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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 11-02-2008, 08:24 PM
Lbert Lbert is offline
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DIY Oil Separtor, DISA, ICV

Access to the following:

- Oil Separator Valve (also known as: Pressure Regulating Valve, Crankcase Ventilation Valve CCV, PVC valve)
- Idle Control Valve (ICV)
- Intake Manifold Resonance Valve (also known as: DISA Valve)


This is a journal of the work I did on my car: a 2001 BMW 325i E46 sedan, auto transmission. To the best of my recollection, the following tools, parts, and procedures were used.

The instructions given as well as tools used are for reference only. Adjust the size (increase/decrease) of the sockets and torx fasteners that best fit your vehicle. You are responsible to cross check all part numbers listed are suitable to your car

Due to the extensive parts, connectors, and procedures, the level of difficulty of this project is high. Some have rated it as a 7 or 8 based on a 1-10 scale: oil change being level 1 and engine rebuild as level 10. Allocate at least 5 - 7 hours of work depending on your level of mechanical proficiency.


Tools

- T-40 & T-25 Torx fasteners
- 1/4” and 3/8” drive
6mm, 10mm, & 13mm sockets
Ratchet
Extension bars, various lengths
Universal joint
- Throttle body cleaner
- Small Mirror
- Screw driver
- Magnetic pick up tool
- 6 mm reversible ratchet wrench – For less than $10.00, this will pay for itself especially for hard to access lower air intake boot clamps
- Assembly lube
- Electrical connector cleaner
- Dielectric lubricant
- Hose cutter, i.e. small blade knife, pipe cutter or similar.

Shopping List

11617501566 Oil Separator
11611432559 Oil Separator Hose to Valve Cover
11157532629 Oil Separator Oil Dip Stick hose
11617504535 Oil Separator Connecting Hose
11617504536 Return Pipe from Connecting Hose
13541435627 Air Intake Boot; Lower
11431740045 O-Ring Oil Dip Stick Tube to Oil Pan
11611716174 Throttle Housing Gasket

If your car is subject to extreme cold climates, get the “cold climate” version of the Oil Separator Valve (11617533400) and Oil Separator Hose to Valve Cover hose (11617533398). Both parts will cost more.

Optional (get if budget allows)
11611437453 ICV rubber grommet


Helpful suggestions

- Although the 4 plastic hoses associated with the oil separator are unreasonably expensive, it is recommended to replace them. These plastic hoses get hard and brittle due to age and the heat/cold cycles they are subjected to. The older the car, the greater the likelihood the connector/hose will break during removal. These connectors are easy to connect but can be a challenge to disconnect especially in the confined area they are in. To facilitate removal, sometimes it is better to cut the old hose rather than deal with the connector. Prior to installation, practice connecting/disconnecting the parts to each other.

- Raise the front of the car either by using jack stands or ramps. This working position makes it easier to access the work area. In addition, you may need to access the car from underneath, although I did not have to this.

- To detach the various electrical wiring harness connectors, push down the metal wire clip and pull the connector out to disconnect. To re-install, simply reinsert connector until you hear the metal clip click. Pull and tug the connector to check if it is secure.

- Although the electrical wiring harness connectors are individually keyed to prevent cross connection, it is good practice to place a label on the connector and the unit that it attaches to. This way you do not accidentally force a connector where it does not belong. In addition, count the number of wiring connectors you are disconnecting. It is easy to miss a connector during installation.

- Label the screws, clamps, and bolts or tape it to the removed part so during installation the part will be where it belongs.

- Take several digital pictures as you go along during removal to serve as reference just in case you forget how things go.

- Although not necessary, it is a good idea to clean the electrical connectors with electrical spray cleaner and lightly coat it with dielectric lubricant.

- Lightly lubricate the ports of the new hoses with assembly lube to ease assembly.

- Check the condition of surrounding vacuum lines and hoses. If replacement is necessary, the vacuum lines and hoses maybe acquired through your local auto parts supplier.


Now the fun begins. It is best to remove the following parts in the order given.

