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Old 11-14-2017, 12:55 AM
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Ohio
Posts: 212
mcurcio1989 is on a distinguished road
Burned up exhaust valve - what are my options?

Skip this paragraph if you don't want the backstory. I'm going to start of by stating I am an idiot. My 2004 e53 x5 3.0 has for like two years now had a starting issue. It needed to crank for an extra few seconds. I was two busy building two airplanes and a couple other customs projects to fix it and it wasn't too annoying. So I just moved across the country and thought its time I figure out why this car takes so long to start - quick troubleshooting showed it was a leaking injector I ordered the injector and after reinstalling the bad.one back on the car was running even rougher. Didn't think much of it I just figured it deteriorated after I pulled it out and reinstalled it. A week later and about 500 miles of driving and I go to replace the injector and realize I left the vacuum hose that goes to the timing chain area disconnected. I replaced the injector and obviously double checked everything this time. I get two hours down the road this morning and I get a misfire on cylinder #2. I tried all the basic stuff, switch plugs and coil, switch injector and nothing. Immediately it would throw a p0302 code. I was thinking the worst before I got started so I threw the compression tester on and sure enough cylinder two is making 25psi and the rest are happy at 160-170.

So the question is do I do a valve job on it or just swap the entire engine?

Also do I do it myself or pay someone? I've built engines before but not an m54. I have no concerns about my ability but from what I have read these are time consuming to do a head on and often times the block gets damaged when torqueing.

Any opinions on this would very much be appreciated!
2004 e53 m54 with 6spd manual
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Old 11-14-2017, 02:21 AM
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 521
williamx5 is on a distinguished road
Good day!!

While I think you will get as many answers as the number of people you ask, I personally would do the head job on the current engine, UNLESS you need it back on the road ASAP or sooner... In that case, I would just swap the motor after making sure the new motor is good to go and ready to start up after you connect the power to it... I have never done the 3.0 M54 motor, but I'm guessing if done carefully, the block will handle the torquing sequence... I add steps in my sequence that most don't... Initial torque of say, generally 33 ft/lbs is done in the proper order three times... Then I go to steps two and then three... I've discovered the initial torque is not distributed evenly over all 10 or 12 head bolts doing one pass...

I'm sure I will be doing an M54 rebuild soon enough... My son has a 2003 330i that is just begging to produce more power... I think he is wanting it to produce more power, not really the car's idea...

Good luck!!!

2001 E39 540i Sport 6 speed (10-12-2000 build date) Anthricite exterior / Tan interior
***2000 540i/6 PARTS CAR!!***
2001 E53 X5 4.4i (03-07-2001 build date) White exterior / hellbeige interior (6MT swap vehicle)
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Old 11-14-2017, 11:22 AM
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Ohio
Posts: 212
mcurcio1989 is on a distinguished road
Yeah, it stands to reason that if I am careful with torqueing it would be okay. I can understand that on an aluminum engine if you overheat it you end up with a lot of differential expansion between the aluminum block and the steel bolts so you overload the threads from the get go.

Before I make a definite decision I need to either borescope the #2 cylinder or do a leak down test and verify that it is the valve that is burned. Again it stands to reason that I overheated the valve from running very lean (at least that is the most likely case) but I want to make sure that that cylinder and pistons/rings are fine before going at the head and also that I didn't throw a chunk of the valve in the cylinder and bang anything up.

As of now my plan is that if it looks like it is just the valves amiss I'll do the head job and if there is any damage to the pistons and block I'll swap the engine.
2004 e53 m54 with 6spd manual
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Old 11-14-2017, 12:44 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Cook County
Posts: 5,755
upallnight is on a distinguished road
Unless you have something else wrong with your engine I would do the valve job. Did you do a leak down test to verify that it is an exhaust valve that is burnt? At this point it doesn't matter, not unless you have broken rings which can also cause low compression. Broken rings is a lot more involved as it requires the removal of the oil pan which requires the removal of the driveshaft that passes through the oil pan.
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Old 11-15-2017, 12:05 PM
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Ohio
Posts: 212
mcurcio1989 is on a distinguished road
Does anybody have the tools I can rent? The biggest problem is that I'd like to have them by Monday of next week because I think I can get everything else I need by then.

I haven't done a leak down test because I just moved across the country and half of my tools are back with my airplanes. I did the squirt some gear oil in the spark plug hole trick and that had no affect. I decided to just get at it last night as it would be faster than trying to chase down the tools where I live to actually diagnose it. I got the point where all I need to do is exhaust and the actual head bolts.
2004 e53 m54 with 6spd manual
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Old 11-16-2017, 01:05 AM
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Omaha, NE
Posts: 760
cn90 is on a distinguished road
- While there, you may as well refresh the Vanos Seals.

- How many miles in your X5 when the Exhaust Valve burned?
I have a 1998 Volvo S70 GLT with 188K miles when the Exhaust Valve in cyl #3 burned, have not had time to fix the Volvo yet.
1998 E39 528i 5sp MT
2006 E53 X5 3.0 6sp MT
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