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E46 (1999 - 2006)
The fourth generation 3 Series (E46 chassis) was introduced in 1999 and set the standard for engineering and performance during it's years of production including being named to Car & Driver's 10 best list every one of those years! ! -- View the E46 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 09-21-2012, 10:13 PM
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M54 Engine Oil Leak

Guys, I have M54 engine in my E60 and it has a leak which is very annoying since I am loosing 500ml about every 2-3 weeks. Here are some pictures of where I can see the oil.

1. First - There is oil getting accumulated in a puddle around the 1st and 2nd spark plug start from driver side.
2. Second - There few drops of oil between wiping it clean around 4pm and 12pm next day morning. The picture is of the bottom front left corner straight under the vanos areas.
3. Third - there is slight leak under the cover of vanos, but also the two electrical connector on the left of vanos appear to be leaking oil. Can this oil leak slip down to the second pic.

Which part is leaking that I need to fix is what I need to know considering the pictures. Is it the cylinder head gasket that is gone? Or something else.

Any suggestions are welcome.
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  #2  
Old 09-22-2012, 07:37 AM
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Sounds like it`s time to replace the CVV.

(VCG and new plugs should be done at the same time)
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  #3  
Old 09-22-2012, 10:17 AM
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G. P. Burdell G. P. Burdell is offline
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If a new set of valve cover gaskets doesn't stop oil from seeping to the top of the valve cover, then the valve cover is likely warped and will need to be replaced.
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  #4  
Old 09-22-2012, 10:39 AM
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Looks like the leak I had in my m54 a fee weeks ago. The valve cover gasket was dry and brittle. A new one fixed the problem.
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  #5  
Old 09-22-2012, 08:58 PM
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Thanks Guys, will let you know how it went.

Also, I read that with VCG, one should change the spark plugs. The spark plugs were changed 36K's before on 100K service and it is sitting on 136K's. Should I change the spark plugs? What is the lifetime on BMW spark plugs?

Is there any specifications on spark plugs? BMW or OEM? (I know this is debatable, but just share your experience here guys)

Last edited by kskane; 09-23-2012 at 01:59 AM.
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  #6  
Old 09-23-2012, 05:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kskane View Post
Thanks Guys, will let you know how it went.

Also, I read that with VCG, one should change the spark plugs. The spark plugs were changed 36K's before on 100K service and it is sitting on 136K's. Should I change the spark plugs? What is the lifetime on BMW spark plugs?

Is there any specifications on spark plugs? BMW or OEM? (I know this is debatable, but just share your experience here guys)
Well they do recommend changing plugs every 100k miles. This is definitely valve cover gaskets and the vc spark plug gaskets. Mine was so brittle that when i took them off, just the pressure of my fingers would break the gasket into pieces. This caused oil accumulation on my exhaust manifold and just a tiny bit around my spark plugs. These should be changed every 80k miles (recommendation at least). Mine were changed at 88k.
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  #7  
Old 09-25-2012, 05:07 AM
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Boys, I need some help. While I was about to bolt the new gasket in, I !@#$#@#@!@#$ the first screw on torque.

WHAT torque do the bolts on valve cover gasket needs to be? I read somewhere 7ft-pound and I was bolting it to to 7, but cracked/ripped the nut from engine assembly (don't you laugh at it ). Much to my luck, that screw on the engine is not part of the engine (now I will have to ask the $stealer for replacement and car is going to be out of action for few days). So please help with torque values.

Also, while I was changing the gasket (still am with the car in garage and engine open with missing bolt), I checked the spark plugs and they are NGK. I have attached picture of contact points. Do you think I should change it?
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  #8  
Old 09-25-2012, 07:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kskane View Post
Boys, I need some help. While I was about to bolt the new gasket in, I !@#$#@#@!@#$ the first screw on torque.

WHAT torque do the bolts on valve cover gasket needs to be? I read somewhere 7ft-pound and I was bolting it to to 7, but cracked/ripped the nut from engine assembly (don't you laugh at it ). Much to my luck, that screw on the engine is not part of the engine (now I will have to ask the $stealer for replacement and car is going to be out of action for few days). So please help with torque values.

Also, while I was changing the gasket (still am with the car in garage and engine open with missing bolt), I checked the spark plugs and they are NGK. I have attached picture of contact points. Do you think I should change it?
I would. This is a while you are at it type of thing. BMW does recommend new plugs every 100K, so you would be following their specs. Make sure you are using an accurate torque wrench.
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  #9  
Old 09-25-2012, 08:15 AM
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G. P. Burdell G. P. Burdell is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kskane View Post
WHAT torque do the bolts on valve cover gasket needs to be? I read somewhere 7ft-pound and I was bolting it to to 7, but cracked/ripped the nut from engine assembly
7 ft-lbs isn't far from the actual spec; it's listed in the Beisan Systems double VANOS repair article. With an accurate inch-pound wrench, you feel the "click" when you tighten the nut to just a little bit beyond the point where it bottoms out on the threaded stud.

