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      12-27-2017, 10:31 AM   #1
mountain14er
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DIY - e90 2007 328xi oil pan gasket, easier approach

After doing the oil filter housing gasket and valve cover gasket and still having a leak, I checked the oil pan gasket and sure enough that needed replacement too.

I won't write a full DIY here as these two below are already awesome. I was going to append to the second link below but wanted to make this easy to find.

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1180020
http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1211290

I was able to replace the oil pan gasket on my AWD without full axle shaft removal and all the related work and parts. The short version is that by disconnecting the lower control arms at the subframe, sway bar links and steering rack from the subframe, it was simple to remove the subframe entirely from the car. This allowed the struts to pivot inward so I could lower the oil pan by ~6 inches while keeping the front differential, axles, steering linkage, etc. attached. The old oil pan gasket came out easily and after some cleanup, the new one slid right into the front of the engine. So far everything is holding tight and it seems I didn't affect the alignment so in many ways this is a faster more cost effective approach.

Some pointers:
-The oil pan with the diff and axles attached is pretty heavy so I supported everything with a jack. Having a helper for the raising and lowering of the pan was very helpful
-It was easier to remove the control arms at the subframe after lowering the subframe a bit. It was also a nice chance to check the condition of these bushings.
-It was also easier to remove the steering rack after lowering the subframe. The bolts on the bottom are 2 e12 bolts but the nut is not welded to the subframe and has to be held with a wrench to keep from spinning. After disconnecting these 2 bolts, the steering rack slides backwards out of the tabs that hold it in the subframe
-One of the trickiest parts was disconnecting the coolant line from the front of the subframe. two bolts going in the front were simple but there's one tucked on top of the line on the driver's side that's a pain. You also need to get this line around the power steering bracket to remove.
-Generally, take your time removing the subframe making sure you don't have any obstructions. It would be very counterproductive to break some hose by being hasty.
-I have an automatic transmission and disconnecting the cooler lines at the transmission and loosening the 10 mm bracket nuts at the oil pan so you can slide the lines free gives plenty of space to get to the oil pan bolts.
-I didn't remove the motor mount, just the two bolts that come up from the bottom and was able to work around the mount just fine.
-You won't need to remove the front brakes in this approach.

Overall, this saved a ton of time extra steps. If I hadn't been figuring it out as I went, I could probably do this job in 5-6 hours, and I'm no expert. The two tutorials linked above were critical in understanding how everything goes together and made this a pretty simple process.

It looks like I don't have photo posting privileges but can add a couple if someone shows me how or I can send to someone else.

Last edited by mountain14er; 12-27-2017 at 10:32 AM.. Reason: typo
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      12-28-2017, 07:29 AM   #2
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Thanks for the write up. This will be helpful when I have to tackle that job.
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      02-12-2019, 01:18 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mountain14er View Post
After doing the oil filter housing gasket and valve cover gasket and still having a leak, I checked the oil pan gasket and sure enough that needed replacement too.

I won't write a full DIY here as these two below are already awesome. I was going to append to the second link below but wanted to make this easy to find.

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1180020
http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1211290

I was able to replace the oil pan gasket on my AWD without full axle shaft removal and all the related work and parts. The short version is that by disconnecting the lower control arms at the subframe, sway bar links and steering rack from the subframe, it was simple to remove the subframe entirely from the car. This allowed the struts to pivot inward so I could lower the oil pan by ~6 inches while keeping the front differential, axles, steering linkage, etc. attached. The old oil pan gasket came out easily and after some cleanup, the new one slid right into the front of the engine. So far everything is holding tight and it seems I didn't affect the alignment so in many ways this is a faster more cost effective approach.

Some pointers:
-The oil pan with the diff and axles attached is pretty heavy so I supported everything with a jack. Having a helper for the raising and lowering of the pan was very helpful
-It was easier to remove the control arms at the subframe after lowering the subframe a bit. It was also a nice chance to check the condition of these bushings.
-It was also easier to remove the steering rack after lowering the subframe. The bolts on the bottom are 2 e12 bolts but the nut is not welded to the subframe and has to be held with a wrench to keep from spinning. After disconnecting these 2 bolts, the steering rack slides backwards out of the tabs that hold it in the subframe
-One of the trickiest parts was disconnecting the coolant line from the front of the subframe. two bolts going in the front were simple but there's one tucked on top of the line on the driver's side that's a pain. You also need to get this line around the power steering bracket to remove.
-Generally, take your time removing the subframe making sure you don't have any obstructions. It would be very counterproductive to break some hose by being hasty.
-I have an automatic transmission and disconnecting the cooler lines at the transmission and loosening the 10 mm bracket nuts at the oil pan so you can slide the lines free gives plenty of space to get to the oil pan bolts.
-I didn't remove the motor mount, just the two bolts that come up from the bottom and was able to work around the mount just fine.
-You won't need to remove the front brakes in this approach.

Overall, this saved a ton of time extra steps. If I hadn't been figuring it out as I went, I could probably do this job in 5-6 hours, and I'm no expert. The two tutorials linked above were critical in understanding how everything goes together and made this a pretty simple process.

