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      06-15-2016, 05:54 PM   #1
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DIY: Replace Fuel Tank Breather Valve (Fix for bouncing idle at fuel station)

I finally got around to changing my fuel tank breather valve after more than a year of procrastinating and decided to do a DIY on the process as I didn't see that one already existed. I hope this will help someone out in the future, because there is absolutely no reason to pay the dealership to do this job if you are in the slightest bit mechanically inclined. I have not priced the job at the dealership myself, but have been told that they are getting nearly $800-$900 for this. Knowing how easy this is and what little goes into it, I find that absolutely absurd.


Symptoms: Upon filling your gas tank, when you start the car you may notice a bouncing, loping, or otherwise erratic idle. Many owners have reported the car starting just fine when leaving the gas pumps, and then when stopping at a stop light just outside the gas station, the idle will bounce up and down from 300 RPM's to 1500 RPM's or so, and will sometimes drop so much that the car stalls. I was personally experiencing this once every month. This is a fairly common, yet minor, and therefore often overlooked issue with these cars.

See the below video for a visual of what this issue looks like (this is not my video)




Diagnosis: If you have ever experienced the above after getting gas, there is a high chance the culprit is your fuel tank breather valve, OEM part # 13907838281. This can be purchased from ECSTuning for around $80.00 (link below).

https://www.ecstuning.com/ES35640/


DIY Difficulty: 3.5 (1 = Oil Change, 10 = Motor Swap)


Similar jobs: Throttle actuators, Idle Control Valve/Throttle Strips, Secondary Air Pump


Tools required:
-Socket wrench (recommend 3/8" drive)
-10mm socket
-T20 driver
-Long flat blade screwdriver or 6mm socket on long extension (recommend 1/4" drive)
-Tin snips or pliers with cutting ability
-Pliers

Parts required:
-Fuel Tank Breather Valve (OEM part # 13907838281)
-Hose Clamp (OEM part # 16121180240) Alternately you can use a regular 6-10mm hose clamp


Before we get started, let's go ahead and familiarize ourselves with the engine bay and what needs to be removed. The fuel tank breather valve is located under the intake plenum in the valley between bank 1 and 2 valve covers, and is attached to the Idle Control Valve. The following need to be removed to accomplish this job:
1. Rear suction hood
2. Front suction hood (does not need to be completely removed)
3. Air box
4. Coolant reservoir (does not need to be completely removed)
5. Intake plenum
6. Intake elbow




Step One: Remove factory airbox assembly


-Remove the two bolts marked below from air box with a 10mm socket



-Remove the two torx screws marked below from the front suction hood with a T20 torx driver (do not remove the hood, just the screws)



-Loosen two clamps on either end of intake elbow with a flat head screwdriver and unclip Secondary Air Pump hose by squeezing with thumb and forefinger and pulling away





-Pull intake elbow off of intake plenum by grasping firmly with both hands, and pulling toward you



-Pull intake elbow off of air box by grasping firmly with both hands, and pushing away from you




-Remove rear suction hood by first pulling it toward the intake plenum, then toward the passenger side





-Remove air box by lifting straight up and out of the engine bay



Step two: Remove intake plenum

-Unclip Intake Air Temperature sensor (located on passenger side of intake plenum inlet) by pressing metal bar down and pulling gently downward





-Using a 10mm socket, remove two bolts (circled) from coolant reservoir. The coolant reservoir does not need to be removed, but once loose, it will need to be lifted up and out of the way to reach the passenger side throttle body clamps




-Using a long flat blade screw driver or a 6mm socket on a long extension (1/4" drive recommended) loosen the 8 clamps holding the intake plenum to the individual throttle bodies. The front three on the driver side are easy. The driver side rear is a little more difficult (see photo for best angle of approach). Once the coolant reservoir is loosened and lifted out of the way as in the previous step, the passenger side front 3 clamps can be access fairly easily. The passenger side rear clamp is the most difficult and is done 80% by feel (see photo for best angle of approach). A 6mm socket will work much easier on this step, though a screwdriver can be used.






-Once all clamps are loosened, lift up on the front of the plenum and the front 6 risers will pop out of the throttle body housings. Finally, lift up on each back corner of the plenum to pop the rear risers out. At this point, the plenum is loose from the engine, but cannot be removed just yet.






-Remove crankcase ventilation hose from underneath the front inlet of the plenum by squeezing with thumb and forefinger and pulling off of nipple.




