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E60 / E61 (2004 - 2010)
BMW 5-Series E60 Sedan was first seen in the Unites States in the fall of 2003 with a 2004 Model Year designation. The E61 wagon followed shortly there after. The E60/E61 5 series is now available as a 528i, 528xi, 535i, 535xi, 550i and a 535xi sports wagon! -- View the E60 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 01-27-2016, 12:51 PM
DWAGENT DWAGENT is offline
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Oil leaking from engine gasket...?

Hi all--

I need a "sanity check". I have a 2008 535i (E60), and in December, I took it in to a local shop because I was having a problem with an engine fault.

While they were working on it, they said that the oil filter housing gasket was wearing out, and since everything was all opened up already, it made sense to replace it now...if I didn't do it then, it would only get worse, and I would have to pay for them to open it all back up again (paying for that labor twice) to replace it. So I agreed to have them do it.

It's now about a month later, and my car has been leaking oil. I took it in to them, and they said "Well, we saw and replaced the OUTER gasket, but the leak is coming from the INNER gasket, which we did not touch". So now they want me to pay to open the engine back up (the very same thing that I was supposedly avoiding last time) in order to replace this inner gasket. When I asked why they didn't replace both at the same time last time, they said the inner gasket was up inside the engine itself, and not related to or visible from what they were working on last time.

My questions are:
1) Does this make sense to anyone? I mean...I realize there are many, many, many different gaskets inside a car engine, but does it make sense that they could be in the area of the oil filter gasket and not see this?
2) They estimate 4 to 5 hours of labor to access this inner gasket...or about $450 in labor just to get to it. Does this seem about right, in terms of hours and their rate?
3) There are OTHER things which I should ask them to check while their in there? They said these gaskets frequently just wear out with age (it's a 2008, ~85K miles). Are there other things which are about to "age out"...? I don't want to pay $450 for every gasket or doodad that wears out in the engine...if they're going in there, what else should I ask them to check?

Thanks a lot for any and all assistance.
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  #2  
Old 01-27-2016, 01:15 PM
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Wgosma Wgosma is offline
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I own an older 5-Series car, it's oil filter housing is a bit different from what is on your car. Look at the attachment; gasket #4 is what I would term the OFH gasket - it's the gasket that seals the housing to the engine's head; that must be what they're referring to.
Maybe the shop simply changed the o-ring gasket (item #13) which seals the top of the filter housing CAP to the filter CANNISTER? (that typically gets changed whenever one changes the car's oil filter...an o-ring is always included with the filter element.....and as you can see, it's readily acccesssible and VERY easy to change). It is a bit involved to get the OF housing off the car's head to replace the 'internal' gasket (#4) as other components have to be removed to gain access.

Good Luck/Bill
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Last edited by Wgosma; 01-27-2016 at 01:33 PM.
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  #3  
Old 01-27-2016, 01:38 PM
DWAGENT DWAGENT is offline
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Thanks for your reply. The original gasket repair involved a part they called a "oil filter housing". They said they replaced an "outer gasket" for that. I'm not 100% sure, of course, but that doesn't sound like involves the filter cap or canister.

In any case, do you think 4-5 hours of labor to get access to the "internal" gasket is reasonable? Is $90/hr a reasonable labor rate?

Thanks again
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  #4  
Old 01-27-2016, 01:47 PM
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Wgosma Wgosma is offline
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Their labor hour quote is about right to remove the OF housing and replace the gasket I referenced. I just wonder based on what you said that maybe they have done this in December and that new gasket is leaking....I think worth a look at your invoice and specifically look at the list of PARTS they replaced- cross check that with the p/n's on that diagram. This is not a cheap repair and tho these gaskets will eventually leak they should yield many years of service and show at worst VERY minor seepage.
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Old 01-27-2016, 02:04 PM
spbonus spbonus is offline
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The price they quoted is not bad for that job. However they should have done both when they did it the first time. It's the oil filter housing gasket and the other one is the gasket on the oil cooler side.
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  #6  
Old 01-27-2016, 02:18 PM
DWAGENT DWAGENT is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wgosma View Post
Their labor hour quote is about right to remove the OF housing and replace the gasket I referenced. I just wonder based on what you said that maybe they have done this in December and that new gasket is leaking....I think worth a look at your invoice and specifically look at the list of PARTS they replaced- cross check that with the p/n's on that diagram. This is not a cheap repair and tho these gaskets will eventually leak they should yield many years of service and show at worst VERY minor seepage.
This is an independent shop, and they did not write part numbers down for me...they just wrote "Oil filter housing outer gasket". The price for that part was $29.95, and they charged me $135 labor (since, at that time, they were already in the engine, fixing the "intake shaft adjuster").

