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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > BMW E90/E92/E93 3-series General Forums > General E90 Sedan / E91 Wagon / E92 Coupe / E93 Cabrio > Gasket Replacing to fix oil leak (image gallery attached)



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      12-05-2012, 03:47 PM   #1
millerb7
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Gasket Replacing to fix oil leak (image gallery attached)

So... somewhere, there is a tiny little oil leak and it's DRIVING ME CRAZY. I noticed it when I was replacing my water pump and thermostat last weekend. I tried cleaning things up as best as I could (it's a damn tight fit in there) and I'm going to re-inspect this weekend to see if I can located it.

Anyways, my question is 2 parts:

PART 1: What, in your experience, is the best way to locate an oil leak that you have had? Any tricks of the trade? I'm just a weekend DIY'er and not a mechanic, so keep that in mind.

PART 2: I know of the oil filter housing gasket, the valve cover screws and the oil pan gasket. Any other obvious places to look?

Again, I'm NO mechanic, by any stretch of the imagination. Keep that in mind.

I'm about 75% sure it's the oil filter housing gasket since I see oil up that far. Common sense tells me (well, my form of common sense) that just trace the oil as far UP as you can go, and then that's probably the leak.

Check out the link for some images, sorry they are huge and didn't want to upload them to the forums. It's a folder with about 6 images in it.

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/0xz6ke27gatb1tw/eW8cxjjWHI

IMAGE 1: Front view, underneath the oil filter area.
IMAGE 2: Underneath oil filter area right above the belts
IMAGE 3 & 4: Down on the right side of the engine. I assume this is the head gasket? (Again, no mechanic here). It definitely looks like more wet oil... you can really see it at the top of those pictures.
IMAGE 5: Back behind the oil filter

My issue is I don't know if it's coming from the oil filter housing gasket and leaking down onto what image 3 & 4 show... or coming from where image 3 & 4 show... hell, my luck, probably both.

Thoughts?
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      12-05-2012, 04:22 PM   #2
Blackhawk36
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Flourescent dye added to the oil then a black light. You get the dye at an auto parts store and a black light at a Lowes or Home Depot. Put the dye in. Drive around for a few days then find the leak with the light. It will fluoresce pretty well.
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      12-05-2012, 04:31 PM   #3
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Why is it driving you crazy? Is it the burnt oil smell? I have a minor leak but no smell. Do you have to add oil on a regular basis?
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      12-05-2012, 04:35 PM   #4
millerb7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackhawk36 View Post
Flourescent dye added to the oil then a black light. You get the dye at an auto parts store and a black light at a Lowes or Home Depot. Put the dye in. Drive around for a few days then find the leak with the light. It will fluoresce pretty well.
Huh... didn't think of that. Maybe I'll give that a go.

Either way it's going to be a PITA to clean up all the crud from around the engine.... easy ways to do that? I've always been terrified of using engine degreaser and a hose like some suggest.
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      12-05-2012, 04:36 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoRomeo View Post
Why is it driving you crazy? Is it the burnt oil smell? I have a minor leak but no smell. Do you have to add oil on a regular basis?
No smell. My oil gauge goes down on occasion but never have had to actually add oil (never get the +1 quart warning)... honestly I'm OCD and just knowing it's there bothers me.
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      12-05-2012, 04:45 PM   #6
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A few cans of brake cleaner. It is a strong enough solvent to liquify the oil quickly and it comes out in enough volume that it will flow and drain off of the bottom of the engine. It dries quickly leaves no residue.
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      12-09-2012, 09:26 PM   #7
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have you had the plastic engine cover off yet?

I think you may get a better look at the valve cover that way..You may just find your leak...

I have heard of leaky oil fill gaskets and or valve cover gaskets...

JP
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      12-09-2012, 09:34 PM   #8
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I brought my 2007 328Xi to the dealer, they cleaned my engine for $50. It is beautiful in there now and it was disgusting.

Edit: where I was going with this, I assume they know what can be sprayed with degreaser and water. For peace of mind, I'll spend the $50

I had an oil leak coming from the eccentric shaft sensor. I guess it's pretty common, search for where it is, idk myself honestly, but it would be something to check.
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