BMW E46 Fanatics Forum banner

1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
231 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I noticed that my car was leaking oil the other day and today I jacked it up and looked underneath. I thought that it woul be the oil pan, but it's bone dry same with the transmission. I removed my under engine cover (if that's what it called) and I noticed oil sprayed on my driver side of the steering rack and all around it. There was no oil on the passenger side of the vehicle and fair bit under the engine on the driver side. What is on the driver side of the vehicle near that area that could be leaking?

I think that it could be the power steering pump, but I'm not sure because the reservoir level for power steering fluid hasn't changed in months.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
231 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Nope, not red. Black and sludgy which makes me wonder if its been there for a while. My valve cover used to leak, but I fixed that. Could it be left over from valve cover issues?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
201 Posts
Yup the only oil you have not checked is the power steering pump or the steering rack. As above, if the oil is red, its is definitely your steering oil..
 

·
Shifting
Joined
·
32,040 Posts
Sigh... like with ANY oil leak...

Remove splash shield
Remove airbox
Spray brake parts cleaner on the drivers side of the engine block down as far as you can
Jack up front of car
(wear goggles, don't breath)
Spray down the entire engine underside/transmission underside till there is no oil present
Drive the car once or twice and jack up the car to see where it's leaking from
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26,264 Posts
Jake,

Getting tired of saying, search I see! :lmao:

OP...just a little more on top of Jake's solid advice to 'find the leak.'

There are probably about 7 leaking sites, few well known...oil filter housing gasket, ccv, vanos oil line (probably not, but do it with ofh g or at least replace crush washers)...and my favorite...incorrect oil change method...putting the 0-ring on the oil filter cap when one is already there, or putting it on the flange, and not in the groove about 1/2" below.

I actually still think PS fluid dripping from under reservoir...easy diy...just did it myself...but ofh and ccv all fail, all leak...clean and look and gl!

Doug
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
902 Posts
Yeah, best advice would be to clean it up first and then check for exact leak. On my friends the dealer said it was the oil housing gasket and the oil pan. We did however replace the oil housing gasket, it did need it, and by accident we also found the vanos line was just starting to leak so did that while in there. On mine, my vanos line was really leaking, so replaced that and while there also replaced the oil filter gasket. ($4 for gasket - $24 for the vanos line) We cleaned both cars and will be looking for additional leaks, to make sure his wasn't also the pan.

The point is there can be a couple of places you can have a leak and sometimes where it would appear to be a leak it may not be leaking at all (like my friends - oil pan gasket is not leaking, drain/drip down from the oil filter housing gasket which also made it look as if pan gasket was leaking)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
231 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
I checked my steering rack and anywhere I could think of that might have oil and I think that it could be the power steering pump. I was just wondering if there was something on the driver side of the car that had oil which the level is not regularily checked?

I'll degrease and check back.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
266 Posts
I noticed that my car was leaking oil the other day and today I jacked it up and looked underneath. I thought that it woul be the oil pan, but it's bone dry same with the transmission. I removed my under engine cover (if that's what it called) and I noticed oil sprayed on my driver side of the steering rack and all around it. There was no oil on the passenger side of the vehicle and fair bit under the engine on the driver side. What is on the driver side of the vehicle near that area that could be leaking?

I think that it could be the power steering pump, but I'm not sure because the reservoir level for power steering fluid hasn't changed in months.
It's the oil line that goes from the vanos solenoid to the back of the oil filter housing. I just had the same problem as you, i was wondering bc everytime i checked the oil seemed to come from the power steering reservoir but its not your power steering. Get some carburetor cleaner and clean up the area where the oil was spilled, let it dry then start up the car and see where the leak is coming from. It could also be the oil filter housing gasket.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
266 Posts
Mechanic just told me the oil filter housing is leaking.. said it's a common problem, may want to check there too.
If you got the right tools and you've worked on your car before you should be able to do this. The oil filter housing is only $10 at the dealer. Here's a DIY http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=657887&highlight=

did mine today


You can see in the first pic how wet the oil pipe line is that goes to the vanos solenoid, pretty bad.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26,264 Posts
I checked my steering rack and anywhere I could think of that might have oil and I think that it could be the power steering pump. I was just wondering if there was something on the driver side of the car that had oil which the level is not regularily checked?

I'll degrease and check back.
Hmmm? I think you should get an inspection mirror and look underneath the reservoir.

The braided cover on the larger hose might be doing what mine did...catching the fluid leaking from the top of the hose and routing it just where you saw it. I just replaced the large hose and snipped the top of the smaller hose 1/2" and put new clamps on and that seems to have done it. You might get away with just tightening clamp...which means you'll need to get old clamps off and new screw clamps on. New gasket for reservoir, a new clamp for bottom end of hose going to pump...done.

I replaced reservoir, but the old one looks fine...haven't cut it apart yet, but I did pressure test it...sort of.

HTH

Doug
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
I have similar leak from the same location.
I am suspecting the Vanos oil hose or the crush washers.

My hose is wet on the lower end and right where the braid meets the metal too.

