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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 12-08-2012, 10:36 AM
BlackbirdPilot BlackbirdPilot is offline
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Location: Los Angeles
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
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Mein Auto: 540ita
02 540ItA - common oil leaks?

Developed an oil leak. Leaving a drop of oil when parked. Checked valve covers, they look "sweaty" but not wet or drippy (yet). I see residue down in front of the engine, but not sure where it might actually leaking from.

What is most common area to look first and what should I expense/labor expected for the common leaks? Will be putting up and pulling lower covers next week, but just wanted some direction in what to check first.
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Old 12-08-2012, 07:42 PM
JimLev JimLev is offline
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Location: MA
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3,687
Mein Auto: 540/6, S60 Volvo, Tribeca
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackbirdPilot View Post
Developed an oil leak. Leaving a drop of oil when parked. Checked valve covers, they look "sweaty" but not wet or drippy (yet). I see residue down in front of the engine, but not sure where it might actually leaking from.

What is most common area to look first and what should I expense/labor expected for the common leaks? Will be putting up and pulling lower covers next week, but just wanted some direction in what to check first.
If your sure it's not coming from the valve covers look at the seals that go around the vanos solenoids on the front of the engine. The drivers side is pretty easy to see, the pass side will require you to remove the intake tube to get a good look at it. They cost about $12 each.
The other front leak point is the front main seal, it's behind the harmonic balancer (crank pulley assy).
The 3 piece timing cover gaskets could be leaking but the ones I mentioned above are more common.
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Last edited by JimLev; 12-08-2012 at 07:45 PM.
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Old 12-08-2012, 08:25 PM
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Coochie_Bandit Coochie_Bandit is offline
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Location: Bronx NY
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
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Mein Auto: 540
Might want to check the rear main seal as well.
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Old 12-09-2012, 05:31 AM
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Ltmax Ltmax is offline
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Location: Jacksonville, FL
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
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Mein Auto: 07 750i, 02 540i Sport
On my 540I it looked like I had both a rear main seal and crankshaft seal leak after I changed out my valve cover gaskets.

Turned out to be the vanos solenoid gaskets leaking oil down the front of the engine not the front crankshaft seal. (from what I hear these don't go bad very often)

Also, the intake manifold gaskets were bad and the small hose connecting the crankcase vent valve under the intake manifold was split allowing oil to drip down into the valley pan area and running out the weep holes in the back of the engine that looked like the rear main seal was leaking.

About $75 for new intake gaskets, and vanos solenoid gaskets along with about 2 hours of labor, and she is once again oil leak free.
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