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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 05-16-2011, 06:16 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: CT
Posts: 2,101
My Ride: 2001 325i
Observations On Replacing the Oil Pan Gasket

A few observations about replacing the oil pan gasket (sorry,no pictures, this isn't a DIY). However, standard DIY caveats apply ... don't attempt if you're mechanically inept, pay someone to do it.

Did I mention how much I hate working under a car with a single bulb as the light source?

Symptoms: Engine with 57K miles doesn't use oil in normal use. However, noticed it started using oil about the time it starting dripping on the driveway (what a notification system). Cleaned the engine, looked like it could be the oil filter housing gasket. Replaced it, drove around, and crap, still leaking. Further investigation suggested the oil pan gasket itself was toast. Called the dealer to find out what they charge, and they want $925. Given the gasket itself is under $30, and my labor being a whole bunch cheaper, it was obvious who was going to do this.

Read Bentley and TIS, with Bentley being the better source. Not surprisingly TIS leaves out a lot of details. You can find the TIS procedure on spaghetticoder.org.

Here are the parts I used, you should confirm for your model. Note, the bolts are stretch bolts, so you'll need to replace them:

11131437237 Qty 1 oil pan gasket
31116781023 Qty 4 lower engine support frame
11421744001 Qty 1 oil dipstick o-ring
32306778609 Qty 1 lower steering rack screw
31106772199 Qty 8 Aluminum frame support bolts

While I did this, I also replaced my front control arms and brackets, oil level sender, and motor mounts, since you're dropping the underside of the engine and changing the oil. Ball joints were clunking, oil level sender was sometimes giving a false warning, and motor mounts probably could have gone for a while more, however they were a good 5mm compressed over the new ones.

I worked this over a long weekend. You'll need to put the car up on jacks, and you'll need an engine support. I picked up one from Harbor Freight, which worked fine. Couldn't find one locally to rent.

Did I say how much I really dislike working under a car with a single bulb source of light?

Tools ... you'll need 16mm and 18mm sockets, as well as a couple of extensions, to get nuts on the motor mounts and at least one of the control arms. A flexible joint is good to have also. Crows feet in 10mm, 7/8", and 19mm were handy when torquing bolts. You'll also need a reverse torx socket for the steering bolt and 3 bell housing bolts. I picked one up for $5 at Advanced Auto. You'll need a tie rod separator, available for free rental at Autozone (they charge you then credit when you return the tool). You'll also need some non-hardening gasket sealer. I use Permatex Ultra-Copper, same as on the valve cover. Of course a torque wrench, extra points if capable of 10nm for oil pan bolts.

When you have the dipstick out, spray down the fitting from the CCV/oil separator with brake parts cleaner to ensure there are no clogs. This is especially important for those who drive in Winter, as some believe that a clogged dipstick drain may contribute to the CCV failing in Winter. When I reinstalled the dipstick, I used a light layer of 3M Silicon Grease on the new o-ring to protect it.

I have the electric puller fan installed (removed auto fan on water pump), and was able to remove the fan belt without taking the electric fan out.

If you have an automatic transmission, you don't have to disconnect the cooler lines, as TIS tells you (Bentley doesn't address). However, you will have put pressure on the flexible hoses by the radiator, as the oil pan has to move forward before you can drop the back down and remove it that way. You'll drop the lower engine support frame and attached steering rack further than you might think. Keep a jack under it.

Anyhow, that's about it. Follow Bentley and take your time.
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Old 05-26-2012, 09:26 PM   #2
Registered User
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Pittsburgh
Posts: 2,272
My Ride: '01 325i
Nice write up. I'll have to see what Bobby Rahal Dealer quotes, and if it's anywhere under $500, it seems like a good deal for all the work involved.
2001 325i ZCW, ZPP
Titansilber Metallic, Black Interior
The 160,000 mile, clean daily driver
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