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E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 03-16-2011, 06:32 AM
Mudbone Mudbone is offline
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Who has replaced their oil pan gasket?

I have a 2003 530i Manual Transmission w/Premium and Sport Pkg with 130,000 miles.

I recently noticed a couple of spots of oil on the driveway. After cleaning the underside of the engine and transmission, I drove the car for an hour or two and then let it sit overnight. Next morning I jacked her up and noticed an area approx 4-5 inches long on the passenger side of the oil pan that looked like it was seeping oil. I checked the torque on the pan bolts, they were all tight at 9-10 lb-ft.
How big of a pain is the pan gasket to change? The Bentley manual description is very invasive (unbolt and lift the engine 1/4").

I'd appreciate some "first-hand" advice from someone who has done this.

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 03-16-2011, 06:51 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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The Oil Pan Gasket for I6 is a 9-10h job because the subframe has to be removed.

If you think you have Oil Pan Gasket, you need to think again because that gasket is metal and should last way more than 250K miles.
I thought I had Oil Pan Gasket leak but when I looked at the procedure, I chickened out.
And Yes everything happened for a reason, upon further investigation, I found out that in 99% of the cases, the culprit is higher up, it was the OFH gasket.

Six ($6) later the problem is fixed:
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=414315

PS: The "Freeze Plugs" fix only applies to 1997 and 1998 I6 engines.
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  #3  
Old 03-16-2011, 07:15 AM
Mudbone Mudbone is offline
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That scars me that YOU chickened out!!

I am certain that it is not the OFH gasket. I replaced it approx 2 yrs ago. I am dry as a bone on the drivers side.
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  #4  
Old 03-16-2011, 08:22 AM
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doru doru is offline
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What CN90 said.
Do the same thing as previous, BUT: take some paper towel and affix it as best as you can at the bottom of the oil filter housing - if it leaks it will soak up all the oil. If the leak is big, it will drip down.
The way the OFH is placed together with the air straem created by the fan will make the oil drip/channel where you see it.
When you crawl underneath the car - you wil see the subframe crossing right under the oil pan - it's a bear of a job for the i6.
I changed the oil pan this weekend on one of my friends X5 - it's a v8 and a very easy job.
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  #5  
Old 03-16-2011, 02:52 PM
SSJRICH 540i SSJRICH 540i is offline
98 E39 540i/6
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I feel sorry for you I6ers.. It took me I think 25 min + oil change... V8
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  #6  
Old 03-16-2011, 03:15 PM
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doru doru is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SSJRICH 540i View Post
I feel sorry for you I6ers.. It took me I think 25 min + oil change... V8
If I were you I would not even bring it up. Maintenance and headaches i6 vs v8.
You should know better.
And if you don't believe me I will send you to read some articles written in Bimmer magazine (by our friend Mr. Miller: i6 vs v8 reliability and trouble spots). Don't get me started, please.
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  #7  
Old 03-16-2011, 03:30 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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To the OP, cn90 speaks words of wisdom.

However, if you want links ... well ... we have links!

Almost everyone with an oil-pan disaster on their hands 'contemplated' replacing the oil pan ... until they found out how much effort it was.

Then they found a simpler solution.

Which is what cn90 is trying to lead you toward ...

Good luck.

Here are the related links:
- How to fix broken or stripped oil drain pan plug bolt threads (0) (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) (11) (12) (13) (14) (15) (16) (17) (18) & replacing the oil pan & BMW E39 oil pan gasket DIY (1)
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  #8  
Old 03-16-2011, 04:27 PM
SSJRICH 540i SSJRICH 540i is offline
98 E39 540i/6
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Hey I know the differences!! I own it!! lol

V8 - What should I replace?? A: everything! lol

Common on, we 8ers need to have our momments...
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  #9  
Old 03-16-2011, 04:59 PM
franka franka is offline
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The ol bump.
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540/6

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  #10  
Old 03-17-2011, 05:17 AM
Mudbone Mudbone is offline
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Thanks for the inputs.

I don't want to start an oil thread here BUT, I got a suggestion from a buddy at work. Try not to hold this against him, I try not to. He drives a 2003 Cadillac. He said he switched to synthetic oil several years ago and his car leaked at several locations. A mechanic at the Cadillac dealership told him to switch back to dino oil and the leaks would go away. He tried it and said it worked. He says that with dino oil his car does NOT leak and with synthetic it DOES leak!!

What are the odds?

I'd be willing to switch to dino oil and increase my oil change frequency to not have to change the oil pan gasket.

I'd appreciate your comments/inputs.

Thanks
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  #11  
Old 03-17-2011, 07:32 AM
franka franka is offline
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This is what is happening. This is the very condensed version.

Dino oil has an ingredient, totally unintentional, that swells seals a bit. It comes in the crude oil and is not one of the many additives that are in all engine oils.

Synthetic oils do not have this naturally occuring ingredient in sufficient quantity. But due to the incidents of syn oils leaking, the oil companies are adding a component to help with this. Also the auto mfgrs are switching to seal materials that will work well with syn oils.