I also *THOUGHT*, based on their description of the issue at the time, that it was the same issue that they addressed back in December, but it just hadn't been done properly or had failed prematurely...but they assure me emphatically that this is a DIFFERENT gasket that happens to be related to the oil circulation system and located very inconveniently.

I also agree that these things shouldn't just fail after a month or two, and...it all seems just a bit odd.
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Old 01-27-2016, 02:31 PM
DWAGENT DWAGENT is offline
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Originally Posted by spbonus View Post
The price they quoted is not bad for that job. However they should have done both when they did it the first time. It's the oil filter housing gasket and the other one is the gasket on the oil cooler side.
That's what I thought, too. When this first came up, the guy told me that the gasket was just starting to show signs of wear, and I should do this to save money now AND prevent leaks in the future.

Well, just over a month later, I'm dealing with an engine oil leak that I never had before, and supposedly wasn't supposed to have (because I took his advice).

His answer to that was...well, I can't predict the future and tell you when parts will fail, no one can.

When I asked him why he only inspected the outer gasket and not the inner one, at the same time, he said the inner gasket was not visible, and there was no reason for him to deliberately open up the part and inspect the inner one.


I'm kind of stuck, at this point. I feel like he should have checked both of them, but I cannot hold him accountable because I didn't specifically ask him to do so.

I've been taking my cars to this shop for years (literally over 10 years), and they do pretty good quality work...but over the past year or so, people have moved on, and new ones have come in, and I *DO* feel like quality has slipped a bit...but then again, these things are rarely ever clear-cut, in terms of responsibility.

So what do you guys think? Is this a big deal, and should I take my car (and future business) elsewhere, or is what's done is done, and I should just tell this shop to go ahead with the repair?
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Old 01-27-2016, 02:54 PM
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Wgosma Wgosma is offline
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My 'guess' is that the gasket that has been replaced was not what I would technically term the OFH gasket; it was the gasket (#5) that seals the oil cooler housing to the OF housing. That gasket is relatively easy to access, thus the lower labor hour charge. I'm not familiar enough with this motor to really provide an exacting comment; leave it to others here. As far as what to do going forward, well, you know these folks and I do not; trust your gut. Their labor rates beat my $127.50/hr California rates by a long ways, nothing cheap where I live!

RED arrows: point to the gasket I think has been replaced; this is where the oil cooler/thermostat assembly mates to the Oil Filter Housing.

YELLOW arrows: point to where the Oil Filter Housing mates/seals to the engine's head....you can't see the gasket but it's in there; this is the job your going to have done that takes 4+ hours.
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Old 01-27-2016, 05:14 PM
kaane kaane is offline
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I just had the same oil leak. The outside gasket leaks first always. It takes about 2 hours to fix. The inside one is a major PITA. 1 bolt is behind the intake manifold, so you need to remove the entire intake manifold assembly which takes like 5-6 hours. So they charged you for the outside because it's easy and leaks first. The inside one leaks eventually always though. Take a look at this DIY to see what it entails, it's for a 335, but it's the same engine.

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=791674

Sometimes the outside gasket has soo much oil around it it's very hard to tell if the inside one is leaking. I just did the outside one myself and washed everything and going to monitor the inside one, I am pretty damn sure the inside one will leak soon.

Last edited by kaane; 01-27-2016 at 05:20 PM.
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  #10  
Old 01-27-2016, 05:19 PM
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Wgosma Wgosma is offline
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Pull the intake manifold, ugh....I'm sticking with my E39 a while longer
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Old 01-27-2016, 05:32 PM
kaane kaane is offline
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If they are going to replace that gasket have them do Walnut blasting of the intake valves since the labor is about the same.
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Old 01-27-2016, 05:32 PM
DWAGENT DWAGENT is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wgosma View Post
My 'guess' is that the gasket that has been replaced was not what I would technically term the OFH gasket; it was the gasket (#5) that seals the oil cooler housing to the OF housing. That gasket is relatively easy to access, thus the lower labor hour charge. I'm not familiar enough with this motor to really provide an exacting comment; leave it to others here. As far as what to do going forward, well, you know these folks and I do not; trust your gut. Their labor rates beat my $127.50/hr California rates by a long ways, nothing cheap where I live!

RED arrows: point to the gasket I think has been replaced; this is where the oil cooler/thermostat assembly mates to the Oil Filter Housing.

YELLOW arrows: point to where the Oil Filter Housing mates/seals to the engine's head....you can't see the gasket but it's in there; this is the job your going to have done that takes 4+ hours.

Well, I guess there's some comfort in the lower labor rate. Although it'd probably be worth trading the wind chill for the sunny weather...
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Old 01-27-2016, 05:35 PM
DWAGENT DWAGENT is offline
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Originally Posted by kaane View Post
If they are going to replace that gasket have them do Walnut blasting of the intake valves since the labor is about the same.
What does "walnut blasting" mean...?

