I replaced the housing gasket on my newly acquired 2001 330i that had 117k miles on it.
I told the previous owner that it had an oil leak and he said that it was actually a PS leak that was already fixed. Either it also had a PS leak or his mechanic doesn't know the difference between engine oil and power steering fluid because it was definitely my leak...
I was able to do it all without removing the fan (it is an automatic car so the mechanical fan is a pain to remove). If you remove the fan it is probably a good idea to change the thermostat and possibly the water pump while it is off. And of course check your belt and replace it if needed.
Remember to buy both the new housing gasket and new Vanos line crush washers. I forgot the crush washers so in a pinch I reused my old ones (but I plan on replacing them in a week or two when I do the Vanos seal repair).
In a pinch if you forgot to get new crush washers like I did AND you have copper crush washers you can heat them with a propane torch until they start to change color and then pour water on them to quickly cool/quench them. This will re-anneal them so that they will be soft enough to reuse.
I still recommend getting new washers but re-annealing copper washers can work if you forget.
Last edited by rbryantaz; 03-16-2011 at 10:09 PM.