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      10-03-2015, 07:34 AM   #1
KrashFinatik
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DIY: E90 Oil Pan Gasket and Subframe Drop

Disclaimer
I am not a licenced mechanic and only offer this DIY as a reference to my experience replacing the oil pan gasket on a 2006 325i 6spd. Obviously the automatic, turbo & all wheel drive models will have some differences. PLEASE use jacks and jack stands appropriately. I ASSUME NO RESPONSIBILTY FOR WHAT HARM MAY COME TO YOU FOR NOT AIRING ON THE SIDE OF SAFETY. Be wise and get help if needed.
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Tools Needed:
Engine Support Bar (3 point type),
Torque Wrench (capable of going as low as 8nm which is 6lbs/ft),
Torx Bits, Torx Socket (E12 for oil pan & engine mount bolts)
3/8" Sockets (8mm, 10mm, 16mm, 17mm & 18mm)
Various Extensions, Flex Joints, Flathead Screwdriver,
Jack Stands, Lift Jack (capable of lifting the car high enough to work comfortably)
Pliers, Gasket Scraper, Parts Cleaner
and of course 6.5 litres of engine oil.

First make sure you order the right oil pan bolt kit for your car. The automatic transmission cars use some longer bolts than their manual counterpart (28 aluminum bolts in all).
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I would recommend replacing the seal for the oil level sensor (I should have done this)

"I apologize for some of the photos being too close but I didn't have much room from under the car."

1. Jack up your car and support it safely with the stands (front and rear) high enough to work under with the sub frame hanging.

2. Drain the oil. I would recommend allowing a lot of time so oil isn't dripping on you while your underneath. (I drained mine overnight)

3. Remove the front wheels and unplug the sensor on the drivers side lower control arm.
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4. Remove the plastic belly cover, the small plastic cover under the radiator, there are 2 triangular covers 1 behind each wheel & the covers under the transmission (I removed these ones to clean the oil from the tranny)
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5. Remove the 3 screws that are accessible holding the engine cover. I was then able to pry the cover enough to allow access for the tow hook.
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6. Get the tow hook from the utility kit in your car and screw it into the the drivers front corner of the cylinder head.
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7. Set up the engine support bar to get ready for unbolting the sub frame
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8. Unbolt and remove the triangular bar beneath the sub frame. NOTE: I had 1 bolt that would not come out from the front of that bar. There is a chance you may have the same problem. The reason is these 2 at the front have clips inside the sub frame that secure them, these rust because of the cheap metal causing the bolt to just spin without releasing. I sprayed liquid wrench inside the sub frame with a tube to soak the remaining bolt. Then when removing the bolt I worked it back & forth gradually going a bit further each time until it came out. The first one I tried I left it.
The one bolt that was left in I just turned the bar from side to side as needed to make access for the other hardware removal. It will not be in your way when you drop the sub frame.
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9. Now remove the bolts for the engine mounts.
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10. Be careful because 2 of these bolts were rubbing on something (probably the sub frame) causing some wear on the threads. Same routine working them back and forth gradually until they come out.
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11. Get the jack and place it under the larger section (rear) of the sub frame in the centre. (you will notice I didn't put my jack there because my triangular brace was still in the way).
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12. Remove the 6 bolts holding the sub frame. 3 bolts on the drivers side & 3 on the passenger side.
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13. Now slowly lower the sub frame until the jack falls away from it. The struts will now support it.
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14. You can see the space you've gained. I absolutely don't know how anyone can do this job properly without dropping the sub frame.
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15. Disconnect the plug and ground wire for the oil level sensor.
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16. On the drivers side remove the bracket protecting the fuel & brake lines.
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You will see why later.
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17. Unbolt the power steering hose at the right front of the sub frame. This will allow it to move for the oil pan later.
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18. Unclip the A/C pipe which will allow it to move easier for the oil pan later.
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19. Remove all the oil pan bolts. You can see mine leaking already after it was power washed. While removing my bolts I found 5 that were loose. (finger tight)
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20. Remember that plate protecting the fuel & brake lines we removed? Well this is to give you room to remove the tube from the oil return line (which is a PITA!!!) try your best to not break it. To replace it means removing the intake manifold. It has 4 clips locking it to the oil return pipe. I used a pliers to squeeze one way which unlocks 2 sides, at this point I placed a mini flathead screwdriver in to unlock the other 2, then wiggle the pan as you work them free.
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21. To free the front of the oil pan the power steering line & A/C tube will now have some extra play because of we freed them earlier.
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22. Once the oil pan is out put a drain pan under the engine to catch any oil still dripping. Now you can clean the oil pan of the old gasket using the scraper & do the same to the engine block *Be Careful Not to Damage the Engine Surface. Use the parts cleaner to wash out the pan & block surface.
This I where you would also replace the oil level sensor seal. (I didn't think and should have bought a seal to replace mine.)
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23. Once all is done and cleaned use 2 small zip ties at opposite ends to hold the gasket to the oil pan for installation (you can cut and remove them later once you have a couple bolts threaded in on opposite sides, but don't put any bolts in until after the next step). Take your time as to not damage the new gasket.

