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Old 03-08-2012, 12:25 PM   #1
ddombrowski
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Replaced oil filter housing gasket, still getting a leak

So I've replaced the oil filter housing gasket and cleaned all the oil from underneath the car. Started the car up, drove it around the block, and came back to find oil is slowly still leaking from the same area.

Not sure where to look now. Usually, I know what I'm doing when it comes to working on cars, so I've hit all the obvious stuff the first time.

I cleaned out the channels in the housing pretty well (had to pick out the old gasket which was not fun). Made sure the gasket was seated properly. Torqued the bolts down using my lbin torque wrench evenly and in stages to 22Nm.

I cleaned the area pretty well after disassembling everything, so there really should be no residual oil leaking down.

Did I do the gasket wrong, or is there somewhere else I should be looking?

I've been searching on this site for awhile and found several threads of similar nature where they were still having leaks after replacing the gasket. Only about half of the people posted what the result was, and of those that did, some people tried several things at once.
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Old 03-08-2012, 12:28 PM   #2
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I replaced my OFH gasket and been driving it for a few weeks without ANY leaks whatsoever. and it was leaking massively before. you sure your vanos line isnt leaking? are you absolutely sure the oil is actually leaking from the oil filter housing where it meets the block? are you sure it isn't residual from the plate?
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Old 03-08-2012, 12:30 PM   #3
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I am sure that the oil is NOT residual, as I cleaned everything very well while I was in there.

I am not sure its not the vanos line. I did use new crush washers, but I did not replace the line.

I suppose to determine if its the line or not I'd have to get some sort of camera on a stick back there, or get the car back in the air and get underneath it, because I could not get a good shot of the vanos line with everything put back together.
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Old 03-08-2012, 12:32 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ddombrowski View Post
So I've replaced the oil filter housing gasket and cleaned all the oil from underneath the car. Started the car up, drove it around the block, and came back to find oil is slowly still leaking from the same area.

Not sure where to look now. Usually, I know what I'm doing when it comes to working on cars, so I've hit all the obvious stuff the first time.

I cleaned out the channels in the housing pretty well (had to pick out the old gasket which was not fun). Made sure the gasket was seated properly. Torqued the bolts down using my lbin torque wrench evenly and in stages to 22Nm.

I cleaned the area pretty well after disassembling everything, so there really should be no residual oil leaking down.

Did I do the gasket wrong, or is there somewhere else I should be looking?

I've been searching on this site for awhile and found several threads of similar nature where they were still having leaks after replacing the gasket. Only about half of the people posted what the result was, and of those that did, some people tried several things at once.
Did you replace the crush washers when you put back the VANOS line? never mind
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Old 03-08-2012, 01:14 PM   #5
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Sounds like you did a real good by-the-book job.
Light up the vanos line area and run your hand down to see if you can find any oil. I'm betting you would have noticed the line leaking when you had the OFH off the car. As an aside I would have done a new line when you had all apart. How much are you saving doing your own work??
Beyond that, you're going to be doing the gasket again it sounds like.
Contrary to most instructions, I see no reason not to use sealant.
Get some good high temperature gasket sealer such as Permatex and use enough so that you get a good seal even if your mating surfaces have imperfections. Give it time to harden before running the engine.
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Old 03-08-2012, 01:22 PM   #6
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Look close at the VANOS oil line. We replace those on almost all oil filter housing gaskets jobs
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Old 03-08-2012, 01:24 PM   #7
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maybe the line is leaking.
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Old 03-08-2012, 01:27 PM   #8
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Touch the line. is it wet? simple. lol
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Old 03-08-2012, 03:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E46Mango View Post
Touch the line. is it wet? simple. lol
Hmm. So simple, and yet, I didn't think of it.

Not sure if i can get my hand back there though with the engine running. After disassembly I hope there is enough oil residue on the line to be able to tell for sure. Anyway, thanks for the tip.
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Old 03-08-2012, 03:59 PM   #10
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Because I don't know how to link to an individual post, I'll just put this here. Someone's post I came across yesterday and asked to update did (thank you) and posted this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by abraham123 View Post
The leak is fixed. What i ended up doing was checking the vanos oil line to make sure that wasn't the culprit. The vanos line was fine and not leaking. I was frustrated and just re-tightened the 6 main bolts on the Oil Filter Housing. I cleaned up the area with some degreaser and until now the leak has not come back!!

The job is simple, just double check the vanos line, replace the washers, and tighten the bolts. Good Luck!

