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Well.... looking back through photos I took of the strip down, I find it hard to believe the engine hasn't turned since mid-April.

Nearly there now though. It's looking more like it used to, and the 'strip down' photos are invaluable in remembering where the snakes nest of different pipes and cables are supposed to go.

Might turn over tomorrow, might need to wait till the weekend.

Couple of questions if anyone drops by....

1) the earth lead that attaches to the bonnet - where does it go on the other end? I'm assuming the back of the O/S cylinder head somewhere - but no photos show this.

2) those 'cyclonic' oil separators in the top of the rocker covers.... yea or nay? Can I do without them, or do they make a difference? Assume I could run without them for a couple of days if they are really necessary?

Thanks as always.

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  1. I don't suppose it matters. Just had a look at both mine and neither have one.

  2. There should only be one in the RH (as looking from the drivers seat) rocker cover, not in the other one. I broke mine about 3 years ago and keep forgetting to add one to the order whenever I've ordered bits so haven't had one for quite some time. Don't think it makes much difference in all honesty.

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Just here to say I've read through various chunks of this thread and great work! :) Wish I'd have seen your thread earlier, I was too busy on the wrong forum until this week! :D

I did my head gaskets (Thor 4.0 too) a couple of weeks ago, what an experience, as it was the first time I'd ever done anything like that... For me the taking apart was the worst bit, head bolts weren't as bad as yours, for me it was the exhaust manifold shield bolts that gave me the most hassle (and the mudflaps etc along the way!).

I had already done the water pump a few weeks earlier and skipped the sump and front cover off in the end as I was happy with the look of the engine inside.
I had a few similar experiences, like the manifold to head bolts were basically finger tight when I removed them, so the valley gasket was in an awful state.

Good luck with the final stages! The rebuild was good fun and a great feeling when you start the engine up again after all the work :)

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Donmacn Do You talk about the Earth lead left side (in driving direction)? It‘s going through the plastic between bonnet and windscreen ? On a LHD car right under the axis of the windscreen wiper, guess there should be a plug on a rhd.
Bolts to the body / bulkhead there.
Best regards KCR

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Thanks guys - I'd meant to reply earlier, but I find it difficult with the ipad.

Here's a pic of the earth lead I mentioned, on a RHD car.
enter image description here

I'd have been happy enough to leave it, but it's a P38, and it's electrical... but in fact when I was "in the neighbourhood", I noticed that the engine lifting eye hadn't been tightened down, so I just stuck it on to one of those bolts.

On the oil separator it was in fact only in the RH cover. I'd assumed it was just missing from the LH. I stuck in what was left of the broken one - about 3/4 of it, so I'm sure it's better than nothing.

ac6 - I could have posted a lot more mumps and groans.... I didn't enjoy my manifold heat shields either! I did spend a couple of hours though grinding off all the old captive nuts; replacing them with 'rivnuts'; sticking the anti-rattle wire pads back on; and stainless bolts on the rebuild - looks more or less good as new. Also I'm sure I will be overjoyed when (if!) it starts again, but there will be a healthy amount of finger crossing, hoping for the best, and touching wood in the last few moments before turning the key!

Car is now more or less back together; filled with oil; could only get ca. 6L of coolant in but that might be enough as the block wasn't drained? But I'm going to wait till the weekend rather than trying to do this when I've already done a day's work.

Already looking to the next thing - finally getting the windscreen rebonded. I'd like to get this done properly but if the windscreen guys are going to use wire saws to remove it, surely they're going to trash the sealer strip between the dash and the glass on the inside? Item 35 in the diagram below.

enter image description here

It's not showing up as a part number, so maybe no longer available? Does anyone know for sure if that's the case? Is it just some foam that could be replaced with generic stuff?

Will update on the engine starting at the weekend!

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The strip on the front edge of the dash is rubber and is just a flexible flap to fill in the gap. When I had my screen changed the guy used a cheesewire on a pretty clever looking pulley type thing that was stuck to the outside of the windscreen on big suckers. Didn't touch the strip at all.