24. When the pan is in place reconnect the oil return tube. You will need to be able to move the pan a bit to get the oil return tube connected.


25. Now you can put the bolts in the pan. Make sure you start them by hand as to not cross thread anything. When they are all in you can snug all of them to the pan. Not to tight because our required torque is only 8nm which is 6 lbs/ft.

26. To torque the pan start at the middle & work in a "criss-cross" pattern outwards until all are done. 8nm or 6lbs/ft. plus 90. I marked each bolt so I knew which were already done.

27. Raise the sub frame paying attention to the guides for it to line up. Put in all the mounting bolts but leave them loose for the sub frame to move a little because you also need to line up the engine mounts (there is a small guide pin to help align them) . Use a screwdriver to make adjustments) once there start the bolts for the engine mounts.
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28. Now tighten up all the sub frame bolts then the engine mount bolts.

29. Put everything else back together in reverse order and make sure you did not leave anything out. Fill your oil & leave the plastic shields off just in case you missed something and need to get back in. Also it helps checking for leaks.

Here's some links referring to the oil pan:
http://workshop-manuals.com/bmw/3_se...il_sump_(n52)/

http://workshop-manuals.com/bmw/3_se...n52)/page_288/

http://workshop-manuals.com/bmw/3_se..._azd__oil_pan/


Cheers
KrashFinatik

Last edited by KrashFinatik; 10-04-2015 at 09:20 PM. Reason: Pictures did not match description.
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      10-04-2015, 11:55 AM   #2
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Excellent DIY, it has everything.

While there, you may consider changing the engine mounts, at the time the pan starts leaking, they are probably also getting fairly used.
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      10-04-2015, 03:30 PM   #3
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Thanks Meeni, I didn't want to leave anything out. I also agree with you. There's a bunch of things to consider replacing or repairing once your doing this job yourself. Considering the amount of money your saving from not having the "stealer" do it you can put that money to more parts to purchase for your car.
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      10-04-2015, 09:51 PM   #4
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wonder what extra steps need to be done for doing this on a n54 e90? How high did you need to set your jackstands? How long did it take for the total job?
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      10-04-2015, 10:12 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MadeInPhilly
wonder what extra steps need to be done for doing this on a n54 e90? How high did you need to set your jackstands? How long did it take for the total job?
I raised the car to the 3rd notch on the average jack stand (if that makes sense). The sub frame will drop a few inches plus you will need to be able to work under it. The job took me all day considering I wasn't working on it the whole time, but I would say 7-9 hours depending on your skill set and available tools.
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      10-21-2015, 03:00 PM   #6
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Do you know subframe torque specs? I have such a hard time navigating that workshop manuals website.

Thanks!
Simon
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      10-21-2015, 08:52 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simon
Do you know subframe torque specs? I have such a hard time navigating that workshop manuals website.

Thanks!
Simon
Hi Simon, I didn't torque my subframe down to spec. I should have but figured I would be OK because of the size used.
Ill do some research and see what I can find.
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      10-23-2015, 11:10 PM   #8
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"10. Be careful because 2 of these bolts were rubbing on something (probably the sub frame) causing some wear on the threads. Same routine working them back and forth gradually until they come out"

On those engine mount bolts, I had same issue. But I had only changed the engine mounts though. I think it is some of the aluminum thread that was seized on the bolts from age that gets broken and stuck on the bolts that cause it while removing the bolts. The shining stuck aluminum can be seen in your photo. They should be pried off from the bolts with a pick or similar before reusing the bolts to get good rethreading. Or getting new bolts.

