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DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 03-13-2008, 09:26 PM   #1
beberle
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Oil Seperator- Never Before Seen Pics!!

That's right ladies and gentlemen. For the 1st time ever, the elusive oil seperator/crankcase vent has been captured hiding in its den!! Unfortunately, the photographer was left battered and bleeding by this ordeal
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Old 03-13-2008, 09:29 PM   #2
beberle
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Dead Seperator

Unfortunately, the elusive seperator refused to come quietly. It had to be 'put down'... we all mourn its loss...
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Old 03-13-2008, 09:47 PM   #3
beberle
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Seriously, I hope that some of these pics help. It was obvious from all of the oil under and around the seperator that it needed to be replaced. I've spent the last 5 hours in the garage... and I'm only half way! One thing is certain, you have to remove parts in proper order to get everything out of such tight spaces. Some tips:

- Undo the master cylinder vacuum hose hex mounting bracket next to the intake manifold in order to get enough slack in the hose to remove the driver's side firewall panel.
- The engine wire harness has to be loose in order to reach the clamps holding the intake plenum to the throttle body. You better also have removed the driver's side panel as well.
- One poster mentioned breaking the fuel tank vapor return line mounted on the strut tower. I disconnected the line from the tower and tried to get it out of the way. Pics attached. This line is in the way and easy to break.
- Intake plenum has to be removed in order to have room to work the dip stick out.
- I used a paper towel for grip and was able to pull the oil line off of the dip stick.
- Dip stick has to be removed to get the throttle body out. Only one wire connector joining the throttle body to the wire harness. Throttle body was easy to unbolt, but hard to get out around the wire harness. I rotated it and got it out small-side 1st. That's the side facing the firewall.
- Using the new seperator as a guide, it's easy to locate the two hex screws mounting the vent. It also helped taking the close-up photos to see what I was dealing with... better than a mirror.
- I got the dip stick oil line and the valve cover line off the seperator somehow. Couldn't get the intake line off... so I cut the elbow off of the line up top where it joins the intake manifold and pulled the line out w/ the seperator. I can't believe how tight the space is below the manifold.
- The seperator shattered when I tried pulling it out.
- With luck, I should be able to put everything back together in 2 or 3 hours.

Not sure if I would do this one again. $400 is starting to sound like a bargain, but would they have replaced all of the hoses?
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Last edited by beberle; 03-13-2008 at 09:49 PM.
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Old 03-13-2008, 10:28 PM   #4
ssm1991
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I feel your pain. Did this two weeks ago, although I took the "easier" route of taking off the intake manifold (part of my 50K preventive maintenance and cleaning thing, including ultrasonic fuel injector service, etc.) to get to the CCV. I would've busted all my knuckles and bruised all fingers if I didn't do it the longer way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by beberle View Post
... I used a paper towel for grip and was able to pull the oil line off of the dip stick...
Good for you!! Had to just cut this off.

Quote:
Originally Posted by beberle View Post
... Not sure if I would do this one again. $400 is starting to sound like a bargain, but would they have replaced all of the hoses?
This is so true.

For those who will attempt this soon, save yourselves some agony and buy all 4 hoses that go with the CCV. It is SOOOOO much easier to just break all of those off than trying to release them properly and preserve them.
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Old 03-14-2008, 06:23 PM   #5
beberle
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Here are some shots as I start putting my baby back together. One of the most difficult tasks is connecting Hose #3 (coming from the intake manifold runner). I used a tip from this forum. This hose rotates into a locking position... but there's no room under the manifold to rotate much of anything. The trick is to push the hose from the top to get it to twist while holding the oil seperator/ crankcase vent at an angle. Practice w/ just the hose and the seperator in-hand and then dive in! You can squeeze your left hand past the fuel vapor valve at the front of the manifold and use your right hand to position the seperator. The other 2 hoses are a breeze and just click into place. Use silicon or some other lube on the hoses to make it easier to connect.
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Old 03-14-2008, 06:29 PM   #6
beberle
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Once you have the seperator bolted in (believe me, after all this time, you'll have memorized where those #@!!% hex screw are)... I used a screw driver handle w/ T25 torx head, you can start buttoning up the electrical connections. 1st is the oil level sender right below the seperator.

Next, reinstall the throttle body. Mine was tarnished, so I used a cleaner and did my best.

Here's the kicker... my throttle body intake elbow was cracked. So, I had to run to the stealer and buy a new elbow. I bought a new boot as well while I was at it.
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Old 03-14-2008, 06:37 PM   #7
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Okay. Throttle body is installed. Time to re-attach the main wire harness w/ the 2 nuts and 1 bolt. After that, put the dipstick back in. I had trouble w/ the gasket. Also, be very careful not to get any of the 'crud' hanging around the dipstick port into the crankcase. I carefully wiped the crap away and then pulled the gasket out of the port. I re-used the old gasket... I suggest others buy a new one... put the gasket on the dipstick and wrangled it into the port. Has trouble getting the gasket back into the port. I used a small flathead screwdriver and pushed the gasket down.

Once the haness and dipstick are installed, you can install the shiny new intake boots that you just bought.