I;m going to try the crush washers first but think it's not the oil housing gasket as the oil is only near the bottom of the hose and the rest of it very clean.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
I have similar leak from the same location.
I am suspecting the Vanos oil hose or the crush washers.

My hose is wet on the lower end and right where the braid meets the metal too.

I'm going to try the crush washers first but think it's not the oil housing gasket as the oil is only near the bottom of the hose and the rest of it very clean.

Another indicator of this is that the oil leaking does appear to be going directly below the lower hose end.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
208 Posts
Sorry to resurrect guys...but I seem to have the same problem...sort of. I am using oil at a rate of about 1 qt per 3k miles. I am leaving no drips on the ground. There is, however, oil on the side of my block about even with the coupler for the steering. IT seems to drip down to my half shaft (this is an xi) and spray all over the wheel well and onto the steering rack boot. Originally I thought my half shaft boot was done, it is not.

No it seems to me that this is NOT PS fluid as the amount in my reservoir is stable and the hoses are dry. Seriously doubt it is a head gasket as I have no weird smoke and there is no evidence of oil in coolant. It would also seem to me that this would be something that is happening while the car is running as I have no drips on the floor. Anyway, I just took it all apart and cleaned it. I will take another look in a couple of days. If you guys have any ideas, I am all ears.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26,264 Posts
Sorry to resurrect guys...but I seem to have the same problem...sort of. I am using oil at a rate of about 1 qt per 3k miles. I am leaving no drips on the ground. There is, however, oil on the side of my block about even with the coupler for the steering. IT seems to drip down to my half shaft (this is an xi) and spray all over the wheel well and onto the steering rack boot. Originally I thought my half shaft boot was done, it is not.

No it seems to me that this is NOT PS fluid as the amount in my reservoir is stable and the hoses are dry. Seriously doubt it is a head gasket as I have no weird smoke and there is no evidence of oil in coolant. It would also seem to me that this would be something that is happening while the car is running as I have no drips on the floor. Anyway, I just took it all apart and cleaned it. I will take another look in a couple of days. If you guys have any ideas, I am all ears.
If the car is pretty new to you and you haven't changed the oil yourself yet, check the oil filter cap's 0-ring for correct placement (and there should only be one 0-ring); check ofhg and ccv...then the vanos hose to see if you have drips from the banjo bolts at the end.

Also, if the car is pretty new to you, it could have been PO beating it up and your car will just 'naturally' burn oil at that rate because of the gap between piston and cylinder.

Then there's the question of what oil are you using? I'm pretty sure it's possible that if your oil is 'way wrong' that it might burn more than it might otherwise.

Remove underskirt, clean things up, drive, look again. Most of the work is the 'cleaning things up' and there are many diys on this.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
231 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
I just fixed this oil leak last weekend. It was the oil filter housing gasket, it's a simple diy, I did this gasket and a cooling system refresh kit from ecs at the same time. For all those who have a similar problem, if you have a lot of time and some patience then it's an easy fix. Once you get the intake and the alternator out you can see the source of your oil leak, you'll be able to see where the oil built up, if it's on the ps reservoir, ps steering pump, any oil lines or from the oil filter housing gasket. I would recommend changing the gasket because mine was very brittle, an if yours isn't leaking, it will. Plus the gasket is only 6$. It was way easier than the cooling system change, that was messy as hell, I got to take a shower in coolant when I pulled the lines at the bottom of the rad. If you do take out your oil filter housing, don't forget to degrease or else you'll smell oil for a while. Plus the degreasing makes it nicer for when you work on the car in the future.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
208 Posts
Thanks guys... Car is not new to me. It has never used oil like this. I am using Mobil 1 5w-50 (I think, it is whatever grade BMW has on the oil cap)... Change it every 5k give or take. It also seems that I am only leaking a small amount (qt over 2 to 3k?) and it must only be happening when the engine is running (no drips on the floor).
It is an absolute PITA to get all that stuff out to see where I am leaking. After watching the Bav Auto video, I am 80% sure it is the CCV valve or one of the associated hoses. I am going to go ahead and do the oil housing gasket and the crush washers for the vanos line first as this is cheap. If that is not the problem it should be pretty evident once I get the alternator off. Once I figure out that it is in fact the CCV I will go ahead change all that out. Anyone have a list of part numbers and is there anything else I should do while I am in there?
Rant... While this car is not particularly hard to work on, this kind of crap is such a PITA. I don't understand why these cars need to be so complicated. I am going to fix it and sell it while it is still worth something. Going for a nice simple E30.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,342 Posts
yeah oil leaks on the e46 have been analyzed beyond all depths.

Here is Uncle Delmarco's guides to E46 Leakage and you would see it on the ground after your car is parked:

Oil on passenger side or rear of engine is the VCG around $50 parts and $50 - $100 labour

Oil on driver side or front of engine is the OFHG around $10 parts and $100 - $200 labour

Oil that is central, spotty in a circular pattern and plenty is the OPHG - not sure about the costs of that

Oil that is red or black and more runny (like black bean sauce or ink) towards the back - is tranny fluid

Green, Yellow or Blue stuff towards the front of engine is coolant.

Very watery and light blue towards the passenger side is washer fluid leaking from the washer reservoir pump
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top