If the valve cover gasket was previously replaced, it's possible that whoever did the work overtorqued and weakened the studs in the cylinder head. Fortunately, replacements aren't expensive.

Also, remember that a torque wrench is most accurate in the middle of its range, and it is least accurate at the limits of its range. A 5 to 45 ft-lbs range, for example, isn't the best choice.
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  #10  
Old 09-27-2012, 09:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kskane View Post
Boys, I need some help. While I was about to bolt the new gasket in, I !@#$#@#@!@#$ the first screw on torque.
I got the M6/7x29.5 bolt that I broke above. Now what I realise next is that the bolt side M7 that goes into the engine side would not tighten, once it is fully screwed in, it just keeps rotating seems like the threads are gone or lose or something (but if I try to pull the bolt it does not comes out). I did some finding and it appears that I need helicoils. Does any one know if following is that I need?

Part number 07 14 6 958 587

Otherwise, for M7 bolt, would I need a 7mm helicoil or a 8mm helicoil. Also, what is the thread size on the bolt M6/7x29.5 bolt, 1mm or 1.?? mm or 0.?? mm

For further details, the bolt with part number: 11121718856 is going into the engine assembly and is free i.e. the thread on the female part which is in the engine assembly needs repairing for which I need helicoils. But what size of helicoil is what I need to know.

Last edited by kskane; 09-27-2012 at 10:02 PM.
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  #11  
Old 09-30-2012, 01:55 AM
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Okay the VCG was replaced and I will test it for next 3-6 months to see if that helped as people have said that gasket starts leaking in few months if something is not done right.

But what I did observe under the vehicle, two oil leaks. One appears to be sump leak (front bottom right corner of the engine - 1st pic), the second one is what is confusing me as it seems to be between the engine and the torque converter (right bottom back corner - 2nd pic, the oil is leaking from the bolt at the bottom which is coming from inside), but the screw that has the oil is coming from the engine bay. So is this the engine sump or some other gasket between the engine or the torque......

Also, looking at the oil drops can people contribute there experience if this is heavy leakage or small leakage or really small leakage. After changing the OFG and VCG recently (to which I was losing about 1 litre in 3-4 weeks with 250-300KM driving) I don't know how much I will be losing now. But would appreciate your experience contribution here.
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  #12  
Old 09-30-2012, 07:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kskane View Post
Okay the VCG was replaced and I will test it for next 3-6 months to see if that helped as people have said that gasket starts leaking in few months if something is not done right.

But what I did observe under the vehicle, two oil leaks. One appears to be sump leak (front bottom right corner of the engine - 1st pic), the second one is what is confusing me as it seems to be between the engine and the torque converter (right bottom back corner - 2nd pic, the oil is leaking from the bolt at the bottom which is coming from inside), but the screw that has the oil is coming from the engine bay. So is this the engine sump or some other gasket between the engine or the torque......

Also, looking at the oil drops can people contribute there experience if this is heavy leakage or small leakage or really small leakage. After changing the OFG and VCG recently (to which I was losing about 1 litre in 3-4 weeks with 250-300KM driving) I don't know how much I will be losing now. But would appreciate your experience contribution here.
What your pictures show is the result of gravity. Look up from there to find the leak.
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  #13  
Old 10-01-2012, 09:47 AM
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X3-terrestrial X3-terrestrial is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G. P. Burdell View Post
7 ft-lbs isn't far from the actual spec; it's listed in the Beisan Systems double VANOS repair article. With an accurate inch-pound wrench, you feel the "click" when you tighten the nut to just a little bit beyond the point where it bottoms out on the threaded stud.

If the valve cover gasket was previously replaced, it's possible that whoever did the work overtorqued and weakened the studs in the cylinder head. Fortunately, replacements aren't expensive.