1. Turn off the car and disconnect the battery.

2. Micro-filter housing assembly. Photo 1
- Remove micro filter plastic cover - 3 half-turn clips
- Remove micro filter
- Cable harness cover - lift clips to release cable harness
- Remove 4 T-40 torx screws located underneath the micro-filter
- Remove micro-filter housing

3 . Fuel rail cover. Photo 1
- Use small screwdriver to lift and remove 2 plastic caps
- Remove 2 10mm bolts holding fuel rail cover

4. Front air duct. Photo 1
- Remove 3 plastic expanding fasteners. Raise middle pin and pull out expanding fastener.

5. Mass Air Flow sensor (MAF) Photo 1
- Disconnect wiring harness to MAF sensor
- Loosen hose clamp between MAF and upper air intake boot
- Leave MAF connected to the air filter box

6. Air filter box assembly. Photo 1
- Detach wiring harness behind air filter box
- Remove 2 10mm bolts on air box base
- Notice location of a rectangular plastic air channel coming from the front (near radiator) of air filter box. This may come off during removal. Reattach air channel during installation
- Remove both air filter box and MAF as a unit. It is not necessary to separate from each other

7. Air intake boot -upper. Photo 1
- Disconnect vent “F” shape plastic vent tubing coming from top of the upper air intake boot. The “F” shape tubing breaks easily and maybe difficult to remove so another option is to leave the vent tubing attached and fiddle with air intake boot so it can sit on top of the intake manifold

8. Middle air intake boot connector
- Loosen both hose clamps
- Remove the hard plastic connector

9. Oil dipstick guide tube. Photo 2
- Detach wiring and vacuum lines hanging from oil dipstick guide tube
- Remove oil dip stick
- Detach or cut off the Oil Separator Dipstick Hose from the guide tube
- Remove 13mm bolt holding oil dipstick bracket to the engine
- Remove any dirt surrounding base area of the dipstick housing to prevent any dirt from falling into the engine. Raise the guide tube straight up. The base rod extends about 2 –3 inches into the engine. Oil will not spill out when the oil dipstick housing is removed as long as crankcase is not overfilled.
- Replace o-ring at base of the guide tube
- Insert a plug onto the engine opening to prevent anything from falling in
- Important: Clean the inside of the guide tube going to the oil separator. Any blockage will likely cause premature failure to the new oil separator.

10. Heat shield. Photo 1
- Remove 2 quarter-turn twist fasteners
- Move hose and rubber strip out of the way
- Remove heat shield

11. Lower air intake boot. Photo 3
- Before removing this boot, use a small mirror to view the large rubber tab at its base. This tab aligns between 2 raised guidelines located on the outside bottom of the throttle body port. Align the tab during installation
- Loosen 2 hose clamps – throttle body port and Idle Control Valve port
- Remove lower air intake boot
- Unlike the upper air intake boot, the lower air intake boot will likely need replacement. The small elbow tube of the lower air intake boot is susceptible to splitting. Considering how inexpensive it is, it is best to replace the part.

12. Intake Manifold Resonance Valve, also known as DISA Valve. Photo 4
- Disconnect wire harness to the DISA.
- Remove 2 T-40 Torx screws
- Carefully and gently remove the DISA valve.
- Use throttle body cleaner to clean butterfly flap
- Clean and inspect condition of the gasket. To repair if required, use sensor-safe RTV gasket

13. Wire harness box, Photo 4, 5, and 6
- Remove 3 10mm nuts holding bracket. One of the nuts is well hidden at bottom right of the throttle body, next to one of the throttle body bolts. You will need a mirror to view its location, see Photo 5
- To move the wire harness box aside disconnect additional wire harness connectors, i.e. alternator, oil pressure and temp switch

14. Fuel Tank Venting/Breather Valve. Photo 6
- Disconnect wire harness to the Fuel Tank Venting Valve
- Slide out Fuel Tank Venting Valve from its mounting bracket. There is no need to remove connecting hose

15. Fuel Tank Venting/Breather Valve mount bracket. Photo 6
- Remove 2 T-25 mount bracket screws

16. Idle Control Valve ICV. Photo 5 & 6
- Disconnect wire harness to the ICV
- Remove 2 T-40 bracket screws and remove bracket
- The port end of the ICV toward the manifold is held via friction to a rubber grommet - pull out ICV to remove. You may need to use a bit of force to pull ICV out. Clean rubber grommet and lightly coat with clean engine oil to ease reassembly. If the rubber grommet is hard and no longer pliable, replace it.
- Use throttle body cleaner to clean the ports and valve

17. Throttle Body. Photo 5
- Disconnect wire harness to the Throttle Body
- Remove 4 10mm bolts – outside corners
- Clean ports and butterfly plate with throttle body cleaner. Do not play with the butterfly plate. Replace the throttle housing gasket

18. Return Hose - Photo 6 & 7
- The Return Hose connector that is close to the firewall is difficult to disconnect due to the limited space. Insert a screwdriver between the fuel rail and locking ring to pinch the plastic locking ring, and coming from the opposite position, press the other side of the locking ring with your finger and pull out hose. Another easier option is to cut or snip off the plastic locking connector rings with a blade or wire cutter. Without the locking ring, pull connector out.
- Disconnect the other end of the connector attached to the Connecting Hose.

