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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Powertrain and Drivetrain Discussions > NA Engine (non-turbo) / Drivetrain / Exhaust Modifications > Bad oil leak, broken bolt head found



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      03-14-2018, 02:04 PM   #1
longtermproject
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Bad oil leak, broken bolt head found

Hey everyone, looks like I am joining the club of broken bolt heads.

To preface: The car developed an oil leak since this weekend, oil is all over the skid plate, and down the drivers side of the block. First guy to look at it said valve cover, second guy said oil filter housing, and today I find this:

https://imgur.com/zuehkhY

https://imgur.com/zKQbagS

Its bad timing, due to my moving, and working 2nd shift at the same time, so I just wanted to share this, and hear how much it cost you guys that have experienced this to fix?
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      03-14-2018, 02:27 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by longtermproject View Post
Hey everyone, looks like I am joining the club of broken bolt heads.

To preface: The car developed an oil leak since this weekend, oil is all over the skid plate, and down the drivers side of the block. First guy to look at it said valve cover, second guy said oil filter housing, and today I find this:

https://imgur.com/zuehkhY

https://imgur.com/zKQbagS

Its bad timing, due to my moving, and working 2nd shift at the same time, so I just wanted to share this, and hear how much it cost you guys that have experienced this to fix?
yeah very common on our cars unfortunately...
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      03-14-2018, 03:16 PM   #3
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From what I've read while researching this recently, it _seems_ that the one external to the valve cover bolt of the four (the one that you have broken) seems to cause an oil leak more easily.

Can anyone confirm this thought is reasonable?

In my case, I have at least two of the under the cover bolts broken (the heads ending up in the oil pan), but no oil leaks yet. I've verified that my external bolt is still OK.

Hope this helps,
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      03-14-2018, 03:29 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by longtermproject View Post
Hey everyone, looks like I am joining the club of broken bolt heads.

To preface: The car developed an oil leak since this weekend, oil is all over the skid plate, and down the drivers side of the block. First guy to look at it said valve cover, second guy said oil filter housing, and today I find this:

https://imgur.com/zuehkhY

https://imgur.com/zKQbagS

Its bad timing, due to my moving, and working 2nd shift at the same time, so I just wanted to share this, and hear how much it cost you guys that have experienced this to fix?

I highly doubt that broken head bolt is causing your issue. If the head is that loose you'd have other drivability issues/coolant lose. I bet its the oil filter housing gasket since that oil is pressurized unlike oil in the valve cover IMO
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Last edited by Bavarian Tech; 03-14-2018 at 05:28 PM.
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      03-14-2018, 05:14 PM   #5
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Though BMW calls them head bolts, they aren't head bolts in the common usage.

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1471910

Hassmachine explains it best there...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bavarian Tech View Post
I highly doubt that broken head is causing your issue. If the head is that loose you'd have other drivability issues/coolant lose. I bet its the oil filter housing gasket since that oil is pressurized unlike oil in the valve cover IMO
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      03-15-2018, 12:04 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ktm137 View Post
Though BMW calls them head bolts, they aren't head bolts in the common usage.

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1471910

Hassmachine explains it best there...
Thanks! I was going to have to post that again, lol.
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      03-15-2018, 01:35 AM   #7
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I don't believe the oil is leaking fast. I believe it has been leaking for some time. The area near the bolt location is full of oil, so I am assuming the leak is just severe enough that not noticing it for a while caused the pooling of oil.
Its clear from looking at it that the bolt is allowing oil past it, I'd have to get better pictures to prove it to you.

I've checked ALL the way around the oil filter housing, and I do not see anything that indicates a pressurized leak. Any specific area I should more closely to verify that its not this broken bolt thats causing it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bavarian Tech View Post
I highly doubt that broken head bolt is causing your issue. If the head is that loose you'd have other drivability issues/coolant lose. I bet its the oil filter housing gasket since that oil is pressurized unlike oil in the valve cover IMO
Read the title again, I found a BOLT HEAD broken off, not a HEAD BOLT. Just saying.
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      03-15-2018, 02:26 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by longtermproject View Post
I don't believe the oil is leaking fast. I believe it has been leaking for some time. The area near the bolt location is full of oil, so I am assuming the leak is just severe enough that not noticing it for a while caused the pooling of oil.
Its clear from looking at it that the bolt is allowing oil past it, I'd have to get better pictures to prove it to you.

