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Bored Worker
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am having the hardest time pinpointing an oil leak. I have been reading the WIKI and searching but the problem I am having is actually pinpointing the actual leak point.

Question, I cannot tell but is the front of the car the lowest point on the engine? Like does the engine tilt toward the front.? The point outlined below as where the oil drips is the lowest point visually (besides the lower pan)..

I am getting a 2" in diameter oil drop on the ground overnight.. It ultimately drips off the swaybar.. I have seen some oil on the PS line on the drives side but not enough to hit the ground.

The pictures below are from after a cleaning (to attempt to help find the leak)

 

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Learning Daily
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hard for any of us trace an oil leak when we're not under the car... best bet is to follow the trail
 

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Bored Worker
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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
There is no trail.. That is where I am having issues tracing it. I have found previous caked areas but no new trails only new drips/puddling.

I guess what I would like is the definitive places to look for various oil leaks and where they tend to end up on the ground in persepctive.. The car has not been started in 1 week yet is still leaking 2" puddle overnight..

I have ruled out the VCG...
 

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Bored Worker
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Ok so... I ran the car for a few minutes to check for leaking oil and found nothing. frustrated.
 

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Bored Worker
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well no oil on the garage floor this morning. There is a very small amount on the first tab circled on the picture above, but nothing major..
 

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Supporting Member
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1,519 Posts
I would get to work on the engine with some degreaser and a rag. Clean it real good, then take it for a short drive then inspect real good. If no leaks are visible, increase the length of the drive. You will eventually see the source.
 

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Living Life At The Beach
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3,809 Posts
If you are really stumped, kits are available where you put dye into the engine oil that shows up under ultraviolet light. The engine must be throughly cleaned before doing this however. You also want to change the oil after pinpointing the source of the leak.
 

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We want the Lion!
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Check the oil filter housing seal. It is notorious for leaking. If this were mine, I'd replace that and the valve cover gasket if neither have been done.
 

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Bored Worker
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Ok, so 24 hours later here is the spot now.

My guess is that it is running down the pan.. The question now.... is this oil from the pan gasket or is it getting to the pan from somewhere else. ?

The Gasket to the oil housing can't be the culprit, as the top of the engine is still dry.. :dunno:

 

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Registered
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^Have you tried to look inside the tranny housing hole?

I had an oil pan gasket leak. It occurred right below the rear main seal. The spacing between the bolts out of all of the bolts on the oil pan is the greatest there. I was lucky it was not my rear main seal but it doesn't matter anyway since I have all of it off recently and was easy to access.

If it is leaking from anywhere higher, this part of the engine is the lowest since it slopes down. Even a leak from the back and propagate to the side. I tried replacing my RMS without draining the oil (I had recently changed it and didn't want to waste and dump it)...oil started slowly pouring out of the back and bled along that side of the engine. :tsk:
 

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Bored Worker
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I may be have spoken too soon... When I snapped a picture further back this is what I saw...:confused:

 

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Bored Worker
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
What is an RMS?
 

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It doesn't look like your front main seal at least. If you have seriously ruled out VCG and OFHG and any other possible leaks on that (left) side like the oil VANOS line, power steering pump, or power steering pressure hose, then it cannot be anything else but your oil pan gasket. You can double check the leak is not coming from rear of the oil pan by looking in your bell housing. Shine a flashlight up there and get a long q-tip and swab if you have to to confirm it is not the RMS.

Outside of that these M54's are not known to leak anywhere else so it must be your oil pan gasket. Check your sensors where they plug in, but I sort of doubt it would leak from any of the sensors to cause a leak that fast. I have seen a sensor spring a leak in the sensor itself as well the o-ring giving out, but it rarely happens.

Oil pan gasket I would say is more of a culprit. I hate those things with a passion. I have other cars well over 100k and oil pan gasket has never leaked. BMW just does not use RTV on the oil pan gasket except at the 4 edges where the bottom of the timing case meets the front block and also where the bottom of the rear main seal bracket meets the block.
 

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Noone Special
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There are olny two places I can see that leak coming from. One that oil pan gasket or to the oil filter housing. Have you tried to snug down the two bolts of the oil pan where the leak occurs?
 

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Bored Worker
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Not yet, I have been in recon mode up to this point. I am planning on taking some things apart this weekend, and snuggin others up..:)
 

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rrtec,

About a year ago, I had oil coming from the same exact location of your first picture. The car had about 110K miles when the leak occurred. Mine leak happen to be the oil pan gasket. Actually I think is was the RTV sealant on the corner edge that failed to do its job. I replaced the gasket and the leak is gone.
 

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Noone Special
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673 Posts
Is this the same car that the previous owner ran through a ditch because of bald tires? If so, depending on what he hit, just about anything could be loose or cracked. Time for a very thorough inspection.
+1 smarter man then me, I agree
 

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Supporter of Bimmer Lore
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Yeah, the OP had previously stated that he got it cheap after the car skidded on a wet road and opened a furrow in the mud and grass on the side of the Interstate, demolishing the front bumper and skirts in the process. Oil leak??? Surprise, surprise....
 
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