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Hello all, 


Was in the process of replacing the head gasket on the M20 in my '76 2002 today and had a bit of a situation pop up. I fired the car up for the first time and was bringing the car up to temperature like BMW say to do in the head bolt torque sequencing (which, frankly, is a overly complicated sequence in my opinion). As I removed the valve cover to access the head studs, the valve cover pulled up 3 of the 4 rocker shaft seals at the ends of the cylinder head. 2 of which slid right back in. 1 proved tricky and would not slot back in as the rocker shaft was too near the front of the head to give it clearance and the part ended up breaking in the struggle. This was the first time removing the valve cover resulted in the removal of these end seals/rubber pieces. 


My question is this: how easily/hard is it to replace those seals/rubber end pieces? Should they just fall in or should they be a tight squeeze? I ordered 4 just to cover my bases, so I have (or will have for that matter) the parts required. 


Lastly, is there anyway to slide or shift the rocker shaft a hair's width in one direction so the end seal slides in better without removing the head and undoing all my work?






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  Could be one of the end plugs/screws on exhaust shaft is coming out causing the tight clearance, from looking at your picture? Look on that end with a small mirror, if possible. Yes, those blind plugs will push in with a little difficulty even when they are new/flexible and will invariably have the mark of the rocker shaft imbedded into the material, signifying a "normal" tight fit. If one of them "broke" when you were installing it, that could mean the material was old and brittle or, in fact, too little clearance between shaft and head as it appears. IMHO, silicone sealer is not really needed on the valve cover gasket as it creates a hassle removing the cover and a mess trying to clean it all off when you do. Errant silicone pieces coursing through your engine is not good. A little bit of sealer applied with a q-tip into each "u" recess should suffice. The top surface of each blind plug sits a bit higher than the sealing surface of the head and will compress (seal) when cover is tightened. I have always embraced the fact that valve cover gaskets inevitably leak.

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