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      09-14-2011, 10:57 PM   #1
heizervr6
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DIY - Engine Oil Pan Gasket Repair

Hello everyone, after doing a ton of research online it appeared that the only solution to replacing a leaking oil pan gasket on an E90 was to either drop the subframe or cut the gasket and insert it in either 2 or 3 pieces and use Permatex to seal the gaps. I decided to experiment and determined that if you're an average sized guy/gal (I'm 5'9" and 160 lbs) you can actually get enough room to drop the oil pan and reach everywhere that you need to in order to replace the gasket in one piece.

Unfortunately I didn't take a lot of pictures but then again there's not much to it. This repair is done at your own risk and I am not responsible for swearing, injury and/or death.

1. Parts required for my '06 330i with 6-speed manual transmission
- Oil Pan Gasket - 11-13-7-548-031 - $36.30
- Set of Aluminum Screws - 11-13-0-396-707 - $19.82
Above parts were ordered from BMW Cleveland which has some of the best prices going - ask for John and internet pricing
- Sealing Ring for Oil Level Sensor - 12-61-1-744-292 (bought this part locally so got ripped off at the stealer) - This ring is not typically required but it's a good idea to have in case you need to reach further into the oil pan during the gasket swap
- 6.5 liters of your favorite synthetic oil and a new filter (I didn't replace the filter as I unfortunately had a pretty good leak start within 600 miles of my last oil change )

2. Following are the tools I found handy

- 1/2" Socket with 17mm bit to engine drain oil
- 3/8" Socket with E12 Star Socket for Drain Pan bolts
- 3/8" 3" Wobble bit Extension
- 3/8" 6" Wobble bit Extension
- 1/4" Socket
- 8mm socket for belly pan bolts
- 10mm socket for oil level sensor and front splashshield brackets
- 10mm ratching wrench and 3/8" small close ended wrench (these work great on the oil pan bolts where you are unable to use a ratchet)
- Screwdriver (I used this for aligning the gasket holes later on)
- Bondo applicator or scraper of some kind (razor blade is also good) for removing old gasket if baked on
- Ratchet handle extension (this makes it easier to reach some of the bolts on the driver's side oil pan above the subframe)
- Snips to cut the old gasket for easy removal

Step 1
Jack up car and make sure safeguards are in place. This is how I did mine:


Step 2
Remove skidplate/belly pan using the 8mm socket

Step 3
Remove from pan from under radiator (this will give you more room to work later on)

Step 4
Drain oil

Step 5
Disconnect oil return hose on driver's side of car (I actually used a long flathead screwdriver to press in the clip on one side and my finger on the other side - if you have strong hands you can probably just use your fingers

Step 6
Unplug oil level sensor and unbolt ground wire using 10mm socket

Step 7
Unbolt oil pan and discard old bolts. This is where you'll have to use a combination of wobble extensions and close-ended wrenches.

Step 8
With the oil pan sitting on the subframe now comes the fun part. Carefully remove the gasket starting on the rear passenger side as this size has the most room and will give you a feel for what you're dealing with. BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL TO NOT DROP ANYTHING INTO THE OIL PAN! After I removed the old gasket I laid it on the floor to make sure all the rubber pieces were there as invariably some will be baked onto the oil pan. These must be removed with extreme caution as you don't want to drop anything into the oil pan. If you do, you have to hope that it's towards the back end of the car where you can remove the oil level sensor and fish them out that way or by reaching in through the top if you have fairly skinny arms.

Step 9
Once the gasket has been fully loosened you can cut it on the front driver's side corner to make removal a little easier and remove it from the passenger side sliding it towards the back passenger side corner

Step 10
Remove any residual gasket pieces. AGAIN USE EXTREME CAUTION TO MAKE SURE YOU DO NOT DROP ANYTHING INTO THE OIL PAN. I used my two scrapers for this and a razor blade may be ideal but will give you less to hold on to.

Step 11
Once the old gasket has been removed, clean all of the surfaces on the block and pan (some of this will be by touch as you can't see it all). Also double-check to make sure you haven't dropped anything in the pan.

