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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 11-08-2009, 12:11 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Oil Filter Housing FREEZE PLUG Leak

Has anyone done the E39 O.F. Housing FREEZE Plug Fix?

I have been chasing a minor engine oil leak and just replaced Oil Filter Housing Gasket (The Gasket between the Housing and Engine), but to my surpise, the oil leak from the Oil Filter Housing persists!

After some meticulous cleaning and checking with a mirror/flash light with engine running, it turns out the Oil Leak is from the FREEZE PLUG of the Oil Filter Housing:



These O-rings (PN 11421709513) are listed for E30, E36 and Z3 only:
http://www.realoem.com/bmw/partxref.do?part=11421709513
http://www.rmeuropean.com/Part-Numbe..._CA4918F1.aspx

------
Search around, there have been problems before in different models. This is a thread from E34 (1995 525i) but the idea is the same:
http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum....php?t=1109419






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Last edited by cn90; 11-08-2009 at 12:32 PM.
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  #2  
Old 11-08-2009, 01:37 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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I re-read the thread by Bryan H:
http://www.bmwtips.com/tipsntricks/oil/housing.htm

He clearly mentioned that:
"Purple arrow points to oil pressure sending unit.
Red arrow points to plugs in the casting that are weeping small amount of oil.
I put a thin coat of black sealer on them to slow down the weeping."




So it looks to me that these 2 plugs are not removeable on the E39.

On the E36, some people drill them out and pipe thread them!
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=318345
http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...php?p=13384658

Anyone has tackled these 2 plugs by any means (short of a new Housing which is expensive!!!).

Last edited by cn90; 11-08-2009 at 02:00 PM.
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  #3  
Old 11-08-2009, 01:55 PM
Tyrone Tyrone is offline
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Here is one recent post by Eurodavid on the problem http://bimmer.roadfly.com/bmw/forums/e39/9384566-1.html

Not my area of expertise, but I would be tempted to weld those openings shut..same for the V8 valley pan!

I mean why purposely create an opening if your intent is to NOT have that opening and cover or plug it up with something that will leak anyway? :-)
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  #4  
Old 11-08-2009, 02:08 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Thanks Tyrone,

Apparently there is no O-ring below it per another thread.

I am tempted to take the Oil Filter Housing Unit to welding shop and simply weld these 2 plugs shut forever!
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  #5  
Old 11-08-2009, 04:17 PM
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lild lild is offline
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are you sure that the plugs don't come out. i agree, what's the point of a weep hole, if you can really fix the problem. you could try some jb weld your self.
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  #6  
Old 11-08-2009, 04:33 PM
poolman poolman is offline
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CN90--+1 on the suggestion above--use the JB Weild and seal it that way--I wouldn't weild the part--no telling what might happen with the heat that would be generated--could hurt some oil flow--might be OK to do--but the JB Weild is tough stuff and once you clean everything up well--it will hold and stop the oil from flowing.

Last edited by poolman; 11-09-2009 at 10:12 AM.
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  #7  
Old 11-11-2009, 06:03 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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UPDATE:

1. Re welding issue:
- Spoke to a welding shop, they hate welding aluminum, especially when contaminated with oil. Even if you clean all the oil out, there is still microscopic oil in the aluminum casting which can cause problem during TIG welding.
- I did an experiment using aluminum from my old thrust arm, I used plumbing solder and propane torch, no go. The solder will not stick to aluminum.
So this welding option is out for now.

2. Going back to O-ring:
- I am looking into whether I can use the "old" setup of O-ring, i.e., using O-ring from previous models (such as E34) and lock it in using a clip as mentioned in my 1st thread above.
- However, I don't know if E39 housing has the same inner grooves as E34 housing.
- Anyone has pics of E39 inner grooves of the Housing where the "Freeze Plugs" are?

