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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 03-05-2012, 07:37 AM   #1
Ctaylor738
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Lessons Learned on Oil Filter Housing Gasket Replace

I do a lot of work on older Mercedes, but this was my first repair on our 2003 325i. This forum was a big help on this job, so I thought I would contribute what I learned:

1. Re-installing the alternator. On the rear of the lower bolt hole, there is bushing with threads for the bolt. It is pulled in against the mount when the bolt is is tightened. If you take a screwdriver, and pry the bushing out a little bit, it makes positioning the alternator to take the lower bolt a LOT easier.

2. You will make your life a lot easier if you remove the fan and shroud. I didn't, and regretted it.

3. Removing the upper radiator hose makes it much easier to relieve the tensioner in order to remove/install the idler pulley.

4. There is a 16mm fitting on the tensioner that works much better than the Torx 50 fitting for relieving tension.

5. You can remove the 3rd PS bolt without getting under the car. It is easy to see if you lay a mirror underneath the pump.

6. My old standby for getting more leverage with my 3/8 ratchet is to slip a 12" piece of plain old copper pipe over the handle.

Thanks to all who contributed their experiences. This is a great forum.

Chuck Taylor

Last edited by Ctaylor738; 03-05-2012 at 07:39 AM.
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Old 03-05-2012, 07:20 PM   #2
volkswackin
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on number 1-you can use a hammer with the bolt thread in that bushing and tap it a few times to move it back instead..one number 2 always remove the fan shroud if so you dont need to remove the upper radiator hose...
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Old 03-06-2012, 12:45 AM   #3
Fajitas
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#7. Use a small bead of high temp gasket sealant around OFH.
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Old 03-06-2012, 06:32 PM   #4
SK8URDEAD
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done this twice on mine(manual) and a neighbors(auto) glad to say since my fan was electric was alot easier to take off then the auto..... but good to hear you got the job done
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Old 07-02-2012, 11:20 AM   #5
eweis
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Originally Posted by volkswackin View Post
on number 1-you can use a hammer with the bolt thread in that bushing and tap it a few times to move it back instead..one number 2 always remove the fan shroud if so you dont need to remove the upper radiator hose...
+1 on this.
You can also apply the above logic for not just reinstalling but also removing the alternator. Once you have that lower bolt loosened a bit, as mentioned above, take a hammer and tap it in a 1/8" to a 1/4" or so. That pushes the nut out a bit allowing the alternator to very easily come out. I didn't have any trouble pulling the alternator out or putting it back in.
Along with changing my OFHG, I also replaced my radiator (cracked neck) and did the mechanical to electric fan swap. I wish I had waited to do my crankcase vent valve because that would have been a helluva lot easier with the filter housing removed.

Last edited by eweis; 07-02-2012 at 12:17 PM.
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Old 07-02-2012, 09:31 PM   #6
Sansho
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#7. Use a small bead of high temp gasket sealant around OFH.
If you clean the gasket area, you don't need to use gasket sealer. If it makes you feel more secure about the repair, fine, but you don't need to do that.
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Old 07-03-2012, 12:50 AM   #7
SPL15
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The hardest part about this repair for me was #1: finding the motivation to actually do it in the 'heatwave' and #2: digging through all my toolboxes to find the 5 different sockets needed for the repair...

It was peasy easy & the alternator was the simplest of it all. The hardest part of the alternator removal was forcing myself not to let go of the hot bastard when I gave it a strong upward yank to release it when both bolts were removed. When installing, I put in the upper bolt with the pulley 1st, then I tugged up & pushed down on the alternator until the bottom bolt could peek through the opening. It was a tight fit, but took all of 1 minute to get both bolts inserted into the threads. Also, don't let the alternator rest against the coolant line that runs along the frame rail when you are using brute monkey force to remove or replace it. The alternator has a slip nut that makes the fit tight, but I really don't see how this could ever get tighter than the housing's dimensions since the housing determines how much this nut 'sets'. My alt was previously replaced by an obvious simpleton monkey mechanic who torqued it to at least 5K meter-tons, I had to use a massive breaker bar with a pipe extension to break the bolts free. If this amount of force doesn't cause the slip bolt to become an issue, I can't think of anything else that could.

Also, put the car on a ramps & remove the under panel. Yes, you can remove the bottom Power Steering bolt without doing this, but I'm guessing your bottom panel is completely filled with old gunked oil drippings & mouse droppings, plus your entire undercarriage/subframe/swaybar/steering-rack are also covered in a greasy dirt grime. This grim & dirt is caused from oil leakage & this oil leakage is the reason you are replacing the OFHG in the 1st place. Remove the panel & clean up the underside of the engine so you can actually see if your repair did what you wanted it to do; takes 5 minutes to remove if you are extremely slow.

Get the mating surfaces spotless on the housing & block then torque the bolts 20 Ft-lbs. It's not much more than the 16 lb-ft that's thrown around as spec & it seams to eliminate a lot of the drippy issues after repairs for a lot of people (including me) experienced. Also if I did not remove the under panel & clean the engine, I wouldn't have noticed that my previous repair did not fully repair what I was hoping it would repair. Again, remove the under panel & clean up the mess; don't be lazy.

