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X3 E83 (2004 - 2010)
Talk about the E83 BMW X3 in this forum!

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  #1  
Old 07-07-2013, 05:52 PM
rmerkushen rmerkushen is offline
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Mein Auto: E90 330i, E83 X3si
Rear main seal ongoing

Have 2007 x3 with 110k miles. Several oil leaks have been discovered right after my warranty has expired, which kind of sucks, but it is what it is. Valve cover, oil pan gaskets were replaced without any major issues. Oil pan gasket was a major pain in the ass with having to drop front subframe down. While it was down, I replaced water pump and thermo.

Rar main seal was replaced by my neighbor for reasonable price. He is a mechanic, very competent dude. Everything looked good for about a week, then I started seeing it spray out oil. So while doing my oil pan gasket, I looked at the seal and it was leaking around the crank. I went out and got another main seal from local bmw dealer. Looking at the new seal, it is different color and slighly different looking. The one my neighbor installed is brown, and the new one is black. Compared boxes, same part number. Googled rear main seal and it looks exactly like m54 seal. So I am like wtf, they had to put wrong part in the right box, had to happen to me...

So I went on to replace the seal according to Bentley manual. Install was a little tricky, I accidentally recessed it to about 1.5 to 2mm, and I did use loctite sealer from bmw dealer $100. Put everything back together, and after running it around town seeing a bit of oil.. Not as much as before, but still coming out. Question is, did I install it incorrectly by recessing the seal? I can post pics of how it was installed...

The job is a big pain in the ass, I don't want to do this again. There is no other place it's leaking from, everything else is dry..

PICS added.. Last picture illustrates wrong main seal in place.. What a mess..
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Last edited by rmerkushen; 07-08-2013 at 07:54 AM.
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  #2  
Old 07-08-2013, 08:42 AM
usaret usaret is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmerkushen View Post
Have 2007 x3 with 110k miles. Several oil leaks have been discovered right after my warranty has expired, which kind of sucks, but it is what it is. Valve cover, oil pan gaskets were replaced without any major issues. Oil pan gasket was a major pain in the ass with having to drop front subframe down. While it was down, I replaced water pump and thermo.

Rar main seal was replaced by my neighbor for reasonable price. He is a mechanic, very competent dude. Everything looked good for about a week, then I started seeing it spray out oil. So while doing my oil pan gasket, I looked at the seal and it was leaking around the crank. I went out and got another main seal from local bmw dealer. Looking at the new seal, it is different color and slighly different looking. The one my neighbor installed is brown, and the new one is black. Compared boxes, same part number. Googled rear main seal and it looks exactly like m54 seal. So I am like wtf, they had to put wrong part in the right box, had to happen to me...

So I went on to replace the seal according to Bentley manual. Install was a little tricky, I accidentally recessed it to about 1.5 to 2mm, and I did use loctite sealer from bmw dealer $100. Put everything back together, and after running it around town seeing a bit of oil.. Not as much as before, but still coming out. Question is, did I install it incorrectly by recessing the seal? I can post pics of how it was installed...

The job is a big pain in the ass, I don't want to do this again. There is no other place it's leaking from, everything else is dry..

PICS added.. Last picture illustrates wrong main seal in place.. What a mess..
I don't see how recessing the new seal would matter as long as the crank was smooth. The only thing I can figure is that the seal is getting damaged somehow during installation or you have main bearing issues. I would try a search on the E90 forum and see what you can glean on the subject.
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  #3  
Old 07-09-2013, 10:31 AM
rmerkushen rmerkushen is offline
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Mein Auto: E90 330i, E83 X3si
Thanks, did that.. Leaky main is common issue with these cars.. Trying to avoid redoing this, may be I will just let the dealer do it for $1100..
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  #4  
Old 07-09-2013, 12:31 PM
usaret usaret is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmerkushen View Post
Trying to avoid redoing this, may be I will just let the dealer do it for $1100..
That's what I would do. If they do it and it leaks it's on them. As I'm sure you're already aware installing rear mains on these engines is tricky with the sealant injector.
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  #5  
Old 07-10-2013, 05:50 AM
phil2.0 phil2.0 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2005 x3 2.0d
Rear main seal ongoing

hi there , need torque specs for x3 driveshafts, asap please, if anyone can assist


