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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 06-12-2011, 08:47 PM
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nyclad nyclad is offline
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Oil pan gasket repair, partial fail.

First I'd like to thank my GF for letting me use her car during the weekend while mine is down for repairs, and for her putting up with all the various cussing and such.


I planned to do the oil pan gasket repair by dropping the subframe so I wouldn't have to cut the gasket to fit it in. After much research DURING the job, I was unable to lower the subframe enough to completely remove the oilpan. However, the Bentley manual made it seem quite easy to lower the subframe, just that it doesn't lower enough...

Anyways, this isn't a DIY, but a chronicle of my adventures/misadventures/rant/warning on the oil pan gasket job, following the Bentley manual.

I chose to lower the subframe because I also had to do my engine mounts, and I had the Bentley manual (which has been very good to me until now...)

I'll post more about what I did later, but the end result was that I couldn't lower the subframe enough to clear the oil suction tube. I think that if I disconnected the control and thrust arms, maybe it would lower enough. But if I did that, I figure I'd need to get an alignment, plus that's a LOT more time involved.

I tried to bend the old gasket around the tube while removing it to see where I would need to cut it. I'll read on the oil pan gasket cut and RTV DIY, but from this, it seems like the place to make the cut is the driver's side rear edge.


Here are the pics:

Subframe as low as it could go, about 3-4 inches down. Bentley does not mention anything about unfastening the thrust nor control arms. It does suggest undoing the sway bar linkage to allow the subframe to lower more, and I did that, but it gave me all of 2 inches more, which is still not enough room to clear.



At least I replaced the engine mounts. It was extremely easy with the subframe lowered, I basically had to reach in and pick the old one up and put in the new one and bolt them in.



The engine mounts, the new one is in front, and the two old ones are to the rear.



I was initially quite happy when I removed all the bolts and the oil pan released.



But the oil pan wouldn't clear the tube. This is a shot from the front of the oil pan. The tube goes into a little pocket and won't clear.



I bent the old gasket around the tube to see by how much I had to bend the gasket and where. Here are the results. My hand is pointing to the front side.



It's dark now, and I need to get my e39 up and going for work. I plan on doing the cut and RTV tomorrow first thing.

Bentley is not very good for this DIY. I had to figure out where the subframe bolts are by myself, and where all the oilpan bolts are, which are 21 short 10mm bolts, 2 long 10mm bolts, and 2 medium 10mm bolts partially HIDDEN in the tranny bell housing. Plus 3 E-10 star bolts with their heads on the transmission side.

Arrrrrg. I'll finish the job tomorrow, I'm pooped.

Last edited by nyclad; 06-12-2011 at 08:51 PM.
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  #2  
Old 06-12-2011, 08:56 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Hi nyclad,

Thanks for sharing. Go to bed, nothing worse than trying to hurry through the job, especially at night when it is dark, you are fatigued.
Been there done that, not worth it. I hate that feeling of rushing through the job.

Tomorrow will be a better day!

Keep us posted.

PS: If Understand correctly, then the kosher way calls for the subframe being dropped completely ---> need for alignment.
This was why I suggested cutting the gasket + RTV.

Last edited by cn90; 06-13-2011 at 08:09 AM.
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  #3  
Old 06-12-2011, 09:19 PM
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I wanted to do the kosher/drop subframe way mainly because I've been chasing oil leaks on my e39 for years, and just wanted to do it that way for my own peace of mind.

Bentley says since none of the suspension parts are disconnected, there is no need for an alignment. That makes sense to me, buuuutt...no suspension parts disconnected = not enough subframe clearance for oil pan.

But if anything, I learned that Bentley's oil pan gasket DIY instructions are WRONG. I followed it to a tee, and got the result. I even played around with the oilpan for an hour, turning and manipulating it in all sorts of ways to see if I could remove it all the way, but nope...

I'd post the section from Bentley on the oil filter gasket, but I think it's copyrighted stuff and against forum rules? Plus it's INCORRECT.