Also, remember that a torque wrench is most accurate in the middle of its range, and it is least accurate at the limits of its range. A 5 to 45 ft-lbs range, for example, isn't the best choice.
Hey guys,
Does anybody know the torque spec for the actual stud? (the one that goes in the block?
(yes, I broke one...)
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  #14  
Old 10-02-2012, 03:47 AM
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Originally Posted by X3-terrestrial View Post
Hey guys,
Does anybody know the torque spec for the actual stud? (the one that goes in the block?
(yes, I broke one...)
5-6 pound-feet. Be very careful when threading the bolt into egine assembly, if you over torque it, you will screw up the thread as I discovered above done by the Indy before.
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  #15  
Old 10-02-2012, 06:37 AM
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Cool, thanks. Everything went well!
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  #16  
Old 10-02-2012, 04:49 PM
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kskane did you only change your valve cover gasket? or did you also change your cvv? i have the same exact problem. my pictures even match your first two in the first post. i had the valve cover gasket replaced less then twenty thousand miles ago. and was just about to change the cvv, but was curious if maybe its more so the gasket. was going to still change the cvv but would rather knock two birds with one stone.
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  #17  
Old 10-02-2012, 05:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fast Bob View Post
Sounds like it`s time to replace the CVV.

(VCG and new plugs should be done at the same time)
Listen to Fast Bob here.....VCG leak is a symptom and not always due to dry VCG gasket in our cars. In many, many cases it is a sign that the pressures in your engine are high due to a malfunctioning Crankcase Ventilation Valve assembly....CVV- the root cause!

Change the valve if you never have, along with the two vent hoses and the drain hose that goes down to the oil dipstick tube.

Then change your leaking gaskets caused by this failure-which can also blow you OFHG, and/or oil pan gasket. The weakest link - usually VCG- is going to blow when CVV is inop.
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  #18  
Old 10-03-2012, 08:06 AM
mr.miriclewhip mr.miriclewhip is offline
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for sure i am i was just wondering if i will need to re replace the vcg it was replaced recently, but was wondering if the cvv just being replaced would stop the extra pressure causing the leak. i dont mind if i have to re replace the vcg i just didnt know how fast it would take for that to fail because i stopped driving the car once i had the slightest sign of it acting strange. just didnt want to replace the cvv, and not redue the vcg and that cause it to still be at fault. you know? i say this because i know me and my friend change the vcg and vanos rebuild less then twenty k ago.
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Old 10-03-2012, 09:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QAfred View Post
Listen to Fast Bob here.....VCG leak is a symptom and not always due to dry VCG gasket in our cars. In many, many cases it is a sign that the pressures in your engine are high due to a malfunctioning Crankcase Ventilation Valve assembly....CVV- the root cause!

Change the valve if you never have, along with the two vent hoses and the drain hose that goes down to the oil dipstick tube.

Then change your leaking gaskets caused by this failure-which can also blow you OFHG, and/or oil pan gasket. The weakest link - usually VCG- is going to blow when CVV is inop.
Can anyone point me in the direction of a DIY for this fix. I think I will replace the above Before I get into my valve cover leak, But I dont have a clue what these parts look like, or where there located, or anything like that.....
Any help would be appreciated!
Thanks!
Alan
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  #20  
Old 10-03-2012, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Grouper View Post
Can anyone point me in the direction of a DIY for this fix. I think I will replace the above Before I get into my valve cover leak, But I dont have a clue what these parts look like, or where there located, or anything like that.....
Any help would be appreciated!
Thanks!
Alan
This is the step-by-step I used when I did mine in our old e46 back in 2010. It's rather a pain in the a$$ job. Just think of a whole day for completion.

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=643639
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  #21  
Old 10-08-2012, 05:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr.miriclewhip View Post
kskane did you only change your valve cover gasket? or did you also change your cvv? i have the same exact problem. my pictures even match your first two in the first post. i had the valve cover gasket replaced less then twenty thousand miles ago. and was just about to change the cvv, but was curious if maybe its more so the gasket. was going to still change the cvv but would rather knock two birds with one stone.
mr.miriclewhip, sorry for the late response, I first changed the OFHG, and then the VCG. I still have the leak in the second image which is from oil sump. I have not done any replacement of CVV, but guess I will be looking at that next (although, my breather hose that goes into the dipstick was recently replaced before i started all this DIY).
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  #22  
Old 04-25-2013, 11:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kskane View Post
Okay the VCG was replaced and I will test it for next 3-6 months to see if that helped as people have said that gasket starts leaking in few months if something is not done right.

But what I did observe under the vehicle, two oil leaks. One appears to be sump leak (front bottom right corner of the engine - 1st pic), the second one is what is confusing me as it seems to be between the engine and the torque converter (right bottom back corner - 2nd pic, the oil is leaking from the bolt at the bottom which is coming from inside), but the screw that has the oil is coming from the engine bay. So is this the engine sump or some other gasket between the engine or the torque......