It looks like I don't have photo posting privileges but can add a couple if someone shows me how or I can send to someone else.
Hey, about to do this on my 2008 328xi. Can you please send me the pics? I'll post them. So with your approach, you are not really removing the oil pan or subframe, but dropping them enough to get to the gasket?

Edit: posting pictures from OP.






Last edited by dylim; 02-12-2019 at 08:24 PM..
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      02-19-2020, 09:45 AM   #4
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Did you have to disconnect anything from the transfer case such as mounting bolts or isolater mounts?
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      04-22-2020, 10:59 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nmelche View Post
Did you have to disconnect anything from the transfer case such as mounting bolts or isolater mounts?
Just did this... No, you don't have to do anything to the transfer case.
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      08-03-2020, 05:51 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dylim View Post
Just did this... No, you don't have to do anything to the transfer case.
Dylim is absolutely correct, I just did this job and got it done in about 4 hrs.
It's a little tricky manuvering the sway bar around the steering rack, and so for an additional 4 bolts I simply dropped the sway bar separately, I also dropped the transfer case drive shaft to the front diff in the process, found it gave me more room to clean up the oil pan (Also just 8 bolts).

Since my gasket was toast, there were pieces that fell into the oil pan upon removal, take your time and get all of it out of the pan before your oil pump sucks some rubber into it and you got a bigger project on your hand.

I also read for the oil pan bolt torque specs are 8nm with a 90 degree rotation, I did a cross cross pattern on the torque and then a star pattern for the 90 degrees and everything has been holding plum. This way was WAY faster than dropping CVs and Dif, but you sacrifice a degree of accessibility and mobility of the pan with all that drivetrain still attached. Take your time aligning your gasket with the oil pan, no better way to snap a aluminum bolt than getting it in the hole wrong.

Also, spend the money to buy or rent a engine cross bar support, if you try to use an engine hoist you'll want to break something with how the hoist will be in your way.

Might be a little redundant, but don't forget to drop the 3 steel torx bolts from the bell housing side when dropping your pan, I forgot and had a close scare when my pan wasn't lowering.
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      08-03-2020, 11:21 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leviathan53 View Post
Dylim is absolutely correct, I just did this job and got it done in about 4 hrs.
It's a little tricky manuvering the sway bar around the steering rack, and so for an additional 4 bolts I simply dropped the sway bar separately, I also dropped the transfer case drive shaft to the front diff in the process, found it gave me more room to clean up the oil pan (Also just 8 bolts).

Since my gasket was toast, there were pieces that fell into the oil pan upon removal, take your time and get all of it out of the pan before your oil pump sucks some rubber into it and you got a bigger project on your hand.

I also read for the oil pan bolt torque specs are 8nm with a 90 degree rotation, I did a cross cross pattern on the torque and then a star pattern for the 90 degrees and everything has been holding plum. This way was WAY faster than dropping CVs and Dif, but you sacrifice a degree of accessibility and mobility of the pan with all that drivetrain still attached. Take your time aligning your gasket with the oil pan, no better way to snap a aluminum bolt than getting it in the hole wrong.

Also, spend the money to buy or rent a engine cross bar support, if you try to use an engine hoist you'll want to break something with how the hoist will be in your way.

Might be a little redundant, but don't forget to drop the 3 steel torx bolts from the bell housing side when dropping your pan, I forgot and had a close scare when my pan wasn't lowering.
UPDATE: So I'm about 60% into the disassembly and referencing this thread has helped a lot.

Couple of things that stood out to me.

1. The coolant pipe's 3rd bolt was very tricky and most time consuming to figure out. I used a 4ft extension with a swivel on a 1/4" ratchet to go in at an angle from the top and across the engine . I also removed the drive belt to get closer to the block for a better angle of attack. I'm not sure how I will be reinstalling.

2. The power steering bracket that cross over the sway bar is impossible to remove from the subframe without dropping the frame first, so you have to remove the 3 bolts that hold the power steering line and keep the bracket on the frame. You can see it in one of the pictures here.

3. I've been reading and seeing people mention the 3 extra bolts in the bell housing and it appears they're not included with the oil pan bolt kit, so you have to get them separately.

Last edited by Hayk90; 09-01-2020 at 09:00 PM..
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      09-18-2020, 12:40 AM   #8
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Okay so after finally reinstalling the subframe and being 90% complete with this nightmare, I wanted to share my experience with this job.

I started on August 31st and have been working on it for about two days per week. In total Iíve put in about 6 days of work (not entire days but about 6-8hrs each). Worked alone and took my time.

I HIGHLY recommend you remove the front differential. I thought I would save a lot of time by following this threadís suggestion but it was a huge mistake.

Having the diff connected with the pan made for a very awkward and difficult job. Removing the pan was very sketchy as the pan has a lip at the transmission side so it doesnít lower evenly when you release the jack. Also not being able to fully remove the pan makes cleaning it very uncomfortable, especially if dirt falls from the engine block into the pan.

There is way too much room for issues. I also damaged the oil level sensor when it must have contacted the pickup tube on the way down. Luckily the damage was minimal and I found a used replacement to salvage my original one. But it made for a very tricky cleanup, as I had to wipe off all the oil inside the pan and make sure no pieces of plastic and dirt were still inside.

