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Old 08-15-2012, 01:35 AM   #1
a2coupe2a
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Leaks and other issues

Long story short...

Yellow light comes on after car is running goes off.. have been told a million times its just the sensor and i planned on replacing it at my next oil change.

I have been checking my oil level and it seems to be fine but it is sounding a little rough at start up which concerned me.

Today i was coming around a corner when the car randomly died. Started it right back up and it seemed fine.

When i got home i got under the car and noticed that the splash sheld is soaked in either oil or power steering fluid.

I checked my oil and the level seems to be normal, and the car has not been making any noises or being hard to turn like it has low power steering fluid.

Ideas?
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Old 08-15-2012, 02:10 AM   #2
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anyone?
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Old 08-15-2012, 02:42 AM   #3
99BlackE46
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Find out what is on your splash shield then trace it back to where its coming from. When was the last time you got an oil change?
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Old 08-15-2012, 03:17 AM   #4
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compare and contrast engine vs ps oil, clean the engine bay of all traces and check in a few days where leak is
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Old 08-15-2012, 03:45 AM   #5
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It can be kinda hard to tell the two apart.

In general PS fluid is little thinner and lighter in color then engine oil. But after being used for a while they might be basically indistinguishable.
Best thing to do is get it all cleaned up and find where its coming from. Power steering leaks are also going to be noticeable becuause when you get low on PS fluid you power steering starts to whine when you turn it.

You could just open up your PS fluid reservoir and see what in it.
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Old 08-15-2012, 10:50 AM   #6
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Check you PS fluid level. Problem solved. ATF oil stinks compared to unburned engine oil.
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Old 08-16-2012, 07:47 AM   #7
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This is the problem.. both levels are normal and whatever the leak is it has been there for a while. That being said neither really explain why the car would randomly die coming around a corner as well... going to be getting under it today and seeing what i can find.
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Old 08-16-2012, 08:03 AM   #8
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First, twice you said the oil level 'seems' normal...and I have to tell you that it shouldn't 'seem' anyway; you should know.

The odds are against you having the wrong dipstick, but that's a possibility (happened to me).

In the a.m. on level ground, measure the oil level from dipstick. If it's anywhere below the top notch, it's safe for you to add 1/4 qt. of oil and see if that eliminates the light.

Next time you change oil, drain completely, lift up the left rear of car to shake out any excess oil...and then add the correct amount of oil, and an oil that meets acea a3/b3...best is an oil that says "bmw LL-01" on the bottle.

Where the oil sits on your dipstick the next morning after you've driven it a bit the night before...that's your full mark. Although the sensor does go bad, it's safer...much safer...to assume it's correct until you know, for certain, that it's bad. Usually the way it fails, it seems to come on for 15 secs. immediately after start up and then go off. If it comes on after shut down, that 'should' signal low oil.

Try 1/4 qt. If I'm wrong, no harm will come to your engine; but if I'm right, then your engine will thank me!
As far as stalling...consider cleaning both icv/tb and looking for a rip on the lower intake elbow (and other places we get intake leaks).
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Old 08-16-2012, 09:48 AM   #9
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ok so i should rephrase. The oil and power steering levels are both where they should be. I plan on replacing the valve cover gasket and doing an oil change today. My bay is clean overall but the leak is obviously coming from somewhere low or out of sight. Also the light comes on right after start up and goes off after a few seconds of driving as mentioned above.

If i dont see anything that catches my eye i will snap a few pictures to post up and go from there.
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Old 08-16-2012, 10:25 AM   #10
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Okay, I'm glad you rephrased. The oil light going off after 15 secs immediately after start up is a signal the oil level sensor is bad...so that's fine and I guess your oil level is too. I thought you meant it went on after the car went off. Sorry.

If you have a leak down low or out of sight...check in the waffle area behind intake mani...that's where we'll see leaks from ofhg and ccv. PS fluid starts leaking from reservoir cap and the hoses beneath it...a simple snipping off of the top 1/2" or so and new screw clamp would fix them right up. This fluid, btw, travels down the braided hose and will drop down low...only on splash shield, but it can get on alt too...and probably not the best for it.

