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  #1  
Old 09-15-2019, 04:55 PM
dukedkt442 dukedkt442 is offline
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Tis the season (for oil pan gaskets)

Now that summer (my busy season) is over, and the X3 is 600 miles overdue for an oil change, I decided to tackle the oil pan gasket.

I honestly avoided it for a while just because I didn't want the headache, but it honestly isn't a bad job at all. I hopped off the ship last night at midnight and then drove the 180 miles home, so after sleeping and coffee I didn't start until 1 pm. Put down the wrench at 630, and in that time ran to Lowe's to get a new air hose and impact gun (mine died), which took an hour. Also had to get the Olds out of garage bay, which has a dead cell in the battery. Big props to Attacking Mid for the tip on unbolting the transverse CA to remove the axles, I definitely would have gone the hard way of attacking the ball joint, not thinking the tie rod and thrust arm would allow enough clearance.

I didn't finish the job today, but I did get the oil pan cleaned, gasket installed, pan reinstalled and torqued, and new axle seals installed. Not bad for 4.5 hours of work (including quick cutting some 1.25x2.25" wood chunks to place in the factory jack points so they don't crush on my jack stands). Honestly, at least an hour by itself was dealing with the oil pan, it's got something like 22 bolts. Probably more like an hour and a half unbolting/rebolting and torquing. No debris in the pan! Sight varnish in the pan, but no real varnish in the engine. Any of the Orange/brown tinge wiped off easily, so the engine was clean inside for 155k, though not as clean as I was anticipating. I presume the previous owner stuck to BMWs recommended OCI for the 58k that it wasn't under my control. Beyond that, as I've switched oil a few times, it's anyone's guess which oil wasn't as clean as the rest; I'd love for Pennz Plat or Quaker State to come out with an A3/B4 oil. Timing chains were tight and guides looked perfect; I was hoping I wouldn't have to change guides/tensioners, so to hell with brown staining. I did see MUCH more metal flake come out with the front diff oil than I'm comfortable seeing, despite only 17k miles on the Redline fluid, and strict 25-30k OCIs on the diff; I've never had metal flakes before, so we'll see how this goes. I have Mobile 1 75-90 on the shelf that I'll put in this time, and it (and the rear) will be getting bottles of Lubeguard Yellow.

Tomorrow, I just have to install the front diff, bolt the subframe back in, pop the axles in, and install the wheels. After getting home from work and watching the little'un while wifey gets her hair did, I should be done by Dinner.

Parts list:

Pan gasket
Pan bolts
2 axle seals
Axle nuts
Input shaft seal for diff (didn't install...not leaking)

So far, some tips (in no particular order):

-Use an impact to remove the axle nuts. I bought a new one today that has either 1000 or 1200 break away torque from Lowe's for $150. Then, re install them until the outer edge is flush with the axle and use a socket as a driver and beat with a BFH. Once freed, I used a 5/8" piece of round stock I have as a punch. Both axles came right out. Liberally grease the splines on reinstall...I use the Ford moly grease.

-you'll need either a cherry picker or an engine sling to hold the engine while the subframe drops. I opted for the sling over the picker. Got it at HF. For attachment, the emergency tow hook/pad eye threads into a threaded boss behind the oil filter. It is reverse threaded.

-I used an adapter in my N series front seal tool box as a seal driver for the axle seals, and then a socket to get them flush. The seals sit flush with the lips in both the diff and oil pan.

-the oil pan has a tunnel for the axle. Be prepared for diff fluid to come out once the pass axle is removed.

-I used that 5/8" round stock as a drift to pop both axles free from the diff.

-subrame has 8 bolts not six. 2 are slightly smaller. All etorx.

-keep spare jacks under the subframe to catch it. Don't let it fall too far or you may pop a steering line.

-oil pan bolt torques are 8 NM + 90* for the shortest ones, and 8 NM + 180* for the middle and longest ones. I took all to 89 in lbs and then went by feel on the angle. All bolts are M8. You need new ones. I started from the center and worked outward in CW fashion (habit). No RTV on the pan gasket though some may not hurt.

-there are 3 horizontal bolts securing the bellhousing to the pan, don't miss those (I did at first). I think they can be re-used; I did. I didn't have a torque spec so again I went by feel.

-pickup tube won't have a screen on the end of it; screen is in the tube upstream at the 90*. Don't be alarmed.

-I only have 3 jacks and all were spoken for, so I had to one hand the diff off the pan. Keep a lower bolt threaded in a few threads til hold it until you're ready. The Lower bolts are easiest to access. I'd reckon the diff weighs 60-70 lbs (quite a range I know). Make sure it's drained first.

I'm sure I'll have more to add after it's back together.