When raising the pan, the added weight of the diff and the large floor jack made positing the gasket and lining up the holes a huge chore. The pan sit at an angle so the gasket wants to slide when you raise the pan. I tried zip ties but they pull the gasket too far off center. In the end it was a lot of wiggling and pushing and pulling that finally lined up enough holes for me to start threading the bolts by hand.

Next is the bolt situation. With all that crap in the way, youíre gonna be struggling reinstalling the bolts and being careful not to cross thread them while using wobble extensions.

The amount of time that I wasted dealing with the diff made for such a horrible experience, I will always remove it if I ever have to do this again. Pulling the CV axles and the diff only takes a few more steps, so why skip it?

The only thing that I do recommend keep in place is the steering rack. There is no need to disconnect it. You can also keep the brakes in place, I donít think it was necessary to remove them. I think the other guide removed the brakes because the OP kept the CV shafts attached to the knuckles when he pulled them out. I wouldíve pulled the CV shafts out of the knuckles and the diff.

A few other notes. ďWhile youíre in thereĒ is a huge theme for this job. You can tackle a lot of stuff thatís usually much harder to access.

1. Front diff fluid
2. Water pump/thermostat & hoses
3. Transmission lines
4. Power steering lines
5. Power steering rack
6. Steering shaft
7. Engine mounts.
8. Control arms/bushings
9. Brakes

Basically there is a lot of room for all that stuff to be done comfortably.

Your mileage may vary, so take this with a grain of salt. If you have a lot of experience and think leaving the diff in place is the right thing to do, then you probably donít need this thread. But if youíre like me and doing this for the first time, with some suspension and other mechanical jobs under your belt, be warned!

p.s.: Reading that some of you did this in 4 hours, wow! Props to you, I canít even picture myself going that fast.

I also wanted to add I ended up replacing the front driveshaft, steering rack, power steering fluid, front and rear diff fluid, in addition to the subframe. So that took even more time to figure it all out. Driveshaft joint was shot. Steering rack rusted away and was way too close to having a leak, so I didnít want to risk having to go back into it. The diff fluid was overdue.

Last edited by Hayk90; 09-18-2020 at 12:48 AM..
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      10-02-2020, 07:09 PM   #9
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Hayk90

I’m needing to the do my rack and front diff here eventually... If engine mounts are easy too while in there, those too. Oh, and whatever else I discover while in there.

Did you buy a reman OE rack or go with a used one? OPG was changed a while back under PO so hopefully it’s okay, but I know given what needs to be done to remove the rack and diff, my best bet is following an OPG DIY like this and the linked threads.

Did you do this job with a lift or on stands? Just in the planning phases now...
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      10-06-2020, 07:45 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by e90yyc View Post
Hayk90

I’m needing to the do my rack and front diff here eventually... If engine mounts are easy too while in there, those too. Oh, and whatever else I discover while in there.

Did you buy a reman OE rack or go with a used one? OPG was changed a while back under PO so hopefully it’s okay, but I know given what needs to be done to remove the rack and diff, my best bet is following an OPG DIY like this and the linked threads.

Did you do this job with a lift or on stands? Just in the planning phases now...

Engine mounts are super easy, there is just two bolts holding them to the subframe and one nut to the engine. I would probably break the bolts and the top nut loose before removing the subframe, so you have more leverage.

Make sure you order replacement hardware. BMW newTIS guides all state to replace almost every bolt. I followed that advice as a lot of my bolts were very rusty or past their prime. Let me know if you need some help, I used realOEM.com for all my part numbers and then ordered them from FCP.

I bought a used rack from California for $250, it had 100k miles on it but looked almost brand new. It also included inner/outer tie rod ends in great condition. After the install, I noticed very small seepage from around the flange that seals the two metal pipes to the rack, but it's not enough to create any drips. If I had the cash, I would recommend ordering a reman one from FCP, I think they're around $600-800 and have a lifetime warranty.

If your pan is dry, leave it alone, not worth the hassle of opening it up and doing all that work.

I used large 6 ton jacks stands on their lowest height which gave me plenty of clearance, but quiet annoying to work on in this way. It's not impossible but definitely not ideal. I think having another person with you would make for a much more pleasant experience when you need to get up and get a different tool ro socket.

After I was done with the 328xi, I helped my friend do his OPG on a 2008 135i and we knocked it out in two full days with lunch/dinner and we also replaced his water pump/thermostat. The pan gasket was replaced by the end of day 1.

The AWD makes a HUGE difference, not just because of the front differential, but because everything is slightly different. Subframe is steel instead of aluminum so it's much heavier. The suspension arms are all steel vs aluminum. And the steering rack is in a different spot. For example, you can drop the steering rack without touching the subframe on RWD models. Also the fact that his car came from Florida made everything come apart way easier.


I just recently had to go back and replace the steering pump because I accidentally damaged it when I replaced the rack. I didn't put enough fluid in and didn't turn the engine off in time so it got burned up. So now I've completely overhauled the whole steering system as well. If you need any help with that job, let me know.
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