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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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  #126  
Old 10-04-2011, 10:07 PM
brc5 brc5 is offline
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OK so short update. Car has been back on the road for a couple of days following the mother of all services (new susp bushes, new air springs, new motor mounts, new oil pan gasket, DICE iPod install).

I got stuck on the PCV-Dipstick breather hose, which I accidentally broke during the disassembly. Another warning for young players- take the breather hose off the dipstick tube at the dipstick end or you will be removing half the intake plumbing to get it back on again. I needlessly added about 90 minutes of work to the entire job by being careless with this old hose.

I also had to fix the double-ended rubber mount for the powersteering house -> subframe mounts. Due to the persistent leak of the PS fluid on this bushing it fell apart when touched, so I had to wire up a little cage to hold it back together while I source a new one.

I put a tell-tale layer of white paper towels under the engine in the garage to detect any drips of any kind.

A hundred or so k's later and no leaks whatsoever of engine oil, towels are still whiter than white. Crucially there is no wetness or weeping around the gasket 'cut' location (which was just to the rear of the dipstick area, behind the auto trans lines). There is a little wetness around the dipstick tube but I am unsure if this is pre-or-post install (a new o-ring went in). When I get the chance I will give the lower engine a degrease and wash and see how that plays out over time. I'm busy trying to make up the time with the other things I neglected while spending hours underneath the car covered in oil and occasionally cursing the BMW engineers for shrinkwrapping the suspension around the engine.

The new pan full of mobil 1 0w-40 has quietened down the startup noise which was a little tappet-tickety with the old oil. Previous owner was probably cheapskate with the oil. So that's another win.

Fingers crossed but it is success at this point. But much more enjoyable is the hugely improved ride arising from the replacment of the rear air springs and bushings, which is a whole other thread in itself.
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  #127  
Old 10-04-2011, 10:16 PM
brc5 brc5 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mudbone View Post
...Plan "B" was to buy "that Jim Dandy DeWalt boroscope" they have at Loew's in order to be able to look around in the pan for the debris. It is approx $300 and could probably be returned after use if sufficient care was taken.
Just to add to this, something I didn't mention. Because I could reach into the pan with my arm, but not with my head, I put my compact digital camera on 'macro' and randomly aimed it around in the pan taking photos (little camera, not the SLR!). I then looked at the camera display to locate any debris and used my other hand (with a latex glove on) to find the bits thus seen in the photo. This combination of picture+view+find worked OK and had the benefit of being free and immediate. Plus you get some neat shots of the inside of the pan, even if they tend to be moslty out of focus. Just take some care not to drop the camera and/or get greasy fingerprints all over it.
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  #128  
Old 10-04-2011, 10:22 PM
brc5 brc5 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hecs21 View Post
So this thread is exactly what I was hoping to find. I have a 2001 325i with almost 160k miles. I have owned the car for 5 months and have been aware of the oil leak. It appears the valve cover gasket was over tightened and needs changed but I was getting very suspicious that the leak was more than that. I took it in to get brakes and oil change and have it looked at for the leak. It seems the oil pan gasket is the main issue. the pan is clean above the seam but covered in oil below it. *Does this sound to you guys that its good evidence that the oil pan gasket needs changed?

I have mechanic friends that could pull off this DIY method, but I am wondering if I should have concern about not doing it the right way in order to do a thorough cleaning b/c of the high mileage. The $ aspect is the real motivation for me to try it this way so I guess Im just looking for some advice from more experienced owners. Thanks.
hecs21 : you should check first it's not the oil filter housing gasket, but if you've done that and confirmed it isn't, then it probably is the oil pan gasket. Mine showed a weeping oily mess the entire way around the pan/block seam, with no obvious leak points as it seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere in particular. Upon cleaning, it would take about a week for the first drip to re-appear, but most of it ends up sprayed along the underside of your car.

It seems that it's a common enough occurence to develop an oil pan gasket leak, but it's not something that will happen to every car. Maybe it's driving conditions, skipped oil changes, overheated engines, bad oil - who knows what- but something causes it to happen on some I6's.

I doubt you'll find anything in the bottom of the pan. Apart from used oil, mine was squeaky clean. You can stick your finger in an swish around to determine if you've got sludge in there, but unless you see evidence of this elsewhere in the engine, I doubt it's an issue. I think most other people who have done this would agree.
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  #129  
Old 12-11-2011, 09:28 PM
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musa musa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brc5 View Post
...It seems that it's a common enough occurence to develop an oil pan gasket leak, but it's not something that will happen to every car. Maybe it's driving conditions, skipped oil changes, overheated engines, bad oil - who knows what- but something causes it to happen on some I6's].
Had engine overheat a couple of times 4 or so years ago before I did cooling system overhaul which fixed it up. That may explain the oil pan gasket leak I've been having. I don't recall if it was soon after that it started, but probably.

