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Driveline, Engine & DME Tuning
Talk about driveline improvements, NA tuning and DME tuning your E46 BMW here. This includes diffs, intakes, exhausts, chips, software and OBD tuning.

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Old 08-14-2014, 02:33 AM   #1
PancakeBimmer
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Question Any tips for locating oil pressure leak?

Dealing with dad's M54B30 off E39. Engine was hydro-locked that resulted in bent rod. Replaced pistons, rods, rings, caps, bearings, etc. Along with that headgasket, gaskets, vanos seals, a whole bunch of other parts, and more engine work.

Engine started perfectly and ran good. That is until engine worked for a while. Red oil lamp illuminated indicating low oil pressure, which was confirmed with oil pressure gauge. For first start used Amsoil 5-35 (I think), but after couple starts replaced with M1 0-40. Even after M1 in the engine, oil pressure was low. More interesting is that engine oil was very fluid-ish (low viscosity, no english). When draining oil (M1), last bits were literally dripping like water. Oil analysis showed nothing irregular except high chromium New rings & bearings sitting-in?

Any clues or tips as to where pressure leak is?

First oil filter ripped on the seam, and was replaced with MANN filter when M1 was put in.
Besides that, we checked oil squirters, oil housing valve, and oil pump itself, but nothing too obvious that would cause low oil pressure.
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Old 08-14-2014, 08:33 AM   #2
jared_wiesner
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PancakeBimmer View Post
Dealing with dad's M54B30 off E39. Engine was hydro-locked that resulted in bent rod. Replaced pistons, rods, rings, caps, bearings, etc. Along with that headgasket, gaskets, vanos seals, a whole bunch of other parts, and more engine work.

Engine started perfectly and ran good. That is until engine worked for a while. Red oil lamp illuminated indicating low oil pressure, which was confirmed with oil pressure gauge. For first start used Amsoil 5-35 (I think), but after couple starts replaced with M1 0-40. Even after M1 in the engine, oil pressure was low. More interesting is that engine oil was very fluid-ish (low viscosity, no english). When draining oil (M1), last bits were literally dripping like water. Oil analysis showed nothing irregular except high chromium New rings & bearings sitting-in?

Any clues or tips as to where pressure leak is

First oil filter ripped on the seam, and was replaced with MANN filter when M1 was put in.
Besides that, we checked oil squirters, oil housing valve, and oil pump itself, but nothing too obvious that would cause low oil pressure.
Hate to suggest bad news but it sounds like an error during assembly to me. Any number of oil passages/bearings could be causing the lost pressure. Do you trust the work of the person who assembled the engine? Are you certain all the tolerances were checked and everything was within spec during assembly?
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Old 08-14-2014, 10:47 AM   #3
PancakeBimmer
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Originally Posted by jared_wiesner View Post
Hate to suggest bad news but it sounds like an error during assembly to me. Any number of oil passages/bearings could be causing the lost pressure. Do you trust the work of the person who assembled the engine? Are you certain all the tolerances were checked and everything was within spec during assembly?
Well, we rebuilt the engine ourselves, and this isn't the first engine my dad rebuilt. As of today, engine is out on a stand, but there seems to be nothing wrong.

Is there oil flow diagram available for M54 engines? I recall seeing one for M60, so figured it might help us.

Edit: One minuscule issue was found in oil pump control piston. When springs is fully extended, control piston closes the oil return. If it's open, oil goes back into oil pump. Although I am not sure if this would be considered a leak since it would be circulating in pressurized side.
Edit 2: Main bearings were checked via plastigauge, and we got roughly 0.035mm on all bearings. Seemed like it would be worth to mention since there are oil channels.
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Old 08-14-2014, 11:37 AM   #4
jared_wiesner
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It's really hard to say. When there is loss of pressure after a rebuild it can come from any number surfaces being out of spec and leaching the pressure. Maybe someone who has rebuilt one of these engines will be able to point you in the direction of a common problem area. Its good to hear that main bearings were checked.
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Old 08-15-2014, 05:24 PM   #5
PancakeBimmer
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Bump with a question. How much out of spec would bearing clearance need to be for oil pressure to leak from there? Doubt that clearance on one bearing would cause that leak, but 5-6, possibly yes.
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Old 08-17-2014, 12:04 PM   #6
jared_wiesner
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Not much, I've seen as little as .001 cause problems.
I can't help but think finding a good used engine or at least short block would have caused less headache and cost than rebuilding yours. With what happened to
it, I wouldn't trust that engine unless it was being put together and blueprinted by a very very good shop an everything checked out.
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Old 09-10-2014, 11:27 PM   #7
PancakeBimmer
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Just an update on the issue.

Dad started working on the engine again since new bearings arrived. Replacement bearings that were installed were good on clearance.
New bearings should be factory perfect in terms of clearance. Neither of us remember if we checked all oil sprayers, but dad found one of them stuck open.
Inside there was some dirt keeping it open (or preventing from closing), and once dirt was out - the sprayer functioned properly.
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