19. Oil Separator Hose to Valve Cover. Photo 7
- Notice: The 90 deg elbow of this hose goes to the valve cover and the other end goes to the oil separator. Keep this in mind during installation.
- Squeeze hose locking rings and pull to disconnect. If the connector attached to the Oil Separator is difficult to remove, cut the hose to ease removal.

20. Oil Separator Connecting Hose. Photo 7 & 8
- Unlike the other 3 hose connectors, the connector going to the oil separator does not use a locking ring. Slight curl the flex hose to get clearance and twist hose counter-clockwise to turn the connector until it stops. Then pull out hose to disconnect. Practice with your new parts to understand the mechanics of the connector.

21. Oil separator. Photo 8 & 9
- Remove 2 T-25 screws holding Oil Separator.
- Important: Note that the Oil Separator has a small port covered with a rubber plug. Some models use this port and some models do not. For the models that use this port, the vacuum hose will likely need replacement. Check your local auto parts store for a suitable hose replacement.


Installation tips

1. It is best to do the installation in the reverse order given above. Do line 21, 20, 19 and so on.
2. During assembly of the Oil Separator valve, first fasten the Oil Separator to the engine. Then insert the flex connecting hose through the manifold intake passage way. Curl the flex hose to get clearance, and insert connector onto the Oil Separator port turning the hose clockwise until it stops. Important: Tug on the hose to make sure you have it on securely.
3. Make sure all hose connectors and electrical connectors are secure. You will hear a “click” as you fasten join the items. To test, tug and pull the connector to make sure it is secure.
4. Stop and take a break. Go slow especially during installation and review carefully all electrical connectors and all hoses making sure they were installed correctly. You do not want to redo the job just because you left out a connector.

I hope the instructions and pictures shown bring the complexity of the project down a level or two.

Work on the project at your own risk. Information given is for reference only.
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  #2  
Old 11-02-2008, 08:32 PM
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KrisL KrisL is offline
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Incredible DIY, LBert! Can you describe the symptoms you were having that made you replace these parts? (For text in the wiki). Thanks!
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Old 11-03-2008, 05:43 AM
viloria9 viloria9 is offline
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man very nice i think this should go up in the wiki!
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  #4  
Old 11-03-2008, 08:17 AM
Lbert Lbert is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KrisL View Post
Incredible DIY, LBert! Can you describe the symptoms you were having that made you replace these parts? (For text in the wiki). Thanks!
Thank you, Kris. The write up took me longer to do than the project itself. Nevertheless, I felt the need to contribute.

The oil separator unit was leaking oil. As photo 9 shows, it was drenched in oil. I did not get the symptoms described below.

Normally when the oil separator goes bad, some have described a honking or a sound similar to a fog horn as the engine is turned off. In addition to the sound, some have mentioned an increase in oil consumption. At its worst stage, one person indicated the pressure got so high in the engine that it spat out the oil dipstick.
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  #5  
Old 11-03-2008, 08:30 AM
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Fast Bob Fast Bob is offline
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Excellent DIY....thanks much for sharing....

Regards,
Bob
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  #6  
Old 11-03-2008, 08:35 AM
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nattyderek nattyderek is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lbert View Post
The write up took me longer to do than the project itself.


Amazing write up !
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  #7  
Old 11-03-2008, 08:55 AM
viloria9 viloria9 is offline
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Lbert...how long did this take you and how much did you end up paying for this replacement.
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Old 11-03-2008, 09:16 AM
ckleung100 ckleung100 is offline
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Quote:
If your car is subject to extreme cold climates, get the “cold climate” version of the Oil Separator Valve (11617533400) and Oil Separator Hose to Valve Cover hose (11617533398). Both parts will cost more.
Very nice write up.

Replacing the hoses is not really an option. GET NEW ONES. They will break. If not now, they will break two weeks after you get everything back together. Save yourself the grief of having to get new ones later and replace them while you already spent so much time taking everything apart. I would even go so far as to say BMW designs them to need replacement, much like the window regulators. Why couldn't they have been metal pipes instead of thin hard plastic?

