Loosing your fear of working on Engines -The #N42/46 #e46 #BMW ‘Partial Head Rebuild….’

Taking apart anything is by it’s very nature revealing

Not to say this is a negative or positive, just when everything is laid out and disassembled all the sins are there on show, just like a dogs balls. You can see just where the bellow valve cover gasket failed. It was only after getting the cover off that I could also see the valve guide seals needed replacing, and that the crank case had been over pressurised due to a stuffed up ventilator hose – Take your time, breath and still your mind – Always use a torque wrench and most of all if it’s not going back together then it’s not in the right order / way round, as everything BMW ever made fits together like a glove, everything


It is both scary and fascinating working on an engine, it’s one thing doing suspension or brake pads, it’s a whole new game working on engines. It’s not open heart surgery, yet it almost could be… I’ve gained a whole new level of respect for BMW engineering. I just love working on old BMW’s everything just makes sence. You look at it and ask yourself, well? how else could it be done? that’s the most obvious yet beautiful answer to the task in hand. A kind of design haiku unknown in almost every other area of design I’ve ever experienced

The Timing chain and it’s pre-tensioner was in need of love, as was the power steering pump, water pump and thermostat while we’re in there… As I’ve come to learn very quickly – it’s so much better to attend to the jobs that will need doing at the time when they’re also the easiest to get to… Such as the timing chain tensioner at the same time as replacing the water / power steering pump and thermostat while we’re in there…



In taking it all apart, I in turn have been taken apart myself and rebuilt, born a new. A revived spirit and sense of achievement that only through hard work, and that work being with your hands. So If I can share anything with you it is this: whatever it is, mend it, save it, care for it and then share it – share it with everyone….. With a renewed soul, from under an oil stained engine bay

‘To a degree, one learns how it all goes together by taking it all apart – but I would be nothing without service manuals by the great folks at Haynes and the truly indispensable workshop bible by Bentley

….And then there’s realoem.com

The ultimate resource for BMW – it’s truly astounding just how good, and most of all accurate it is. I always start every job pouring over the pages of the Haynes and Bentley manuals, but it’s realoem.com that really delivers – every time


Nothing moves you quite like an old BMW – Both quite literally and spiritually

It’s the ultimate driving machine, oh yes but – these old Bavarian beauties are also great teachers – when we learn to listen. When we task ourselves with their restoration, their gratitude sings out every time we start them up. Always on the first turn – brummm, burble burble, settle, settle, purr, purrrr…..

‘Religion is for those who fear Hell, Spirituality is for those who’ve been there’

Well I’ve been to hell and back, and in a BMW. If I could do it all over again, then yes I would. Every part, every painful detail. As I wouldn’t be the man I am today – nor would the car. Restoring your own engine, is quite an undertaking and one I’ve not taken lightly. The rewards out way the fears, every time

This old e46 Sport Touring 2.0Ltr duel overhead cam with variable timing and 180bhp at 6,800rpm with 210nm of torque from 3,500rpm  is just about the most perfect little GT going….

Finding a good one now is getting really hard, and I’ve tried….

Getting your hands on a great one, it’s becoming impossible

Believe me



Here’s a simple and clean cut film showing the production of the N42/46


….And urm, Yes! this is me on camera in the workshop….

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