Step 12
Install the new gasket. This is the fun part. You will need to feed the gasket in from the rear passenger side very slowly! You will encounter exhaust hangers, transmission, oil pan, oil pump etc. all on the way in. The metal part of the gasket can be bent as the only purpose it serves is to prevent the rubber from getting overly crushed when tightening down the bolts but don't bend it more than absolutely necessary as you don't want to damage the gasket. If you're of average size like me you will be easily able to feed the gasket under the oil pump by hand and up to the other side. That's actually the easy part.

Step 13
Moving to the front of the car, carefully wiggle the gasket as far forward as you can. This is where it gets very difficult and you have to be very careful with the gasket as it has the potential to separate (look at your old one to see what I mean) as it will likely be bent downwards into the shallow part of the pan at the very front. You will need to reach a few fingers in here (very little space to do so) and fish out the gasket so that you can lay it on top of the oil pan. This took some doing for me and I tried initially with a coat hanger but ultimately ended up being able to do it with my fingers.

Step 14
Double check to make sure the gasket looks/feels OK. I did that and wiped it down top and bottom just to make sure I had a clean surface to work with

Step 15
I started inserting bolts where I could see holes already aligned but did not tighten anything down as you want room to wiggle the gasket and/or oil pan until you have everything properly situated. This is where I used by long screwdriver in the holes to help align things. Once I had all the bolts in I started snugging up bolts in the center of the pan working in a criss-cross fashion towards the outside corners.

Step 16
Go around and make sure all bolts are snugged up tight. I'm not sure on the torque specs but if you have any experience whatsoever you'll have a pretty good feel for how tight they should be based on the type of bolt they are (aluminum) and how tight the old ones were. Besides you'll never be able to fit a torque wrench on most of them anyway.

Step 17
Reconnect the oil return line, replace the oil level sensor (replace o-ring if necessary), plug in the connector for the sensor, connect the ground wire and reinstall the oil pan drain bolt if you hadn't done so at the beginning

Step 18
Reinstall the front skid plate mounting plates and front skid plate.

Step 19
Fill up with 6.5 liters of oil and take it for a test drive before reinstalling the main skid plate.

I hope I didn't miss anything and that this helps someone. If you can pull this off it will save you a LOT of hassle, expense, wheel alignment, etc. This repair can be done for less than $150 as opposed to whatever the stealer would charge (9 hours labor is what I've heard nevermind parts).

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      09-14-2011, 11:23 PM   #2
queensfield
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Good description with cautions thrown in as great help. Looks very involved. Congratulations on your success
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      09-15-2011, 05:01 AM   #3
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Good write up. Is it possible to stuff the oil pan full of paper towels or shop towels, or maybe wrap it in a plastic bag, to prevent anything from dropping into the pan, or would they get in the way of the new gasket install?
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      09-19-2011, 06:46 PM   #4
heizervr6
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Thanks guys. It seems involved but much less so than doing it the "proper" way. As for stuffing the pan full of towels, etc. that's not really an option due to the limited amount of space. In my opinion the best and safest way to do this is the way I've described it. Obviously, if anyone else has any tips or tricks, please feel free to post 'em up!
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      11-04-2011, 10:56 AM   #5
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      12-31-2011, 01:41 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hankcah View Post
Yokohama S Drives? Very nice.
Good eye! Just took them off though and mounted a new set of Conti Extreme Contacts...the Yokohama's weren't too good in the snow... :-)
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      12-31-2011, 02:38 PM   #7
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Nice write-up!! I love DIYs!! Happy New Year!
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      01-02-2012, 11:12 AM   #8
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Great write-up! How much of the old gasket was baked onto the pan as opposed to the bottom of the block? I'm imaging trying to scrape it all off without getting any in the pan... and having a hard time believing I could possibly do this without getting all kinds of crap in there.
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      01-08-2012, 07:44 PM   #9
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Thanks for the write up. I am at 118,000 miles and starting to see some seepage from the oil pan gasket, not a ton but enough to make me a little concerned. I was just under my car trying to figure out what it would take to change it. Seeing that crossmember in the way made me discouraged. How miles did you experience this problem at?
Thanks

Tom
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      01-27-2012, 02:40 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pruettfan View Post
Thanks for the write up. I am at 118,000 miles and starting to see some seepage from the oil pan gasket, not a ton but enough to make me a little concerned. I was just under my car trying to figure out what it would take to change it. Seeing that crossmember in the way made me discouraged. How miles did you experience this problem at?
Thanks

Tom
+1, though I'm at 113k.

