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540i6 engine bay oil leak?

Discussion in 'E39 (1997-2003)' started by vtx, Jan 7, 2010.

    vtx guest

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    Got a mysterious leak - seems to have been one time only, and not too recent (at least a week), but since this is the first one that my car sprang, I can't say for sure. Attached is the picture of the splash pattern on the underbelly guard - don't know what to make out of it. Four distinct drops on the driver side seem to have originated from the oil dripping down when the car was standing - they're significantly deeper than the rest of the oil layer.

    Visual check - fresh oil all around the oil pan, except for the drain plug, which is absolutely dry. A drop of fresh[er] oil on the pipe that connects to the power steering pump. An older, darker drop on the AC compressor. Looking from the bottom up, it looks like a leak could've originated at the top, but looking from the top - everything is virgin clean. Oil level is exactly where'd you expect it to be normally.

    Knee jerk reaction is - the oil pan gasket is gone, but I think I'm talking out of my butt here. The only other thing I can think of is that I've recently (kind of, Feb 5 09) changed the oil from original BMW to Castrol Syntec, and the fact that the car is not driven much - can stand for weeks without movement.

    So, what does it look like?

    I didn't try to wipe out anything to catch telltale signs, so I'd appreciate if someone could let me know what else to look for.

    Here's the small picture:


    And here's the link to a big one: http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2800/4254778649_9acf6e3264_o.jpg
    • Member


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    same thing if I'm not mistaken, I know they recommend Castrol Syntec so I can't imagine their oil being any different

    vtx guest

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    (investigating now, but maybe someone gets to this post before I find the answer)

    What would be the symptoms of the front crankshaft seal failure?

    edjack guest

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    Looks like the lower timing case gasket. Mine leaks on the left side, but it's not bad enough yet to go through the BIG job of replacing it.

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