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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 01-22-2009, 06:15 AM
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SlimKlim SlimKlim is online now
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ATF reservoir overflow

I had to jump start my bosses Porsche yesterday, and while standing outside with the hood open I got to observe the engine running with the hood up whilst the car was warm. First I noticed a faint, barely perceptible tick or rasp at idle speeds thats almost impossible to hear with the hood down. This had my sticking my face right up against the valve cover, and then I noticed the black ATF reservoir looked like it had been leaking fluid for a while. Do I need to do something about the leak or sound or is SlimKlim just being anal retentive?
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  #2  
Old 01-22-2009, 07:56 AM
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I beleive the ATF reservoir leaks every once in a while from a combination of expanding fluid and hard driving! Not too sure though. I think JVR or Krisl has a sock on his so the leak doesnt mess stuff up.
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Old 01-22-2009, 07:57 AM
Melquin Melquin is offline
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The power steering fluid reservoir (which takes ATF fluid, and is labeled as such) has a silly vent hole in the cap which leaks readily by design (or lack thereof ). It just is. Some people do things like put socks over it, etc. Most just wipe it off.
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Old 01-22-2009, 07:58 AM
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The small amount of fluid around the cap is normal. Just venting. Wipe it up and check the levels like every other week.
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  #5  
Old 01-22-2009, 08:05 AM
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Here's how I deal with it...

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Old 01-22-2009, 08:07 AM
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Originally Posted by jvr826 View Post
Here's how I deal with it...

I can't wait for tomorrow's weather. She's getting cleaned front the front plate to the back and the angel eye harness is getting redone.
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  #7  
Old 01-22-2009, 08:46 AM
jcourcoul jcourcoul is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jvr826 View Post
Here's how I deal with it...
But won't the sock have to be made out of Nomex to avoid engine fire?





BTW, SlimKlim, so we're all in the same frequency, the leak you're posting about is in the socketed jug shown in the picture, right ?!? Cause if it is in the jug next to it, that's the oil filter and that's more problematic...
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  #8  
Old 01-22-2009, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by jcourcoul View Post
But won't the sock have to be made out of Nomex to avoid engine fire?
A sock, not that particular one, has been on there for over 3 years now. No fires yet. It is an M sock though, so it's built to higher tolerances. But since it's not an M car, I didn't badge it as such. That would be blasphemy!
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Old 01-22-2009, 11:08 AM
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here's how i deal with it...

love the sock mod! Wheres the video DIY?
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  #10  
Old 01-22-2009, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by jvr826 View Post
A sock, not that particular one, has been on there for over 3 years now. No fires yet. It is an M sock though, so it's built to higher tolerances. But since it's not an M car, I didn't badge it as such. That would be blasphemy!
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love the sock mod! Wheres the video DIY?
Haha, you two are hilarious.
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  #11  
Old 01-22-2009, 11:50 AM
tamvegas tamvegas is offline
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I'm curious about the venting thing. I used to have a sleight amount of ATF around the cap and about a 8 months ago I got a new cap from autohausaz. There is a very thin O ring on the cap and ever since putting the new one on there, there has been no ATF around the cap. The cap was like $10. It's a ZF cap.
So, how old are the vehicles when the leaks start? From day one or does it start after a few years?
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  #12  
Old 01-22-2009, 12:22 PM
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I
So, how old are the vehicles when the leaks start? From day one or does it start after a few years?
The reason it leaks is the vent hole. It's on the spindled part you open the cap with to check the level. I have checked other E46s and the location of the vent hole seems random and it cannot be positioned deliberately. KrisL and I tried one day.

In normal driving, the thing probably won't leak. I had the same thing on my former E39 with the 3.0l motor and the first time it leaked was the day I did my car control clinic. I was tossing that 5'er all over the place all day.

On my E46, since I drive on curvy roads mostly, I noticed it from day one. The fluid heats up and expands, then it gets sloshed around in repeated aggressive turning maneuvers. Keeping the level correct probably won't help in this situation, it's the fast switching from left to right that does it.

I have heard that some people put a right angle nipple in that vent hole and attach a tube that is fished thru the engine bay and out at the bottom side. This diverts the sloshing fluid to the ground instead of all over your intake manifold and surrounding area.

Quote:
Originally Posted by smolck
love the sock mod! Wheres the video DIY?
It's time to change the sock, it has about 12k miles on it, so I'll try to make one by tomorrow.
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  #13  
Old 01-22-2009, 01:12 PM
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  #14  
Old 01-22-2009, 01:59 PM
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  #15  
Old 05-12-2011, 09:42 AM
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Just for the record, for at least a year now, a dozen (or more) of the E39 crowd has solved the weeping of the power steering reservoir simply by replacing the o-ring.