Odd, don't quite understand this leaving it until completed, I always fire up at the first available opportunity. Usually just to check everything is OK before I connect up the downpipes to the exhaust manifolds (because they make a lovely noise with no downpipes......).

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Hi Richard, thanks. Good to know it's possible to take the screen off without trashing that strip. Whether that would happen up here, I guess I'll find out sooner or later.

On firing up asap - I suspect that's down to inexperience. To be honest it just didn't occur to me. At one point, at the back of my mind I did think that I was bolting a lot of stuff back together that might need to come apart again, but on the other hand I'd have wondered whether it would have started without all its plugs in place and the loom intact.

I'm also thinking about the requirement/suggestion that the new camshaft & followers want to run at 2000RPM for 20 minutes - or whatever seems sensible at the time. Because the car is reversed into the garage my plan is, assuming it starts, to just ease out of the garage and let that 'running in' take place outside. Not sure the neighbours would appreciate the lovely noise the same way you would!

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Hmm, I'm pretty sure that earth wire was bolted to the back of the drivers side head on mine. Not sure is that was it's original location or someone else has done that, as long as it's secured to the engine somewhere, then I'm sure it'll be fine.

You had the manifold cover bolt issue too then! Access was a nightmare on the drivers side, even with the wheel arch liner out, I managed to cut them off with a flexible dremel in the end.

As for coolant, just start it up with the cap off and the thin line from the radiator to header tank disconnected at the radiator end. Let it idle, coolant will drop and top it up as needed. Once it starts flowing out of the radiator nipple, I put the hose back on and what to see it flowing smoothly into the header tank (Often it's suggested to blow through the thin hose too before re-connecting it). If you haven't already, also pour some coolant straight down into the front pipe and radiator via the top hose, I like to do it this way if I've drained any coolant.

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Thanks ac - yep, that lifting eye is bolted to the back of the RH head, so we're on the same page there.

On coolant, I'd left the 'top hose' between the engine and rad disconnected and filled it there. That way I knew it was going to the block, and into the rad. I could also see that it was making it's way to the expansion tank so I'm reasonably confident that the block is full, along with the rad itself.

The problem is that I can't really let it idle. That would absolutely be my instinct, but as mentioned above somewhere, the instructions for the new camshaft are quite specific - start up and run at 2000RPM for the first 20 minutes! I don't really know if I'll follow that to the letter, maybe 10 minutes will do...? but idling seems to be a 'bad thing' as far as they're concerned.

D-Day tomorrow though. I need to get some more red OAT coolant to hand, and I also need to adjust the steering UJ link to a closer approximation of 'straight ahead' and then I'm left with three (possibly numpty) questions:
1) Will the fuel system need primed at all? Given that the inlet/injector pipes were completely dry?
2) Can I just disconnect the EAS pump? I have 'fuckered' sensor issues, and would rather leave that out of my worry equation when starting the engine after a rebuild

3) Anything else a numpty ought to consider at this stage?

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Fill the cooling system as much as you can with the bleed hose from the top of the rad disconnected. Squeeze the top hose, then put your finger over the hole on the top of the rad and release the top hose. Finger off and squeeze again. What you will be doing is forcing the air out the bleed hose when you squeeze the hose and drawing coolant in from the reservoir when you release it. Once coolant starts to come out of the bleed nipple put the small hose back on then carry on squeezing the hose but this time blocking the hole inside the reservoir filler neck where the coolant squirts out. If you keep doing that until you can no longer hear the coolant sloshing around inside the engine, you've got rid of all the air so you should be safe to fire it up without risk of overheating it.

Fuel system will prime itself within a couple of seconds of turning the ignition on, so pause before starting to crank.

Disconnecting the EAS pump will at worst bring up EAS Fault on the dash, probably better to pull Fuse 24 so the EAS ECU isn't powered and it won't go into fault mode.

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+1 this earth strap back of engine head. Was really curious following, as checking all earth point is one of the next it€ms on my schedule of preventative maintenance.

