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RW16610
10-04-2010, 03:58 PM
Hi Guys,

Originally posted this topic / question on DTM but got no reply after most of today, so I decided to register here and ask for now.


I have a 1997 328is and over all the car was in good shape at the time of sale. Only thing that needs to be done ASAP is the brake pads, rotors and flex lines that should be changed very soon. Noticed 3 problems though and hopefully you all can help:

1) There is a small leak that goes and comes from time to time in the front mainly by the passenger side a few inches behind the front bumper :werd: Not a big leak, and again if I park it somewhere for several hours it leaves no spots, only once in a while it will put a few small to medium drops on the driveway I guess over night. Doubt this is the oil filter housing but what can it be? Possibly the transmission? Got that checked a few weeks back when the oil change was done and the oil in the transmission is still good and to the level it should be at.

2) The car of course likes to drive and hates to sit. If it sits for about a day or so when you start it up the engine vibrates a lot at first until it warms up a little then stops and runs smooth. Also when I rev it to low RPM like 2K ish it at times has a rattle in the exhaust and sounds like the engine is missing. That again is something that goes and comes but otherwise it works fine.


3) The clutch and transmission are fine, no slips in the clutch at all etc BUT the transmission has been acting up. Before it was a bit difficult to shift into 2nd gear compared to the rest. This has since gone away now but at high RPM like 4,500 - Red line when you do that in 1st gear and try to shift into 2nd it will not go into 2nd gear. It feels like 2nd gear is not even there and when you pull back the shifter is rubbery and you just have to skip 2nd and go to 3rd. Under 4K RPM this has been no problem at all which was very.


Anyway, love the car but just want to get to the bottom of this small leak so it can be fixed then figure out the transmission high RPM issue after getting my brakes all repaired. Thanks in advance for the help folks.

SickFinga
10-04-2010, 09:25 PM
1. What exactly is leaking? Did you check the spot. Is it oil or water? If it's water could be radiator or your plastic thermostat housing.
2. Check your valve cover gasket. It might leak on top of your spark plugs. Remove the plastic BMW cover. Sometimes oil gets in there. Check the rubber boot on the ignition coils and your spark plugs while you are there.
3. Check your transmission mounts.

RW16610
10-04-2010, 09:34 PM
Thank you so much for the reply!


Last time this happened and I checked, the spots were oil. When we changed the spark plugs a few weeks back no oil was in there (saw what that is like on bimmerdiy) and all was fine.

You must be right about the transmission mounts. Seems as if it would move the most when you hit it hard in 1st going to 2nd gear plus they have to be the original ones. Some told me to change the oil (at local shops when I called around) but this site seems great too for demonstration:

http://www.uucmotorwerks.com/html_techtip/techtips/e36_tranny_mount.htm


Still trying to figure out what that small oil leak could be off and on like that at the front by the passenger side though.

richie_s999
10-05-2010, 10:09 AM
Is it oil or tranny fluid from the power steering? The powersteering system uses ATF fluid and turn black pretty quick, and looks like oil on pavement.

RW16610
10-05-2010, 01:58 PM
Sadly I did not figure that out yet. The only time it leaked when I was outside was several weeks ago when it was parked on my driveway for over a week and then had to be moved on the road so Home Depot could deliver some supplies for the basement finishing. This car tends to be weird at times but is fine normally. That day was the first and only time it ever blue smoked (well my brother said it was black) with me. The drips fell out while I was reversing out of the driveway before the car even moved 10 feet. It looked dark but all I did was rub my shoe in it a little to see if it was in fact an oil type drip or coolant etc.


Over the past month of the car driving even a little every day it only leaked a few small drops and it all happens over night apparently. By the time I see them they are soaked in or just the old spots so had no chance to smell it and examine it. Power steering feels good though. Funny thing is, in the time it was sitting before going on the road that day it did not leak, at all. Would start it up every day to let it warm up a little and nothing happened.

iverson03tj
10-05-2010, 02:08 PM
Does it leak while it sitting, or when its beehing run... i say the easiest way is to put a plastic cup under neather, and then take a bit of ur oil from the engine and tranny fluid and check which one looks closer... or top up all ur fluids and see whats wrong, my guess is its probably oil since ur engine is acting up as well.

iverson03tj
10-05-2010, 02:12 PM
Also when I rev it to low RPM like 2K ish it at times has a rattle in the exhaust and sounds like the engine is missing. That again is something that goes and comes but otherwise it works fine.

.

Your engine miss fires? and if its ur exhaust its probably just the heat sheild rattling, the heat sheild tends to wear out..

RW16610
10-05-2010, 02:13 PM
Does it leak while it sitting, or when its beehing run... i say the easiest way is to put a plastic cup under neather, and then take a bit of ur oil from the engine and tranny fluid and check which one looks closer... or top up all ur fluids and see whats wrong, my guess is its probably oil since ur engine is acting up as well.


Well sitting it did not leak one bit after the seller brought it to my house before getting it on the road. That one day it had to be moved where it acted up is the time it leaked in the start before leaving the driveway then it did not leak more that day. It is not even big spots just the most tiny of spots and the biggest spot so far on there has to be no bigger than 3 inches across.

RW16610
10-05-2010, 02:17 PM
Your engine miss fires? and if its ur exhaust its probably just the heat sheild rattling, the heat sheild tends to wear out..

That is true, I remember this happening to to other cars. That can easily be pulled off. It is not too loud or bad sounds more like a baffle for now but should be taken off before it gets worst. Winter will not help that situation.

Regarding the engine, funny thing is this car is very difficult to figure out. None of these symptoms are or were consistent. The more it drives, the better it works and sounds. From time to time it will idle a bit rough and seem to misfire a little but that has only happened 3 or 4 times but went away after. Maybe a better way to describe it is that is sounds sometimes like the engine is running a bit rich or something is in there but its not burning oil, the level is still good for now and there is no blue or black smoke at low or high RPM.