Soon as I saw the front subframe I thought the only way was to lift the engine, but looks like I'll be dealing with this next time I need to change my oil.

OP, thanks for the write-up. I'll try and take some photos when I'm doing the job.

EDIT: Took another look, maybe it can slide out, towards the rear of the car? Then we can clean out all the sludge and check for anything around the magnets. Guess I'll find out.

Last edited by yakev724; 01-27-2012 at 07:09 PM.
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      05-22-2012, 11:16 PM   #11
heizervr6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rtgirard View Post
Great write-up! How much of the old gasket was baked onto the pan as opposed to the bottom of the block? I'm imaging trying to scrape it all off without getting any in the pan... and having a hard time believing I could possibly do this without getting all kinds of crap in there.
If I recall correctly most of the gasket was stuck to the pan so it was a matter of having my fingers on it when removing it slowly. Just remember to take your time. :-)
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      05-22-2012, 11:18 PM   #12
heizervr6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pruettfan View Post
Thanks for the write up. I am at 118,000 miles and starting to see some seepage from the oil pan gasket, not a ton but enough to make me a little concerned. I was just under my car trying to figure out what it would take to change it. Seeing that crossmember in the way made me discouraged. How miles did you experience this problem at?
Thanks

Tom
My problem occurred at 90K miles with a slight drip on the right rear corner. There's definitely not a lot of room to work with but once it's done it's so worth it. Put on about 15K so far and no leaks.
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      05-22-2012, 11:20 PM   #13
heizervr6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yakev724 View Post
+1, though I'm at 113k.

Soon as I saw the front subframe I thought the only way was to lift the engine, but looks like I'll be dealing with this next time I need to change my oil.

OP, thanks for the write-up. I'll try and take some photos when I'm doing the job.

EDIT: Took another look, maybe it can slide out, towards the rear of the car? Then we can clean out all the sludge and check for anything around the magnets. Guess I'll find out.
Any luck getting 'er done? Additional pics would be great and no there is absolutely no way the pan will slide out.
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      01-15-2013, 09:24 AM   #14
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does anyone know if this method(not having to drop sub-frame) works for a 335i N54?
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      01-29-2013, 09:09 PM   #15
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does anyone know if i have to remove both front axles on XI in able to replace the oil pan gasket?
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      01-31-2013, 01:47 PM   #16
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If someone does this, could we please have some undercar pictures of the oil pan?
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      02-28-2013, 10:58 PM   #17
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Im not sure if the auto and manual has the same clearance but I am currently working on mine. I think it is impossible for me to unbolt the pan without taking off the subframe coz there are some metal fluid lines along the pan to the transmission of the car. I drive a automatic E90
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      11-26-2013, 01:04 PM   #18
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Doing this as well today. That same metal line is on the way for me too. It is the oil cooler line from the ZF trans. It seems to be a pita to remove (would leak the trans oil, etc). Can it be removed easily ?

I also found that removing the airbox gives plenty of clearance to access most of the problematic bolts. Actually, only the one under the engine mount is giving me troubles now.
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      11-27-2013, 04:04 AM   #19
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Ok. I am sorry but I cannot recommend this DIY.

While avoiding dropping the subframes sounds terrific at first, it just leads to a sloppy, tedious and painful job. The DIY doesn't claim its a simple job, but now I believe there is no way to make a proper job with this technique, which matters more.

Some bolts are very difficult to reach. On the driver side, the 2 bolts under the engine mount are heroic to remove. It took me probably almost as much time as to remove the subframe to remove these 2 buggers.

The direction rack prevents the removal of the pan bolt immediately over it on the pass-side. There is not enough clearance. I had to unbolt the direction rack to move it around. These bolts are 1 use only, well, I didn't expected that, so they are 2 uses until next week (56NM+90deg).