Also, allow a couple of days for all the residual oil to leak out
Also found this from this thread: http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...housing+torque

Quote:
Originally Posted by LivesNearCostco View Post
I used same method as newe46fan. Criss-cross pattern, 16 foot-lbs, still leaked. Raised torque on all 6 bolts to 21 foot-lbs and it stopped leaking. Either the Bentley manual has the wrong torque spec or my OFH is slightly warped and needed the higher torque to make it sit flat against the block.
And this, from the same thread:

Quote:
Originally Posted by luvinlife View Post
Well, it looks like I took care of it. Drove about 30 miles and don't see any signs of a leak anymore.
I'm guessing I didn't have the housing torqued down properly, and evenly.
Thanks for all your help.
And then again, from this thread: http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...leaking&page=2

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joeysauce View Post
THis is a complete mystery. I just re-did the gasket, also used ATF sealant, tighted the 4 bolts to 28lbs, the bottom 2 to 20lbs. Then I replaced the oil filter and gasket on that, and tighted the sensor nut that is also right there, it was a little lose. Well about to put the fan back on and start her up, crossing my fingers here. Also, one of the lines from the heater core into the bottom of the expansion tanks just started leaking at the conector, f ing great. My car has cancer I think.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joeysauce View Post
Well, all that I did solved the problem, not more oil leak. Thanks!

So, it looks like I just need to tighten it down more (if the vanos line isn't leaking) but I'm hesitant to do so.

It did seem like the tightening torque was significantly less than what I used to take off the bolts.
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Old 03-08-2012, 05:28 PM   #11
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It's a tricky area with respect to torque. Some have reported stripped threads.

You won't have to have a runnng engine to know if the vanos line is the source.
It will still be wet if leaking.
It will be dry if no leak.
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Old 03-08-2012, 07:47 PM   #12
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I have seen the housings warp or get a micro crack. make sure you didnt double crush ring the banjo bolt on the line
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Old 03-09-2012, 08:13 AM   #13
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Quote:
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I have seen the housings warp or get a micro crack. make sure you didnt double crush ring the banjo bolt on the line
I didn't touch the banjo bolt on the back side, I removed it at the Vanos solenoid.

I just went back and checked to see what my small torque wrench was set at, since I haven't used it since then. It was set for 22Nm (16lbft). So if the Vanos oil line isn't leaking, I will up it to 21 lbft and see how that does.
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Old 03-09-2012, 08:27 AM   #14
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I didn't touch the banjo bolt on the back side, I removed it at the Vanos solenoid.

I just went back and checked to see what my small torque wrench was set at, since I haven't used it since then. It was set for 22Nm (16lbft). So if the Vanos oil line isn't leaking, I will up it to 21 lbft and see how that does.
wait no. dont.
you will strip the bolts out.
it shouldnt be leaking if you installed the gasket properly.
did you make sure the alignment tubes on the engine side went into the housing perfectly before torquing down the bolts?
I pushed the housing onto the engine so the tubes would go in the housing first before I started to torque down the bolts.
see the right upper and left lower corner?
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Old 03-09-2012, 08:30 AM   #15
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Yep, I did the same thing.
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Old 03-09-2012, 08:33 AM   #16
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Yep, I did the same thing.
well, check if oil really is leaking from the oil filter housing or the oil pan or the front seal. it could be many things.
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Old 03-09-2012, 08:41 AM   #17
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I will. I am sure I got the dowel pins right, because I made sure the filter stand couldn't move up or down before I put the bolts in.

Unfortunately, since I installed my H&R cupkit at the same time as doing the filter gasket, its now almost impossible to get the car up on ramps anymore, so I can't quickly check from underneath.

I am speculating that the gasket is sensitive to how well its pushed into the grooves. There are several thin points in the channels that I believe are used to keep the flow from entering the various chambers, and you really have to push the gasket into them to get it to seat. Possible that the extra torque helps seat gaskets that may not have been pushed in all the way.

Regardless, as a mechanical engineer, I can tell you that 21lbft is probably not going to strip out those threads. If the spec is 16, 21 is most likely within the tolerance. You would probably have to be into the 30 range to start yielding the threads. Then again, not every torque wrench is accurate either....
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Old 03-09-2012, 10:08 AM   #18
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If the line is bad, it won't leak at the ends where the washers are, it'll leak at the collar/fitting or anywhere down the house :-p but I'm sure you know that right?? I still have to replace that line on my car. it's not leaking but i'm sure it will soon. I hope it's doable without taking out the housing all over again. I certainly don't want to do that ever again.
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Old 04-02-2012, 12:37 PM   #19
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I tackled this job last Saturday as well and noticed a leak. I'll have to check the vanos line coming off the housing and make sure the bolts are torqued right.
I didn't replace my crush bushings so that might be the problem. I read this forum post after the job.
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Old 04-02-2012, 12:52 PM   #20
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OP - You mentioned that your torque wrench was still at the same setting. Do you do that often? Leaving it set can cause the wrench to move out of calibration.
Also, did you use new bolts, or re-use the old ones? I would use new bolts in an area like that. Re-checking the torque after driving a while is probably a good idea as well, like the earlier post stated.
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