What I mean is bolt being steel, its thread is not damaged. But engine mount being aluminum its threads get damaged and some of it get stuck on the bolt.
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      10-28-2015, 02:16 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhaseP
"10. Be careful because 2 of these bolts were rubbing on something (probably the sub frame) causing some wear on the threads. Same routine working them back and forth gradually until they come out"

On those engine mount bolts, I had same issue. But I had only changed the engine mounts though. I think it is some of the aluminum thread that was seized on the bolts from age that gets broken and stuck on the bolts that cause it while removing the bolts. The shining stuck aluminum can be seen in your photo. They should be pried off from the bolts with a pick or similar before reusing the bolts to get good rethreading. Or getting new bolts.

What I mean is bolt being steel, its thread is not damaged. But engine mount being aluminum its threads get damaged and some of it get stuck on the bolt.
Your right PhaseP, the engine mount bolts were not damaged at all. I used my tap and die kit to clean the threads which came off pretty easy.
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      11-02-2015, 09:11 PM   #10
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Broket bolt

Hello! Thanks for the excellent write up! I was able to get everything completed, but unfortunately while torqueing one of the bolts it broke off. It on the driver side and one of the harder ones to get to. Should I leave it alone or try to extract and put a new bolt? Any recommendations on how to extract?

Thanks!
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      11-02-2015, 09:23 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rcolon
Hello! Thanks for the excellent write up! I was able to get everything completed, but unfortunately while torqueing one of the bolts it broke off. It on the driver side and one of the harder ones to get to. Should I leave it alone or try to extract and put a new bolt? Any recommendations on how to extract?

Thanks!
Sorry to hear that. You could possibly get away temporarily with only the one bolt missing, but more than likely it will eventually leak from that area. Also it means having to go back in again for the repair.
The only way I know off to repair that is to drill it out and insert a "helicoil" of matching thread pitch replace the thread damaged while removing the broken bolt.
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      11-03-2015, 12:18 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rcolon View Post
Hello! Thanks for the excellent write up! I was able to get everything completed, but unfortunately while torqueing one of the bolts it broke off. It on the driver side and one of the harder ones to get to. Should I leave it alone or try to extract and put a new bolt? Any recommendations on how to extract?

Thanks!
If you can get to it with a flat head screw driver, you may be able to use the flat head screw driver and some upward pressure while turning to get it out. Keep in mind the torque specs are basically hand tight.

Worked for me to remove a bolt that broke in half for my valve cover gasket.
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      11-04-2015, 09:26 PM   #13
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Thanks for the feedback. I was able to get it out with a bolt remover bit. The key was getting a 12 inch extension in order to reach the broken bolt. I was able to find one at Harbor Freight for $8. Job is done and saved myself about $850.

Warning: I got a torque wrench from Amazon for $23. The first bolt I used it on something didn't feel right (felt like I was tightening too much), so I stopped. I tried it again on another bolt and was finally able to get the 'click' tried on another and it worked so confidence was a bit higher. Third bolt...snapped! So, unless you have a high quality torque wrench, and one you know works I would skip the torqueing process. If you decide to torque and something doesn't feel right...Stop! you will avoid crying underneath the car like I did!

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      12-06-2015, 12:25 AM   #14
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I followed this DIY write up and replaced my gasket this weekend. I also did not change the level sensor gasket and chose to disconnect the ground wire at the chassis (so to not adversely impact the seal at the level sensor). However, I did change the motor and trans mounts. I found the oil pan quite difficult to remove, even with lifting the engine a bit (I used an engine hoist, not a support bar). Finally I figured out the easiest way to rotate the pan. The pan removal and re-install were eased by 1. Removing the driver engine mount, 2. Rotating the pan toward the driver mount location.

The job was a messy PITA but not too difficult.

Last edited by RuinE90d; 12-06-2015 at 10:39 AM. Reason: Correctiins
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      12-06-2015, 04:39 AM   #15
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Was just told that my oil pan gasket is starting to leak. Nothing eminent but a likely required repair sometime in the future, if I keep the car that long. Estimate for the fix was $1500.

Despite the cost, I'd probably still pay to have it done rather than do it myself. There's a limit to what I am willing to DIY but, if I get desperate for funds, I can always resort to the instructions in this thread but hopefully (for me) that will never be necessary.
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      12-06-2015, 12:07 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RuinE90d
I followed this DIY write up and replaced my gasket this weekend. I also did not change the level sensor gasket and chose to disconnect the ground wire at the chassis (so to not adversely impact the seal at the level sensor). However, I did change the motor and trans mounts. I found the oil pan quite difficult to remove, even with lifting the engine a bit (I used an engine hoist, not a support bar). Finally I figured out the easiest way to rotate the pan. The pan removal and re-install were eased by 1. Removing the driver engine mount, 2. Rotating the pan toward the driver mount location.