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  #6  
Old 07-10-2013, 06:25 AM
rmerkushen rmerkushen is offline
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Mein Auto: E90 330i, E83 X3si
Quote:
Originally Posted by phil2.0 View Post
hi there , need torque specs for x3 driveshafts, asap please, if anyone can assist


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I can get it to you tonight.. There are two different torque specs, one for 12mm (star), the one one for 18mm main shaft .. Which one are you looking for?
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  #7  
Old 07-10-2013, 08:53 AM
swampX3 swampX3 is offline
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Mein Auto: X3 and 330
crankcase pressurized ?

have you made a check to see if you're crankcase is pressurizes due to cylinder blow by etc......maybe do a quick cylinder pressure build up test ????......pressurization will exacerbate seal or general leak problems......also ....you can get some idea of pressurization when you open the oil filler with engine running you should have a little vacuum that will just suck on the palm of you hand
also check how long the seals have been on the shelf and if the seal area on the crank is grooved/too polished......the old air cooled bugs were infamous for this at the rear main
one trick we use on high pressure gas compressor packings that wont seal on high polish packing areas say less than 5 micron surface finish is to use a very mild abrasive paste/cloth to break the glaze and effect a seal surface that will hold up
be sure to line up the small slots in the seal OD with the case split line and fill as per manual
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  #8  
Old 07-10-2013, 10:32 AM
usaret usaret is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swampX3 View Post
be sure to line up the small slots in the seal OD with the case split line and fill as per manual

I take stuff like this to the dealer for several reasons.

First: I'm old and this is a big job.

Second: If it leaks for whatever reason I have a full 2 year parts and labor BMW warranty on the job.

Third: They'll give me a service loaner while the car is in the shop. Usually another BMW.
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  #9  
Old 07-11-2013, 04:57 AM
rmerkushen rmerkushen is offline
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Mein Auto: E90 330i, E83 X3si
Quote:
Originally Posted by swampX3 View Post
have you made a check to see if you're crankcase is pressurizes due to cylinder blow by etc......maybe do a quick cylinder pressure build up test ????......pressurization will exacerbate seal or general leak problems......also ....you can get some idea of pressurization when you open the oil filler with engine running you should have a little vacuum that will just suck on the palm of you hand
also check how long the seals have been on the shelf and if the seal area on the crank is grooved/too polished......the old air cooled bugs were infamous for this at the rear main
one trick we use on high pressure gas compressor packings that wont seal on high polish packing areas say less than 5 micron surface finish is to use a very mild abrasive paste/cloth to break the glaze and effect a seal surface that will hold up
be sure to line up the small slots in the seal OD with the case split line and fill as per manual
Excellent info, I checked for pressurization and it seemed normal with little vacuum.. So perhaps I seated the seal too deep with seal sealing edge sliding off the crankshaft?
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  #10  
Old 07-11-2013, 07:21 AM
usaret usaret is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmerkushen View Post
So perhaps I seated the seal too deep with seal sealing edge sliding off the crankshaft?
http://www.kommentools.com/collectio...n46t-n52-53-54
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  #11  
Old 07-11-2013, 09:13 AM
swampX3 swampX3 is offline
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Location: New Orleans
 
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Mein Auto: X3 and 330
seal tips

