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So I got the vanos back together with new anti rattle kit. About to slap the new gasket and cover back on. I got permatex sealer, but just wanted to make sure it didn't leak. And just making sure it would be alright to use it?
 

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2000 E46 323i, 3.0L and 2.0L Z3's
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I've been the "Next Guy" who has to deal with the sealant a couple of times. What a pain to clean it all up and remove without any heading for the oil sump/pan. People never just put a little bit on, it's always lots to "seal it up good".

  • Wipe down all sealing surfaces with a clean rag/shop cloth to remove the oil.
  • Use some sprits to remove all the oil traces on the sealing surfaces. Down here in the South Pacific, we have products like White Sprits and Methylated Sprits that we use. Don't know what you call them in the USA. Maybe Iso-prop? Something that dissolves oil and evaporates away without leaving an oily surface.
  • Fit the nice clean gasket and you'll be OK.
 

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2005 330 Cic ZHP
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What exactly are you asking?

1) Is it safe to use Permatex Sealer for the dabs that go on the half-moons to help seal the VCG?
or
2) Do you want to use Permatex Sealer instead of or in addition to the VCG?

Personally, I would only place the small dabs where described in Bentley/FSM...search for DIY write-ups if you have neither. I would also make sure you have the correct Permatex product...not all are rated for oil contact and/or engine temps.
 

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Yeah, the question was pretty vague. So we have no clue what your intentions really are. Also Permatex makes many different types of gasket sealer. Which product are you referring to?
 

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Please only put it on the half moons. A new gasket and new grommets will seal perfectly unless the valve cover is damaged.

I had to clean a head after some kook put gasket sealer around the whole cover and it took forever. There are many curses on his head.
 

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Also, using sealant AND a gasket can cause issues. As the valve cover compresses a properly dry gasket, it will stay in place and compress for proper even pressure. Wet sealant is a lubricant, so the seal may squeeze out of or into places its not supposed to be. For instance on a cork gasket (not this one of course) the cork can squirm and split - leading to an immediate leak. So use sealant where BMW says only for best results. Stray into your own theory for unknown results.
 

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One little adendum...you should look at the diys, but put the rtv on both the half moon corners and where the vanos meets the head since there's a little seam there too...mentioned in Bentley, if you have.

Also, tighten out from the center of vc out in three stages and tighten screws all the way down to the stop, then stop. Guys doing this the first time, worried about the torque, have used monster torque wrenches and cracked screws.
 

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So I got the vanos back together with new anti rattle kit. About to slap the new gasket and cover back on. I got permatex sealer, but just wanted to make sure it didn't leak. And just making sure it would be alright to use it?
Only on the corners of the half moons as recommended. You might add dab here and there if necessary to hold the new gaskets in place as you are lowering it onto the head.
They can keep falling off which is a pain. Especially the gaskets around the plugs. Alignment and torquing them up properly is the important thing when it comes to avoiding leaks.
 

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If you’re installing a high quality valve cover gasket you must not put RTV on the cylinder head where the gasket sits. I had excellent luck with Elring gaskets.
 

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So I got the vanos back together with new anti rattle kit. About to slap the new gasket and cover back on. I got permatex sealer, but just wanted to make sure it didn't leak. And just making sure it would be alright to use it?
A valid and worthwhile question. Lets have a look from a engineering perspective;

The cylinder head is made of aluminum alloy. The valve cover from a nylon/plastic compound. Both materials expand and contract at different rates, during warm up/running/cool down. So in doing so the seal between the two (valve cover gasket) must accommodate such and at the same time keep the pesky oil leaks from happening.

Truth be told, this is a large ask of the material the gasket is made of. If you can imagine the two surfaces at a near molecular level, the gasket must be able to slide somewhat to maintain perfect contact with the cylinder head and the underside of the valve cover. It does this somewhat well, albeit not perfectly as long as the gasket remains ductile.
Alas as the gasket ages, it becomes more and more brittle: Less pliable. In becoming harder it will not only be less able to slide filling the gaps between the two surfaces, but also shrink. The inevitable oil leak ensues.

Lets have a look at the possibility of using a solid bead of sealant in-situ of a gasket to take it to the nth degree.
The sealant; even the best hybrid RTV compounds will hold firm to both surfaces, for a time. Alas it too will loose it's ability to do so and will leak. Now if both surfaces were FLAT machined surfaces (Early N52 engines with a metal valve cover, for instance) the sealant would have a better chance, owing to two similar materials and somewhat similar expansion/contraction rates. Aluminum oil pans on smaller 4 cylinder engines (less distance from front to back) also can do well with sealer. The nylon cover will fair less well.

In a perfect world the gasket would be able to absorb oil, remaining supple and if it didn't wick oil towards the outside, we'd have a win-win. Alas we know this isn't possible. One could also choose a superior compound such as the revised seals used on the solid rocket boosters of the Space Shuttle. But such compounds are impractical from a cost standpoint for everyday automobile parts.

In summation, the gasket is a wear item as it ages and dries out. So choose the best brand possible and apply some RTV at the half moons, just like the factory did.
Cleaning up copious amounts of spooged silicone when replacing parts is NOT fun. Let alone if you miss a piece and it ends up in the sump/oil pump/oil galleys.
 
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