I've checked ALL the way around the oil filter housing, and I do not see anything that indicates a pressurized leak. Any specific area I should more closely to verify that its not this broken bolt thats causing it?



Read the title again, I found a BOLT HEAD broken off, not a HEAD BOLT. Just saying.

https://www.pelicanparts.com/BMW/tec...lt_Testing.htm

Everything you need to know. I did my wife's not too long ago. pretty involved job but its do able. hopefully you get lucky and find that the bolts inside are still sitting in their slots. I think one was missing for me and the other was wedged in the plastic chain guard.
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      03-15-2018, 02:34 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crossface007 View Post
https://www.pelicanparts.com/BMW/tec...lt_Testing.htm

Everything you need to know. I did my wife's not too long ago. pretty involved job but its do able. hopefully you get lucky and find that the bolts inside are still sitting in their slots. I think one was missing for me and the other was wedged in the plastic chain guard.
Thanks, I'd like to do the job, but I'm in Southern Ohio, and lacking a garage to perform the work. Unfortunately, the weather doesn't appear to be getting better any time soon, so I am going to take the car to a shop to have the one bolt I can see, replaced. Whenever the weather clears up, I'll do the valve cover job, and check for the other broken bolts.
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      03-17-2018, 01:08 AM   #10
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I recently had a similar issue but without the oil leak you describe. My car, an '06 330, had the exposed bolt you are taking about replaced due to being broken when it's oil filter housing gasket has done by the previous owner about two years ago. When I bought the car last year it's valve cover was leaking. While changing this out (which had 2 or 3 broken bolts in the front passenger side corner) I discovered that all three on the aluminium "head bolts" inside the valve cover by the timing chain were broken with their heads missing. Needless to say this caused me some concern.

This resulted in me having the oil pan dropped to find the by heads and also replace the remains original aluminium oil pan bolts that are prone to corrosion and leaking.

Overall this cost me $2500 at a local indie shop to drop the pan and replace the broken bolts. I think this price is a little steep but not off by too much for the work done. It seems from the forums that the early e90 builds are prone to this problem, but it is not recognized by BMW USA as a wide spread problem.

I don't know how significant the aluminium head bolts are for the motor's longevity (the primary head sealing bolts are steel set in an insert into the aluminium block), but I didn't like the idea of broken bolt head roaming freely inside the block.
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      03-17-2018, 03:30 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phsullivan View Post
I recently had a similar issue but without the oil leak you describe. My car, an '06 330, had the exposed bolt you are taking about replaced due to being broken when it's oil filter housing gasket has done by the previous owner about two years ago. When I bought the car last year it's valve cover was leaking. While changing this out (which had 2 or 3 broken bolts in the front passenger side corner) I discovered that all three on the aluminium "head bolts" inside the valve cover by the timing chain were broken with their heads missing. Needless to say this caused me some concern.

This resulted in me having the oil pan dropped to find the by heads and also replace the remains original aluminium oil pan bolts that are prone to corrosion and leaking.

Overall this cost me $2500 at a local indie shop to drop the pan and replace the broken bolts. I think this price is a little steep but not off by too much for the work done. It seems from the forums that the early e90 builds are prone to this problem, but it is not recognized by BMW USA as a wide spread problem.

I don't know how significant the aluminium head bolts are for the motor's longevity (the primary head sealing bolts are steel set in an insert into the aluminium block), but I didn't like the idea of broken bolt head roaming freely inside the block.
I have heard that its likely the other bolts are broken, but as long as replacing the one bolt fixes the oil leak, I will probably just do the one. I was told by a local BMW service tech that they charge for 4 hours labor to replace the bolt, it seems like that would keep the price of repair relatively low considering the intake manifold has to at minimum be pulled out at least 1"
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      03-27-2018, 12:40 PM   #12
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Final update: The bolt was replaced, cost was $178, and the oil leak appears to have stopped completely. Looks like that broken bolt was the cause of the large oil leak that I had.
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      03-28-2018, 08:02 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by longtermproject View Post
Final update: The bolt was replaced, cost was $178, and the oil leak appears to have stopped completely. Looks like that broken bolt was the cause of the large oil leak that I had.
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