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Old 12-08-2010, 07:57 AM   #1
E36is
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oil leak

Whats the best way to troubleshoot an oil leak (black fluid)? The car isnt leaking a ton, but i see and get a few drops whether i have the car at level ground or on an incline (front up in the air). Is there a common area where the eta engine can leak from? Is it advisable to get the engine degreased first? anyways some input would be appreciated on this. thanks.
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Old 12-08-2010, 10:38 AM   #2
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Look for the highest point where it's really wet. Generally there are a few places oil can come from, the valve cover, the head gasket, if it looks wet on the bottom but you don't see it very wet up top it could be the oil pan gasket, or the rear seal.

Another place could be the oil return tube that goes from the intake manifold to the top of the oil pan. The front main engine seal rarely leaks, I haven't had one leak on any of my cars yet.

Look for the highest point where the oil is wet or buildup is thickest and you'll discover where the leak is.
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Old 12-08-2010, 11:13 AM   #3
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The oil control valve is known to leak as well, it's part of the oil filter housing. As mentioned, look for highest spot that is wet with oil, or the formation of a drop and trace it back to a probable location.
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Old 12-08-2010, 01:43 PM   #4
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+1 on the oil control valve, also the, er, rocker guide "keys" that fit into the head under the valve cover. They're four of them, black plastic tabs the size of a drink pull tab, they shrink and leak like mad. Also, camshaft seal which is best to change when doing a timing belt.
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Old 12-09-2010, 08:09 AM   #5
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thanks guys! i'll take a closer look at the top end and see if those said areas are the culprit. How difficult is it to replace those gasket/seals? Is there a seal kit that can be bought for those specific items?
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Old 12-09-2010, 10:09 AM   #6
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Hey guys if he's talking about an eta... I don't think any came with the oil cooler. My 87 325i doesn't even have the oil cooler.

+1 on the plugs, they should be changed with the valve cover gasket.
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