-Remove Idle Control Valve hose from underneath the rear driver corner of the plenum by squeezing with thumb and forefinger and pulling downward.




-The plenum can now be removed from the vehicle. Pull straight up and set aside (photo below for reference of what the underside of the plenum looks like if you have never seen it)



Step three: Remove Fuel Tank Breather Valve

-At this point you should be able to reach the valve. You can see it in the below photos (just to the left of the #7 throttle body in front of the Secondary Air Pump)



-The valve is held in place by a bracket, and is connected to the engine via a rubber hose with a stepless clamp at the front, and an electrical connector and another hose with a quick connect fitting on the back.



-The first thing you need to do is remove the stepless clamp from the front of the valve. These clamps are one time use, and must be removed by cutting it in half at the "ear". Grab a pair of tin shears or pliers with a cutting ability (like in the photo) and cut the clamp in half as shown. Do not attempt to remove the hose from the valve yet





-Unplug the electrical connector from the rear by pressing down gently on the clip and pulling back toward the rear of the car.



-Unplug the rear hose by pressing in on both sides of the quick connector and pulling back toward the rear of the car. This hose is difficult to remove, but pushing in toward the valve before you press the two sides and pull it off may help in the removal.




-Once the above is done, you can pull the valve off the bracket by wiggling it toward the front of the car. Next, grab a pair of pliers and with one hand use the pliers to hold the end of the hose where it connects to the valve as shown in the photo. With the other hand, gently turn the valve back and forth and pull the nipple out of the hose to remove it from the car. It will be on there tight, but can easily be removed. Just be patient and don't force it or the nipple could break off the hose and become lodged in the end




Step four: Install Fuel Tank Breather Valve and put car back together

Congratulations! You're halfway there. Installation is 100% reverse of the removal, so I won't go in depth with it. All that is left is to install the new valve and put the car back together. Once completed, you will have saved yourself roughly $700.


A few notes to help you with the install from this point on:

1. The front hose is held on the original valve with a stepless clamp. These are one time use clamps that require a special tool to install. A regular 6-10mm hose clamp works exactly the same which is what I chose to use for ease of availability and lack of having the right tool for the stepless clamp. However, if you want a 100% OEM install, the clamp can be purchased at your dealership (#16121180240) and the tool should be available at any hardware store.



2. Before putting the intake plenum back on, do yourself a favor by pre-tightening and lining up the throttle body clamps. There is a rubber block on the boot that keeps the clamp from moving around when tightening, so ensure that the back of the clamp screw is against this rubber block and oriented as shown in the photo. When pre-tightening the clamps, it is important not to have them so tight that you cannot slide the risers into the boot, but you don't want them so loose that they slide around when you try to tighten them.




3. Don't forget to connect the Idle Control Valve Hose, the Intake Air Temperature sensor connector and the crankcase vent hose to the plenum before tightening the throttle body clamps down. They are much easier to put back on when the plenum is loose so you can move it around if needs be.

4. When you get the hoses and electrical connector connected and the plenum is sitting on top of the throttle body boots, press down firmly on top of the plenum over each of the throttle bodies. You should feel the risers slide into the boots. Make sure you press down hard on the back as the rear two risers are difficult to get seated properly. You can check if they are inserted or not by looking under the plenum from the side. If they will not slide in, your clamps may be too tight. Loosen them a little and try again.



If any clarification or further explanation is needed feel free to PM me and i will help where I can.
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Last edited by Rat3d ///M; 07-01-2016 at 04:48 PM.
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      06-15-2016, 06:11 PM   #2
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Wow, thank you for the detailed write-up! Very well done. Will definitely be attempting this soon!
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      06-15-2016, 06:22 PM   #3
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Great write up!!
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      06-18-2016, 02:33 PM   #4
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Just did this. A very well put together DIY. Your section on the plenum removal was very detailed.

I had a very hard time removing the hose from the back of the valve. Eventually it came off.

