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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Powertrain and Drivetrain Discussions > N54 Turbo Engine / Drivetrain / Exhaust Modifications - 335i > How roasted is this Front Main Seal



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      06-24-2019, 09:35 PM   #1
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How roasted is this Front Main Seal

Lost my serpentine belt this weekend on track. I don't think it was front subframe contact as my power steering pulley is still intact. I believe it might have gotten oily from the OFH.

Anyway, upon inspection i definitely need to replace the Front Main Seal. My question is, how bad does this look?

Is this a "drop the pan and check the valve cover" belt failure or did I just rip the main seal?
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      06-24-2019, 09:53 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by ajsmithvmi View Post
Lost my serpentine belt this weekend on track. I don't think it was front subframe contact as my power steering pulley is still intact. I believe it might have gotten oily from the OFH.

Anyway, upon inspection i definitely need to replace the Front Main Seal. My question is, how bad does this look?

Is this a "drop the pan and check the valve cover" belt failure or did I just rip the main seal?
Get the fuck outta here. SAME EXACT THING HAPPENED TO ME at the track as well. I was able to get 4 passes in. 4th pass my belt snapped.. I just had the belt, rollers, pulley's replaced few days ago. I am not sure wtf happened here. 3/4 passes went real smooth no issues. On the 4th pass I launched out pretty hard and was wheel hopping for part of the way down the strip, managed to get a 11.6 @ 121 mph pass still though! When I crossed the marker I noticed my steering was very very tough. I was able to limp it to get my slip and park the car up to shut it off. Popped the hood and what do I find? Belt broke and fresh oil leaking from the front main seal. I hope to get the car on the lift tomorrow to have the mechanic take a look at it. In the mean time I ordered a new belt, oil pan bolts, oil change kit, and anew front main seal. I am going to return the broken belt to FCPEuro since they have the lifetime warranty the belt didn't even last 4-5 days. Brand new continental belt too. All OEM parts.

I am not leaking any oil from the OFH or the valve cover gasket either. Just had those replaced a few months back.
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      06-24-2019, 10:05 PM   #3
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Mine went at Gingerman raceway right before a big right-hand turn. The steering was so heavy I thought I had a suspension component failure and was dragging a wheel.

I ended up in the grass and eventually figured I had lost power steering. My first thought was that the reservoir/hose had burst.

I limped it back into the pits and popped the hood expecting to see fluid everywhere. Instead I see string cheese everywhere.

I didn't find any huge pieces of belt in the seal itself, which is good. But I'll know more when I replace the seal.
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      06-24-2019, 10:27 PM   #4
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I'm not sure what caused the your fail Ajsmithvmi, but if i had to guess its from a stretched/warn out belt or tentioner that put to much tention on your belt stretching it to the point it grew larger and the stress of the engine at 7k rpms was to much for that belt to stay on pully's

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Originally Posted by addictedtoboost View Post
Get the fuck outta here. SAME EXACT THING HAPPENED TO ME at the track as well. I was able to get 4 passes in. 4th pass my belt snapped.. I just had the belt, rollers, pulley's replaced few days ago. I am not sure wtf happened here. 3/4 passes went real smooth no issues. On the 4th pass I launched out pretty hard and was wheel hopping for part of the way down the strip, managed to get a 11.6 @ 121 mph pass still though! When I crossed the marker I noticed my steering was very very tough. I was able to limp it to get my slip and park the car up to shut it off. Popped the hood and what do I find? Belt broke and fresh oil leaking from the front main seal. I hope to get the car on the lift tomorrow to have the mechanic take a look at it. In the mean time I ordered a new belt, oil pan bolts, oil change kit, and anew front main seal. I am going to return the broken belt to FCPEuro since they have the lifetime warranty the belt didn't even last 4-5 days. Brand new continental belt too. All OEM parts.

I am not leaking any oil from the OFH or the valve cover gasket either. Just had those replaced a few months back.
My guess is that you either have a bad tentioner that is putting to much tention on the belt, or the belt was defective. I'd also suggest returning the tentioner just encase. I'm not sure if you bought aftermarket, but for me the one part I stick with oem bmw on is their tentioners/pully's/and belts that way I dont have to worry about any variences and having my belt sucked into my front main seal because pulling the oil pan on an XI is hell and the small savings on those parts for me is not worth the risk of having to go into the pan.