The job was a messy PITA but not too difficult.
Thanks for the extra input. The more we can get will help out any future "do it yourselfers".
The reason why I made this DIY was because there wasn't a proper one made.
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      12-06-2015, 09:02 PM   #17
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I completely agree, great write up btw.

The only other thing that I meant to mention (which is a little off topic) was the tow hook being used as an anchor point. Anyone ever report the tow hook not threading far into the head? I'm new to the forum and didn't really research this, so maybe it's a known issue... but I noticed my tow hook only made two revolutions before hitting the valve cover. I tried to find an alternative fastener at a local specialty nut/bolt fastener store... But of course no one carries this German specialty (M16 8 tpi Coarse thread?) patterns in TN. So, I made some modifications, and felt comfortable with the thread depth at four revolutions.
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      12-06-2015, 11:05 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RuinE90d
I completely agree, great write up btw.

The only other thing that I meant to mention (which is a little off topic) was the tow hook being used as an anchor point. Anyone ever report the tow hook not threading far into the head? I'm new to the forum and didn't really research this, so maybe it's a known issue... but I noticed my tow hook only made two revolutions before hitting the valve cover. I tried to find an alternative fastener at a local specialty nut/bolt fastener store... But of course no one carries this German specialty (M16 8 tpi Coarse thread?) patterns in TN. So, I made some modifications, and felt comfortable with the thread depth at four revolutions.
How did you modify the tow hook?
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      12-07-2015, 08:38 AM   #19
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I removed some of the "factors of safety" by reducing the OD where the hook made contact with the valve cover. Specifically, I used a file and a Dremel tool to take off a few thousandths.

Now before someone chastises me for this... I should say that I'm certain my modifications made the lifting/rigging of the engine safer. Additionally, I seriously doubt the tow hook would fail due to my careful modifications (Regardless of if the hook was used for holding the engine or towing the car).

My decision to modify the tow hook was also eased, since it's a replaceable item.
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      12-07-2015, 10:04 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RuinE90d
I removed some of the "factors of safety" by reducing the OD where the hook made contact with the valve cover. Specifically, I used a file and a Dremel tool to take off a few thousandths.

Now before someone chastises me for this... I should say that I'm certain my modifications made the lifting/rigging of the engine safer. Additionally, I seriously doubt the tow hook would fail due to my careful modifications (Regardless of if the hook was used for holding the engine or towing the car).

My decision to modify the tow hook was also eased, since it's a replaceable item.
No complaints from me. To tell you the truth I was a bit concerned with the amount that was threaded into the head.
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      12-21-2015, 10:38 PM   #21
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Greetings and happy holidays,

I've read your DIY and plan to change my oil pan gasket, probably next month.

I don't own an engine support and would like your advice on choosing one.

You used a 3 point support. Do you think this type is a must-have for our cars? Can you tell me the weight capacity and brand?

From what I see on Amazon and other sources, most 3 point bars show a 700 lb capacity while many of the two point bars show 1000+ lbs.

Are there certain features that led you to buy or use the one you have?

thanks for any help or advice. Many thanks for the DIY posting.
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      12-23-2015, 11:53 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mlifxs
Greetings and happy holidays,

I've read your DIY and plan to change my oil pan gasket, probably next month.

I don't own an engine support and would like your advice on choosing one.

You used a 3 point support. Do you think this type is a must-have for our cars? Can you tell me the weight capacity and brand?

From what I see on Amazon and other sources, most 3 point bars show a 700 lb capacity while many of the two point bars show 1000+ lbs.

Are there certain features that led you to buy or use the one you have?

thanks for any help or advice. Many thanks for the DIY posting.
The reason why I chose the 3 point style bar over the 2 point was for stability. Because of the slope along the front of our e90's & the location of where the tow hook is placed, I didn't want to take the chance on the bar falling over while supporting the engine (especially while being underneath).

Next being the weight capacity you don't need a bar that's rated for 1000 lbs. Our aluminum engines weigh only about 355 lbs and I'll even increase that to 400 for argument sake. Even the less rated capacity bars at 700 lbs capacity can manage the task at hand with room to spare. Not to mention the full weight of the engine will not be supported because it is still bolted to the tranny which is still mounted.

When purchasing a support bar look for quality and not just the price. How well is it constructed (design), quality welds, guage (thickness) of the metal used.

Merry Christmas to you and yours everyone.
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