Also, looking at the oil drops can people contribute there experience if this is heavy leakage or small leakage or really small leakage. After changing the OFG and VCG recently (to which I was losing about 1 litre in 3-4 weeks with 250-300KM driving) I don't know how much I will be losing now. But would appreciate your experience contribution here.
Looks like you have an oil pan gasket leak and/or a rear main seal leak, or combination of both...
Most definitely the cause being from a failed/ blocked CCV Valve reversing the vacuum and creating positive pressure back into the engine head/ valve cover, thus, blowing the seals...
Ask me how I know...

Read this thread by "02Pilot" intently...
http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...CV-replacement

Reference my thread about the CCV on the M54 engine:
http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...cement-FYI-M54

Thanks!
Jason
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  #23  
Old 10-13-2013, 12:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason5driver View Post
Looks like you have an oil pan gasket leak and/or a rear main seal leak, or combination of both...
Most definitely the cause being from a failed/ blocked CCV Valve reversing the vacuum and creating positive pressure back into the engine head/ valve cover, thus, blowing the seals...
Ask me how I know...

Read this thread by "02Pilot" intently...
http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...CV-replacement

Reference my thread about the CCV on the M54 engine:
http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...cement-FYI-M54

Thanks!
Jason
My X3 with the M54 2.5 litre engine has been also experiencing high oil consumption, although I think a lot of this is occurring under load when I climb or descend long gradients. In the past couple weeks, the yellow low oil light comes on while descending after a long climb. In each instance, I added approx 0,5l of oil afterwards.

This hasn't been a good year for my traditionally-reliable X3. The CCV was replaced this past May after it failed and the SES light illuminated (157k mls) and the valve cover gaskets were replaced back around 125.000mls last year. I've checked the usual place for the leaking valve cover gasket (the exhaust manihold plate on the left side of the engine but that's clean), and haven't noticed any unusual smoke lately. It drives just fine, except for the oil consumption. A couple of the coil packs failed when my dad had it, so when he replaced them, he said there wasn't oil in the spark plugs.

In fact, it has been hard to pinpoint exactly where the leak is, so I pulled off the front underbody plastic cover this morning, which wasn't dirty or visibily oil-stained. However, I noticed the residue of burnt oil similar to picture 1 above in post #11, immediately behind the belts.

If it matters: the vehicle is never abused but it is "driven". There are certain stretches of hwy where it's running 3500rpm for a long time at 140-150km/h, and I live in the mountains so there's a lot of up and down where the revs are on the high side.

Ideas?

Last edited by AzNMpower32; 10-13-2013 at 12:14 PM.
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  #24  
Old 10-14-2013, 02:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AzNMpower32 View Post
My X3 with the M54 2.5 litre engine has been also experiencing high oil consumption, although I think a lot of this is occurring under load when I climb or descend long gradients. In the past couple weeks, the yellow low oil light comes on while descending after a long climb. In each instance, I added approx 0,5l of oil afterwards.

This hasn't been a good year for my traditionally-reliable X3. The CCV was replaced this past May after it failed and the SES light illuminated (157k mls) and the valve cover gaskets were replaced back around 125.000mls last year. I've checked the usual place for the leaking valve cover gasket (the exhaust manihold plate on the left side of the engine but that's clean), and haven't noticed any unusual smoke lately. It drives just fine, except for the oil consumption. A couple of the coil packs failed when my dad had it, so when he replaced them, he said there wasn't oil in the spark plugs.

In fact, it has been hard to pinpoint exactly where the leak is, so I pulled off the front underbody plastic cover this morning, which wasn't dirty or visibily oil-stained. However, I noticed the residue of burnt oil similar to picture 1 above in post #11, immediately behind the belts.

If it matters: the vehicle is never abused but it is "driven". There are certain stretches of hwy where it's running 3500rpm for a long time at 140-150km/h, and I live in the mountains so there's a lot of up and down where the revs are on the high side.

Ideas?
Check your OFHG, usual suspect as well for leaks. To my knowledge, M54 is not an engine that will eat oil or thankfully mine has not done that. My OFHG was gone, there is DIY here for the same by me somewhere.
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  #25  
Old 10-15-2013, 05:54 PM
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I was hoping it would the the OFHG so I pulled out the air filter after work today to try and pinpoint the source. However, the oil filter area looks fairly dry and there's no oil residue underneath or in the vicinity of the oil filter itself.

I know this isn't the best picture, but one can see the stains on the bottom part of the engine. There's definitely some sort of leak somewhere, as you can see it on the engine (Foto taken right next to the intake boot, right > is rearwards towards passenger cabin). I know at one point the dealer mentioned something related to the VANOS leaking, but not sure how to verify that.
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Last edited by AzNMpower32; 10-15-2013 at 05:56 PM.
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