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Old 12-19-2010, 12:41 PM
delimeat52 delimeat52 is offline
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Location: Rheinland-Pfalz, Deutschland
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 54
Mein Auto: '02 530i Touring
Just posting to follow through on this. Changed out the gasket today. Here's some advice for anyone that needs to (or thinks they need to do this) in the future. I'm not a high-experience car guy (like bluebee), so some FNG points are made. No particular order, so read it all before doing anything.

1. It probably is your oil filter housing gasket. After getting the air box and alternator out it was super-apparent. You might even be able to tell by just taking off the air box. Mine was leaking to the right of the housing, which is typical. Even if it's from the bottom, what I've gathered from the internet is 90% of the time it's this housing. This is $8 and two to four hours of your time (competence and such) versus $200+ at the stealer. In total after the other parts and to get a bay to do this in at an auto crafts shop I spent $35.

2. This was pretty darn easy for how difficult it may seem. Never taken this part of the car apart before. I've usually had the work done for me at the stealer (even though their diagnosis there has sucked consistently). If you're under-confident about doing this, don't be. It turned out to be a fun learning experience and pretty easy. If you're hesitant, ask the guys on this forum - their advice always rocks.

3. Use these instructions here. They served me very well, although I didn't do the alternator cleaning as that's pretty darn new too. Just pay close attention to the figures and it'll be a breeze. I know it's for an M52, but same procedures --- minus one. You will need the T50 Torx where it says to use the 5/8 socket on the tensioner pulley.

4. You will need these tools at a minimum:
10mm Socket
13mm Socket
14mm Socket
16mm Socket
19mm Socket
(Just have a whole set of metric sockets so you don't need to worry)
Long Socket Wrench - Getting to the belt tensioner requires it.
Socket Wrench Extender
Flathead Screwdriver
T50 Torx Socket - The lower profile(ie shorter), the better to give you room to work

5. These tools will help:
Low-Profile Air Wrench
Magnet-Stick Thingy - For grabbing bolts you drop
Rubber Mallet - Breaking stuff loose
A Second Set of Hands - Really made the difference
A Six-Pack - Make sure to pay your second set of hands properly, but only after you're done
Engine Cleaner/Degreaser - Something to clean the God awful mess this problem makes.

6. "While you're in there."
a. Part # 32 41 1 093 596 and 32 41 6 783 886. Need two of the washer (first part). You'll be removing these as part of the job anyway.
b.The O-rings mentioned in the post above are a good idea as well.
c. Put new, let's call them "regular", hose clamps on the bottom of your power steering reservoir that is leaking. Note that I didn't say probably. That's for you folks with the OEM, one-chance-to-tighten clamps on there.

7. If you don't have it memorized, make a diagram of the belt you are removing. I was lucky another guy that had a 325 with an M54 was near.

8. Put the front end up a little on jack stands and remove the skid plate. This helps with dropped stuff (d'oh) and fluids you will spill. Especially if you take my power steering reservoir advice. It'll also give you a chance to clean up underneath. Mine looked hella ugly, in particular the steering rack.

9. Put the bottom bolt in the alternator first. Got the top one in and had a hell of a time trying to get the bottom in. After putting the bottom one in first, top slid right in.

Once again, thanks to the guys on this forum who always send me in the right direction. That made this job easy and fun.
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