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  #2  
Old 09-15-2019, 05:50 PM
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This is the stuff that replaces childhood nightmares with adult night terrors.
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Old 09-15-2019, 06:06 PM
dukedkt442 dukedkt442 is offline
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This is the stuff that replaces childhood nightmares with adult night terrors.
I swear it really isn't that bad, the internet has built up a layer of fear for this job. 10 hrs shop labor definitely accounts for "oh sh1t" moments, I'll be done in 70% of that, including cleaning the parts (pan, shields, etc.), and I'm taking my time. I'll take this over plugging in a code reader and chasing a code any day, and twice on Sunday (which today is!); it's a completely mechanical job, no electrical troubleshooting. I'm lucking out though, as everything is coming apart easily and quickly, as it should (luck? maintenance/treatment? your call; I do have the benefit of owning 67% of its mileage and 64% of its age).

If you want nightmares, check out the pics/videos in my "why oil is important" thread, on everything I found inside my F150 when I tore it apart... that'll make you cry for Mommy!
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Old 09-15-2019, 08:07 PM
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Oil pan came out that clean? If so, that's impressive.
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Old 09-15-2019, 08:41 PM
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Attacking Mid Attacking Mid is offline
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Glad it's going smoothly! My biggest issues were a stuck left axle and a stubborn oil pump bolt (not normally a part of routine gasket replacement). Other than those, I would agree... it's a big job, but I've definitely done worse! Good luck on the reassembly. My garage floor has been spot free since completing this! Amazing for an older BMW!

AM.
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Old 09-15-2019, 10:07 PM
dukedkt442 dukedkt442 is offline
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Tis the season (for oil pan gaskets)

Quote:
Originally Posted by BMWaufKS View Post
Oil pan came out that clean? If so, that's impressive.


Oil pan was wiped out with a rag, but no brakleen used to clean it. I used scotch brite to clean the gasket surface, but it probably would have sealed fine with just a wipe down with a rag. There was zero sludge or anything other than liquid oil in the pan, I was happy.


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Old 09-15-2019, 10:08 PM
dukedkt442 dukedkt442 is offline
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Glad it's going smoothly! My biggest issues were a stuck left axle and a stubborn oil pump bolt (not normally a part of routine gasket replacement). Other than those, I would agree... it's a big job, but I've definitely done worse! Good luck on the reassembly. My garage floor has been spot free since completing this! Amazing for an older BMW!

AM.


Yeah man, knock on wood itís going smoothly, but I totally agree how a single issue or two would derail the entire momentum.


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Old 09-16-2019, 03:18 AM
abscate abscate is offline
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pan bolt torques are 8 NM + 90 for the shortest ones, and 8 NM + 180 for the middle and longest ones. I took all to 89 ft lbs and then went by feel on the angle. All bolts are M8. You need new ones. I started from the center and worked outward in CW fashion (habit). No RTV on the pan gasket though some may not hurt.
Duke, did You fat finger the numbers in that paragraph?

I've found the trick with the longer hour jobs is not TO marathon them. Few of us keep on task well for 10 hours straight. Break up a job like that over two weekends of off days and give yourself a third to cleaning stuff up surgically, just like a tech won't.

I did a dual mass Volvo clutch in my driveway in October doing this, and SWMBO was asleep during my wrench time, so that played well at home
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Old 09-16-2019, 05:05 AM
dukedkt442 dukedkt442 is offline
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Duke, did You fat finger the numbers in that paragraph?

I've found the trick with the longer hour jobs is not TO marathon them. Few of us keep on task well for 10 hours straight. Break up a job like that over two weekends of off days and give yourself a third to cleaning stuff up surgically, just like a tech won't.

I did a dual mass Volvo clutch in my driveway in October doing this, and SWMBO was asleep during my wrench time, so that played well at home
Yes, yes I did. Good catch. 89 in-lbs, not ft-lbs.

If I'd have woken up at a reasonable time yesterday, the car would have been driving by dinner; I'm used to spending a full work day or more either wrenching or building, doesn't bother me, but I agree that monotony breeds complacency and complacency breeds mistake. Back in 2013, I had my non-running, non-stopping Olds dragged out of the impound yard I'd stored it in since 2005, and in a month (working from 4pm-10 pm after getting home from work), I had a new engine (that also needed work, and needed to be computerized) in it, trans pulled/reinstalled for seals, all new brakes, all new suspension, cut out body rot and welded in new metal, new welded floor boards, steering shaft, passenger door, paint, carpet, starter, power steering pump, lines, rear axle/diff pulled for cleaning/painting/bushings, and a few other odds and ends... tightened the last hose clamp on the radiator hose, then hopped in and drove 180 miles back upstate at night... talk about a marathon!

I'd spent an hour after stopping for the day yesterday to clean the under-body shields, organize tools, and drink some beers, so that hour will be included in my final time-clock.

