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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey fellas,

Recently removed intake manifold in order to replace a whole bunch of fun stuff. Under close inspection I noticed that I'm missing a part. I've searched high and low across forums, youtube, etc. but haven't found much useful information beyond superficial. I messaged BMW directly, but they've yet to get back to me. No high hopes there, yet.

* * * The parts (there are 6, 3 “left” and 3 “right”. That's for lack of better terms, their orientations are essentially flipped) reside in the corresponding housings next to the individual “molds” for the intake manifold gasket. They’re black, “triangular” plastic pieces, making contact with the gasket itself. Due to no contact/backing to the surface on which the IMG sits, I'm led to believe that air/oil is escaping, the oil possibly down onto the waffle frame below if I allow enough time to pass before tending to things again (Though, that may be due to failed OFHG, cam sensor o-ring, and power steering components that've since been replaced). Still there is a presence of oil on the metal surface, and no presence of what I'd assume to be gasket/seal markings that's found on the other circular channels/openings, where this part would be contributing. * * *

I’ve been trying to avoid buying a whole new intake manifold, etc. for such a small, almost insignificant part. If BMW doesn't end up getting back I might want to try my hand at 3D printing with the hole's diameter and housing's (see pic.) length. The material 3D printers use is probably not very heat resistant, though. Might be scratching that idea soon. May be smarter to try and find an intake at a junk yard or something.

* * * That being said, if anyone has any insider wisdom as to the significance/criticality of these pieces of plastic, what they are or what'd they be named (no visible part #'s), where I could conceivably get replacements of any kind, etc... you would be doing me (and the next unlucky DIY'er) a huge service. * * *

Thank you in advance for any information.

Pictures:
 

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I can't find anything in realoem and it seems the stud that secures the, intake goes through it. Which makes me believe it's a broken piece of the intake
Does it look broken on any side?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I can't find anything in realoem and it seems the stud that secures the, intake goes through it. Which makes me believe it's a broken piece of the intake
Does it look broken on any side?

No, nothing's broken unfortunately. The part is just simply missing. Must've fallen out on a previous owner.

The studs do not go through these plastic bits, that's what I'd initially thought too. They sit above the gasket in housings, which are directly above the "circular openings". The gasket accommodates by having "tags" of sorts on the "corners" of the individual rectangles.

Hopefully the pictures help, thanks for the fast engagement nonetheless. I really appreciate the input.
 

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I wish I could help more, the other pieces that look like this and, still are in the intake are removable too? In that case you can just put it back together. Does it stay there? It may lock in place
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I wish I could help more, the other pieces that look like this and, still are in the intake are removable too? In that case you can just put it back together. Does it stay there? It may lock in place
All of these little things are, frustratingly, removable and interchangeable ("left" orientation with 'left', "right" orientation with 'right'). They don't seem to really lock in place, rather just slide in and stop once flush with the areas in which the gasket contacts them.

I didn't expect this dilemma to be solved quickly. I've searched online many hours over multiple days before posting here, so hopefully I'm not being immoral by posting about some commonly covered/discussed topic. Again, thank you for engaging in the thread.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Did you look in the ports? Or down side of engine?
Yes, but will check thoroughly again.

Doesn't seem likely that this thing just popped out, as it doesn't seem to be an issue covered anywhere online. My guess would have to be when a previous owner changed out the original IMG, the gasket was stubborn and the piece came out with it... I have no idea.. There is some leftover rubber from the gasket in that particular housing - Reasoning for my guess as to how it got lost.
 

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I didn't know that those 6 air channels have these separate pieces of plastic where the holes meet the gasket. Wonder why the manifold wasn't casted as one piece.

Good thing I didn't remove the gasket for no reason after remove/reinstall the manifold 4 times on different engines for various reasons, and no leak. Cleanliness is the key to success.
 