Here are the references:
- How to clean the power steering fluid reservoir internal filter (1) & how to replace the cap o-ring (1) (2) & why you want to fix the power steering hose drip onto the alternator (1) (2) (3) & how to debug PSP power steering pump noises (1) (2) (3) or steering rack noises (1) & a nice power steering pump autopsy photo (1) & how to flush cloudy ATF fluid (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) & what PS fluid to use (1) (2-pdf) (3-volume) & what volume is needed to buy (1) & DIYs to replace the power steering hoses (1) (2) (3) (4) (5).

Still, I like the idea of the nomex m-badged sock for style!
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  #16  
Old 05-12-2011, 10:18 AM
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If you need assistance selecting a sock or installing it, search youtube for "sock mod DIY" and you'll get all the info you need. A link to it is also in the WIKI

It's been a couple years, so I installed a new one last week when doing my oil change.
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  #17  
Old 05-12-2011, 11:54 AM
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I'd be worried to the see the sock come off and get some hang time with the belts and fan
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  #18  
Old 05-12-2011, 04:41 PM
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Nope, the wind turbulence will fling it back. It may cozy up with the CVV, though...
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Old 05-12-2011, 09:31 PM
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Old 05-13-2011, 12:19 AM
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Here, I fixed it for you.
Thanks!

See also:


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  #21  
Old 05-13-2011, 08:56 AM
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Thanks!

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Old 05-13-2011, 09:59 AM
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It isn't anywhere near as funny, but just replacing the o-ring works wonders!




While you're at it, removing the T20 torx holding down the power steering filter and shaking with gasoline (off the car!) also is reputed to clean your power steering fluid reservoir filter:

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  #23  
Old 05-13-2011, 10:11 AM
jcourcoul jcourcoul is offline
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Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
While you're at it, removing the T20 torx holding down the power steering filter and shaking with gasoline (off the car!) also is reputed to clean your power steering fluid reservoir filter:

Is this an E39 thing only or does it apply to E46 as well?

It would be great news, but last time I changed the P/S juice with the turkey baster, I don't recall seeing anything like a Torx screw head at the bottom of the deposit. But I could have missed it in the dark depths and covered with old fluid.

The Standard Knowledge is that you had to change the whole deposit to get a new filter in place.
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Old 05-13-2011, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by jcourcoul View Post
Is this an E39 thing only or does it apply to E46 as well?
It's the same engine (M54).

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcourcoul View Post
I don't recall seeing anything like a Torx screw head at the bottom of the deposit
It's there on my 2002 M54 engine (see mix of pics, some from my M54 and others, with the reservoir removed, from JimLev):
- How to clean the power steering fluid reservoir internal filter (1)

Pic from JimLev


Note we generally replace the power steering fluid in the reservoir at every oil change; and at every fifth (or so) oil change, we recommend replacing the two small oil-filter o-rings, the power-steering reservoir o-ring, and we clean out the power steering reservoir mesh filter.

Pic from JimLev


Quote:
Originally Posted by jcourcoul View Post
The Standard Knowledge is
The guys here (at least on the E39 side of the house) make new tribal knowledge all the time!

  • We/they don't have weeping power steering fluid reservoirs
  • We/they fix ABS control modules ourselves (for free)
  • We/they replace M54 I6 oil pan gaskets without remove the sub frame
  • We/they replace our PBT plastic headlight adjusters with Delrin for five dollars
  • We/they have a good source for M54 DISA o-rings
  • We/they have a BMW source for M54 lower-radiator-hose thermoswitch o-rings
  • We/they replace our mechanical tensioner pulleys with aftermarket pulleys
  • We/they rebuild our own alternators with better quality bearings
  • We/they get wiper blade refills for just a few bucks, often from the stealer
  • We/they do brake jobs that are almost completely dry
  • We/they resolved the gym-sock AC smell problem
  • We/they make our own viscous fan clutch nut counterhold tools for five bucks
  • We/they know that brakes (almost) never warp (contrary to 'common knowledge')
  • etc.
Here is a pic of my M54 with a magnetized T20 torx showing the filter hold-down screw:


Of course, even I don't follow 'some' of the advice given to overcome 'standard knowledge' ...

Pic from JimLev

Last edited by bluebee; 05-13-2011 at 11:13 AM.
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  #25  
Old 05-13-2011, 11:27 AM
jcourcoul jcourcoul is offline
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Love the Q-Tip Mod, BTW...
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