A few of the threads in the subframe that the metal brace bolts to (with allegedly one-time use bolts) are soft, so repairing those will add some time, planning on an hour. I'll post my permanent solution to that. Probably won't get to it today, but I'll chase down some parts/Lubeguard today to get that out of the way.
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Old 09-17-2019, 05:20 PM
dukedkt442 dukedkt442 is offline
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Tis the season (for oil pan gaskets)

2.5 hours tonight, and Iím hanging up the tools. Car is nearly back on the ground; all left to do is torque the axle nuts, and then put final torque to the CA bolts. Buuuuut my torque wrench gave up the ghost. I can set my impact to 300 ft lbs to get the axle nuts (which still seems insanely high but all sources Iíve found say thatís it), but I want to torque the CA bolts properly. Little man is asleep directly above my shop, and he ainít having the air compressor tonight. Good opportunity to put a cleaning on the tools.

With the oil pan torqued last night, my time tonight comprised of:

-attaching the ground strap
-attaching the 4 hose hangers
-attaching the 3 underbody shields
-mounting the diff*
-installing the axles
-installing the subframe**
-filling the diff with oil
-changing oil filter and filling with oil
-reattaching CAs
-tightening engine mount nuts (41 ft lbs)
-reinstalling intake plumbing (pulled for access to port mount nut)
-reinstalled steering column shaft and tighten bolt
-reinstall driveshaft bolts (47 ft lbs)

*in hindsight I wish Iíd ordered the o ring that seals the diff to the pan. Mine looked a little flat and felt a little hard so I may get some seepage. I applied some diff RTV in a light coating to help but if I need to pull the diff at a later date itís not hard.

** wrestling the subframe probably took a half hour to 45 minutes by itself, being by myself, hopping from side to side making sure the 4 main points (2 forward points, and engine mount bolts) remained aligned. Something often pinched which required backing off.

Also in hindsight I should have separated the starboard side axle ďboxĒ mounted to the pan, it may have a weep, so weíll see. For my own consolation, Iíll beat BMWís time by 2 hours my first time through, so I can probably knock another 2 off next time through if thereís a next time.

This isnít a job that most should shy away from; if you can handle a clutch job or a starter or a giubo, you can handle this. Just like Attacking Mid said, Iíve done far worse (full timing job on a Ford 5.4, transmission swap on the side of the highway, VW timing belt in a Stuckeys parking lot...). Nothing is actually ďhardĒ just tedious. Donít attack the job without the right tools, however; you wonít finish.

All 8 engine mount bolts are fine ::knocks on wood::


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Old 09-17-2019, 06:50 PM
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Just like Attacking Mid said, Iíve done far worse (full timing job on a Ford 5.4, transmission swap on the side of the highway, VW timing belt in a Stuckeys parking lot...). Nothing is actually ďhardĒ just tedious. Donít attack the job without the right tools, however; you wonít finish.
Great job! I'll claim my age as the excuse for it taking me longer! One of my worst was when I lived in an 8-plex in college, and the guy who lived downstairs solicited my help to R&R the trans out of his 70's era Nova.... in the apartment parking lot.... in Iowa.... in January.... during a cold snap hitting -20 at night... working only in the evenings/nights. Those were the days.

AM.
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Old 09-17-2019, 07:11 PM
dukedkt442 dukedkt442 is offline
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Great job! I'll claim my age as the excuse for it taking me longer! One of my worst was when I lived in an 8-plex in college, and the guy who lived downstairs solicited my help to R&R the trans out of his 70's era Nova.... in the apartment parking lot.... in Iowa.... in January.... during a cold snap hitting -20 at night... working only in the evenings/nights. Those were the days.

AM.
Thanks! You had a stuck axle and a stubborn oil pump that I didn't have to deal with, my axles popped loose with a couple taps of a BFH, so I'll blame that.

The days indeed! My college story was swapping complete rear diffs in my K5 (I blew one doing a drunk powerbrake smoke show in my driveway at 2 am)... near Buffalo, NY, in February, in my driveway of a 4 BR house we were renting. Without the luxury of air tools, torque wrenches, a breaker bar... this was nearly 18 years ago. Amazing how the scent of gear oil still didn't turn away the girls at the bar... ahhhh college....
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Old 09-18-2019, 05:07 PM
dukedkt442 dukedkt442 is offline
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Tis the season (for oil pan gaskets)

Well all finished, sort of. Picked up a new torque wrench and torqued the axle nuts and control arm nuts. The new wrench goes to 250 but the axle nuts are 310, so I set my impact to mid and lit it. Then put my 200 lbs 2' out on a breaker bar (guessing only 150 lbs of pressure) to get to the required torque...until the bar snapped. It was a good one, though... removing the axle bolt on my Jetta I had a jack under a 3' pipe on the bar jacking it up, using the car's weight to break the axle bolt free, and the wheel came off the ground before the bolt broke free...