If i ever had a belt shred I wouldnt hesitate and drop the oil pan (and replace the gasket while im at it) as a preventative to blowing my engine. It only takes a few small tiny micro belt pieces to get into your pan and run through the engine creating some major oil pressure issues which could lead to a blown engine especually if your pushing big hp numbers. Its upto you guys if you want to pull the pan to look, but based on what ive read on the forums many times of bmw owners who shredded their belts and never looked in the pan and eventually blew their engine. The only way to really know is to pull it and I totally feel your pain because I'd hate to ever have to look in the oil pan over a belt stredding. Im guessing that if your main seal is good your odds are alot less that the belt made it in, but with what ever you guys decide i wish you luck that this doesnt ever happen again!
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      06-25-2019, 09:25 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buster84 View Post
I'm not sure what caused the your fail Ajsmithvmi, but if i had to guess its from a stretched/warn out belt or tentioner that put to much tention on your belt stretching it to the point it grew larger and the stress of the engine at 7k rpms was to much for that belt to stay on pully's



My guess is that you either have a bad tentioner that is putting to much tention on the belt, or the belt was defective. I'd also suggest returning the tentioner just encase. I'm not sure if you bought aftermarket, but for me the one part I stick with oem bmw on is their tentioners/pully's/and belts that way I dont have to worry about any variences and having my belt sucked into my front main seal because pulling the oil pan on an XI is hell and the small savings on those parts for me is not worth the risk of having to go into the pan.

If i ever had a belt shred I wouldnt hesitate and drop the oil pan (and replace the gasket while im at it) as a preventative to blowing my engine. It only takes a few small tiny micro belt pieces to get into your pan and run through the engine creating some major oil pressure issues which could lead to a blown engine especually if your pushing big hp numbers. Its upto you guys if you want to pull the pan to look, but based on what ive read on the forums many times of bmw owners who shredded their belts and never looked in the pan and eventually blew their engine. The only way to really know is to pull it and I totally feel your pain because I'd hate to ever have to look in the oil pan over a belt stredding. Im guessing that if your main seal is good your odds are alot less that the belt made it in, but with what ever you guys decide i wish you luck that this doesnt ever happen again!
I literally just had the https://www.fcpeuro.com/products/bmw...-11287628652kt replaced last week all with oem parts. At the same time I had the oil pan dropped and the gasket/bolts replaced as well. Now not even a week later, time to rinse and repeat. Hopefully all the pieces of the belt will be found. I did order a crankseal plate though to install so this won't happen to me in the near future. I am going to have the mechanic take a took at the powersteering bolts and the pulley make sure everything is in good shape.
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      06-25-2019, 11:47 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by addictedtoboost View Post
I literally just had the https://www.fcpeuro.com/products/bmw...-11287628652kt replaced last week all with oem parts. At the same time I had the oil pan dropped and the gasket/bolts replaced as well. Now not even a week later, time to rinse and repeat. Hopefully all the pieces of the belt will be found. I did order a crankseal plate though to install so this won't happen to me in the near future. I am going to have the mechanic take a took at the powersteering bolts and the pulley make sure everything is in good shape.
Dam twice. That sucks, maybe it's a defective tensioner pr out of spec pulley?

Where do you buy the crankseal plate? I didnt even realize this was a thing, although I'm suprised it wasnt made sooner.
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      06-25-2019, 01:55 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buster84 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by addictedtoboost View Post
I literally just had the https://www.fcpeuro.com/products/bmw...-11287628652kt replaced last week all with oem parts. At the same time I had the oil pan dropped and the gasket/bolts replaced as well. Now not even a week later, time to rinse and repeat. Hopefully all the pieces of the belt will be found. I did order a crankseal plate though to install so this won't happen to me in the near future. I am going to have the mechanic take a took at the powersteering bolts and the pulley make sure everything is in good shape.
Dam twice. That sucks, maybe it's a defective tensioner pr out of spec pulley?

Where do you buy the crankseal plate? I didnt even realize this was a thing, although I'm suprised it wasnt made sooner.
https://www.oxwerkzperformance.com/products.html
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      06-25-2019, 05:26 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajsmithvmi View Post
Lost my serpentine belt this weekend on track. I don't think it was front subframe contact as my power steering pulley is still intact. I believe it might have gotten oily from the OFH.