There is an issue with the transmission oil cooler line. It is in the way. Not having prepared for that, I couldn't remove it (I have no trans fluid at home).

When everything is open, there is simply not enough room to make a proper job.
* Removing the original gasket is a nightmare. It is stuck everywhere, and the same areas where bolt removal is problematic, it is very difficult to access to work the gasket out.
* once removed, it is impossible to clean properly the mating surfaces. Too many areas are out of reach.

Then comes reassembly. A good 50% of the bolts cannot be (in any way) torqued according to spec (25NM +90deg). Most wont fit a torque wrench, many do not even provide enough clearance for a good "feel" wrenching. I torqued snug, some very hard to get bolts are less snug than others (the wiggle in the wobble extensions doesn't permit putting force on the bolts).

Overall, I was very unhappy with how it went. I would actually be surprised if the oil leak is not worse than it was before, after all these efforts. I recommend you do the job properly, dropping the subframe to have enough room to work and remove the pan.
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      01-27-2014, 06:38 PM   #20
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Meeni - I read your experience with this DIY a couple of times through and realized that you may have ended up removing the subframe afterall, is that the case? Did you use the Bentley manual to help you with the steps?

And was it an effective repair for you?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Meeni View Post
Ok. I am sorry but I cannot recommend this DIY.

While avoiding dropping the subframes sounds terrific at first, it just leads to a sloppy, tedious and painful job. The DIY doesn't claim its a simple job, but now I believe there is no way to make a proper job with this technique, which matters more.

Some bolts are very difficult to reach. On the driver side, the 2 bolts under the engine mount are heroic to remove. It took me probably almost as much time as to remove the subframe to remove these 2 buggers.

The direction rack prevents the removal of the pan bolt immediately over it on the pass-side. There is not enough clearance. I had to unbolt the direction rack to move it around. These bolts are 1 use only, well, I didn't expected that, so they are 2 uses until next week (56NM+90deg).

There is an issue with the transmission oil cooler line. It is in the way. Not having prepared for that, I couldn't remove it (I have no trans fluid at home).

When everything is open, there is simply not enough room to make a proper job.
* Removing the original gasket is a nightmare. It is stuck everywhere, and the same areas where bolt removal is problematic, it is very difficult to access to work the gasket out.
* once removed, it is impossible to clean properly the mating surfaces. Too many areas are out of reach.

Then comes reassembly. A good 50% of the bolts cannot be (in any way) torqued according to spec (25NM +90deg). Most wont fit a torque wrench, many do not even provide enough clearance for a good "feel" wrenching. I torqued snug, some very hard to get bolts are less snug than others (the wiggle in the wobble extensions doesn't permit putting force on the bolts).

Overall, I was very unhappy with how it went. I would actually be surprised if the oil leak is not worse than it was before, after all these efforts. I recommend you do the job properly, dropping the subframe to have enough room to work and remove the pan.
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      01-27-2014, 07:21 PM   #21
Meeni
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No, I didn't have to remove the subframe. But mostly because I have only one car, so when it is half disassembled, I cannot go buy more tools. Otherwise I would probably have gone that way. It would have been faster and more effective.

I had to remove the steering rack, though, and even with that out of the way, the job was not satisfactory. The oil leak is now much reduced, but it still leaks (mostly from the bolts that cannot be torqued because it's impossible to get to them).
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      04-01-2014, 11:37 AM   #22
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Additional parts?

Hello guys,

First off, great thread it helped me a lot in gathering the right materials for the job. I was browsing some other forums just to be on the safe side, and came across some items and wondered if I do indeed need them in completion of this job. The items are axle seals, screw plug and sealing sleeve additionally there are 19 Hex bolts on the oil sump that I have been told would have to be replaced as they are one time use. Can anyone confirm this information and that I do indeed those other parts? any answers would be greatly appreciated I am tackling this job soon and want to have all the bases covered, some additional information my car is a X3 3.0i built in 2005 with a M54 engine. Thanks guys and again great thread.
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