3. RE Tap and Die for Pipe Plugs:
Some people such as CJH has done it. I PM him a few times, no answer so far:
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=318345

I still need some info on tap and die the hole to accept a tapered pipe plug such as this:



Anyone with a permanent solution for this oil leak (short of buying a new Housing!!!), please update this thread.
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  #8  
Old 11-11-2009, 06:17 PM
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lild lild is offline
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can you take it to a shop that a does custom fabing, like one that can cut drive shafts, or works on aluminum intakes or such?
i'm sure you can buy a tap and die kit at lowes, and get a set of rubber orings at the auto store. if you really want to do the work your self.
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  #9  
Old 11-15-2009, 04:26 PM
Crashj Crashj is offline
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+1 on JB Weld Epoxy. The carb on my GMC motorhome has plugs that leak so the SOP on a rebuild is to epoxy over them. Granted, that is gasoline, not oil under pressure, but still, it wont make it leak more ;-) Welding would have bad results, I fear. The proper solder for aluminum contains a lot of zinc, but I have never had good results. The oxide is too tough.
Aluminum pipe plugs are probably not available from the bigbox stores, but are available at http://www.mcmaster.com/#aluminum-pi...-plugs/=4ipyiy
McMaster-Carr is a great source for fasteners and hardware. Our ground shipment orders arrive next day.
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  #10  
Old 11-15-2009, 07:25 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Thanks,

Actually I already received in the mail the "blue anodized aluminum plugs" from ebay ($1 each plus shipping).
Now, it is a matter of determining the INNER diameter of the bore in the Housing to make sure I can tap the "NPT" (Tapered Thread as in Plumbing Piping) Pipe Thread into the O.F. Housing to accept the "Anodized Aluminum Plugs". Stay tuned! It looks similar to this:

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  #11  
Old 11-15-2009, 08:29 PM
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doru doru is offline
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Hey CN!
I used those plugs in the oil industry, while drilling with invert oil, high temp and high pressure environment.
When we wanted those plugs to be removable (which we don't want on the oil housing) we used teflon tape on the thread. This was done when we used bigger drilling tool.
If the hole was getting small (smaller drilling tools), the teflon would not work - the screws could get loose and they could fall out while drilling (they were smaller diameter and I suspect it's close to our weep hole. In order to keep the plugs in, we used red loctite. The thing would harden like crazy, and it was very difficult at times to remove the plugs. There were instances when we broke the allen wrenches.
So NPT thread and plug with red loctite should do it.
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  #12  
Old 11-16-2009, 06:21 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doru View Post
....So NPT thread and plug with red loctite should do it.
Anyone has a used (Leaking Recessed Plugs is fine) M52 Oil Filter Housing laying around so I can use as a guinea pig? I will return it in repaired condition (if the guinea pig is still alive LOL)

Here is what I am getting at, for those familiar with NPT (National Pipe Thread Tapered Thread) concept, it is basically Tapered Thread for good sealing.

The 3/4" Blue Anodized NPT Plug I just received has the standard NPT dimensions:
- Inner Groove: 24.80 mm
- Outer Thread Tips: 26.67 mm


Therefore, on the O.F. Housing Side, the bore size must be around or less than < 24-25 mm, this way I have room to tap the threads.

Again, I NEED A GUINEA PIG please!




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  #13  
Old 11-16-2009, 07:58 AM
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doru doru is offline
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Hey Cam, in the US you must have better junkyards than we have up here in Canada. I don't think one of those pulled oil filter housings should be too much. I would pull exactly the one you have and prolly keep it and use it (once the mod is done). Then fix yours and I am sure yoy can sell it on the board to recoup your $$.
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  #14  
Old 11-16-2009, 08:08 AM
KTrostel KTrostel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
UPDATE:

1. Re welding issue:
- Spoke to a welding shop, they hate welding aluminum, especially when contaminated with oil. Even if you clean all the oil out, there is still microscopic oil in the aluminum casting which can cause problem during TIG welding.
- I did an experiment using aluminum from my old thrust arm, I used plumbing solder and propane torch, no go. The solder will not stick to aluminum.
So this welding option is out for now.
.
Requires the appropriate flux. Solder will stick if you use the correct flux, call your local gas house/welding supply house. As an alternate, you can weld the area with an oxy-acet torch. Again, requires the proper flux and rod.

