I ended up just doing the repair. The local stealership was able to get the parts pretty quick - $7.75 for each rubber grommet. I skipped the sealant experiment for 2 reasons, first everything was so coated and inundated with brake fluid that there was nothing for any sealant to stick to. Second (prehaps more important) the rubber grommets that were there were falling apart (therefore leaking) so completely that I feared that I would end up with sealant in my brake system, not a good thing.
The "hex" portions in the picture are actually rubber! That is the top of the grommet that the lines from the brake fluid resevoir plug into. There are no fateners at all. In fact, the repair was so simple and easy that I was convinced that I had done something wrong, but no leaks so far! All that needed to be done was to pull the lines out, then pull out the rubber grommets, then push in the new grommets (which are simply round on top, no fancy "hex" shape), then push in the lines and top up the fluid.
I did fill the holes that the lines plugged into with fluid before I pushed the lines back in to keep from forcing air into the system.
My gut feeling on this is that the 18 year old rubber had just absorbed too much brake fluid (nasty stuff) and was falling apart. The new rubber felt firm and holds the lines in tightly. The old rubber felt like a really wet sponge, and allowed the lines to move quite a bit. I would say that this is worth looking at on many E34s. It was any easy fix, and could help avoid disaster.
2 little things - I did spill quite a bit of fluid on the painted surfaces inside the engine compartment, right above the lights, when I pulled the first plug. I cleaned it off quickly, but that paint will never be the same, and I will have to watch it for rust issues from now on. The second plug I was more careful with and only added to the brake fluid mess that was already there from the leak. Also, at least on my 530, the overflow line from the radiator runs right past where you will be pulling and pushing to get the lines out and back in. I snapped that baby in two when my hand slipped. A clean break that can be patched with a little fuel line for now, but that plastic is as old as the rubber that is being replaced and is very brittle.
Thanks for the advice and links!
Last edited by fredgus; 11-20-2012 at 08:50 PM.
Reason: typo fixing