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      05-10-2020, 06:05 PM   #1
wezo00
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Need advice on leaking oil pan

Hi folks,

I've just bought a 2007 Z 3.0i (engine N52). The engine oil pan is leaking. Maybe it's the drain bolt, maybe the pan's thread.

I've torqued the bolt to be sure it wasn't undertorqued but it's not the issue. There's also a crush washer so it's not the issue to.

I'll buy a new genuine drain bolt and gasket (just in case of) but if the issue is on the pan side, what could be the best way to fix it (other than replacing the whole pan)?
- Time Sert?
- Helicoil?
- Oversized bolt (M13)?

Some of them are a No Go?

Thanks in advance.
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      05-11-2020, 07:16 AM   #2
garz747
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Timesert may work depending on how bad thread is. The pan is aluminum so thread is soft. If u can seal it with slight oversize, you could then do oil change with fluid extractor from the dipstick...
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      05-11-2020, 07:18 AM   #3
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Unless your year doesnt have dip?
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      05-11-2020, 09:25 AM   #4
wezo00
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No dipstick.
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      05-11-2020, 11:56 AM   #5
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n52's are aluminum?
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      05-11-2020, 02:11 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaybat View Post
n52's are aluminum?
The oil pan is aluminum.
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      05-11-2020, 03:37 PM   #7
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The pan threads don't make the seal, the crush washer does. If you were able to torque the drain plug, it's not stripped, which is great. The crush washer should be replaced with each oil change. If the pan and drain plug surfaces are not damaged, there's a new crush washer and the plug is torqued correctly, there shouldn't be a leak. I guessing you have a very used crush washer on there.
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      05-11-2020, 04:54 PM   #8
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N52 engine blocks are magnesium. It's one of the things that makes them so wonderful in the pointy end of a Z4.

And so leaky.
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      05-11-2020, 05:50 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wdb View Post
N52 engine blocks are magnesium. It's one of the things that makes them so wonderful in the pointy end of a Z4.

And so leaky.
Actually the block is magnesium and aluminum kinda of a hybrid. I doubt the pan is magnesium.

Last edited by pungo; 05-16-2020 at 10:53 AM..
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      05-11-2020, 07:32 PM   #10
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I've read your posting a few times and then realized you used the word "maybe" more than once when referring to the drain plug as the source of the leak. The drain plug area is generally the lowest portion of the oil pan and oil seeping from above would accumulate there. Is there any evidence of fresh oil along the line where the oil pan meets the engine? If so, then the oil pan gasket could be the source.

Look, if your new plug and crush washer works and ends this, great. However, if not, consider a good indy garage or a dealership to find the problem and an estimate to repair it. Maybe you'll be able to do the repair once you know where the problem is, if not, then you'll know the cost of the repair.
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      05-11-2020, 08:50 PM   #11
wezo00
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaybat View Post
n52's are aluminum?
Made of steel. The pan is painted black and a magnet stick well on it. It's not aluminium.


Quote:
Originally Posted by pungo View Post
The pan threads don't make the seal, the crush washer does. If you were able to torque the drain plug, it's not stripped, which is great. The crush washer should be replaced with each oil change. If the pan and drain plug surfaces are not damaged, there's a new crush washer and the plug is torqued correctly, there shouldn't be a leak. I guessing you have a very used crush washer on there.
The crush gasket is brand new.


Quote:
Originally Posted by JAS1169 View Post
I've read your posting a few times and then realized you used the word "maybe" more than once when referring to the drain plug as the source of the leak. The drain plug area is generally the lowest portion of the oil pan and oil seeping from above would accumulate there. Is there any evidence of fresh oil along the line where the oil pan meets the engine? If so, then the oil pan gasket could be the source.
The oil pan gasket is clean. It clearly leaks from the drain plug. I just don't know if the threads on the oil pan are shot or if it's just the plug itself. Probably both of them.

I did more search and I read that Time Sert is not good on steel pans. Same for helicoil. I'll try to tap the hole for an M13 drain plug. If it fails, I'll need to replace the oil pan. The dealer asks 2100$CAD for parts and labor.
That's why I'm looking to save an arm and a leg.
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      05-11-2020, 09:46 PM   #12
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I'm hoping you understand that your wording "maybe" caused me some concern.

1st, best of lucky taping her out. Hope you get to ride the ez road.

However, if things break bad. Replacing the pan is basically the exact same as doing the gasket. The only difference is you add a new pan. As a go-by youtube has a Z4 oil pan gasket change...but for a m54. However, although different models of BMW they have a couple of n52 gasket change outs. You have a chance to look at each for tips and issues.

Again, best of luck with her.
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      05-11-2020, 11:31 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pungo View Post
The pan threads don't make the seal, the crush washer does. If you were able to torque the drain plug, it's not stripped, which is great. The crush washer should be replaced with each oil change. If the pan and drain plug surfaces are not damaged, there's a new crush washer and the plug is torqued correctly, there shouldn't be a leak. I guessing you have a very used crush washer on there.
Quote:
Originally Posted by wezo00 View Post
Made of steel. The pan is painted black and a magnet stick well on it. It's not aluminium.

The crush gasket is brand new.

I did more search and I read that Time Sert is not good on steel pans. Same for helicoil. I'll try to tap the hole for an M13 drain plug. If it fails, I'll need to replace the oil pan. The dealer asks 2100$CAD for parts and labor.
That's why I'm looking to save an arm and a leg.
Like I said, threads don't make the seal. If you can get the proper torque, it should seal unless there is something wrong with the pan to plug surface or the plug to pan surface.

I'm really surprised the pan is steel and not aluminum. Are you sure you sure it's not the transmission pan?
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      05-12-2020, 08:13 AM   #14
wezo00
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Threads are stripped. The more I torque, the worse it is: The more it leaks. Like I said it's not a crush washer issue.
I need to know how to fix the threads. Thank you.
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      05-12-2020, 09:21 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wezo00 View Post
I've torqued the bolt to be sure it wasn't undertorqued but it's not the issue.
Quote:
Originally Posted by wezo00 View Post
Threads are stripped. The more I torque, the worse it is: The more it leaks. Like I said it's not a crush washer issue.
It's really hard to help you diagnose the leak when you say one thing to begin with then later you say something that contradicts what you said to begin with.

Last edited by pungo; 05-12-2020 at 10:01 PM..
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      05-12-2020, 05:10 PM   #16
wezo00
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I'm sorry for my poor english. It may confuse people.
On my first post, I meant that I would tighten a little more to be sure that the screw did not miss tightening ("under torque"). By tightening more, I felt that I was tightening too much (over tightening). The gasket is there (and new) and cannot seal properly because the plug cannot tight more.
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      05-12-2020, 06:07 PM   #17
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So the fact that the OP said he has a steel oil pan got me curious.
Auto trans cars had an alloy pan, manual trans cars had steel.
Not sure how big the tapped boss is on the oil pan OP but an option possibly is to drill the hole oversize and retap one size bigger, even if it means an imperial thread plug.
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      05-12-2020, 10:18 PM   #18
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Use something like this in the correct size.



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