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Thanks as always.

Can I just check something Richard? You'd outlined that filling procedure before, and I'd read it again, and again and just hadn't "got it". Now, if I was to put it this way: "Fill the cooling system as much as you can with the bleed hose from the top of the rad disconnected - _emphasized text_at the expansion tankemphasized text" Would that be right? (Italics haven't worked quite right, but hopefully you'll get the gist.)

I was visualising it (being a numpty) with it disconnected at the radiator end, and just couldn't see how it would work. Now I think I might have it.

Thanks also for the confirmation of the fuel priming.

I'll update tomorrow!

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The way I would do it is with the bleed hose disconnected at the radiator end to start.
From what Richard says above that's how he starts too, let all the air out the bleed nipple on the radiator and you can squeeze the top hose like Richard describes to help it along. Then, once the coolant flows out of the radiator bleed hole, reconnect the bleed hose.
The next step with a finger over the hole in the reservoir tank I must admit I've never done, but that sounds a good way to check the air is out of the bleed hose too.

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In relation to running in the cam, take note of the information in this BMW bulletin on transmission failure due to running the engine at high idle.

It seems providing the engine has been off for more than 30 seconds, and you don’t move the selector out of Park, all should be well. Apparently the ZF box will pressurize the clutch packs as soon as the transmission is put in gear, and they remain pressurized (and slipping). Worth noting if you have to start the car to move it out of your garage as opposed to let it roll out.

There is a BMW service bulletin quoted by Shogun in this article.

BMW forum archive

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Gentlemen, thank you. I feel much better prepared.

That's a good perspective on the coolant filling, and the transmission pressurising thing was something I wouldn't have thought of in a month of Sundays! I wouldn't really want to drive it away from the house; and if moving it a short distance out of the garage could cause transmission problems then it might need to stay put for the camshaft run-in. What fun!

Maybe I'll need to drag out my small scuba tank to avoid being gassed. Hopefully no-one will be standing by with a camera to catch sight of me leaning into the engine bay to check things out with a regulator in my mouth!!

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Well...... it started, and it ran, and the only leak was self-inflicted!

It did take a little while to start, but nothing I'd say was untoward. A few whisps of smoke from round the exhaust manifolds - prob the shine burning off new stuff - but then that settled down.

The leak was ATF from one of the oil cooler pipes which seems (so far) to be the only thing I forgot to tighten up. There was a 'transmission fault' showed up on the dash, but hopefully that will clear itself second time around.

Ran it about 1750rpm for about 15 mins and figured that would do before I gassed myself.

So generally pretty happy so far. Thanks for all your help and advice through this latest chapter.

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Great news! :)

Yeah, I deliberately didn't pause for long when I started mine up, so it could crank a little to get the oil flowing before the fuel was primed. It took a few moments to start, but nothing unexpected.

A little smoke shouldn't be bad either, as you say new parts etc. I had a little just from a few little drips of oil onto the manifolds etc from when I was lubricating the new head bolts and giving the rocker arms a little soak etc.

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The Beast.... she moves!

enter image description here

Didn't go far, just about 10 B road miles in total, but it was so good to get the car out of the garage and to listen to that V8 roar again!

The EAS took a while longer than I'd expected to come up to height, but it did get there, and worked OK. Even in those 10 miles I was reminded of all the other things that were on my list before the valley gasket took over - the back end wallows all over the place, so bushes and shocks are in order.

But for the moment I'm just going to chill out and enjoy the moment, and having a car that can move under its own power.

Thanks again.

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EAS would probably have lost all pressure in the reservoir while it's not been used so would have to fill it from scratch which can take up to 10 minutes (should take 7-8 max but a little bit longer is acceptable). The Gearbox Fault on the dash was likely from the battery voltage dropping while cranking. If the gearbox ECU sees less than 10V at any time it will flag it as a fault.

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about the earth strap to the bonnet, makes good check to see if not rotten, if so, is quite ineffective.
I've rerouted mine from the engine directly to the neg lead on the battery.