They said they're going to have to open up the intake valves in order to get to this gasket, and they each have their own gaskets that will need to be replaced.
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Old 01-27-2016, 05:43 PM
DWAGENT DWAGENT is offline
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Originally Posted by kaane View Post
I just had the same oil leak. The outside gasket leaks first always. It takes about 2 hours to fix. The inside one is a major PITA. 1 bolt is behind the intake manifold, so you need to remove the entire intake manifold assembly which takes like 5-6 hours. So they charged you for the outside because it's easy and leaks first. The inside one leaks eventually always though. Take a look at this DIY to see what it entails, it's for a 335, but it's the same engine.

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=791674

Sometimes the outside gasket has soo much oil around it it's very hard to tell if the inside one is leaking. I just did the outside one myself and washed everything and going to monitor the inside one, I am pretty damn sure the inside one will leak soon.

Hmm. Interesting. And expensive :-( But interesting.

What caught my attention immediately in that link you shared is that they said a bad water pump and thermostat were frequently related.

As a matter of fact, my water pump went bad, and they want to replace the thermostat at the same time (they said it doesn't make sense not to do them together--which I agree with).

Anyway, it's just weird that there's a pattern of these three things going bad at the same time...AND there's another funny little twist here...I had my water pump replaced just 6 months ago.

My car has about 85K miles (not quite 100K, but close)...never had any problems with the water pump or oil leaks, until last August, when my water pump breaks. I had it replaced (along with the thermostat), and then in December, I was told a gasket needs to be replaced...a month later, my water pump breaks again, and another gasket needs to be replaced. Could be weird coincidences, or could all be related...?

My water pump is being replaced under parts warranty...maybe my gasket should be covered by the same warranty, if it was related to the defective water pump...?
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Old 01-27-2016, 06:00 PM
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Wgosma Wgosma is offline
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Well this does not answer your questions but having owned 3 5-Series cars and prior to that a couple of 3-Series I can tell you the components used in the cooling systems on MANY models are just not very robust. Now your 6 month water pump failure is unusual, but MANY owners do preventative maintenance on the cars cooling system at 75-100K mileage intervals; water pump, thermostat, hoses, belt idler pulleys, some will install new radiator.
If you ever see this cars temp running above normal or edging into the HOT zone be smart and shut the motor off IMMEDIATELY....these engines can be damaged very quickly if temp rises above normal.
What to say on this repair???....enjoy you low labor rate I guess
Good luck on this/Bill
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Old 01-27-2016, 06:02 PM
kaane kaane is offline
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Originally Posted by DWAGENT View Post
What does "walnut blasting" mean...?

They said they're going to have to open up the intake valves in order to get to this gasket, and they each have their own gaskets that will need to be replaced.
These engines get super bad carbon deposits on the intake valves. They need to be cleaned or they start suffering misfires and just running like crap.

Read this to get more information on what is involved.

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=682116
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Old 01-27-2016, 10:30 PM
brenanc brenanc is offline
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Oil leaking fromengine gasket

I just had work done on my '07 530i. Same issue and same history. One mechanic replaced the oil cooler gasket which is the easier access gasket. The inner gasket went bad a year later and a lot of oil was leaking into the cylinder head area. The same mechanic told me the cylinder head gasket was the culprit (he forgot that he never replaced the inner gasket). I went to another indy who was a Master Tech at BMW before he went on his own and he wouldn't buy the "bad cylinder head" theory. Needless to say, the second gasket was my issue. I paid $380 for the job. Labor was $ 315 as per the invoice.
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Old 01-28-2016, 01:15 AM
DWAGENT DWAGENT is offline
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Originally Posted by brenanc View Post
I just had work done on my '07 530i. Same issue and same history. One mechanic replaced the oil cooler gasket which is the easier access gasket. The inner gasket went bad a year later and a lot of oil was leaking into the cylinder head area. The same mechanic told me the cylinder head gasket was the culprit (he forgot that he never replaced the inner gasket). I went to another indy who was a Master Tech at BMW before he went on his own and he wouldn't buy the "bad cylinder head" theory. Needless to say, the second gasket was my issue. I paid $380 for the job. Labor was $ 315 as per the invoice.
Thanks...I'm glad to hear, at least, that I'm not the only one having this problem...and that the water pump / oil inner gasket thing isn't as weird/unusual as I originally suspected.

$380 to have this done by a BMW Master Tech sounds like a great deal--congrats!
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Old 01-28-2016, 01:16 AM
DWAGENT DWAGENT is offline
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Originally Posted by kaane View Post
These engines get super bad carbon deposits on the intake valves. They need to be cleaned or they start suffering misfires and just running like crap.

Read this to get more information on what is involved.

