How to Reverse Years of Gradual and Neglectful Thread Damage: When You Should Have Known Better and Bought a Torque Wrench a Long Time Ago
Like any other crap-can enthusiast, you’ve probably removed the valve cover on your weekend car at least once or twice (in order of necessity) to paint it or replace the gaskets. Proper tightening pattern aside, the most important thing to remember is to not strip the threads on what, for the uninitiated, is the cylinder head of your vehicle. This repair can be done to any vehicle, but this will cover the intimate intricacies of the M42 powered E30 BMW 318i.
Step 1: Remove the valve cover an unnecessary amount of times over the 10 years you’ve owned the car, and each time you reinstall it, gently strip one or two threads on your aluminum cylinder head. Make it an artisanal experience by whispering “fuck” into a vintage coffee can full of spare nuts and bolts.
Step 2: Prepare your tools. For this car, we used the remnants of a Helicoil M6x1.0 kit which consisted of a thread tapper, driver, guide, and enough inserts to do all 15 threads. If you’re comfortable with power-tapping, rig up something like what I’ve got in the picture so you can use your drill.
Step 3: Leave the valve cover in place to prevent the intrusion of foreign materials into the valvetrain. Wear your MAGA hat while you work if you like to pretend they’re little brown folks that are trying to jump over an easily scalable wall, but who in reality probably just overstayed their visas. Just go to the next step already.
Step 4: Drill out your hole with your 1/4″ drill. Use a long one to make up for the width.
Step 5: Blow or suck on your hole to get the chips out.
Step 6: Tap your hole.
Step 7: Insert your insert into your hole.
Step 8: Stuff something small into your hole to break the “tang” off of your insert.
Step 9: Test the limits of your hole by torquing the fastener to whatever torque you Googled, because we ain’t taking the blame if you just “send it.”
Step 10: Knock over an open bottle of oil, apply cat litter immediately, clean up at a later date (See image 1). Check this project off of your list!
Edit – 02/14/2017: Thanks for reading and don’t forget to follow us here on the blog, and on Instagram @rye30racing. We’ll be racing plenty over the summer so we can bring you more high quality content like you read above.