Now that I have free time, oil pan gasket leak is my first major project to be tackled which I've been putting off for months now......
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  #130  
Old 12-29-2011, 01:20 PM
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Jason5driver Jason5driver is offline
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My mechanic just diagnosed my car as to having a bad oil pan gasket...

I will probably drop everything, and not cut the new oil pan gasket to get it in though....
I will be taking LOTS of pictures as well....
Thanks!
Jason
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  #131  
Old 01-05-2012, 09:38 AM
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ForcedFirebird ForcedFirebird is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brc5 View Post

It seems that it's a common enough occurence to develop an oil pan gasket leak, but it's not something that will happen to every car. Maybe it's driving conditions, skipped oil changes, overheated engines, bad oil - who knows what- but something causes it to happen on some I6's.
The one I did was a well maintained car with 90k or so miles.
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  #132  
Old 01-06-2012, 02:32 PM
kimokk kimokk is offline
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Originally Posted by ForcedFirebird View Post
The one I did was a well maintained car with 90k or so miles.
Forcedfirebird: Did you ever get to post any photos of the oil pan gasket procedure and subframe removal? Thanks.
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  #133  
Old 01-10-2012, 02:36 PM
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mawana mawana is offline
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So, only one person - the OP, was successful with the cutting method? The rest, seems, had to drop the subframe and/or rake after-all? I was very excited with this method but its minute success rate is giving me the jitters,....
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  #134  
Old 01-11-2012, 12:45 AM
559eddie559 559eddie559 is offline
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Originally Posted by mac_wan View Post
So, only one person - the OP, was successful with the cutting method? The rest, seems, had to drop the subframe and/or rake after-all? I was very excited with this method but its minute success rate is giving me the jitters,....
Snake it!! i snaked mine and i dont have one drop of oil since.. I have about half a year with it now and its my daily driver.
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  #135  
Old 01-11-2012, 04:39 AM
Mudbone Mudbone is offline
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Originally Posted by mac_wan View Post
So, only one person - the OP, was successful with the cutting method? The rest, seems, had to drop the subframe and/or rake after-all? I was very excited with this method but its minute success rate is giving me the jitters,....
I don't think I was the first, but mine was successful.
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  #136  
Old 01-11-2012, 07:57 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Snake it!! i snaked mine and i dont have one drop of oil since.. I have about half a year with it now and its my daily driver.
Eddie,

- Did you cut the gasket before snaking?

- If not, then you simply bent the gasket and snaked it under the pick-up tube?
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  #137  
Old 01-11-2012, 06:01 PM
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nyclad nyclad is offline
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Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
Eddie,

- Did you cut the gasket before snaking?

- If not, then you simply bent the gasket and snaked it under the pick-up tube?
I'm curious too. I even made a cardbord cutout of the gasket as a template to practice the snaking method, but failed each time. I ended up cutting it in one place to get around the oil pickup tube. No leaks since.
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  #138  
Old 01-11-2012, 06:41 PM
559eddie559 559eddie559 is offline
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I'm curious too. I even made a cardbord cutout of the gasket as a template to practice the snaking method, but failed each time. I ended up cutting it in one place to get around the oil pickup tube. No leaks since.
Did not cut the gasket just bent it under the pick up tube.. Cutting the gasket would just make the gasket weaker, its better just to bend and live with it then thinking of the piece you cut but thats just me.
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  #139  
Old 01-20-2012, 09:57 AM
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mawana mawana is offline
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Originally Posted by 559eddie559 View Post
Snake it!! i snaked mine and i dont have one drop of oil since.. I have about half a year with it now and its my daily driver.
This weekend, I will try and snake it! I saw a guy, with an e90 though, who snaked his and did put it in without cutting. The gasket numbers are different so maybe the configuration of the parts could be different too but he concluded skinny hands are key to 'snaking'?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nyclad View Post
I'm curious too. I even made a cardbord cutout of the gasket as a template to practice the snaking method, but failed each time. I ended up cutting it in one place to get around the oil pickup tube. No leaks since.
Thanks for the update, am not scared to cut, just unwilling to drop all the other shenanigans in case I run into other unexpectated issues like already discussed here.

My leak is at it's best when the car rests for 2-days or more - and I'm getting the feeling it's worsening hence the need to do this asap ...
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  #140  
Old 01-20-2012, 11:40 AM
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I checked my oil pan recently, since the car has been sitting on jack stands for about 2 weeks.
Almost completely positive that the oil pan gasket is leaking.
I can see fresh oil leaking all along the pan.
I have been cleaning the area immensely.
IMO, it looks like I have to remove the steering rack in order to drop the pan.