Oh, on the stalling around a turn...if you were low on fuel, that could be it...or almost it. You might be showing, say, 1/4 tank on the gauge, but not really have that 1/4 tank in the lobe with the fuel pump in it. The turn you took might well explain the pump getting momentarily starved for fuel. Read up on fuel level sending unit going bad (also, sucking jet pump sometimes explains why fuel isn't moving from one lobe to the other). Sounds like it might also be just a fuel issue...and maybe not icv/tb being dirty.
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Old 08-16-2012, 10:41 AM   #11
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I appreciate the detailed response, i atleast have a plan of attack for today. Hopefully it will be quick and easy since it is supposed to be nearly 100 degrees today and my shop gets HOT.

I think for now im going to hold off on replacing the oil level sensor and do it on the following oil change. Trying to keep to a budget here and since that is obviously not causing my oil leak this maint session will revolve around that.

My plan is to do a little maint. during every oil change be it fixing something or just being proactive. For now i want to get these leaks fixed. I will keep you guys posted with what i do or do not find.
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Old 08-16-2012, 10:43 AM   #12
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My oil level sensor was broken for over a year...no issue at all...as you know!

GL with other things...and let me know if my random guess on 'fuel' might have explained the stall in a turn.
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Old 08-16-2012, 11:05 AM   #13
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OP, Yellow oil light means the oil pressure is low, hence oil is low. Red oil light means the sender has malfunctioned. However, you cant completely rule out the sensor when you get the yellow light. And if you are low on oil, the yellow light will be ON for some time even after you turn off the ignition and remove the key.

There are 4 places to look for when you have the oil leak issue.
VCG, OFHG, CCV, Oil drain plug screw.

I have a leak at the OFHG as well. And I am topping off oil by half a quart, every time the yellow light comes on. This will be done till I have time to change the gasket.
Do the same, till you get time to change the gasket.

Consider doing CCV and hoses while you are doing OFHG. The gasket for the filter housing is $3, but the labour hours are long. And while you have the alternator out, do the CCV and the hoses as well because you dont want to get under there 2 times if the OFHG doesnt resolve the issue. Though the CCV and hoses will cost you around $100, it will be a good insurance for you knowing that the CCV will not leak or malfunction. Also if you do not have the history on CCV of the car, the hoses are most likely original and they are brittle and will break with a tug.

I am planning to do VCG(Just the main gasket not the little bolt gaskets) again, because I have a feeling that I am loosing oil there too. I did VCG around 3 months ago, but $7 gasket to insure there is no leaks would be a good thing to do.

I have CCV and OFHG in my parts bin, waiting for the right time to be installed. For the time being, I am topping off the oil as and when it gets low.
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Old 08-16-2012, 06:59 PM   #14
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So i have found the leak but im not sure exactly where it is coming from.. very front pass. side (left if you are standing in front looking down) of the engine.

Ideas before i put this new vgc on??
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Old 08-16-2012, 07:20 PM   #15
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Yes...an xl50 by maglite. Clean things up and find the source.

Rt. front of engine? Could be vcg, maybe vanos if it was removed before, the sap valve gasket (if you have valve up there), vanos solenoid. Maybe the exhaust cps leaks...but don't recall hearing of that.

But, the PS cooling line runs over there...and I hope you know for sure it's oil or ps fluid and not coolant, coz that's over there too.

You really need to clean things up and find the source, I'm afraid...best thing I can tell you.
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Old 08-16-2012, 07:48 PM   #16
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its def oil.. caked up under the front corner of the vc
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Old 08-16-2012, 08:13 PM   #17
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VC usually leaks in the rt. rear part first. But, could be those things I mentioned...could be vc is cracked (rare, but it happens).

How much oil are you losing? If not a lot, I'd worry less about it and more about stalling during a turn.

In any case, clean it up and find the initial source of the leak. You can use engine degreaser and rinse it off...paper towels and simple green...a toothbrush. You can make certain where it's starting from. We can't tell you that. Even good photos of a dirty spot aren't enough. Photos of a leak on a clean engine...that will help...but if you have that, you won't need to post a photo.

Realoem.com for all part numbers you know, right?
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Old 08-17-2012, 06:28 PM   #18
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Looks like it was the vgc causing the oil leak. Replaced it yesterday and im not seeing any new oil spilling out so thats a big plus. Drove the car quiet a bit today in 95* weather in traffic and had no issues whatsoever.
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