A lot of the DIY's I've read talk about using a T50 torx bit on the tensioner pulley... Mine was actually an 8mm hex key even thought the T50 torx bit fit & worked sorta... My 01 325i had the hydraulic tensioner. As someone else said, use a pipe to get better leverage & force it slowly if you have the hydro tensioner because there is a bit of excess resistance to transient movements with this type of tensioner (kinda like a shock resists quick sudden movements).

I see absolutely zero need to remove any cooling system hoses with this DIY, If you have a 2" extension for your ratchet & remove the fan. I'd much rather go purchase a $5 set of ratchet extension pieces than open up the cooling lines which will require you to lift up the front end & go through the bleed procedure after you put it back together. The clutch fan is easier to remove than a wheel & the electric fan is even easier than the clutch fan, why would you remove a much bigger pain in the rear hose instead of removing a simple fan? Plus, removing the fan allows for very easy reinstallation of the belts; if all belts in vehicles were this easy to replace, I would replace them just for funzies in my spare time for entertainment purposes only.

Also, when doing this DIY, it's a good time to see that your water pump you have not replaced is on its last legs. With the belts off, take it by the spindle & observe the play in the bearings. When this play gets bad enough, it'll let coolant seep out & when it gets bad enough, it'll leave you on the side of the highway at 3 AM 1 mile away from your house with every cop stopping & nonchalantly trying to determine if you've been drinking, after they find out you are sober & just SOL, they move on without a care in the world (personal experience in my E36). Also, when your tensioner & idler pulleys are free, spin them a bit & observe how freely they spin; if they spin freely, they are toast & it's a matter of time before they start sounding like a flock of chirping birds / UFO's under your hood. This of course is an immediate turn off for any women you may be trying to persuade to grab a cup of hot cocoa with.

If anyone is questioning whether this repair is within easy enough levels for them to do, I'd say yes. If all the common fixes for E36 & E46 models were this easy & stupidly cheap, I'd already be well on my way towards my planned forced induction mods.
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Last edited by SPL15; 07-03-2012 at 01:08 AM.
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Old 07-05-2012, 04:21 PM   #8
Chris3Duke
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Originally Posted by eweis View Post
+1 on this.
You can also apply the above logic for not just reinstalling but also removing the alternator. Once you have that lower bolt loosened a bit, as mentioned above, take a hammer and tap it in a 1/8" to a 1/4" or so. That pushes the nut out a bit allowing the alternator to very easily come out. I didn't have any trouble pulling the alternator out or putting it back in.
Along with changing my OFHG, I also replaced my radiator (cracked neck) and did the mechanical to electric fan swap. I wish I had waited to do my crankcase vent valve because that would have been a helluva lot easier with the filter housing removed.
Anyone reading this, search on my posts in the DIY section. There is zero reason to use a hammer when removing or installing the alternator.

A 23 or 24 mm socket, a couple of wide washers, and the appropriate bolt (I listed it in another thread) will make a super easy tool to pull the nut out of the carrier, instead of pushing it through from the other side. Zero risk of breaking off the collar, faster, and you don't have to worry about clearance to get a hammer down there.

When you do this, you can lift the alternator out with one hand, there is zero resistance.
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Old 07-27-2012, 10:53 AM   #9
walkabout
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#4. I found out my hydraulic pulley bolt is a 8mm hex.

To get the alternater out easier after removing 2 16mm bolts, I use a home improvement pry bar.
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Old 07-28-2012, 12:36 PM   #10
delmarco
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Cool

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ctaylor738 View Post
I do a lot of work on older Mercedes, but this was my first repair on our 2003 325i. This forum was a big help on this job, so I thought I would contribute what I learned:

1. Re-installing the alternator. On the rear of the lower bolt hole, there is bushing with threads for the bolt. It is pulled in against the mount when the bolt is is tightened. If you take a screwdriver, and pry the bushing out a little bit, it makes positioning the alternator to take the lower bolt a LOT easier.

Yeah that Alternator is a real b icth to remove and even a bigger b itch to install/reinstall.

I had to do it back in 2008 on my old 1995 318i and I never ever want to have todo again.

My final technique that worked for me was lots of liquid-wrench/WD40 and a pick axe!

Of course at the time I was also replacing my alternator so I didn't care what happened to the old one as I was removing it.

My best tip for safe Alternator removal would be to get the right tools - as in get yourself lots of various socket sizes in both metric and standard!and to use a set of good 10 inch to 20 inch breaker bar ratchet handles.










Quote:
Originally Posted by Ctaylor738 View Post

2. You will make your life a lot easier if you remove the fan and shroud. I didn't, and regretted it.

Chuck Taylor
Chuck,
I'm surprise one would even attempt to do this with the fan and fan shroud still installed.



The fan is the biggest thing in the way of removing the belts and alternator.

Unless you are refering to the electric fan found on the manual transmission cars?

Last edited by delmarco; 07-28-2012 at 01:10 PM.
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