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E46 Xi Forum
The E46 XI was produced from 01-05 in sedan and touring body styles. Powered by either a 2.5L inline 6 in the 325xi or a 3.0L inline 6 330xi. Discuss all thing about BMW AWD E46 'Xi' here.

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Old 12-19-2012, 08:19 AM   #1
02Dinan330xi
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GAS LEAK! please help

so i just recently got my E46 33xi a couple of weeks ago and everything has been great with a few minor things that are common such as the rear tail light shorting issue and such. I have taken multiple trips of over 3 hours one way and filled up my tank each time however i have just left for a road trip a couple days ago and am in ohio at my uncles right now. we went down to fill up last night, drove back to the house and parked the car for the night. nothing significant took place during this drive that would have caused and problems but i thought i may have smelled a little gas yesterday when i went to auto zone for oil. When i woke up this morning he told me he thought my car smelled like gas so i went out there and crawled underneath it. The driver side tank right in front of the rear wheel had a little drop of liquid resting on the bottom of it so i swiped it with my finger and low and behold it was a GAS LEAK! I moved the car off its spot and it had definitely left some gas on the ground, not a puddle by any means as i still had a full tank but it was certainly leaking and now i am worried. we backed it into the garage and jacked it up and it wasnt any sort of substantial leak but as my uncle said "your vehicle should never leak gas no matter how insignificant the amount" lol so yea thats where im at. I wiped the underside clean and it didnt seem to come back and i then drove it rather hard around the block a few times and brought it back to park it and let it sit to see if it persists. I am supposed to leave for wisconsin on friday and then drive out to colorado a few days after that. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE any help would be amazing. I am brining it to a deal my uncle knows to get the oil changed becaue its only ten bucks more than it would be to actually buy the oil and am going to have them take a peak. any suggestions as to what i should do or tell them to do/look for??
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Old 12-19-2012, 08:50 AM   #2
NCLee
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Check around the fuel filter. It's under the car, in the area under the driver's seat, and relies on a few hose clamps. I'd guess one I those clamps is loose or broken, or the hose is damaged.

Bavarian Auto's newsletter I'm linking to here has a short DIY on fuel filter replacement. It should help you find it.

http://www.bavauto.com/newsletter/2009_n409_newsletter.pdf

If you remove the hose clamps, be prepared for fuel to come out of the hose!!!

Edited to refer to proper location of fuel filter.
__________________
What I've learned so far:
  • don't start working on the car unless you have a ride to the parts shop.
  • whatever you're doing, Mango's guide is probably right.
  • the Bentley manual skips steps. LOTS of them. Don't tear your hair out when the next step makes no sense.

Last edited by NCLee; 12-19-2012 at 09:15 AM.
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Old 12-19-2012, 09:01 AM   #3
GSherbs
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Are you certain that the tank itself is leaking? Or is the leak coming from somewhere else and the drop at the bottom of the tank is sourced somewhere else?

-G

Last edited by GSherbs; 12-19-2012 at 09:40 AM.
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Old 12-19-2012, 09:03 AM   #4
SamDoe1
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^ This.

Check the fuel lines as they are much more prone to leak than the tank itself.

Look up the DIY for fuel filter replacement, there's a work around to getting gas all over yourself.
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Old 12-19-2012, 11:58 AM   #5
02Dinan330xi
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well it is definitely coming from the top of the tank and running down i know that just didnt know if there was something common that would cause it up there like the filler neck or a line. apparently the dealer i just took it to(non BMW) couldnt find anything from where it was actually coming out without dropping the tank. he also noted oil "all over this motor" but said he has had a few used BMW's in there lately and the same thing so he thought it may be rather common to have some sort of an oil leak. idk. thinking about calling off the road trip at this point. so frustrating....
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Old 12-19-2012, 12:21 PM   #6
miweber929
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You are supposed to be able to get to the fuel pump through the floor under the rear set. Might be able to see the top of the tank a little more from up there.

I have personally not done this so I have no idea what you can or can't see, but ANY fuel leak is a bad thing and needs to be addressed ASAP.
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Old 12-19-2012, 01:14 PM   #7
SamDoe1
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My guess is on the fuel pump or the thing on the side of the tank opposite the pump (forget what it's called). Pull the rear seat bottom up, take off the protective cover, and you should be able to see the both the pump and the thing on the other side. Should be fairly easy to tell where the leak is from at that point.

Can you smell gas in the car?

Also, no you should not have any oil leaks. That's another problem you need to resolve. Chances are that it's either the oil filter housing gasket or the valve cover gasket. Both are easy to fix.
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Old 12-19-2012, 03:37 PM   #8
tomoyer
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To check the top of the tank where the fuel pump goes in (right rear side) and the evap (on the left side), remove the rear seat bottom by pushing in at the front and lifting. Once the seat bottom is out, you may have to remove insulation to remove the cover plates at each location, but you should already be able to see the hoses. Most likely the hose on the left side has a crack in it, look/inspect closely and replace as needed. The fuel filter/pressure regulator is located on the left side of the car between the doors underneath, so it wouldn't be dripping from the fuel tank, but you can check those hoses for cracks and replace if needed. When replacing the hose(s) make sure you get the proper diameter hose and that is high pressure fuel injection gas hose, regular gas hose used in the older cars without fuel injection are not high pressure and will not hold up.
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Old 12-19-2012, 06:08 PM   #9
02Dinan330xi
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thanks for all the input. i brought it to an import garage and the guy told me when they were built they were engineered a certain way so that when they do have a gas leak the check engine light would come on because of the pressure reduction i think he said. he also said that most likely i may have just over filled it the night before and it may have just leaked a small amount out of the vent. dropping it off in the morning to have this guy give it a once over and a road test so i will have to go from there i suppose. so frustrating...
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Old 12-20-2012, 08:34 AM   #10
GSherbs
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The oil leaks, if they are fairly slow, are not reason to cancel your road trip - just make sure your oil level is in good shape before you leave. And, of course, check it often during your trip and add more if necessary.