Last edited by nyclad; 06-12-2011 at 09:26 PM.
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  #4  
Old 06-13-2011, 05:07 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nyclad View Post
I'd post the section from Bentley on the oil filter gasket
I'm no lawyer, but, I would think that would be acceptable under 'fair use' ...
- 107. Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use

Anyway, I LOVED the picture of how much the gasket needs to be bent. That's the kind of information we all need, if we're to contemplate our options!

I see you wanted to replace the motor mounts in your initial related thread:
- Help! Need quick question answered on M54 oil pan

Also, for supporting the engine, would this thread have been useful to you?
- How to build or buy your own hoist & engine-support tools (1) (2)

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Last edited by bluebee; 06-13-2011 at 05:14 AM.
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  #5  
Old 06-13-2011, 08:04 AM
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nyclad nyclad is offline
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Fair use...

"for purposes such as criticism..." lol...


Anyways, the hoist I purchased from Harbor Freight isn't all that expensive. Yes cn90...I know its a Harbor Freight Chinese thing...but if the engine is 350 lbs, then it should still hold, even if the 1000 lb rating isn't that accurate, I would imagine it to be at least 75% accurate, or 750lbs.

1000 Lb. Capacity Engine Support Bar
coupon code: SHOP20 (-$12.00)
1 (x) $59.99
Discount: -$12.00
$47.99 96524 1 $47.99
Subtotal $47.99
Shipping $9.99
Tax $4.20
Grand Total $62.18

Plus, it allows you to slightly raise the engine, which I did about 1/2 inch. The handles and nut are similar to a large wingnut. With a little grease, it's very easy to lift the engine a little. I tightened up the nut to where it felt like it was starting to grab the engine. I then put a piece of tape where the threaded end met the top of the nut, so I could have a marker where I could measure how much I had rasied it.


Last edited by nyclad; 06-13-2011 at 08:06 AM.
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Old 06-13-2011, 08:14 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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OK,

Wow, I was thinking the hydraulic engine hoist that costs some $200-300!

Thanks for sharing the Harbor Freight Engine Support thingy. I did not know that HF sells this engine support.

I must agree with you that it is CHEAP and a good product @ $60:

http://www.harborfreight.com/1000-lb...bar-96524.html

My garage is so cluttered, so even if this thing is $60, I cannot buy it as there is:
- no place to store it.
- I have no need for it as I can always find another solution around difficult problems.
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  #7  
Old 06-13-2011, 08:28 AM
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For purposes of critique, here's the four pages of Bentley regarding the E39 I-6 repair. I probably wouldn't be so pi$$ed at the waste of time and effort if after following Bentley's instructions, the desired result was achieved.

The only deviations I did from the Bentley instructions are that I didn't need to raise the hood to the assembly position. I used a Harbor Freight engine support bar, which is apparently lower than the BMW engine raising tool, so mine fit without necessitating the hood raising. Plus I replaced the engine mounts. But I did everything else according to Bentley instructions.


Page 1


Page 2 The part where it mentions uninstalling the power steering pump means you have to undo the fan and belt.


Page 3 It should be a little more descriptive on the number and location of the bolts. I didn't use the BMW special tool for securing the subframe, I just used the floorjack on the rubber lifting pad in the center of the subframe, and that seems to work just fine.


Page 4 This page starts into the V-8 halfway down. I didn't include the V-8 information.

Last edited by nyclad; 06-13-2011 at 08:39 AM.
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  #8  
Old 06-13-2011, 08:42 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Thanks for the update,

As I mentioned in the thread by "Mudbone" on cutting gasket, many people may not realize it but when one does a Vanos job or VCG, there is discontinuity in some places ("half-moon" areas) that BMW used RTV from factory to fill in the gap anyway. So using RTV for "gaps" is not new. It has been done even by BMW engineers from day one for certain locations.

