E46 Valve Cover Grommets
The most common question around the forums is, should I replace the 15 E46 valve cover grommets?, the answer is “It depends”, specially if you’re already doing the valve cover gasket project, and you don’t want to have to come back and do this step twice.
How to inspect the rubber grommets are to see if they’re reusable?
When you remove the rubber grommets, check to see how hard or pliable they are. If they are too stiff, you definitely want to replace them with new ones. In reality, this should be a no brainer, because in most cases today you’ll buy a kit that includes the VCG and other components needed for the project.
In case your VCG didn’t come with the E46 valve cover grommets, here is the part number.
BMW OEM Part #:
11 12 1 437 395 (11121437395)
1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 E46 BMW 323i 323ci 325i 325ci 325xi 328i 328ci 330i 330ci 330xi M3
How important is replacing the grommets when replacing the E46 valve cover gasket?
Like with any repair you do, you always
While doing research for this post, I found some interesting discussions about the materials used on these E46 valve cover grommets, and I found that BMW changed from Buna (Nitrile) to Viton at some point because of it’s superior attributes.
If you want the full story of Buna vs Viton go here. But in summary this is what I learned:
Viton and Buna are two of the most commonly used elastomers for sealing applications
Viton is far superior to Buna for high temperature applications
Viton seals provide an indefinite seal for temperatures up to 400°F
Buna on the other hand is only effective up to 250°F
Buna seals provide a low temperature sealing option with effective sealing down to temperatures of –22°F, while temperatures below 5°F render Viton seals ineffective as they become quite hard and inflexible
Where to Buy E46 Valve Cover Grommets
A simple search on any of these sites will gather a list of options for you to choose from. You really have the option to buy from URO, Febi bilstein, Elring or Genuine BMW grommets.
Basically, it will depend on whether you’re replace all 15 E46 valve cover grommets or just the ones that are bad.
You’ll find you can get these as low as $.31 and as high as $1.50.
Hopefully, you were lucky or just smart and just purchased a valve cover gasket kit that included everything.