nylon line into the spark plug hole until it won't take anymore, and then move the piston up. Or you can just remove the cylinder head so you can replace the head gasket and the valve guide seals at the same time. Back when I did this, the engines were fairly new so there was no reason to go that far. But today, I suppose we have to recognize that by the time you get the cam carriers out, you're close enough to removing the head.

On a street engine, I would absolutely recommend original BMW valve spring retainers, which were updated. There is titanium and there is titanium. My experience with titanium valve spring retainers is that they don't last nearly as long as the original BMW parts. They may be useful in high-rpm race-only engines where you are trying to reduce reciprocating valvetrain weight, AND where you're tearing down the engine every season. But not on a street car.
Best regards, Mike Miller"

-Roy
'95 M3 6/95 build date

KenC
04-09-2006, 08:25 PM
I spoke with my mechanic Tom Baruch (a longtime CCA member and track enthusiast), and he said it's about an 8-10 hour job because you have to remove the cams and put compressed air in the cylinders to keep the valves from dropping down into the cylinders. He agrees that this is prudent to do on a tracked car and that he strongly recommends it.

-Roy
'95 M3 6/95 build date
Roy,

Thanks, for your reply. Regarding the comments that it is "prudent" to do on a tracked car. My son's car is not tracked, but in reading the literature, I got the impression that it would be prudent to do on any e36 M3 with a build date prior to 10/95. My son's car has a build date of 7/95.

Does the mechanic you referenced (Tom B) perform this repair as part of his normal business or is he a personal friend? I am looking for a reputable someone/facility to do this work on my son's car.

Thanks,
Ken

Roy
04-11-2006, 08:06 PM
Tom is an owner of London Auto in Falls Church. I sent you a private message on this topic as there are several reputable, recommended independent shops run by expert BMW enthusiast-technicians.
-Roy

KenC
04-12-2006, 05:39 PM
Tom is an owner of London Auto in Falls Church.
I talked to Tom on Monday and made an appt for today, so I dropped the car off there last night.

Thanks, for your help and input . . . car should be ready by the weekend. Replacing the vanos and the primary timing chain tensioner, as well.