It has been a few months since I talked to "Mudbone". I will PM him for an update on his gasket.
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Old 06-13-2011, 11:17 AM
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So, were you able to drop the subframe a little more, in order to drop the oil pan?

Thanks!
Jason
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Old 06-13-2011, 12:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason5driver View Post
So, were you able to drop the subframe a little more, in order to drop the oil pan?

Thanks!
Jason


No.

It doesn't go down anymore unless you start undoing suspension parts from the subframe.
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Old 06-14-2011, 08:44 AM
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Done with this...

Well, job is almost done. I used the cn90/mudbone cut gasket/RTV seal method. But I only had to cut it in one place as I had enough clearance to go past the sprocket in the front, but not the oil pan feeder tube. Everything (I'm pretry sure...please no extra parts...) has been reassembled and properly torqued. I applied the RTV yesterday morning, so I'm waiting for the RTV to properly cure before I fill it with motor oil.

Full frontal view of the patient on the surgery table. The floor jack is for the subframe (after lowering) and the car itself is on jackstands with wood behind it as emergency bakcup. At it's lowest point, the subframe wouldn't go any lower and basically hung there without any support from the floor jack (but I kept the jack there, just 1/2 inch below the subframe just in case...) The engine support bar has 2 adjustable hooks. The center one holds the engine at the front, and the one to the driver's side is holding the power steering pump up. The PSP does get a little in the way of the oil pan.



I figured I might as well replace the gasket on the oil level sensor. The gasket was shrunk compared to the new gasket.



I replaced the oil level sensor gasket. I noticed a small hole near the top of the sensor that went all the way through from one side to the other. I think it's one of those where if there is no oil in the hole, the sensor notes that there is not enough oil. I made a red arrow to the hole.



I traced the oil pan gasket onto the cardboard packaging it came in and cut out a template. This was more for me to practice my technique of fishing it past the oil pan feeder tube than anything else. I only had one gasket and didn't want to mess it up. I planned on making the cut near the driver's side of the gasket, near the rear where the old gasket hung up when I removed it.



Here's the cardboard template after I made the cut (knife points to the cut) and after I had successfully fitted it past the oil pan feeder tube and into place. It went in very easily the first time.



Here's the cut gasket after it fished it into place. It went past the tube extremely easily, no binding or anything.

Last edited by nyclad; 06-14-2011 at 08:50 AM.
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  #12  
Old 06-14-2011, 09:00 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Glad you almost got it done.
Nice pictures though.

I can tell you enjoy laying under the car for 9h looking upward at the oil pan ha!
You are probably dreaming about a vacation in the Bahamas while laying under there....LOL
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Old 06-14-2011, 06:02 PM
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doru doru is offline
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Props to you Nyclad for takling this job.
So, your original gasket was leaking? Where exactly? Were you able to trace the leakage on the old gasket after it was removed? I am curious how the spot that developed the leakage looked...Maybe a pic?
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Old 06-14-2011, 09:04 PM
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nyclad nyclad is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doru View Post
Props to you Nyclad for takling this job.
So, your original gasket was leaking? Where exactly? Were you able to trace the leakage on the old gasket after it was removed? I am curious how the spot that developed the leakage looked...Maybe a pic?
I was never able to find the point of the leak on the gasket itself.
Here's the thread where I described the leak:
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...009&highlight=

I had replaced the oil filter gasket, and noted that it was completely clean and dry around there, and I still had the oil leak. The highest point of the leak seemed to be the gasket.

Unfortunately, I already tossed the gasket, and trash day has come and gone. But it seemed to be around the front passenger (low) side. There is a tab at the corner there, and it seemed to come from around that corner. The gasket seems to have a seam of rubber around that corner that goes through the metal gasket material. I'm assuming maybe the rubber gasket material shrank enough to allow the oil to ooze out.