Thanks for the time you put into putting the DIY together.
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      06-19-2016, 10:56 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by |||||||||| View Post
If any clarification or further explanation is needed feel free to PM me and i will help where I can.
You're an absolute champion
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      06-19-2016, 11:06 PM   #6
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Thanks for the detail write up and photos! Gives me the confidence to do my own maintenance.
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      06-20-2016, 07:11 AM   #7
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Nice write up! My car does this sometimes had no idea this was the source.
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      06-23-2016, 07:06 PM   #8
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How do unplug this one? -Unplug the rear hose by pressing in on both sides of the quick connector and pulling back toward the rear of the car
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      06-23-2016, 08:28 PM   #9
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Fantastic DIY. One of the best on M3Post.
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      06-23-2016, 09:17 PM   #10
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HELP!! I'm stuck with my manifold off. Can't get this fuel connector off. What's the secret to getting it off. Afraid to break it if I pull too hard
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      06-23-2016, 10:53 PM   #11
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Thanks for the write up. Will have to give this a try once I have more time.
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      06-24-2016, 04:11 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msan View Post
HELP!! I'm stuck with my manifold off. Can't get this fuel connector off. What's the secret to getting it off. Afraid to break it if I pull too hard
I replied to your pm this morning. sorry for the delay. did you ever get it off? when I pulled mine off it sort of popped off and I had to pull fairly hard while squeezing the two sides. I thought I broke it at first but all was well and it snapped right onto the new valve just fine.

maybe try twisting and pulling as you squeeze the two sides? it will come off and shouldnt break. let us know when you get it.
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      06-24-2016, 09:44 AM   #13
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Thanks. I will try again this morning.
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      06-25-2016, 09:54 AM   #14
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Alls well that ends well. So I got so frustrated at one point I broke off the the Valve nipple and was lodged in the connector. Called a mobile mechanic and he removed the pipe off the car so we could pull the stuck piece out. I held the two teeth up and he pulled on the stuck piece. Afters a couple tries it slid out. Was a huge relief when that happened. Put the pipe back on the car. Then the front rubber hose had to come off the valve. That he took care of for me but it wasn't easy. He did ask why I cut the clamp off because he said he had a tool to take it off and reuse it.

He helped me put everything back on and the car started like normal. Very happy with his work. Did not want to tow to my Indy and have them preach to me about why to leave it up to the experts. The mobile mechanic was very nice and said at least you tried and learned something.

Anyways bottom line, my opinion is to not underestimate the difficulty on removing the front and back fuel lines. They are hard to take off. Just be warned. Looking back on it, getting to the valve was standard wrenching. Trying to get the valve out was probably beyond my comfort/skill level. Hope this helps.
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      06-25-2016, 10:21 AM   #15
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Sorry you had a bad experience but glad it all ended well. The lines were certainly difficult to remove but mine didnt give me even a fraction of the trouble yours did. Yours must have been stuck on extra tight.

thanks for sharing your experience. I still recommend people try this for themselves if they feel comfortable but you have to know your limits.
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      06-25-2016, 03:49 PM   #16
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A couple suggestions for others that do this job. The tube that connects to the back of the valve can be lifted around the back of the valve cover to give some slack. The valve can be pulled off the bracket to get better access to the fitting. Alternatively the other end of the tube looked to have connectors similar to those on the plenum. If you disconnect that end one could remove the front hose and work on that connector outside the car.

I asked a BMW tech how they deal with these. He mentioned that pushing in on the whole fitting (towards the valve) prior to pushing in the tabs. He also called them 'difficult'.
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      06-25-2016, 11:34 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drrust View Post
A couple suggestions for others that do this job. The tube that connects to the back of the valve can be lifted around the back of the valve cover to give some slack. The valve can be pulled off the bracket to get better access to the fitting. Alternatively the other end of the tube looked to have connectors similar to those on the plenum. If you disconnect that end one could remove the front hose and work on that connector outside the car.

I asked a BMW tech how they deal with these. He mentioned that pushing in on the whole fitting (towards the valve) prior to pushing in the tabs. He also called them 'difficult'.
Now that you mention it I vaguely remember having to push the hose in toward the valve and squeezing the tabs then pulling back. I only thought of it because you mentioned it. thanks for the input. that should help out a lot and I'll edit the main post.
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      07-01-2016, 04:42 PM   #18
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Thanks!!!
Have the same issue. Will try to do it soon!!
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      07-30-2016, 07:11 PM   #19
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Awesome DIY! Thanks |||||||||| :-)
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      09-18-2016, 08:24 AM   #20
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What a great DIY
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      11-19-2016, 02:20 AM   #21
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Just wanted to give everyone an update. It's been 5 months since I did this, and I have not had one issue after filling up, so it appears this has fixed my problem.

I am looking for ways to improve this DIY, so if anyone has used this to tackle this repair, please let me know, either in here or via PM when I can do to improve this (what needs more clarification, what is unclear, what could be worded differently/added, etc.)
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Last edited by Rat3d ///M; 11-19-2016 at 02:29 AM.
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