1988RedT2 UltimaDork
8/20/19 9:19 a.m.

So a couple weeks back, we acquired a 2003 530i sport package with the auto trans.  125,000 well-cared-for miles.  The car was easily the nicest we'd seen.  Black on black (actually looking for silver), near perfect body and interior.  The guy had just dumped $4200. on repairs in the last two years.  He'd owned the car for over ten years.  Gave him his asking price knowing the car had a few small issues.  (I would have offered a tad less, but the wifey (who makes the big bucks) counseled a more generous tack.)

Now I'm trying to track down oil leaks.  Pretty sure the valve cover is leaking at at least one point, since there's evidence of oil dripping onto the exhaust manifold.  I've got six new spark plugs and the valve cover gasket on order. 

Had the car on my neighbor's lift yesterday.  Bottom of the car looks great!  No rust or damage.  Bottom of the oil pan is wet.  I investigated the procedure for the pan gasket.  Not pretty.  Raise the engine, drop the subframe.  Argh!  Twelve to thirteen hours?  Probably take me twice that long.  Wouldn't feel right tying up my neighbor's lift for days, even if he said I could.  I'd probably pay a guy we know to do it.

Also need to get a good look at the oil filter housing as these are common leak points.

Hoping the valve cover gasket fixes most of it.  I can tolerate a car marking its territory, but only a little.  laugh

Counterpoint is that on the road, the car is sublime.  These cars really are something special.

nderwater UltimaDork
8/20/19 9:31 a.m.

Valve cover gasket leaks are common with age on these engines and not too bad to DIY. Oil pan gaskets are a hassle -- park over a shallow sheet pan and just keep topping off the oil?

02Pilot SuperDork
8/20/19 9:44 a.m.

The oil filter housing gasket isn't hard, and it is very likely part of the problem if it's original. Do yourself a favor while you have the housing off and replace the CCV and all four associated hoses while you're in there. It makes access a lot easier, and the CCV is a known problem. Break the old hoses rather than trying to undo the clips, and lube the new O-rings to make it easier to lock them on when installing. Make sure you clean out the nipple from the valve cover, as this is commonly partially blocked, especially in cars driven short distances. I'd also suggest you pull the dipstick guide tube, clean out the drain for the CCV (between the guide tube and the sleeve inside - it's narrow and gets clogged with oil-water emulsion), and replace the O-ring. If you want to completely revamp that system, pull the distribution piece on top of the intake manifold, blow it out, and replace those O-rings too.

I know it sounds like a lot of extra work, but it's not hard, just tricky to access, which is why I suggest doing it while you have the OFH off. More to the immediate point, if the CCV fails and you end up with insufficient vacuum or pressure in the crankcase, your oil leaks will increase considerably.

It's also a good time to inspect the drive belt and pulleys, as well as the belt tensioner.

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