Before you haters say you cannot weld Alum with oxy/acet read up...been there, done that...

Good luck
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Old 11-16-2009, 08:13 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KTrostel View Post
Requires the appropriate flux. Solder will stick if you use the correct flux, call your local gas house/welding supply house. As an alternate, you can weld the area with an oxy-acet torch. Again, requires the proper flux and rod.

Before you haters say you cannot weld Alum with oxy/acet read up...been there, done that...

Good luck
Thanks KTrostel,

From speaking to the shop, everyone says welding aluminum is harder than welding steel.
And yes aluminum can be welded.

But here is the problem:
- The E39 Oil Filter Housing Aluminum is not that thick. Maybe around 2-3 mm max.
- The Housing is contaminated with oil making welding more challenging.
Any "mistake", you are prone to leak where you just welded.
A new Housing is not cheap, $330 online!
So I kind of "chicken out" with the welding idea.

- I think I am coming very close to the "NPT Plug" solution as mentioned above.
I need a Guinea PIG badly (anyone with cracked and leaking housing)!

-------------
Just came up with another idea along the same line with EuroDavid's JBWeld idea:
http://bimmer.roadfly.com/bmw/forums/e39/9384566-1.html
But I am planning on using roofing asphalt caulk.

- Tap a proper bolt thread into the small recess (the ? 4mm recess in aluminum plug in your pic).

- Spread a thin layer of Roofing Black Asphalt Caulk similar to this:


- Then large washer (about 30-mm in diamter) to cover it.

- Gently put the bolt back on finger-tight and the fix should be permanent.

Last edited by cn90; 11-18-2009 at 08:35 AM.
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  #16  
Old 11-16-2009, 01:32 PM
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doru doru is offline
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Cam, I personally think the NPT plug + red loctite is the best solution.
I don't think you need guinea pig.
All you need is pick a plug that will fit after you cut the thread. Then let the whole assy. dry for about 1 - 2 Hrs. As I said, after we pulled out of the hole after drilling 5-6 days, we had a hard time to take off those screws (plugs). The red loctite turned in a substance hard as glass - it looked almost like little ruby shards once the plug was out. Then it was a PITA to clean the threads of the tool (where the plugs were sitting). Very stubborn to remove and very, very hard. We were using steel picks to take off the remnants from the threads. Again: high temp around 120C and high pressure around 23,000 Kpa and invert mud (which is pretty much diesel). So I think it should do the trick.
If mine will leak, I know I will do that.

P.S.: did I mention vibration while drilling?
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  #17  
Old 11-16-2009, 01:36 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Doru, the issue is not tapping the thread.
The issue is how I can use commercially available NPT Plugs such as 3/4-inch size in the existing bore size.
If I can make any NPT plug size the way I want, then this is easy.

Having said that, I already bought all the parts for the Asphalt Job and will try that first because it is very easy to do.
If that trick fails, then I'd do the tapping for new threads inside the bore.
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  #18  
Old 11-20-2009, 12:41 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Update,

I received a nice email from Mann-Hummel GmbH, the HQ of the company after sales technical division.

They are interested to find out the causes of the leak from the 2 Freeze Plugs and may be able to help me.

So I will remove my O.F. Housing again to:
- provide Mann-Hummel GmbH them with the 10-digit number for feedback issue.
- Seal my 2 Freeze Plugs (I have an easy trick and will do a DIY this weekend).

Kudos to Mann-Hummel GmbH for their interest in these issues.

Although the feedback from the dealer may help the OEM mfg Co., ONLY through dialogue-feedback with the end-users (in this case BMW owners and forums) that the products get better and better with time because these after-sales problems show up more in forums than at the dealer.
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  #19  
Old 11-22-2009, 09:36 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Update:
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=414315
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