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Old 04-03-2019, 08:05 AM   #1
AudioSavant
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E46 330xi 2005 oil pan leak

Dealer shows heavy oil leaking from oil pan gasket. Independent M specialist inspected and shows same. Dealer wanted $ 2000 to replace BMW $75 gasket. M specialist sort of didn't want to do it, but wanted $1500. Oil was all over under carriage when I viewed it. car runs GREAT, still gets an average of 19.6 MPG with some city driving and idling and 27+ at speed on long runs. 124K, so
on fence to fix or sell. (Standard parts need replacing as well: COntrol arm bushings, ripped boots for 4th. time, brakes, front shocks). Funny, after M guys inspected it, and sort of indicated I should just keep putting oil in, asked me if I wanted to sell it ! ( Owner & mechanic separately offered to buy it). Oil filter housing maybe seeping, which I was going to replace, as well as top head gasket, but put all on hold, due to bigger problem with pan gasket. Anyone with experience, comments, thoughts ? Keep, sell, or fix ? Love the car, but w/o a driveway or garage, extremely hard to do some repairs myself, and at $ 2000 now to invest, bigger question is put into a 2016 or keep the 2005?
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Old 04-03-2019, 08:43 AM   #2
77'911
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I need to do an oil pan gasket on our 02 330xi as well. One thing that reduced down the leakage was to replace the CCV which took some of the pressure off vastly improving the issue. It is a huge job, as you've found out. I was going to install new front axles, support for axle, transfer case seals,front wheel bearings, and oil pan gasket all in one fell swoop(IE set it up for another 100k). We're running Castrol's Syntec 5w-40 just as an fyi.
These cars are tanks, and hard to replace. I'd think it would be worth a 4-5k repair, better then car payment or lease payment with higher insurance costs to boot. We're at 70k, and I'm hoping we have our car for at least another 9 years. Good luck with it.
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Old 04-03-2019, 08:52 AM   #3
RayLivingston
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Don''t know how different the Xi is from the RWD models, but replacing the pan gasket on the RWD models is really not all that hard, just time-consuming. You have to drop (not remove) the front sub-frame, which means removing the motor mounts, rear control arm mounts, the tie rods, the P/S pump, and a few other things to gain enough vertical clearance to get the pan off and out. This requires suspending the engine from above, which can be done using an engine hoist, or a ~$80 engine support bar from HarborFreight. It is well within the reach of any decent shade-tree mechanic, but you can expect to take a full day the first time you do it. $1500 is not an unreasonable price for a shop to do it, given todays high labor rates.

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Old 04-03-2019, 08:54 AM   #4
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I would consider replacing the OFHG and CCV as mentioned first. I agree if the crankcase is not under some vacuum it can cause more leakage then normal.

OFHG leak all the time and can and will make a mess under the car where often people think the oil pan gasket is the problem.
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Old 04-03-2019, 09:09 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by jfoj View Post
I would consider replacing the OFHG and CCV as mentioned first. I agree if the crankcase is not under some vacuum it can cause more leakage then normal.

OFHG leak all the time and can and will make a mess under the car where often people think the oil pan gasket is the problem.
^This, and throw in the O2Pilot mod to increase vacuum a little and reduce oil consumption on the B30 engine.

There are places with auto lifts you can rent to carry out repairs. Maybe look into that?

Unless you have an extended warranty, itís just not worthwhile to pay someone to work on an E46. Having space and tools to DIY along with access to a second car to drive while doing larger repairs is a good plan. If you run the numbers youíll see that itís much cheaper to fix what you have.
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Old 04-03-2019, 09:18 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by AudioSavant View Post
Dealer shows heavy oil leaking from oil pan gasket. Independent M specialist inspected and shows same. Dealer wanted $ 2000 to replace BMW $75 gasket. M specialist sort of didn't want to do it, but wanted $1500. Oil was all over under carriage when I viewed it. car runs GREAT, still gets an average of 19.6 MPG with some city driving and idling and 27+ at speed on long runs. 124K, so
on fence to fix or sell. (Standard parts need replacing as well: COntrol arm bushings, ripped boots for 4th. time, brakes, front shocks). Funny, after M guys inspected it, and sort of indicated I should just keep putting oil in, asked me if I wanted to sell it ! ( Owner & mechanic separately offered to buy it). Oil filter housing maybe seeping, which I was going to replace, as well as top head gasket, but put all on hold, due to bigger problem with pan gasket. Anyone with experience, comments, thoughts ? Keep, sell, or fix ? Love the car, but w/o a driveway or garage, extremely hard to do some repairs myself, and at $ 2000 now to invest, bigger question is put into a 2016 or keep the 2005?
Having said all the above why don't you take a look at a couple of videos and see what is involved. You will then have a clearer picture of how extortionate a quote of £2K is. Look at this one for example and then imagine yourself writing a check for $2K at the end of it.

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Old 04-03-2019, 09:46 AM   #7
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@audiosavant- if you can't do the CCV and OFHg gasket yourself - that will be expensive too- your in NJ ..save the 2k. You can literally get a good car for that price .justbhave to look.Last week a 2100 buck 04 wagon 84k miles sold within 24 hrs in the west side NY before I could get my hands on it.

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Old 04-03-2019, 10:12 AM   #8
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@audiosavant- if you can't do the CCV and OFHg gasket yourself - that will be expensive too- your in NJ ..save the 2k. You can literally get a good car for that price .justbhave to look.Last week a 2100 buck 04 wagon 84k miles sold within 24 hrs in the west side NY before I could get my hands on it.