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2003 330cic, 2003 325iT
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I had the same issue. Total hassle. They are not for sale as a separate part. You can pick them out of an intake at a pick n pull
 

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I’ve been trying to avoid buying a whole new intake manifold, etc. for such a small, almost insignificant part. If BMW doesn't end up getting back I might want to try my hand at 3D printing with the hole's diameter and housing's (see pic.) length.
After studied it for awhile, I don't think it is critical: Its function is together with the outer wall forming a groove to hold the rubber seal from moving, not sealing. The sealing need is handled by the outer wall ridge, not this weird part (it cannot form an air tight barrier with the manifold) . So if you can cut an aluminum tube, or hard plastic tube, with the proper length (it must not protrude higher than the outer wall or ridge), large enough to not fall into the hole, then it serves the purpose of holding the rubber ridge in the groove.

Gadget Bumper Audio equipment Gas Electronic instrument
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Those holes flow the ICV air into the ports. If you have a 2.5 I can send you a replacement, I have a spare manifold....not sure if the 3.0 manifold piece is different
That would be a damn lifesaver, I just did some searching and I'm fairly certain both intakes use the same gasket. So I'd assume those pieces are the same as well. The one I'm missing is the "R" labeled, 'right' oriented one, 3rd piece from the front of the intake when installed. There's pics of both L/R here, but I doubt you'll need to reference them.

I'd really appreciate you doing this, you have no idea. I don't know if there's a messaging element to this site, but I'll try and shoot an email or something of sorts instead of dropping it in the thread. Just let me know what I owe ya !

Woke up feeling a little discouraged, but its moments like these that make owning an e46 worth it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I had the same issue. Total hassle. They are not for sale as a separate part. You can pick them out of an intake at a pick n pull
Damn. Thanks for the information. You're sure saving me time searching more online or trying to get a hold of one through BMW (I'd imagine they probably have some old intakes stowed somewhere, but tired of jumping through hoops and email referrals with them. The fault's probably on me, but this thread alone has proved to be much more helpful. Thank y'all).

Just out of curiosity, had you found any threads in forums, any snippets of videos online, etc. of this issue being even briefly touched on when you were dealing with the same problem? How was it that you discovered you couldn't purchase replacements?

Thank you again for the timely information.
 

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2003 330cic, 2003 325iT
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Damn. Thanks for the information. You're sure saving me time searching more online or trying to get a hold of one through BMW (I'd imagine they probably have some old intakes stowed somewhere, but tired of jumping through hoops and email referrals with them. The fault's probably on me, but this thread alone has proved to be much more helpful. Thank y'all).

Just out of curiosity, had you found any threads in forums, any snippets of videos online, etc. of this issue being even briefly touched on when you were dealing with the same problem? How was it that you discovered you couldn't purchase replacements?

Thank you again for the timely information.
I am extremely obsessive. I spend hours looking for parts, and have essentially taken apart and re-assembled 2 e46s. If there is a source I will often find it.

It is less than 2 hours at a pick n pull to get the intake off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
After studied it for awhile, I don't think it is critical: Its function is together with the outer wall forming a groove to hold the rubber seal from moving, not sealing. The sealing need is handled by the outer wall ridge, not this weird part (it cannot form an air tight barrier with the manifold) . So if you can cut an aluminum tube, or hard plastic tube, with the proper length (it must not protrude higher than the outer wall or ridge), large enough to not fall into the hole, then it serves the purpose of holding the rubber ridge in the groove.

View attachment 937821

Ah, that makes sense. Good analysis there, thank you.

I can definitely say that when reinstalling the manifold, I don't have the steadiest or slowest of movements lowering/swiveling the thing down onto the studs, getting the coolant temp. sensor plugged back in, and reconnecting the CCV. That leaves a lot of opportunity for the gasket "tag" for that piece's housing to move around or fall out and not sit properly without that piece, at least for me. Maybe it's all in the head.

Either way, I'd have more peace of mind having that piece in there. We'll have to see what happens.

I really appreciate you taking the time to look at this issue and respond with fresh perspective. If I don't end up getting a replacement somewhere, I'll be keeping your info in mind when making sure that 'tag' on the gasket sits properly over the air channel. Thanks again.
 

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We've not had an issue with these guides falling out.
If we did, likely I'd be placing a small dab of grease to the side of the part to help hold it in place whilst installing the intake again.
 
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