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Well today I did the time consuming, pain in the butt OIL FILTER HOUSEING GASKET replacement on my 2000 323i. The steps were (after disconnecting the negative on the battery) :
1. Fan box and MAF (2 bolts, hose clamp, 1 electrical plug)
2. Upper radiator hose (to clear out of the way for the fan removal)
3. Fan shroud and fan (easily done with fan tool and 32mm wrench... impossible otherwise)
4. A/C and Serpentine belts (replaced during project utilizing the tensioner pulleys one on top and one on bottom of car)
5. Power steering reservoir (debolt 2 bolts and move to the side out of the way)
6. Alternator (debolt 2 bolts, loosen tensioner bolt on back, power wire, 1 electrical plug)
7. 6 bolts holding OFH on and all electrical plugs in the way. The upper Vanos line bolt was also removed during this step.

I got the old gasket out in 2 pieces being careful not to use a hard object such as a screwdriver, to avoid scratching or etching any possible gouges into the metal. I used a plastic knife I had laying around for ceramic sculpting lol. I was sure to wipe down the OFH and surrounding areas of excess oil and debris. I replaced the new gasket and bolted her back on being mindful of the pressure being distributed evenly to the new gasket. I worked in a "X" motion going back and forth, top to bottom, left to right (almost like when putting a wheel on and in a star motion to distribute the pressure evenly to all bolts). I did the top 4 bolts first (because this is where the gasket sits) and then tightened the bottom 2 last. There are different length bolts so draw yourself a diagram to remember where each bolt goes again. If they are too short or long you should be able to catch that immediately and find the correct placement for each. From there I reconnected all the electrical connections associated with this removal step, and the Vanos line bolt was reconnected as well. After that it was almost a breeze to put everything else back on and back together. The only trouble I had was the little dot or groove that the alternator pulley fits in was missing and so I had to mark the top with a marker in the position it needed to be bolted at. Once I got that accomplished with the help of a lending hand... it came together smoothly. I have driven it for 5 miles and so far no drips of any kind. Hopefuly forever!!!!! Before this project it leaked a drop of oil every time I parked, after running at normal operating temps. I feel accomplished and happy it's over! In all with minor obstacles in the way like (upper radiator hose stuck, and OFH stuck and trying to gently pull apart) it took about 4 hours to complete. I took breaks and googled steps if I was unsure what was what during the process. This is just my experience. You might have a different one. Its not professional advice or a walk thru. Its here to help get the job done and any reference it might hold is in the eye of the beholder! But hey if I can do it so can you!!! Good luck!!!
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