BMW PCV Valve Repair – E46,E60,E39 | 3 Series/5 Series Vehicles

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bmw pcv valve repair

BMW PCV Valve Repair – 4.5 Hours

BMW E46 Intake Manifold

The BMW Repair Guide used this 2003 325ci for the following article. To see other repairs on our site using this actual car, please click on the image below!

Cracked or damaged pipes comprising the crankcase breather system  are a major cause of vacuum leaks in the BMW 3 and 5 series intake systems. A leaking crankcase breather system may cause a variety of warning messages in your car, including the SERVICE ENGINE SOON light on the dashboard, “Increased emissions!” warnings on the iDrive drive display, and engine code faults 2882, 2883, 2986 and 2987 on your diagnostic scanner. If you are experiencing these issues, a BMW PCV valve repair including replacement of the crankcase breather system may be needed on your vehicle.bmw pcv valve repair e60 5 series

As discussed in many of our other articles, the recurring “Achilles Heel” of the BMW E46/E39/E60 3 and 5 series cars is the aging of the plastic parts comprising the vehicles intake system. As these parts start to crack and rupture from engine heat and age, they suck unmetered air into the intake system causing error codes and dashboard lights. These leaks can be extremely frustrating; some of the parts are difficult to get to, and if the system is not reassembled with care even more leaks can be created.

A BMW PCV valve repair on the BMW E60 is unfortunately not as easy as other BMW models since most of the plumbing that needs replacement is under the intake manifold. We have seen other articles that show a BMW PCV valve repair can be executed without partially removing the intake manifold, but we highly suggest our readers stay away from these “quick fixes. Don’t be intimidated by partially removing the intake manifold. In fact, think of this as an excellent opportunity to replace your intake manifold gaskets which are also prone to failure on this vehicle. In the following BMW PCV repair article we give you very detailed steps on how to do the repair yourself in your own garage.

The BMW Repair Guide highly recommends the use of a diagnostic scanner to help identify and fix issues with your BMW automobile. A good BMW diagnostic scanner is inexpensive, easy to use, and helps take the “guess work” out of diagnosing repair issues with your vehicle. The investment in a diagnostic scanner will usually pay for itself after one repair. If you are interested in using the same diagnostic scanner we use, please click here.
PCV Valve and Crankcase Breather System

The PCV valve and associated crankcase breather system on your BMW is actually a fairly simple arrangement. Its sole purpose is to relieve the pressure that builds up inside your engine’s crankcase by sucking out the gases, oil and water condensation produced during engine operation. The PCV valve’s job is to separate these combustion byproducts; it channels fumes and vapor back into the intake manifold for further combustion and oil back to lubrication system via the dip stick tube.

One of the biggest repair bugs BMW owners are dealing with these days are vacuum leaks in the intake system. The intake system is a spider web of plastic and rubber parts, so pinpointing where the leak is coming from can really only be done with a smoke testing machine. A visual inspection rarely will reveal the leaking part. I know…not what you wanted to hear at this point. But before you leave my article, please consider this: a trip to the dealership or independent shop to find and fix your intake system leak will cost more than buying a decent smoke machine and doing it yourself. I guarantee you that’s a fact. So why not buy your own so you have it for future DIYer repairs? There are several “non-commercial” machines on the market that will get the job done: the Smoke-Tek and the Autool being two of the more reasonably priced ones.

smoke test machine leak detection
The BMW Repair Guide uses the EVAPro by Vacutec in its repair shop.
Parts, Tools and Supplies

Parts
Crankcase Breather Hose Kit w/ PCV Valve

Tools and Supplies
10mm nut driver
10mm socket with ratchet and extension
T30 torx bit with extender and ratchet
T40 torx bit with extender and ratchet
Flat blade screwdriver
Long reach needle nose pliers
Bungy cord

Procedure
  1. Follow all of the disassembly steps in our repair article BMW E46 Intake Manifold Gasket Repair

PCV valve system disassembly and removal

  1. Once you have the intake manifold removed, use a bungy cord to carefully secure it on its side. This is a very handy way to access the bottom of the intake manifold where the PCV must be installed.bmw pcv valve repair
  2. Begin by attaching the connecting line to the pcv valve as shown in the image below. It is very important that the connecting line is attached exactly as shown in the image so it lines up with other pipes after installation. ***The connecting line is actually “threaded” and attaches to the PCV valve by screwing on with one turn. It is very important that you have a tight connection.bmw pcv valve repair
  3. Insert the PCV valve into the bottom of the manifold, routing the connecting line as shown in the following image.bmw pcv valve repair
  4. Continue to feed the connecting line through the manifold as shown in the following images.bmw pcv valve repairbmw pcv valve repair
  5. Install the return pipe onto top of manifold and attach to the connecting pipe as shown below. Attach other end of return pipe to intake manifold fitting.bmw pcv valve repair
  6. Attach the connecting pipe to its fitting on the intake manifold. The fitting is tight…try using a flat blade screwdriver and the palm of your hand to force the connection. You will hear a “click” when the connection is made.bmw pcv valve repair
  7. Attach the crankcase vent (breather) pipe to the PCV valve as shown below.bmw pcv valve repair
  8. Reinstall the PCV valve in bottom of intake manifold with the two torx bolts.bmw pcv valve repair
  9. Attach one end of the lower vent hose to the fitting on the oil dipstick. The oil dipstick fitting is rather low in the engine, so use a flashlight to find it. We find it easier to attach the lower vent hose to the dipstick fitting if you use a little motor oil to lube up the end first. bmw pcv valve repairbmw pcv valve repairbmw pcv valve repairbmw pcv valve repair
  10. Make sure the lower vent hose is positioned up so it can connect to the PCV valve when the manifold is reinstalled.bmw pcv valve repair

 

Completing installation
You will now need to reference back to our article Intake Manifold Gasket Repair to complete your installation. Please note that reinstalling the intake manifold takes patience. Always walk away from the job and regroup if you find yourself trying to force parts together, or if you start getting irritated. There are many plastic parts in the intake system that can break from trying to “manhandle” an installation causing you more work and grief. Take your time…we can’t stress it enough!

Installation finished
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us. And congratulations for Doing It Yourself!

 

 

The Repair Difficulty Level displays graphically how challenging the repair is, from easy to advanced. Easy repairs usually require very few tools, have short repair times and do not require jacking and supporting the vehicle. As the difficulty level rises, expect the repair to demand more time, specialized tools, and better understanding of mechanics to complete the job.