Some additional information on the cold climate valve: I live in Toronto but upon removing everything, I discovered the car used the regular CCV valve. I wonder how cold it has to get for BMW to install it with the car?

The cold climate version is simply a foam jacket for the CCV valve and foam sleeves for the pipes. If you don't remove the intake, it is next to impossible to get the insulated CCV and connecting hose (item 20, photo 7,8) in. I gave up after 2 hours. There simply is not enough clearance.

Last edited by ckleung100; 11-03-2008 at 09:21 AM.
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  #9  
Old 11-03-2008, 03:41 PM
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kunal_D kunal_D is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ckleung100 View Post
Very nice write up.

Some additional information on the cold climate valve: I live in Toronto but upon removing everything, I discovered the car used the regular CCV valve. I wonder how cold it has to get for BMW to install it with the car?

The cold climate version is simply a foam jacket for the CCV valve and foam sleeves for the pipes. If you don't remove the intake, it is next to impossible to get the insulated CCV and connecting hose (item 20, photo 7,8) in. I gave up after 2 hours. There simply is not enough clearance.
I believe the pump is insulated as well in the cold climate version. Had mine replaced about 6 months ago, not because it was going bad but because I wanted the cold climate version.(living in toronto as well). Upon replacment the hoses were showing signs of going bad, there was a lot of sludgy build up inside them and the pump itself. If you do live in a colder climate and don't already have it, get it because eventually it will go and cause a very expensive repair.

This is what happened with a failed separator on a 3 litre X5, got this pic from my indy's website. Oil through the exhaust, not good!
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  #10  
Old 11-03-2008, 03:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kunal_D View Post

This is what happened with a failed separator on a 3 litre X5, got this pic from my indy's website. Oil through the exhaust, not good!
Looks like he accidentally filled up the tank with diesel .
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  #11  
Old 11-03-2008, 04:01 PM
ckleung100 ckleung100 is offline
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Quote:
I believe the pump is insulated as well in the cold climate version.
That's the foam jacket for the CCV valve I was taking about. If you want to install the cold climate version, you will need to remove the intake. I considered doing it but I didn't have a new gasket. I've had the car for close to 10 years now without problems with a regular CCV so I gave up.

Last edited by ckleung100; 11-03-2008 at 04:06 PM.
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  #12  
Old 11-03-2008, 05:44 PM
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kunal_D kunal_D is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ckleung100 View Post
That's the foam jacket for the CCV valve I was taking about. If you want to install the cold climate version, you will need to remove the intake. I considered doing it but I didn't have a new gasket. I've had the car for close to 10 years now without problems with a regular CCV so I gave up.
10 yrs!! I guess the regular valves are more durable than I thought. Still, its better to be safe than sorry. What made you decide to change the CCV?
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  #13  
Old 11-03-2008, 06:19 PM
ckleung100 ckleung100 is offline
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10 yrs!! I guess the regular valves are more durable than I thought. Still, its better to be safe than sorry. What made you decide to change the CCV?
I went for a 55pt inspection at the dealership and it was one of the items the mechanic recommended before it failed.

I do most maintenance myself but every once in a while, I take it to the dealer to get it checked. It was $50 this month and the mechanic was very thorough. I know the dealership probably loses money on it since I never elect to do the work there. Topped up all the fluids and washed the car too.

I would actually consider doing the work there but their estimate was completely ridiculous. $400 to replace leaky winshield washer tank, $1000 for CCV replacement, $1000 for control arm bearings (just bearings, not control arms too)

Last edited by ckleung100; 11-03-2008 at 06:31 PM.
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  #14  
Old 11-04-2008, 08:58 AM
Lbert Lbert is offline
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Originally Posted by viloria9 View Post
Lbert...how long did this take you and how much did you end up paying for this replacement.
Excluding shipping cost and the cold climate version of the oil separator, all parts mentioned cost $186.00 when I worked on the project.

I did not clock myself how long the replacement of the oil separator took; I was more concerned I did not screw it up. However, I estimate it took me about 6 hours. This includes taking numerous pictures along the way for reference. I had a bit of learning curve (trial and error) on few items. For example during installation I installed some parts only to take it back out because I could not install the dipstick housing with the other parts on the way. This is why it is best to do the installation in the reverse order given to avoid the mistake I made. In addition, I did a bit of cleaning of the area because of the oil leak.

