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E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 03-22-2010, 07:08 PM
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Bethesda E39 Bethesda E39 is offline
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Exclamation Oil filter housing...how much should this cost???

2003 525iA
85,000mi

Car is at the mechanic for a new Radiator and expansion tank ($600 for both).

Mechanic uncovered several other items as well, and will report back to me tomorrow with an estimate and breakdown. One thing in particular has me confused: He told me the oil filter housing is leaking, and should be replaced.
He said this will cost me $800+ or so.

Can someone enlighten me?

I'm open to DIY, but have no garage, limited tools, limited knowledge, and limited time.
I AM okay paying a mechanic, within reason, and for items I would rather not touch (like tensioners, cooling system, ball joints, etc); or anything that would cause damage to the engine if I eff up.

Advice???
Is this right...$800?
I take his word for it that there's a leak...and I know he has a good reputation and isn't jerking me around...but can this wait?
I have never seen oil on the ground beneath my car, and don't lose excessive amounts of it.

I only drive about 8K / yr.

Thanks for your input on this!
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  #2  
Old 03-22-2010, 07:40 PM
GSXRYDER GSXRYDER is offline
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Pay up!

At this point your pretty much stuck anyway. First get yourself a bentleys manual and read it. This repair is 'doable' you'd save yourself a bunch of money, but you need a place to 'work' and some tools. Which could be bought very inexpensively at Harbor Freight but with your limited resources, just suck it up and pay. Find a mechanic that is trustworthy, and has good referrals. You could learn a lot about this stuff, and no one here I know of works at NASA. But that said there is a 'degree' of risk of 'effing' something up with every turn of the wrench. So, until you have moderate confidence, some tools and a place to work safely pay your trustworthy mechanic and enjoy your ride...

as for the oil filter housing...$800 that is a ripoff! Get some tools, and head to a bone yard...that price alone makes doing it yourself much much more practical.where is the housing leaking from? odds are a line, or cap...in either case they are NOT $800 to repair/replace, I'd seriously look for another mechanic...otherwise they are gonna take you for a ride...and you won't like it one little bit!
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  #3  
Old 03-22-2010, 08:13 PM
Jase007 Jase007 is offline
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Could be a few things:

1. The two (or three) plugs on the back (driver's side of the housing) can leak. There is a DIY writeup using washers, JBweld and bolts to fix ... if you had the tools and time. Otherwise ... you need to replace.

2. The oil filter housing GASKET, where it mates to the block ... can leak. This is a less than $10 gasket and 2 hour max job. Not $800.

3. The VANOS oil pipe (hose/line) can leak at the banjo bolt fittings ... one end attaches to the back (driver's side) of the oil filter housing.


It could be any one or a combo of all three.
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  #4  
Old 03-22-2010, 08:33 PM
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Bethesda E39 Bethesda E39 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jase007 View Post
Could be a few things:

1. The two (or three) plugs on the back (driver's side of the housing) can leak. There is a DIY writeup using washers, JBweld and bolts to fix ... if you had the tools and time. Otherwise ... you need to replace.

2. The oil filter housing GASKET, where it mates to the block ... can leak. This is a less than $10 gasket and 2 hour max job. Not $800.

3. The VANOS oil pipe (hose/line) can leak at the banjo bolt fittings ... one end attaches to the back (driver's side) of the oil filter housing.


It could be any one or a combo of all three.
Thanks!
My mechanic (Advantage Certified in Manassas), said it wasn't leaking too badly, and that it could wait, if I didn't want to pay for it right now.
The only advantage of fixing it now is I'd save a bit on labor, as I also need 2 new tensioners, and am getting a new radiator and expansion tank.

As I said above, I have NO PROBLEM paying a mechanic for the work, and I realize it'll cost me a lot more than DIY, but would it be unreasonable for me to ask for a substantial discount on labor, since I'm having work done on the cooling system and tensioners at the same time?
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  #5  
Old 03-22-2010, 09:22 PM
ElwoodBlues ElwoodBlues is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bethesda E39 View Post
As I said above, I have NO PROBLEM paying a mechanic for the work, and I realize it'll cost me a lot more than DIY, but would it be unreasonable for me to ask for a substantial discount on labor, since I'm having work done on the cooling system and tensioners at the same time?
If the $800 is just for the oil filter housing, that sounds high. Also, if the radiator, fan, etc. are being removed for the other work, the housing work should actually be a little easier. Probably doesn't shave much actual time off the job, but definitely more room to work on it.
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  #6  
Old 03-22-2010, 09:42 PM
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MatWiz MatWiz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bethesda E39 View Post
Thanks!
My mechanic (Advantage Certified in Manassas), said it wasn't leaking too badly, and that it could wait, if I didn't want to pay for it right now.
The only advantage of fixing it now is I'd save a bit on labor, as I also need 2 new tensioners, and am getting a new radiator and expansion tank.