**** BIG TIP **** I rotated the hose clamps so that they face up. Took a whopping 5 minutes to install the intake boots this way. Again, use silicon to make attaching the rubber pieces easier. Next, connect the vacuum hoses to the intake boot.
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Old 03-14-2008, 06:41 PM   #8
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thanks for the DIY
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Old 03-14-2008, 06:42 PM   #9
beberle
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We're on the home stretch! All of the dispair and misery that you felt 5 hours ago is begging to fade away

Intake boots are installed. Hmm... plug up the intake resonator and idle control valve electrical connections. After that, you can install the driver's side firewall-plate doohiki. Once that's done, have fun w/ the hose bracket that sits right behind the throttle body elbow. It's a hex screw from hell. I used a vise-grip and torx bit to get into that tight spot.
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Old 03-14-2008, 06:53 PM   #10
beberle
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Where were we at? Oh yeah, I save the top intake manifold hose for last. It runs from the nipple on Hose #3 and connects to an intake runner towards the back of the engine. Make sure that you run the hose under the electrical connection in the middle of the intake manifold. I forgot, so I had to disconnect the electrical connection and re-route over the hose.

**Note** Once these new seperator hoses are connected, they're a royal pain to remove again. I pulled most of the old hoses by cutting the clips on the connectors.

Home-stretch! Install the airbox and mass air filter. Install the cabin air filter housing and then install the engine cover.

I may have missed some steps, but these are my recollections considering that I'm on my second whiskey-on-the-rocks after this crazy ride. People have ranked this job as an 8-out-of-10. I'll raise it to a 8.5!!

My 330i has 135k miles on it and is running in peak condition. I've now replaced the cooling system, valve cover gasket, belt pulleys and tensioners, and finally the oil seperator. I've put maybe $600 into it by DIY. Now, I'm looking forward to the next 100k miles!!
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Old 03-14-2008, 07:30 PM   #11
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What does this thing do, how do you know when its going bad, what's are the symptoms.
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Old 03-15-2008, 09:20 AM   #12
beberle
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Lots of posts on the oil seperator or crankcase vent going bad.

-Potentially, you're engine can self destruct because the vent is pumping oil straight into the intake manifold and forcing the cylinders into hydrostatic lock. A few cars on this forum in cold climates have suffered this.
-From some of my pics, you can see a good bit of oil leaking.
-Also, I had smoky exhaust on start-up from oil in the manifold. No more! My startups are clean and quiet.
- Noisy engine operation. The 'honking' noise of a bad valve
- Over-pressure from the bad valve can blow out the valve cover gasket. I just replace my valve cover gasket because it was leaking. I'm beginning to think that the bad oil seperator may have lead to premature gasket failure.

Those are enough reasons! Shine a light under the intake manifold to see if you have any oil leaking. Ever since I replaced my valve cover gasket, my oil consumption has been next-to-nothing. I bet the car 'uses' no oil now. This is on my 2001 330i w/ 135k miles. I love the inline 6!
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Old 03-17-2008, 12:27 PM   #13
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Great job on the writeup and thank you for the tips! It gives a better idea where the friggin thing is located.

I am 2 hours from a dealership so this may be a forced DIY. Thanks again.

Mark
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Old 03-17-2008, 01:28 PM   #14
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Very nice, thanks for the DIY!
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Old 03-21-2008, 03:04 PM   #15
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thanks man, much needed pics are a lifesaver. ive seen another guys post on here about the ccv/oil separator but no pics, so i was waiting to see if someone was going to post a DIY with pics. i may just diy now instead of taking it to an indy. But, after reading on how you were saying, spend the 400 to have a shop do it, i may reconsider.

ha, thanks though, great job-
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Old 03-23-2008, 01:28 AM   #16
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I just had mine replaced under warranty in mid January and guess what? it plugged again in mid march, the dealer said it was due to residual moisture in the engine. They checked it last week and said it was good, cold temps tend to cause the valve to freeze. It's still covered but since its warming up in Minnesota now, I don't expect any problems until next winter....
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Old 04-29-2008, 08:49 AM   #17
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Hello,
Trying to replace the oil separator on my X5...what silicon sealant should I use to connect the tubing? Any comments are appreciated.

Paul.
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Old 04-29-2008, 02:01 PM   #18
ssm1991
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You don't need silicone sealant. The hoses either have o-rings and locking clips or are just pushed it (like the hose to the dipstick).
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Old 04-30-2008, 11:08 PM   #19
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Thank you. Any one knows of a manual that has pictorials/process to remove oil separator? Are the pictures shown on this thread and the descriptions sufficient to replace the oil separator on an X5? Please comment.
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Old 05-02-2008, 02:36 PM   #20
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psmoodey, I just did the oil separator on my x5, but I think they changed them a few times over the years. On my 2000 all I had to do was:

Pull off the cabin air intake box, there is one nut on each side you take off. Pull off the weather stripping that runs across the length. Then there are plastic cups on each side that slide out vertically. Pull the box over the bolts and the whole thing will come out.

Take off the acoustic cover, 4 quick hex bolts.

Now you have two hoses that run from the drivers side to a conical bit on the back of the intake manifold. That is the separator. You will want to change both of those hoses, mine were jelly. The oil separator has two bolts that hold it in place, which are very easy to drop into god knows where. Ask me how I know.

The hard part is the hose that connects to the bottom of the separator. Replace that one too, mine was almost nonexistant. It is almost impossible to rethread that short little hose back through where it is supposed to go, so good luck. Other than that an extremely easy job, only took me two beers to get it knocked out. Definitely not looking forward to the nightmare ahead of me for my 330Ci as I see on here.

By the way, anyone need a mass air sensor for an X5? $180.
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