I switched years ago and had a few leaks that went away in a month or two. Do some research on your syn brands to find out which are addressing the problem.
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Last edited by franka; 03-17-2011 at 07:33 AM.
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  #12  
Old 03-17-2011, 09:02 AM
Mudbone Mudbone is offline
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So, you are saying the story is credible?

I am going to give it a try. I'll keep ya'll posted on the results.
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  #13  
Old 03-17-2011, 09:23 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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What brand of OFH gasket seal did you use 2 years ago?
Aftermarket seal is known to leak.

Anyway, clean it all up everywhere and start monitoring oil leak to determine the exact source before spending 10h doing the oil pan gasket.
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  #14  
Old 03-17-2011, 09:33 AM
Mudbone Mudbone is offline
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cn90,

I bought to OFH gasket from the strealership. I have a friend in the parts department. I get pretty good prices.

I took the air filter housing box out and have inspected the OFH. It is NOT leaking. I wish it was the cause.

What is your take on the switch to dino oil?

Thanks
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  #15  
Old 03-17-2011, 09:42 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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ARE you sure it is leaking from the oil pan gasket?
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  #16  
Old 03-17-2011, 09:46 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
ARE you sure it is leaking from the oil pan gasket?
To the person cn90 is talking to ... heed his questions.

Cn90 himself went through this ... as have many others.

Many 'think' it's the oil-pan gasket; but often, it 'really' is the OFH gasket.
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  #17  
Old 03-17-2011, 10:30 AM
Mudbone Mudbone is offline
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Unfortunately, I am 100% certain.
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  #18  
Old 03-17-2011, 11:05 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mudbone View Post
Unfortunately, I am 100% certain.
Clean it up, wait for the leak then post some pics.
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  #19  
Old 03-17-2011, 02:28 PM
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nyclad nyclad is offline
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I went through this diagnostic a few months ago and concluded it to be the oil pan gasket.

Check out the pics in my thread.
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...009&highlight=


I replaced the oil filter housing gasket twice, the first time (2 years ago,) it was leaking. The second time, it was dry, so it wasn't the oil filter housing gasket. I cleaned the engine and checked for oil leaks, and it seems to be coming from the oil pan gasket. I put a plastic sign under my engine and left the protective cover off, and there's quite a bit of oil dripped on it.

I'm slowly gathering parts to do it. I have the gasket itself, it seems to be a rubber gasket with a metal inside frame.

The only thing keeping me from doing this right now is that I'm shopping around now for an engine support bar. I'm also waiting until I can borrow a secondary vehicle while mine is under. I'm thinking 2 days as I tend to work slowly and methodically.

I found the repair on a copy of Bentley's and I'll post pics of the repair once I get to it.
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  #20  
Old 03-17-2011, 08:17 PM
559eddie559 559eddie559 is offline
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I have personally changed my oil pan gasket about two weeks ago.

It is a pain in the butt but i figured where it was leaking oil. It was from the oil filter flange gasket which is on the driver side. I took me about 3 days because i had school and also because it was such a tidious work. The engine has to be lifted thats for sure and you might want to take out your rack and pinon out to have some space under there..In the end i think i had done wise decision because the rubber on the gasket was real stiff and was about to go out the door already. Tell me what you need to know ill guide you.
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  #21  
Old 03-18-2011, 10:15 AM
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nyclad nyclad is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 559eddie559 View Post
I have personally changed my oil pan gasket about two weeks ago.

It was from the oil filter flange gasket which is on the driver side.
Is the oil filter flange gasket the same as the oil filter housing gasket?

And just to confirm, then you changed both the OFH gasket and the oil pan gasket too?
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  #22  
Old 03-18-2011, 12:27 PM
559eddie559 559eddie559 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nyclad View Post
Is the oil filter flange gasket the same as the oil filter housing gasket?

And just to confirm, then you changed both the OFH gasket and the oil pan gasket too?
Yes its the same gasket OFH.
I did the oil pan gasket about 2 weeks but after the job was done i still seen drips of oil and i went on to discover that it was the OFH so im going to tackle the OFH today
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  #23  
Old 03-18-2011, 01:25 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 559eddie559 View Post
Yes its the same gasket OFH.
I did the oil pan gasket about 2 weeks but after the job was done i still seen drips of oil and i went on to discover that it was the OFH so im going to tackle the OFH today
I am confused, you did the OFH gasket and it leaked again.
Please clarify the sequence of events.
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  #24  
Old 03-18-2011, 06:55 PM
559eddie559 559eddie559 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
I am confused, you did the OFH gasket and it leaked again.
Please clarify the sequence of events.
Sorry about the confusion.

I changed my oil pan gasket because i thought it was leaking from there but i figured out that my OFH was leaking not my oil pan gasket. I started my OFH today. I have never replaced my OFH.

In the long run the oil pan gasket was going out the door already so it wasnt a bad investment.
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  #25  
Old 03-18-2011, 12:36 PM
559eddie559 559eddie559 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nyclad View Post
Is the oil filter flange gasket the same as the oil filter housing gasket?

And just to confirm, then you changed both the OFH gasket and the oil pan gasket too?
Yes its the same gasket OFH.
I did the oil pan gasket about 2 weeks but after the job was done i still seen drips of oil and i went on to discover that it was the OFH so im going to tackle the OFH today
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