As I said above, I have NO PROBLEM paying a mechanic for the work, and I realize it'll cost me a lot more than DIY, but would it be unreasonable for me to ask for a substantial discount on labor, since I'm having work done on the cooling system and tensioners at the same time?
Look,

The gasket is about $8.
The Book Labor Hours is 3 hours. (That's a dealer!).
So how does he get $800???? He charges you $260 per hour?
Unless he is trying to sell you the whole housing, not only the gasket. But why would he think you need the whole housing?

Doesn't sound right, any way you look at it.

mw
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  #7  
Old 03-22-2010, 09:56 PM
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Bethesda E39 Bethesda E39 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MatWiz View Post
Look,

The gasket is about $8.
The Book Labor Hours is 3 hours. (That's a dealer!).
So how does he get $800???? He charges you $260 per hour?
Unless he is trying to sell you the whole housing, not only the gasket. But why would he think you need the whole housing?

Doesn't sound right, any way you look at it.

mw
Yes; he's replacing the whole housing ($330 or so). I assume because there are too many variables (freeze bolts?), warped housing, etc....he's replacing the whole unit.
Is this standard procedure?
He also mentioned VANOS oil line (?), and some intake air duct / pipe (MAF, maybe?)

Are these all related?
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  #8  
Old 03-22-2010, 10:37 PM
scott0357 scott0357 is offline
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I replaced the gasket for the oil filter housing and took me about 3 hours. The part is less than $10. You shouldn't need to replace the whole housing. If I do this job again, it'll not take me more than 2 hours. There's a DIY in this forum, just do a search. Or just pay your mechanic 3 hrs plus the gasket.
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  #9  
Old 03-23-2010, 05:06 AM
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DHoang DHoang is offline
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I can understand why the garage wants to put in a new housing. the garage can't afford to have the work get redone if the housing is in fact causing some/all of the leaks. This causes headaches for both the shop and the customer.
Go with what the garage says, because that's the only way you're going to get a full warranty on the work. you tell him to just put in a gasket, and if it leaks again, you're SOL.
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  #10  
Old 03-23-2010, 08:13 AM
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MatWiz MatWiz is offline
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I don't think that there is a reason to put a new housing "just in case". He (the mechanic) doesn't know if the housing is warped, and the chances that something like that happened is close to nothing.

mw
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  #11  
Old 03-23-2010, 08:18 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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I think your mechanic got mixed up (is he familiar with BMWs?).

The Oil Housing itself: usually nothing wrong with it!
The culprit in 99% of these cases is the O.F. Housing GASKET, a $5 part.
Here is the DIY. If you DIY, it is $5:
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=414315
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  #12  
Old 01-25-2011, 03:46 PM
DrAV DrAV is offline
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I have had a very slow oil leak for about a year or so now and lots of fixes done by mechanics for oil leaks but it is still leaking. I read about a common problem with the M52 engine is a leak from the oil filter housing. So I bought the gasket and proceeded to do the repair. I found quite strangely that the oil housing rocked a bit when I reinstalled it. Concerned, I took off the housing to make sure the gasket was still properly seated and it was. I remember reading from a master BMW mechanic that he had to torque the housing bolts to 24 ft/lbs as the first time he torqued it to 16 ft/lbs. it leaked even with a new gasket. Now I am thinking that these surfaces are machined and if perfectly flat should not leak at all with a nominal torque value. I torqued my housing to about 20 ft/lbs and after driving for a few days still see oil leaking. SOOOOO... in retrospect, I think these housings are susceptible to warping and the BMW mechanic overcame his warpage by tightening it up more. I will dive into this again but this time plan to use some gasket sealer around the flanges and go up to 24 ft/lbs. The bolts on this unit are on the slim side, i think about 8mm dia. and can only take about 28 ft/lbs. max.
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  #13  
Old 01-25-2011, 04:02 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrAV View Post
... I remember reading from a master BMW mechanic that he had to torque the housing bolts to 24 ft/lbs as the first time he torqued it to 16 ft/lbs. it leaked even with a new gasket....
The 1997 and 1998 has "freeze plugs" that can leak.
Did you have chance to go over the link above carefully?