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That's probably the strategy. Quote silly money for the fix so they can pursuade you to buy a different car. Give you peanuts for your old one, fix it up for next to nothing and make a tidy profit selling it to the next guy to come along who can't do the job himself.
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Old 04-03-2019, 12:06 PM   #9
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@audiosavant- if you can't do the CCV and OFHg gasket yourself - that will be expensive too- your in NJ ..save the 2k. You can literally get a good car for that price .justbhave to look.Last week a 2100 buck 04 wagon 84k miles sold within 24 hrs in the west side NY before I could get my hands on it.

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Yeah but what if that $2k car also needs all of the above? Odds are it will. So zero net gain from buying another leaky car. Fix it or don't fix it are your options here.
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Old 04-03-2019, 12:31 PM   #10
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03 325xi touring 5 speed143k 1000 k needed guibo csb sway bar links front break pads.That's it.
Garrett F got himself a low miles non leaky $800 02 325xi touring that just needed a bumper.


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Old 04-03-2019, 12:36 PM   #11
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Not going to argue that there are 2k beaters out there but there are a lot of folks over here that just want to get rid of there cars cause they got new ones.Recognize the beaten and stay away. ,save the garage queen which just didn't get maintained as well as our cars.
2examples above of an extra 1k and 1200k to spend on something else.
I'm using mine daily now....but changing the vcg and ofhg this summer cause I want to not because its leaky.

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Old 04-03-2019, 12:43 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by AudioSavant View Post
Dealer shows heavy oil leaking from oil pan gasket. Independent M specialist inspected and shows same. Dealer wanted $ 2000 to replace BMW $75 gasket. M specialist sort of didn't want to do it, but wanted $1500. Oil was all over under carriage when I viewed it. car runs GREAT, still gets an average of 19.6 MPG with some city driving and idling and 27+ at speed on long runs. 124K, so
on fence to fix or sell. (Standard parts need replacing as well: COntrol arm bushings, ripped boots for 4th. time, brakes, front shocks). Funny, after M guys inspected it, and sort of indicated I should just keep putting oil in, asked me if I wanted to sell it ! ( Owner & mechanic separately offered to buy it). Oil filter housing maybe seeping, which I was going to replace, as well as top head gasket, but put all on hold, due to bigger problem with pan gasket. Anyone with experience, comments, thoughts ? Keep, sell, or fix ? Love the car, but w/o a driveway or garage, extremely hard to do some repairs myself, and at $ 2000 now to invest, bigger question is put into a 2016 or keep the 2005?
If you can't repair it yourself or have a friend to help you...these cars are expensive to fix...my vote is sell...

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Old 04-03-2019, 02:02 PM   #13
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This is a difficult (the xi is considerably more involved than RWD models) but doable repair, but as jfoj and BaliDawg suggested replace the OFHG and CCV first. Unless you've actually seen fluid leaking from the oil pan gasket while the engine is running, I wouldn't take it as a given that the oil on the undercarriage is coming from there, or primarily from there.
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Old 04-08-2019, 09:25 AM   #14
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Thanks people...Will post the dealer's 10 sec. video, YES, coming from pan, and throwing back, when driving all over everything. As I don't have a physical garage in which to do this, or leave and come back to it, this is type of work
I need to farm out. Add that to the new front boots on axle's, new control arm bushings, new shocks, possible oil filter gasket, new brakes, not sure the $3000+ is worth it on a 13 year old car. If I had a garage, would slowing do all of it myself, might even upgrade to special parts, but at shop pricing, would think putting the $3000 down, for a newer, used version, or dare I say a Volvo, might be better. Don't want payments, but don't want to sink $3K in, and then next month,
find out I need to repair $%^&*() for another $1000. Rear shocks were simple to do in the driveway, as were plugs, coils etc. This is a major undertaking.
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Old 04-08-2019, 09:48 AM   #15
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Sorry to hear that..head over to swedespeed.com if you are seriously considering Volvo' s ...those folks over there especially the V70R/S60R folks are as passionate of their cars as M3 M5 E39 and touring folks here.

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Old 04-08-2019, 11:38 AM   #16
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My experience with the xi, if you have the space to do it, pull the motor. You have to remove the front axels since the Front differential is bolted to the side of the oil pan.
Well this sounds like an off a lot of work, it actually allows you to take care of all of the issues in one shot. The engine comes out relatively easily by taking the front clip off. You pull the engine and transmission still connected.
The result of doing this way is that you didnít have access to do all of the CCV mods and replace all of the necessary gaskets in one shot.


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Old 04-08-2019, 11:42 AM   #17
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A few typos there. Sorry about that. Again if you have the space and tools, this is a two weekend job. Pull the motor and clean it up first weekend, new parts and back in second weekend. I did the oil pan, rear main seal, oil filter housing, valve cover, intake, CCV mod, all coolant hoses, and water pump while it was out. On the transmission, replace the seal on the shift selector shaft.


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Old 04-08-2019, 11:43 AM   #18
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Add vacuum hoses to this. When youíre done, itís good for a long time


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Old 04-08-2019, 11:47 AM   #19
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would think putting the $3000 down, for a newer, used version, or dare I say a Volvo, might be better.
You think the BMW is a PITA, and you are thinking about a Volvo??

Volvo are one of the most expensive cars to repair from my experience due to the limited aftermarket parts, limited software availability and they have many of the same problems the BMW's have. Sure you will not be buying a 13 year old Volvo, but think before you leap!

You want a Volvo, lease one.
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Old 04-08-2019, 12:47 PM   #20
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You think the BMW is a PITA, and you are thinking about a Volvo??

Volvo are one of the most expensive cars to repair from my experience due to the limited aftermarket parts, limited software availability and they have many of the same problems the BMW's have. Sure you will not be buying a 13 year old Volvo, but think before you leap!

You want a Volvo, lease one.
Agreed. BMW-->Volvo = out of the frying pan and into the fire
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