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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Yesterday on my way home after a 300 mile trip I managed to bottom out on an especially tall speed bump at low speed (my 330Ci isn't lowered from stock). It didn't sound particularly bad so I didn't think too much of it. After about 3 miles I got home and as I was finished parking I noticed my low oil light came on my dashboard. I got out and could see a visible trail of some liquid (not coolant) on the pavement tracing my car's line as I parallel parked. I got down on my knees and there was a slow drip of a liquid slightly behind the front axle. :ben:

My assumption is the oil pan is cracked, but maybe it is something worse like the differential? I can't be sure though, I tried searching for an image of underneath online to get a better idea but it was surprisingly difficult.

I haven't checked the oil level yet, but as I was walking by my car on my way to work this morning there wasn't a huge pool of oil 6-7 quarts of oil that would indicate a massive crack. I don't think it's an oil leak elsewhere. I had it in the shop last week to source a slow oil leak that I suspected was the valve cover gasket. They checked and agreed with replacement. Any thoughts?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
 

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You have to get under there and look. Anything else is pure speculation. If the low oil light came on then its probably and oil leak. Check the level before you start it back up. If its a slow leak it can most likely be driven to a shop for an estimate.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yeah, I apologize for the lack of information. I was in a rush yesterday night and this morning and didn't have a chance to do any more serious inspection until after work. I have an appointment to bring it in to the shop on Wednesday. I was just wondering if anyone else had experienced something similar.
 

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The oil pan is pretty much covered by the chassis brace/reinforcement. The transmission would be much easier to hit IMO. Have you looked underneath? Only you can do that. From your description, none of us can tell you anything really. You're just thinking out loud at this point.
 

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I doubt you broke the oil pan, but the only thing to do from here is to put the car on a rack and lift it in the air and walk around underneath.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
The oil pan is pretty much covered by the chassis brace/reinforcement. The transmission would be much easier to hit IMO. Have you looked underneath? Only you can do that. From your description, none of us can tell you anything really. You're just thinking out loud at this point.
Again, I apologize for the lack of info. But thank you for your thoughts, they're what I was looking for.

EDIT: Also, the transmission housing seems to be above the bracings that I could see, so I'm not sure I broke the housing. Nor am I sure how that would trigger the low-oil indicator on the dashboard, but maybe I'm wrong?

I doubt you broke the oil pan, but the only thing to do from here is to put the car on a rack and lift it in the air and walk around underneath.
Yeah, looking around the boards some more and getting a chance to take a closer look at my car at lunch I think my oil pan is safe:
  • The oil level on the dipstick is where it was before I left for my 300+ mile road trip at full.
  • The dripping didn't seem to leave an oil stain on the ground, although it did rain briefly last night which could have washed some of it away
What I think might have happened is that I jostled the oil level sensor. I don't believe it has ever been replaced in the 10 years of existence (I bought the car in February w/ pretty thorough maintenance records) and 78k miles. The dripping may have been condensation from my AC compressor, which had been running for about 3 hours at that point and it was very humid and hot out. My plan is to leave a piece of plywood or cardboard underneath and see if anything leaks. If not, I'll drive it around and see if I can get the low engine oil light to come on, check the oil level, and if that's okay, assume it's a faulty sensor that needs replacement.

Thanks again to everyone for their thoughts, it has been very helpful!
 

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Is this an auto? I'd think that (transmission) would be a more logical target that the oil pan. Not because it's uncovered, but because the oil pan rides up and down with the front wheels, unless you were going at it sideways.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Good stuff, just note that our engines are infamous for using oil so please check regularly .
I tend to check it once a week to be safe, but I can't always park on level ground. I have to park on the street :(

Is this an auto? I'd think that (transmission) would be a more logical target that the oil pan. Not because it's uncovered, but because the oil pan rides up and down with the front wheels, unless you were going at it sideways.
It is the 5-speed manual. Is the automatic transmission housing larger or smaller than the manual?

:facepalm:The oil pan does not move with the wheels...:facepalm:
I was confused with that as well. I assumed he just meant it was easier to strike (i.e. lower sitting) than the oil pan itself.
 
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