Thanks!
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  #141  
Old 01-20-2012, 02:38 PM
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adjmcloon adjmcloon is offline
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Yep. steering rack and subframe, unless you are going to cut it. Honestly I would recommend finding a reasonbly priced good indy and let them do it. It is a royal PITA! Took me 12 hours on my back.
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  #142  
Old 01-20-2012, 02:46 PM
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Jason5driver Jason5driver is offline
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Yep. steering rack and subframe, unless you are going to cut it. Honestly I would recommend finding a reasonably priced good indy and let them do it. It is a royal PITA! Took me 12 hours on my back.
Nope, I don't feel like shelling out $400+ to have my very reputable independent BMW mechanic do the work.
I am doing the work my self.
I need to drop the front subframe any way in order to remove/install the new front sway bar.

Thanks!
Jason
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  #143  
Old 03-24-2012, 07:06 PM
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champaign777 champaign777 is offline
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where this gasket leaks usually ?
I have a small leak in the end of oil pan, it is between oil pan and transmission

it is leaking from E10 bolt, exactly where the yellow array




oil pan gasket leak ?
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  #144  
Old 03-24-2012, 07:51 PM
genuity genuity is offline
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Originally Posted by champaign777 View Post
where this gasket leaks usually ?
I have a small leak in the end of oil pan, it is between oil pan and transmission

it is leaking from E10 bolt, exactly where yellow array

oil pan gasket leak ?
Too hard to tell where your leak is coming from since the oil pan tilts towards the right side on the M54. If the RMS is leaking, it could end up on the right side where you have identified it. If it is any other leak towards the front of the engine, it could travel along the seam and end up there too.

My oil pan gasket leak was directly below the RMS. This is also where the distance between two oil pan bolts is the greatest.

The easiest way to see if it is the RMS or not, is to use the open port on the bottom of the bell housing. It's hard to look so take some q-tips and start swabbing around. You probably will not be able to look unless you have a tactical camera but the q-tip maybe the best method.

Clean it up well then go for a drive to see. Those auto part stores also have that fluorescent die you can use, but I would rather not go that route unless the leak was too hard to diagnose visually.
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  #145  
Old 03-28-2012, 10:48 PM
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Jason5driver Jason5driver is offline
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Originally Posted by champaign777 View Post
where this gasket leaks usually ?
I have a small leak in the end of oil pan, it is between oil pan and transmission

it is leaking from E10 bolt, exactly where yellow array




oil pan gasket leak ?
I have the same thing.
Not sure which it is.
So, I am going to replace the oil pan gasket first, and hope it fixes the leak.


Quote:
Originally Posted by genuity View Post
Too hard to tell where your leak is coming from since the oil pan tilts towards the right side on the M54. If the RMS is leaking, it could end up on the right side where you have identified it. If it is any other leak towards the front of the engine, it could travel along the seam and end up there too.

My oil pan gasket leak was directly below the RMS. This is also where the distance between two oil pan bolts is the greatest.

The easiest way to see if it is the RMS or not, is to use the open port on the bottom of the bell housing. It's hard to look so take some q-tips and start swabbing around. You probably will not be able to look unless you have a tactical camera but the q-tip maybe the best method.

Clean it up well then go for a drive to see. Those auto part stores also have that fluorescent die you can use, but I would rather not go that route unless the leak was too hard to diagnose visually.
Behold, my future...
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  #146  
Old 03-29-2012, 08:01 AM
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adjmcloon adjmcloon is offline
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Mine was leaking there, and also in the very front at the corner (just weeping).

I would bet it's just your oil pan gasket. Word of advice, have it done somewhere unless you have a lift and are a glutton for punishment!
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  #147  
Old 03-29-2012, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by adjmcloon View Post
Mine was leaking there, and also in the very front at the corner (just weeping).

I would bet it's just your oil pan gasket. Word of advice, have it done somewhere unless you have a lift and are a glutton for punishment!
Anyone who knows me would say, yes, to that question...

Plus, I do not have the money to have a mechanic do the work.
And, I feel way more comfortable doing any work on my car, because I know I will do it right, and clean any needed areas very well.
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  #148  
Old 03-30-2012, 01:57 PM
Coastie5685 Coastie5685 is offline
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So i went to clean some of the residue off the area. Didnt get much cleaning done but saw that the oil was dripping on parts further towards the firewall area as well. I noticed the oil pan gasket was visible. Now corrent me if i am wrong but i dont think i should be seeing this much of the oil pan gasket exposed. It was enough exposed to where i could flex the gasket.









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  #149  
Old 03-30-2012, 02:00 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Originally Posted by Coastie5685 View Post
So i went to clean some of the residue off the area. Didnt get much cleaning done but saw that the oil was dripping on parts further towards the firewall area as well. I noticed the oil pan gasket was visible. Now corrent me if i am wrong but i dont think i should be seeing this much of the oil pan gasket exposed. It was enough exposed to where i could flex the gasket.
This is E39 forum, you have a 2008 model.
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  #150  
Old 03-30-2012, 02:02 PM
Coastie5685 Coastie5685 is offline
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Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
This is E39 forum, you have a 2008 model.
Same issue... i am sure it must be somewhat similar.
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