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=682116
I'll take a look--thanks!
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Old 01-28-2016, 01:21 AM
DWAGENT DWAGENT is offline
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Originally Posted by Wgosma View Post
Well this does not answer your questions but having owned 3 5-Series cars and prior to that a couple of 3-Series I can tell you the components used in the cooling systems on MANY models are just not very robust. Now your 6 month water pump failure is unusual, but MANY owners do preventative maintenance on the cars cooling system at 75-100K mileage intervals; water pump, thermostat, hoses, belt idler pulleys, some will install new radiator.
If you ever see this cars temp running above normal or edging into the HOT zone be smart and shut the motor off IMMEDIATELY....these engines can be damaged very quickly if temp rises above normal.
What to say on this repair???....enjoy you low labor rate I guess
Good luck on this/Bill

I guess I'm right in that ballpark, at 85K miles. Thanks...this was exactly what I was hoping for, a little sanity check. I've just had so many problems, all recently, and all seemingly too weird or related to be purely coincidental...that I wanted some "independent" opinions (by which I mean someone who wasn't trying to make a buck off the situation).
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Old 01-28-2016, 04:43 AM
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Good luck- what you are experiencing is the stuff that we all deal with as BMW owners and the kind of thing that drives some to buy Japanese brand car. But many of us hang with the Bimmers, no other car drives quite as well!
Attend to that cooling system stuff, don't cut corners as you may end up stranded with an overheated car....do the PM and you're good for another 80K+ miles and NO worries.
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Old 01-28-2016, 12:01 PM
DWAGENT DWAGENT is offline
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Originally Posted by Wgosma View Post
Good luck- what you are experiencing is the stuff that we all deal with as BMW owners and the kind of thing that drives some to buy Japanese brand car. But many of us hang with the Bimmers, no other car drives quite as well!
Attend to that cooling system stuff, don't cut corners as you may end up stranded with an overheated car....do the PM and you're good for another 80K+ miles and NO worries.
Thanks. I just want some sign that there's a light at the end of this time-and-money-sucking tunnel...lol.

But you are right, nothing drives like this one...in the past, I have changed cars every 3-4 years, but this E60 is so much fun that I'm on 6 years, and will probably continue to keep it until a compelling all-electric comes out. Until then, nothing else compares!
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Old 01-28-2016, 12:22 PM
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Thanks. I just want some sign that there's a light at the end of this time-and-money-sucking tunnel...lol.

But you are right, nothing drives like this one...in the past, I have changed cars every 3-4 years, but this E60 is so much fun that I'm on 6 years, and will probably continue to keep it until a compelling all-electric comes out. Until then, nothing else compares!
About the best any of us can do is keep up on the maintenance and sorta cross our fingers too. Some of the stuff that 'breaks' on these cars can be aggrivating, like window regulators that fail, plastic stuff under the hood that cracks, etc. etc. For those who must have a shop do ALL the work every time it can get a bit problematic as it seems you can't get out the door for under 500 bucks per repair. At age 64 I still do a reasonable amount of my own car work, so that helps - but the older I get the less interest I have in doing 'heavy' (under the car) work.

Have your mechanic inspect ALL components in the cooling system, that is one part of these cars that just should not ever be overlooked. And your car is 'in the zone' for cooling PM.

Good Luck/Bill
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Old 01-28-2016, 01:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wgosma View Post
My 'guess' is that the gasket that has been replaced was not what I would technically term the OFH gasket; it was the gasket (#5) that seals the oil cooler housing to the OF housing. That gasket is relatively easy to access, thus the lower labor hour charge. I'm not familiar enough with this motor to really provide an exacting comment; leave it to others here. As far as what to do going forward, well, you know these folks and I do not; trust your gut. Their labor rates beat my $127.50/hr California rates by a long ways, nothing cheap where I live!

RED arrows: point to the gasket I think has been replaced; this is where the oil cooler/thermostat assembly mates to the Oil Filter Housing.

YELLOW arrows: point to where the Oil Filter Housing mates/seals to the engine's head....you can't see the gasket but it's in there; this is the job your going to have done that takes 4+ hours.
This is one of the more common leaks on the N52 engine.

Although, I did both gaskets in 45 minutes. You don't have to pull the intake manifold. If you use an extension and a Wobble/Swivel Socket set for the last bolt farthest away from you.

Telling you, a little under 45 minutes is all you need. Parts were less than $25 for both (using the BMW parts finder tool).
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Old 01-28-2016, 01:28 PM
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This is one of the more common leaks on the N52 engine.

Although, I did both gaskets in 45 minutes. You don't have to pull the intake manifold. If you use an extension and a Wobble/Swivel Socket set for the last bolt farthest away from you.

Telling you, a little under 45 minutes is all you need. Parts were less than $25 for both (using the BMW parts finder tool).
45 minutes, that's impressive - maybe our OP should share that info with his mechanic
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