What year is your car?
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  #14  
Old 01-25-2011, 05:18 PM
bimmertec bimmertec is offline
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sounds like he's charging you for the whole housing. If your in the phila are I can do it for $150+ the seal(i'm a master certified bmw tecnician)
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  #15  
Old 01-25-2011, 06:54 PM
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rexgo rexgo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
I think your mechanic got mixed up (is he familiar with BMWs?).

The Oil Housing itself: usually nothing wrong with it!
The culprit in 99% of these cases is the O.F. Housing GASKET, a $5 part.
Here is the DIY. If you DIY, it is $5:
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=414315

Great write-up - if I didn't tell you already...
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  #16  
Old 01-26-2011, 08:45 AM
DrAV DrAV is offline
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Oil Filter Housing Warped?

The car is a 2000 528i. This oil filter housing has the bolt/cap seals instead of the freeze plugs so no leak there. I checked underneath the car again and found a drop or two is at the back of the engine near the transmission so I'm not really sure it is the oil filter housing. You can't really see in the housing area at all until you start removing things. I'm going to be doing the Vanos seals (BEISAN stuff) this weekend so I will have a chance to look at it again to see if my oil seal replacement i did last weekend is oil tight. I am pretty sure the housing was warped... as I said it rocked a bit when I put it on and everything was perfect. I took it off and checked it again and same issue when I placed it back on. Looking at the situation and the geometry, I torqued the top 4 bolts in sequence first as this is the area where the gasket is located and then the bottom 2 bolts. I think the overall design of the housing is bad... not beefy enough for hanging the alternator and power steering pump off of it. This is probably leading to the eventual warping of the housings. This along with the seals getting brittle is leading to the common leaking problems that everyone seems to be experiencing. Wish I lived in Philly, the price is right. I live in San Diego, Ca and it seems all the dealers and independents rip you off.
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  #17  
Old 01-26-2011, 09:17 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Best is to do "surveillance":

1. Remove the bottom plastic shield for a few weeks (Phillips screws).

2. Clean the engine area with "Purple Power" and gently rinse it so it is nice and dry from any leak.
Then wipe the bottom of the oil pan clean. This way any leak that shows up later, you know it is new.

FYI, after I changed my OFH gasket, it continued to drip, as it turned out, the oil is from "left over" on the outside of the engine because I did not clean it well.

3. Have some wood ramps ready so everyday coming home from work, drive it up the wood ramps and check for any leaks.
It took me a few weeks to wipe it clean, then everything is bone dry now.
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  #18  
Old 01-27-2011, 07:28 AM
DrAV DrAV is offline
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Cool Thanks for the tips. I have started to do a check each day.
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  #19  
Old 01-27-2011, 09:47 AM
rdl rdl is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrAV View Post
The car is a 2000 528i.
... stuff deleted
I am pretty sure the housing was warped... as I said it rocked a bit when I put it on and everything was perfect. I took it off and checked it again and same issue when I placed it back on.
... stuff deleted
Based on my (non BMW) experience and mech eng training (longer ago than I like to think about) it's possible but not likely that the oil filter housing warped due to p/s pump and alternator loads. A little more likely (but not much) that either the block surface or housing surface weren't true from the factory. You could check this with a straight edge and a set of feeler gauges; both surfaces.

Given the rocking you mention, I suggest you look carefully at the 2 dowels and the mating holes to be sure they are clean and un-damaged. BMW's TIS specifically mentions checking the dowels when replacing the gasket. Not sure why they think this is required, but they must have some reason for mentioning it.