Do get that fixed at some point. The common leaks (VCG, OFHG, vanos oil line) are pretty easy jobs if you want to DIY.
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Old 12-20-2012, 08:44 AM   #11
bmwbob89
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The tank won't leak due to an overfill. The system deals with that and doesn't let it go to the atmosphere. There may have been a rodent that liked the taste of the fuel hoses on top of the tank. Pull the inspection covers and inspect it. Some can be replaced without dropping the tank some can't. Take it to someone who knows BMW's. The guy who told you it was overfilled doesn't.
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Old 12-20-2012, 09:13 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by bmwbob89 View Post
The tank won't leak due to an overfill. The system deals with that and doesn't let it go to the atmosphere. There may have been a rodent that liked the taste of the fuel hoses on top of the tank. Pull the inspection covers and inspect it. Some can be replaced without dropping the tank some can't. Take it to someone who knows BMW's. The guy who told you it was overfilled doesn't.
Incorrect. There's a little hole in the fill compartment (for lack of a better term) behind the fill door that drains the excess out as it would be dangerous to have it sitting in there.

How do you suggest the system "deals with that"?

OP, if this is the case you should be just fine. As was said before, check and keep checking your oil level and you should be able to drive around no problem.
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Old 12-20-2012, 09:54 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by SamDoe1 View Post
Incorrect. There's a little hole in the fill compartment (for lack of a better term) behind the fill door that drains the excess out as it would be dangerous to have it sitting in there.

How do you suggest the system "deals with that"?

OP, if this is the case you should be just fine. As was said before, check and keep checking your oil level and you should be able to drive around no problem.
That would not be an overfill issue just a sloppy issue and would only be a tiny amount of fuel. That would be gone on the drive home and would not be an issue. There is always a little spittle on the pump hose when you get gas. That would not be the tank leaking anyway.
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Old 12-20-2012, 03:42 PM   #14
SamDoe1
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Originally Posted by bmwbob89 View Post
That would not be an overfill issue just a sloppy issue and would only be a tiny amount of fuel. That would be gone on the drive home and would not be an issue. There is always a little spittle on the pump hose when you get gas. That would not be the tank leaking anyway.
Agree, unless it was more than just a sloppy fill and the tank actually overfilled. Like I said, I've had it happen to me where the pump doesn't shut off at the right time and it overfills. It actually happens all the time at one specific station, I can't explain why but I've stopped going there.

You never answered my question on how the system "deals with it".

Last edited by SamDoe1; 12-20-2012 at 03:43 PM.
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Old 12-20-2012, 05:18 PM   #15
bmwbob89
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Agree, unless it was more than just a sloppy fill and the tank actually overfilled. Like I said, I've had it happen to me where the pump doesn't shut off at the right time and it overfills. It actually happens all the time at one specific station, I can't explain why but I've stopped going there.

You never answered my question on how the system "deals with it".
Sorry I thought you were asking about the sloppage. The system deals with it the same way it does fuel expansion. There is an expansion tank and charcoal filter. The extra fuel goes into the tank and is purged back into the motor via the vent valve in the engine compartment. That is for the vapors and the liquid fuel is drained back into the tank when there is room. That is the readers digest version. You can Google it and get a better explanation. Here is a diagram of some of the parts.

http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...20&hg=16&fg=10
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Old 12-20-2012, 10:08 PM   #16
02Dinan330xi
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ok so still no gas leak and ive been driving around and letting it sit and not a drop. also i do remember the gauge reading well past the full line so hopefully it was just that simple. as fof the oil leak i had it checked out today and it is not coming from the top nor the bottom. so not the valve cover gasket as one suggested but the mechanic did note that it seems to be coming from behind and slightly below the oil filter housing but he could not get a definitive look without taking everything apart. also noted that both CV boots are torn which i understand is rather common. my question though is where is the best place to get replacements for both quality and price. also opinions as to the source of the oild leak welcom. thank you all
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Old 12-20-2012, 11:21 PM   #17
02Dinan330xi
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http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=882732

just found this. will some or all of these be applicable to my motor as well? not really up to speed with the similarities/differences honeslty but number 2 the oild filter housing unit sounds exactly like what the mechanic described and seems to be the same area as he was pointing out on my motor as well just a little tough to tell with the angle of the picture.
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Old 12-21-2012, 07:49 AM   #18
miweber929
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Yes. Search is your friend, and I'm not sure how you can not stumble upon the oil filter housing gasket (OFHG) being an issue on here even by accident!!

But that's where it sounds like you are leaking from.
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Old 12-22-2012, 05:50 PM   #19
02Dinan330xi
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Originally Posted by miweber929 View Post
Yes. Search is your friend, and I'm not sure how you can not stumble upon the oil filter housing gasket (OFHG) being an issue on here even by accident!!

But that's where it sounds like you are leaking from.
lol yea i have seen that numerous times actually just didnt know what "OFHG" meant until now. thank you though
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Old 12-23-2012, 11:21 AM   #20
e46alfonso
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Set the trail of gas on fire and see if you can get away from it.
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