The pan gasket job is done, with no apparent leaks from either the pan or diff (so far). Total time: 7.5 hours.

Unfortunately, disturbing something resulted in my FIRST EVER dash lights (there goes my goal of no lights ever) which after scanning point to the SAS. I had to shift the column upwards to separate the shaft from the rack, so I easily see in my mind's eye how I could have dislodged or otherwise disturbed the sensor. 2nd culprit is a wheel speed sensor (which was also disturbed). Decades of experience f*cking stuff up always points to issues resulting when well-worn items get disturbed (why pulling a crank or cam shaft is always harrowing, moving an old crinkly loom full of wires, etc.). Oh well...still 2.5 hours under the shop time, I guess I couldn't expect it to go TOO smoothly.

Edit: oh, also disturbed the 155k mile NE driven exhaust collector gasket too much and created a slight leak. No ticking, just louder. All the more reason to fab up a custom exhaust with a cherry bomb!

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Old 09-19-2019, 02:27 PM
dukedkt442 dukedkt442 is offline
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False alarm. Simple steering sensor recalibration seems to have done the trick. Crisis averted. I would imagine that with finagling the steering column with the engine off, the computer freaked out when I started it and it noticed the new position was no where near the last recorded value and it freaked the F out. Still need to replace a couple exhaust gaskets though; may not have even happened with moving the engine around, Iíve just never heard it running inside the shop in quite some time.


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Old 09-19-2019, 07:09 PM
x3brian x3brian is offline
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Nice work!

I farmed mine out...came to the conclusion Iíll never have the free time to finish glad you got it done!

Side note my SAS freaked out for the first time in 250k miles driving home Tuesday night. How did you recalibrate? Iím sure Iím not going to be lucky enough to just recalibrate at my mileage but itís worth a try first. The trio of lights is currently on (brake, airbag and stability control).


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Old 09-19-2019, 08:11 PM
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It should recalibrate by turning the steering lock to lock a couple times with key in position 2 (or running).

AM.
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Old 09-20-2019, 01:24 AM
x3brian x3brian is offline
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It should recalibrate by turning the steering lock to lock a couple times with key in position 2 (or running).

AM.


I knew that and already did it multiple times. I was hoping for a secret inpa option lol. Sounds like Iíll be pulling final code next weekend and be pulling a steering column. Yippee.


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Old 09-20-2019, 07:29 AM
dukedkt442 dukedkt442 is offline
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I knew that and already did it multiple times. I was hoping for a secret inpa option lol. Sounds like I'll be pulling final code next weekend and be pulling a steering column. Yippee.


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I thought I was going to have to do that, but a battery unplug and SAS re-calibration solved it for now. When I inspected the SAS, all looked well. My SAS was replaced at 58k because a dead battery caused it to enter a state of confusion from which it wouldn't recover.

On an unrelated note (related because I monitored the parameters while driving), I really don't like how hot these engines run... above boiling point for water at SP. Watching water pump action and engine temp while driving is disconcerting when actually paying attention to it, like when the water pump isn't spinning, or the fan not turning. I ran around on a test run yesterday watching those parameters in case a wire got broken or pinched during the subframe drop, but all seems well (as designed). Which is good, because wifey thinks she'd look much better in an F15.
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Old 09-20-2019, 02:54 PM
PeeweeCSHL PeeweeCSHL is offline
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Nice work!

I farmed mine out...came to the conclusion Iíll never have the free time to finish glad you got it done!

Side note my SAS freaked out for the first time in 250k miles driving home Tuesday night. How did you recalibrate? Iím sure Iím not going to be lucky enough to just recalibrate at my mileage but itís worth a try first. The trio of lights is currently on (brake, airbag and stability control).


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How much did farming it out set you back? I doubt I'll have the time to tackle this as well.
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Old 09-23-2019, 03:45 AM
x3brian x3brian is offline
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How much did farming it out set you back? I doubt I'll have the time to tackle this as well.


Right around $1700 at an Indy.


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Old 09-29-2019, 09:12 AM
x3brian x3brian is offline
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I thought I was going to have to do that, but a battery unplug and SAS re-calibration solved it for now. When I inspected the SAS, all looked well. My SAS was replaced at 58k because a dead battery caused it to enter a state of confusion from which it wouldn't recover.

Just to follow up, you were correct. I finally had a chance yesterday to disconnect the battery for a bit and then attempt SAS recalibration. SAS back to normal.





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Old 09-29-2019, 01:46 PM
dukedkt442 dukedkt442 is offline
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Just to follow up, you were correct. I finally had a chance yesterday to disconnect the battery for a bit and then attempt SAS recalibration. SAS back to normal.





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Awesome! Good the hear.


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