Anyway, upon inspection i definitely need to replace the Front Main Seal. My question is, how bad does this look?

Is this a "drop the pan and check the valve cover" belt failure or did I just rip the main seal?
It's a little hard to tell from the photos, but it looks like nothing was ingested by the motor. The seal looks damaged, but intact.
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      06-25-2019, 06:06 PM   #9
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I'm charging up a borescope, hopefully i'll be able to get some better pictures.

I don't think the seal was breached, however. I've pressurized the oil system to idle pressure and left it sit overnight. No oil is seeping past.
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      06-26-2019, 11:09 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajsmithvmi View Post
I'm charging up a borescope, hopefully i'll be able to get some better pictures.

I don't think the seal was breached, however. I've pressurized the oil system to idle pressure and left it sit overnight. No oil is seeping past.
If you have the tools and know how regarding the front main seal, I'd just change and put on The Aluminum seal plate. Better safe than sorry 😉
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      06-26-2019, 01:57 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by mweisdorfer View Post
If you have the tools and know how regarding the front main seal, I'd just change and put on The Aluminum seal plate. Better safe than sorry 😉
Yes my crank seal plate shipped! I am excited for it to come in the mail! I would like to wait for it before I start putting a new front main seal on. Would like to knock everything out all in one shot.
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      06-26-2019, 02:39 PM   #12
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Are you familiar with what's involved in replacing the front main seal? It's not the most trivial of processes.
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      06-26-2019, 03:06 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mweisdorfer View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajsmithvmi View Post
I'm charging up a borescope, hopefully i'll be able to get some better pictures.

I don't think the seal was breached, however. I've pressurized the oil system to idle pressure and left it sit overnight. No oil is seeping past.
If you have the tools and know how regarding the front main seal, I'd just change and put on The Aluminum seal plate. Better safe than sorry
I'm 100% replacing the main seal. the unknown at this point is did any of the belt get past it.
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      06-26-2019, 04:11 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajsmithvmi View Post
I'm 100% replacing the main seal. the unknown at this point is did any of the belt get past it.
If it was me I'd just drop the pan and use this time to put a new gasket on especially if the gasket has well over 50k miles on it; however, if yours was changed not to long ago or you you really dont want to go through all of that, maybe you could do an oil change and get a small borescope with a good light on it and to look all over the inside of your pan? Youd have to raise your passenger side higher to get all the oil out otherwise your scope wont see much if its covered in oil lol.
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      06-26-2019, 06:29 PM   #15
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Youd have to raise your passenger side higher to get all the oil out otherwise your scope wont see much if its covered in oil lol.
I haven't had to change an oil level sensor before, but if that provides a larger orifice/better positioning, removing that might be an option as well.
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      06-26-2019, 08:02 PM   #16
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See if you can remove the front main seal without chewing it up too much. If it ate the belt it would have torn the inner lip of the seal, which you cannot see unless it's off. I'd start there. If you mangle it getting it off and if you see any skid marks or tears, I'd drop the pan to be safe.
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      06-26-2019, 11:32 PM   #17
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Got some different angles with the borescope.
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      06-27-2019, 12:32 PM   #18
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I'd be more interesting in sending that scope into the pan to check what's on the end of the oil pump pickup tube screen.
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      06-27-2019, 03:43 PM   #19
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Got some different angles with the borescope.
100% chance there is belt in the pan. How else would the seal have gotten wrecked and pushed inward? Belt wrapped itself around the crank and was driven into the pan. Sucks but drop it... lots of work but luckily only a $20 gasket for the oil pan. Front seal gets expensive though.
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      06-27-2019, 08:50 PM   #20
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Gotta do what ya gotta do I suppose.

Maybe, since i'm dropping the subframe anyway, it's time for a nice single turbo?
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      06-27-2019, 10:26 PM   #21
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Unidentified serpentine object.

Pan is definitely coming off.

Someone talk me out of a single turbo going on.
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      06-28-2019, 07:39 AM   #22
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Install this and report back:
https://speedtech.com/pages/bmw-n54
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