I'll be checking the oil pan for any sign of leaks...religiously...
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Old 06-14-2011, 09:08 PM
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Well, everything is put back together, filled it with 6.5 quarts M1 0W-40, new Mann filter and o-rings. When if first started it up, it was a little rough, but eventually smoothed out as I let it idle in park for 2-3 minutes. I ran it about 12 miles of surface streets and some freeway, and it's good so far. no CEL!

It has been 10 days since I've driven my 530i, so it might be my imagination/wishful thinking, but it feels more "solid" during acceleration. I wonder if that's mostly due to the new engine mounts. I'll be checking for leaks the next several days.
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Old 06-14-2011, 09:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
Glad you almost got it done.
Nice pictures though.

I can tell you enjoy laying under the car for 9h looking upward at the oil pan ha!
You are probably dreaming about a vacation in the Bahamas while laying under there....LOL
Oh yeah...really enjoy lying under there with little flecks of grimy, oily and sandy crud falling on my face...

I was dreaming about a real maintanence free Ultimate Driving Machine....sigh....


I think my frustration with the whole thing is that I followed the Bentley instructions, and got different results where I couldn't lower the subframe enough to completely remove the oil pan. All that time and effort wasn't totally wasted, as I changed out the engine mounts, but still, I expected something different and didn't get it.

Last edited by nyclad; 06-14-2011 at 09:11 PM.
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Old 06-16-2011, 12:05 PM
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Thanks for the update. My question about the old gasket was directed to maybe find out where/why it failed. Cause & effect.
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Old 10-21-2011, 10:55 AM
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For the record, someone is replacing an oil pan and is having trouble dropping the subframe since so much has to come out (apparently).

Here is the reference, if it helps:
- E39 (1997 - 2003) > HELP: Oil pan cracked; trying to drop Subframe...
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Old 10-21-2011, 11:04 AM
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Update.

Oh yeah, for those interested, I've gone about 8200-ish miles since the oil pan gasket replacement with a single cut and RTV. No leaks from the gasket.
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Old 10-21-2011, 11:51 AM
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Hello Nyclad, a bit late, but in retrospect, when you lifted the engine, couldn't you raise it a tad higher with the HF hoist? If not why? What was the limiting factor to lift the engine a tad higher, to have a lower clearance with the subframe dropped?

And thanks for the update.
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Old 10-21-2011, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by doru View Post
Hello Nyclad, a bit late, but in retrospect, when you lifted the engine, couldn't you raise it a tad higher with the HF hoist? If not why? What was the limiting factor to lift the engine a tad higher, to have a lower clearance with the subframe dropped?

And thanks for the update.
Hi Doru,

The HF engine support bar doesn't lift that much higher. I also didn't remove the fan (although I easily could have.) The main things that was keeping the oil pan in place was the suction tube and the chain sprocket at the front of the engine. The sprocket wasn't the big problem, but the suction tube is much deeper into the oil pan. From what I remember, the engine would have to have been lifted maybe 3-4 inches more, and I don't recall that the engine support bar could go that high. I was also a little afraid of moving the engine too much that it stressed out or bent any of the hoses and wires that may connect the engine to anything that wasn't moving with it.

I would be more comfortable dropping the subframe by unbolting the control arms.
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Old 10-21-2011, 02:19 PM
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Good explanation. Thanks. I will keep this in mind.
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Old 02-17-2012, 12:45 PM
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Nyclad,
Did you remove the pinch bolt to the steering column universal joint?
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Old 02-18-2012, 08:04 AM
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Nyclad,
Did you remove the pinch bolt to the steering column universal joint?
Yes, I removed the pinch bolt. The steering column universal linkage did slide down the column as the subframe went down, but never completely disconncected as the subframe never slid down that far. I'm convinced it's the suspension that's keeping the subframe up.
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Old 02-18-2012, 11:01 AM
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Yes, I removed the pinch bolt. The steering column universal linkage did slide down the column as the subframe went down, but never completely disconnected as the subframe never slid down that far. I'm convinced it's the suspension that's keeping the subframe up.
I guess that is why the Bentley says to disconnect the tie rod ends from the hubs...
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