Please post your results as I have this job on my list for as soon as it warms up a bit.
Until then, I'm happy to add a bit of oil rather than freeze my behind off

Regards
RDL
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  #20  
Old 01-27-2011, 01:06 PM
DrAV DrAV is offline
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Yeah. I'm an engineer to, electrical but with a strong systems and mechanical background. It was late when I put the housing back on and I was kinda tired otherwise I would have straight edged it (both block and housing). It is also possible they didn't heat treat this aluminum properly and it had built up stresses that relieved over time to cause the warping. I did check the dowel pins and they looked fine. They are hollow and could be possibly flattened if you did not line things up properly. I think the amount of warpage was probably on the order of .020 or so. I think torquing down firmly will flatten that amount without causing an issue. The hardest part of this job was getting the alternator off and back on. I did figure out a trick or two that made it pretty simple once I figured it out. I have a DIY for the Alternator that I am working on to make it easier for others. I think the fix is working but will need to check over the next few days. The old gasket was hard and brittle leading to the leak. Lucky for me I live in San Diego. The weather has been cooperating as of late.
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  #21  
Old 01-27-2011, 02:02 PM
rdl rdl is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrAV View Post
... stuff deleted
I think torquing down firmly will flatten that amount without causing an issue. The hardest part of this job was getting the alternator off and back on. I did figure out a trick or two that made it pretty simple once I figured it out. I have a DIY for the Alternator that I am working on to make it easier for others. I think the fix is working but will need to check over the next few days. The old gasket was hard and brittle leading to the leak. Lucky for me I live in San Diego. The weather has been cooperating as of late.
Let's cross our fingers that the leak is gone for good.
I'll look forward to your DIY.
But you needn't rush on my account. I don't expect co-operative weather anytime soon

Regards
RDL
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  #22  
Old 01-31-2011, 08:27 AM
DrAV DrAV is offline
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Oil Filter Housing - Redo

I did the BEISAN Vanos Seal Repair this weekend and since I had the radiator fan and shroud off I decided to revisit the oil filter housing since I am now a Pro at taking it off. It does still appear to be leaking still. I almost ordered a new housing to replace the old one but decided to try a little sealer on the old one first. I did check the flatness of the housing and it is warped a bit (about .020) from top to bottom but not side to side. I cleaned all the surfaces and used Permatex Aviation Sealer #3 sparingly just around the edges and not on the internal sealing areas. Now Permatex is a bear to get off if I have to remove this again but I think it was worth a shot. I used this rather than RTV Silicone as this is rated to be used on machined flanges which is the situation here. A thin film of quality RTV Silicone probably would work just fine in this situation also. We'll see how this works out. Once again I torqued the top four bolts over the sealing surface first then the lower two. I'll report back in awhile to see if this fixed the leak. As an aside the BEISAN Vanos Seal Repair does seem to have fixed the cold start idle stumbling and stalling problems. Started and idled without a hitch on this coldish morning.
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  #23  
Old 01-31-2011, 06:44 PM
TRFL TRFL is offline
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Oil leak & cold morning ilding problems

DrAV,
I noticed in your last post that the BEISAN Vanos Seal Repair fixed your cold start idling and stumbling problems.
I am new to BMW's and have a 2001 530i with approx. 99K miles. I had an oil leak recently and replaced the valve cover gasket. I am still seeing a leak, but also noticed that it has trouble idling in cold starts, but once the engine warms up, it runs fine.

I am wondering if the leak could be from the Vanos lines and also causing the idling problems? If so, how much should that repair run at an independent shop with a certified BMW mechanic?

Thanks.
TR
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  #24  
Old 02-01-2011, 07:37 AM
DrAV DrAV is offline
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The cost for a Vanos repair would depend on where you live. In Southern California I have yet to find a BMW repair shop with reasonable rates. I believe you will find that they will install a rebuilt Vanos for somewhere around $800 and labor of around $400 to $600. Look at the BEISAN website www.beisansystems.com and click on the forum link to learn more about the symptoms that a failing Vanos causes. The seals from BEISAN costs $65. The most obvious symptom is a cold idle surge where the engine keeps stumbling about every 10 seconds or so and usually stalls. As far as oil leaks there are several places where they can most likely occur and these include the Value Cover Gasket, The Oil Filter Housing and the pipes associated with the CCV system. I understand it is not common for the leaks to be from front or real seals or the oil pan.

Last edited by DrAV; 02-01-2011 at 07:38 AM. Reason: Error
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  #25  
Old 01-30-2013, 06:06 PM
naw118 naw118 is offline
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bimmertec

Quote:
Originally Posted by bimmertec View Post
sounds like he's charging you for the whole housing. If your in the phila are I can do it for $150+ the seal(i'm a master certified bmw tecnician)
I am in the Philly/South Jersey Area and need this done you still interested in doing it? If you are we can work something out. I have a 03 530i.
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