Here are some pictures of the car just for the heck of it:


http://img339.imageshack.us/img339/2610/imagepn.jpg

http://img521.imageshack.us/img521/709/imageie.jpg

http://img833.imageshack.us/img833/1014/imageff.jpg

http://img821.imageshack.us/img821/6048/imagefsue.jpg


http://img530.imageshack.us/img530/6103/imagergs.jpg

http://img442.imageshack.us/img442/8017/imagegs.jpg

http://img205.imageshack.us/img205/1849/imageuchf.jpg

http://img801.imageshack.us/img801/2990/imagepx.jpg

http://img213.imageshack.us/img213/1328/imagetdo.jpg

RW16610
10-05-2010, 02:20 PM
SO sorry about the multiple posts, Moderators. Only allows me 10 images so here are the rest:

http://img137.imageshack.us/img137/4323/imageiws.jpg

http://img37.imageshack.us/img37/2898/imageosb.jpg

http://img28.imageshack.us/img28/2371/imagezio.jpg

http://img718.imageshack.us/img718/3586/imagerpz.jpg

http://img412.imageshack.us/img412/3597/imagedg.jpg

http://img835.imageshack.us/img835/3571/imagehmck.jpg

iverson03tj
10-05-2010, 02:50 PM
Well sitting it did not leak one bit after the seller brought it to my house before getting it on the road. That one day it had to be moved where it acted up is the time it leaked in the start before leaving the driveway then it did not leak more that day. It is not even big spots just the most tiny of spots and the biggest spot so far on there has to be no bigger than 3 inches across.

did u check the valve cover gasket yet? ur engine bay is clean so touch everything till u can find something, then jack it up... PLEASE DO NOT COUNT on the Bmw Jack... use stands... belive me the last thing u want is for it to come down.. happened to me, broke my driveway and broke the jack.

RW16610
10-05-2010, 03:02 PM
did u check the valve cover gasket yet? ur engine bay is clean so touch everything till u can find something, then jack it up... PLEASE DO NOT COUNT on the Bmw Jack... use stands... belive me the last thing u want is for it to come down.. happened to me, broke my driveway and broke the jack.

Oh wow, yikes. Thankfully for me my brother who will soon be finished highschool has been taking Automotive classes since he started and has most the tools needed (but not all sadly). We have the jack, we need to try get the right size so we can take off the calipers and do the pads plus rotors to save me money at the shop when getting the flex lines done. Might just have to get them to do all that.

When he did the plugs for me it was extremly clean under there and had no oil at all above the spark plugs or in that area. In a few mins when I take the car for its first drive of the day (I make sure to drive it every day even if it is just a few blocks of driving) I will see how it acts or what it does.

T.Dot_E30
10-05-2010, 04:31 PM
Seems like the car just needs some general maintenance.
I see you've done the plugs.
Also consider changing the transmission diff fluids if you don't know when it was last done.
The rubber intake boot is known to crack and cause intake leaks when they get older. Cheap part, best to just change it if it looks cracked up.
Have the fuel filter change if you don't have any records for it.

Consider changing the cabin filter (won't solve any of your issues, but it is often neglected)

Once you have the maintenance items taken care of it would be easier to spot problems, for example if you still had idle issues you can start looking for intake leaks, Idle control valve or deal coil packs.

RW16610
10-05-2010, 04:41 PM
Seems like the car just needs some general maintenance.
I see you've done the plugs.
Also consider changing the transmission diff fluids if you don't know when it was last done.
The rubber intake boot is known to crack and cause intake leaks when they get older. Cheap part, best to just change it if it looks cracked up.
Have the fuel filter change if you don't have any records for it.

Consider changing the cabin filter (won't solve any of your issues, but it is often neglected)

Once you have the maintenance items taken care of it would be easier to spot problems, for example if you still had idle issues you can start looking for intake leaks, Idle control valve or deal coil packs.


Yeah, the fluids I plan to have changed as soon as I possibly can. Filters have basically all been changed minus the cabin and fuel ones. The intake looks in good shape, got a better look at it when I changed the filter myself and cleaned the air sensor. It was dirty and made the check engine light come on but after the cleaning and re setting the light has stayed off for several weeks and is no longer an issue.

I just hope it does not become too big a headache. Took the car out for its daily drive today and it worked perfect. On cold start it was vibrating a little but not too bad, RPM dropped to where it should be after it warmed up a little bit. Shifts were fairly smooth even right out of the driveway before the gearbox warmed up this time. Clutch does not slip etc. Right now I am looking into what it will cost to change those transmission mounts, due to these circumstances that has to be one of the main factors for 2nd gear not working at very high RPM. That and changing the transmission oil eventually but for now it works well at regular RPM and highway driving. Even to drive fast in the other gears all works fine. No sort of grinding or anything. You can hear it engage 1st gear when you put it in from neutral but all seems well and as it should be otherwise.

RW16610
10-06-2010, 06:36 PM
So, today took the car for a drive, let the engine warm all the way up and drove several km`s so the transmission could be at proper operating temperature as always.

Attempt number 1 failed. I accelerated hard in 1st and it did the thing where it would not go into 2nd.

For attempt number 2 I decided to push it right near red line. Funny thing is, it worked! I revved it almost all the way in 1st, got into 2nd with no issues then put it in 3rd and backed off after a second or so. Again, the shifts feel fairly smooth and the transmission works fine otherwise. Hopefully from what I have been reading and hearing about these cars, it is just simply the transmission oil needs changing and putting something better in. Feel so good it is no longer an issue in that sense so I can turn out somewhere and build right up to the speed limit in an instant to not hold up traffic.