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M20 Valve Adjustment

So, you feel there is too much chatter coming from the valves of your 323i or 320/6? It is easy enough to fix this problem. An engine with proper valve clearance runs smoother and unjust settings will hinder performance.

What you need
You will need a 10mm wrench, a feeler blade (0.25mm or 0.010in), and a small allen wrench (or a small screwdriver). The engine has to be cold to set valve clearances, and the clearance is the same for intake as well as outtake valves (which is, as mentioned, 0.25mm or 0.010in).
It is recommended to remove the spark plugs also.

On a 320/6, remove the air filter and housing from the carburettor. You can now access all nuts on the valve cover, remove the cover. Some 323i cars were equipped with a bracked that connects the intake manifold to the valve cover, earlier 323i's do not have this. At any rate, remove what you need to access the valve cover. On the 323i you will need to remove the valve cover breather hose.

You should now have access to the inners of the cylinder head. Be careful not to let any dirt fall into it, as it is not healthy for the engine. You should note that you can only work on valves that are completely closed, and as some valves will be in various opening states you will need to turn the crankshaft to address them.

Locate a valve that is completely closed. If you take the rocker between two fingers, you should be able to move it slightly as it ticks against the valve stem. Unscrew the nut so that the eccentric can be adjusted, and put your feeler blade between the valve stem and the eccentric. Use the allen wrench (or similar device) to push the eccentric against the feeler blade by inserting it into the small hole on the side of the eccentric. Don't push it too hard down, just contact will do. Retighten the nut with the 10mm wrench and proceed to another valve.
In order to do the other valves, you will need to rotate the crank. You can do so by turning the crankshaft damper bolt with a big wrench.


Once all valves have been adjusted, refit the valve cover with preferably a new gasket and reassemble everything.
 

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