I used a nice write up by Djmcmath from e46 fanatics as reference when I did the work. I recommend checking out his post.

I tried to cover the best I can some of the possible pit falls one might encounter doing the project so if you follow the tips given you will likely do the project in much less time than I did. For a person doing the project for the first, who is handy with tools, has a bit of mechanical acumen, and plus having the information given, I would estimate under 5 hours. Having said that, do allocate more time in case you have to go to the auto supply store should you find a worn out hose or a part that needs replacement.
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Old 11-04-2008, 09:23 AM
arielb1 arielb1 is offline
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I hope you continue to do these write ups. This is far the best write up I have seen and most detailed.

I look forward to seeing more of your work.

Thanks again for this informative writeup. This will surely help others save lots of headaches and money. PM me your paypal account and I will send you a contribution for your work.

Ariel
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  #16  
Old 11-04-2008, 09:52 AM
viloria9 viloria9 is offline
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Thanks for the info Lbert..trully appreciate the great DIY post. Also, i was able to find the PVC valve in autohauz but they seem to not carry all of the hoses. can you please direct me to where i can buy all of the hoses and other necessary stuff for this DIY project?
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  #17  
Old 11-04-2008, 02:46 PM
Lbert Lbert is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by viloria9 View Post
Thanks for the info Lbert..trully appreciate the great DIY post. Also, i was able to find the PVC valve in autohauz but they seem to not carry all of the hoses. can you please direct me to where i can buy all of the hoses and other necessary stuff for this DIY project?
Try searching by part number or email Autohauz. I believe they carry all the hoses or
try this http://www.rmeuropean.com/bmw-parts.aspx
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  #18  
Old 11-04-2008, 02:50 PM
Lbert Lbert is offline
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Although you may have to pay shipping to get the hard to get items, try this place: http://www.pelicanparts.com/bmw/index.htm
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Old 11-04-2008, 05:14 PM
viloria9 viloria9 is offline
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thanks again Lbert for all your help!
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Old 11-09-2008, 09:24 PM
tomjrau tomjrau is offline
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I've developed an oil leak on my '03 zhp at 61k miles which seemed to have first started 10k+ miles ago as a minor coating of oil at the bottom of my oil drain pan. It has rapidly progressed so that there's now a fresh coating of oil all over the underside of the engine, oil pan and surrounding structures. I'm now losing oil at a rate of about 1 qt/month (1500 miles). I'm not able to localize the oil leak to a precise are. The valve cover has already been replaced to cure an oil burning smell issue at 44k miles.

From reading the posts it sounds like oil housing gasket and oil separator failures are the most common culprits. I'm unclear if there's a clear distinction in symptoms between the two. Can someone further elaborate on the sound the car makes when shut off when there's an oil separator problem? I'm experiencing a low volume, low pitch tone that sorta hums along for what seems like a minute. It seems distinct from a separate low pitch drone which shuts off abruptly after several seconds.
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Old 11-09-2008, 11:05 PM
Lbert Lbert is offline
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Degrease the engine, the oil separator, and the oil pan. Thereafter, peridiocially check the engine and oil pan to trace the source of the leak. From the underside of the car, you can see the oil separator and the hose coming from it going to the oil dip stick housing. If this becomes wet, then you figured out the source.
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Old 11-10-2008, 07:15 AM
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if you remove the airbox completely you should be able to see the oil housing area better with a flashlight top side...if you remove the big plastic cover on the bottom of the car engine area you can also shine a light and see it....from top side you will probably see engine oil puddles in the gaps of engine in the little indentations to the right of middle housing bolts.
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Old 11-10-2008, 07:22 AM
im im is offline
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if you do decide to change the engine oil housing gasket :
1-make sure you take picture of belt location...double check with drawing..and study it again before you start OR you will waste time figuring it out later.
2-purchase new belt if over 1 year old
3-space is very very tight, removal of mechanical fan is strongly suggested..requires slim wrench and locking tool...check ebay...i did it with-out special tools but i would rather spend the $40 on tools next time.
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  #24  
Old 11-10-2008, 07:54 AM
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SeanC SeanC is offline
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Location: Knoxville, TN
 
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excellent write up!
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  #25  
Old 11-10-2008, 08:16 AM
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smolck smolck is offline
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Location: Birmingham, AL
 
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Mein Auto: 2004 ZHP Sedan
Just did this yesterday, thanks for the tips! Nightmare job anyway, but much easier thanks to this guide!
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