tip 1 ..... use best light.....and ....when pulling seals , especially with exterior type puller that can contact the seal OD Al or magnesium style case be extra careful not to mar/scratch the surface......if poss use the wood screw style tool useret posted to ensure you pull without damage to ID or OD sealing surfaces
tip 2 .... if totally broke and have to poboy it you can skim fill the Al or mag case area with epoxy....only a few thou to make up the land dinged.....ensure the hardened epoxy is blended well
tip 3.....seals gotta be installed in as clean an environment as a surgery......use q tips to get rid of final muck etc
tip 4....if crank seal surface OD is scratched you can try to hone it with a small stone just to blend it but don't remove material.....this will be tedious.....the surface is probably around as hard as rockwell 60ish.....maybe more if it's nitrided.....it's because of this hardness that it's very rare to damage a crank sealing surface with a puller
tip 5....if crank is grooved cause of trillions of revs in normal life you can poboy it by calculating a new seal lip surface.....you don't have much to play with here
tip 6..... try and set the seal to the correct depth with the correct tool.....gotta be square too.....keep the lube away from the outer case surface where the slot sealant across the case split line will go.....get the lube on the crank and seal lip only
tip 7....keep seal in freezer for a while and then you'll have a slightly easier press in job .....every thou of contraction helps.....the seal will shrink quite a bit....mike it before and after .....just like old phosy bronze valve guides that drop in when chilled
tip 8 .....don't be scared to ask the parts guys to check the seal elastomer for length of time it's been on the shelf....also check it's pliability against others at the shop
tip 9.....on very large marine recips and gas compressor cranks etc we can bump the crank to check main bearing clearances......you can only get a fraction of this info on a small BMW engine with worn main bearings .....this wear will affect sealing to an extent....but if they are pretty shot you can get some feel for it.....let's hope yours are good to go
tip 10....check crank surface for cracked mirror surface defect (hardened surface starting to go) as well as normal scratches/grooves
tip 11 ....be aware we are all rooting for your success from the swamp !
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  #12  
Old 07-11-2013, 10:28 AM
rmerkushen rmerkushen is offline
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Thanks gents, all good information here, have a decision to make.. Either a. pay the dealer to do this, or b. try one more time by buying the right tool and another seal ($160 in parts + 8 hours of my time)..
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  #13  
Old 07-11-2013, 10:34 AM
usaret usaret is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmerkushen View Post
Thanks gents, all good information here, have a decision to make.. Either a. pay the dealer to do this, or b. try one more time by buying the right tool and another seal ($160 in parts + 8 hours of my time)..
You're welcome. Do you have the shop manual showing the procedure for the N52 engine?
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  #14  
Old 07-11-2013, 10:38 AM
rmerkushen rmerkushen is offline
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Originally Posted by usaret View Post
You're welcome. Do you have the shop manual showing the procedure for the N52 engine?
Have Bentley manual for 330/328/335.. I assume its same for all N52 engines..
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  #15  
Old 07-11-2013, 10:40 AM
usaret usaret is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmerkushen View Post
Have Bentley manual for 330/328/335.. I assume its same for all N52 engines..
I'm sure they are. If you want to PM me your email address I'll send you a pdf from BMW TIS.

I won't post them here as they are copyrighted by BMW.

Last edited by usaret; 07-11-2013 at 10:53 AM.
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  #16  
Old 07-15-2013, 01:48 AM
phil2.0 phil2.0 is offline
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Location: south africa
 
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Mein Auto: 2005 x3 2.0d
Rear main seal ongoing

i am replacing clutch and dmf , removing both shafts to check universals while i am down there , so i will need specs on all relevant bolts , cheers


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  #17  
Old 07-15-2013, 06:27 AM
rmerkushen rmerkushen is offline
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Location: Forked River NJ
 
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Mein Auto: E90 330i, E83 X3si
Quote:
Originally Posted by phil2.0 View Post
i am replacing clutch and dmf , removing both shafts to check universals while i am down there , so i will need specs on all relevant bolts , cheers


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Several specs that I remember:

Flywheel to crank 70 ft/lbs
Torque converter to flysheel 41 ft/lbs
Transmission to engine block 15ft/lbs + 90-180 degrees (replace these bolts)
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  #18  
Old 08-27-2013, 06:59 PM
rmerkushen rmerkushen is offline
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Mein Auto: E90 330i, E83 X3si
It turned out that the seal was installed correctly, but from having transmission removed 3 times in the last 6 months must have damage transmission input shaft seal which leaked in same exact spot as the rear main. After replacing that, I am dry after 1400 miles of driving.
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