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3-Series (E21, E30) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1975-1983 and 1984-1991 line. Specific models: BMW 315, BMW 316, BMW 318, BMW 318i, BMW 320/4, BMW 320i, BMW 320/6, BMW 323i, BMW 320i. E30 Family models include: BMW 325e, BMW 325i, BMW 325is, BMW 325ix.

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Old 02-19-2009, 12:50 PM   #1 (permalink)
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oil leak only when cold

1990 325i with bad oil leak. only when cold. when you first start it up it leaks from the head gasket. when it warms up - nothing. we had it on a lift and at 1800 rpm's for 10 minutes - no leak...cold start in the morning and it runs out and down the side of the block. My mechanic says the expansion is that great that its sealed when engine is hot. Do I need to change the head gasket or torque it down a little more. Car has 130k on it. It runs perfect and does not smoke or use coolant at all.
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Old 02-19-2009, 03:04 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I think I'd change the gasket.
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Old 02-19-2009, 04:43 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Catfish John View Post
1990 325i with bad oil leak. only when cold. when you first start it up it leaks from the head gasket. when it warms up - nothing. we had it on a lift and at 1800 rpm's for 10 minutes - no leak...cold start in the morning and it runs out and down the side of the block. My mechanic says the expansion is that great that its sealed when engine is hot. Do I need to change the head gasket or torque it down a little more. Car has 130k on it. It runs perfect and does not smoke or use coolant at all.
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Old 02-19-2009, 05:21 PM   #4 (permalink)
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well, the car is probably worth about $1500 and a head gasket job is $500 minimum so I really think it may be time to find her a new home....has anyone had success with bars leak or any type of additive?
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Old 02-19-2009, 08:53 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I don't think it's the head gasket, as you are not losing coolant (way to check is look at the dipstick/oil filler cap, if there is white goo then it's coolant and the head gasket is shot). If not then it's something else much less severe. Head gaskets are not that forgiving...it's something else...always the coolant will show up first in a bad head gasket situation..which side of the block? could be, as mentioned an over tighten valve cover gasket, that could do it, or a shot seal on the distributor/cam shaft. It could even be a shot oil pressure sensor switch, they do that too frequently, they leak and show up in different areas on the engine.
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Old 02-20-2009, 12:06 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I really hope you are right. I trust the mechanic thats working on it but anyone can make a mistake. This car does not leak oil when it's warm and running. It only leaks it when the engine is cold and is first started. Mechanic says it runs out of the head gasket and accumulates in one of the engine mounts. It stops when the engine warms. He had it on the lift at 1800 rpm's for 10 minutes and had zero leaking. The next morning, he started it up and oil ran down the block again. I always thought that the coolant had to be involved for it to be a head gasket. Can it be leaking oil from the head gasket and not get involved with the coolant? I am really confused here.
The car runs great by the way. Goes down the road without a miss. Gets good mileage. No misses.
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Old 02-27-2009, 10:04 AM   #7 (permalink)
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has anyone had success with bars leak or any type of additive?
I work at autozone part time, and there are many people that come in to buy bars leak and all kind of different sealants to head gaskets. I always try to talk them out of it, because there have been so much more damaged caused by bars leak than good has been done. This stuff will ruin your engine, so much so that autozone is trying to unload their currently supply because they are pulling it from their shelves. so I don't recommend it at all!
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Old 02-28-2009, 09:38 PM   #8 (permalink)
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barsleak and snake oil...junk....will, and have never, fixed anything except false temporary hope....word
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Old 02-28-2009, 11:15 PM   #9 (permalink)
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are you sure its not the oil pan?

Your mechanic should be able to tell you and show you exactly where its leaking from. I believe the way the coolant runs in the engine, if you had a bad head gasket you would loose coolant somewhere.

Keep checking. Or go to another mechanic and get a second opinion. Maybe the mechanic wants the car and is over diagnosing the problem. (I know i would want that car ( :

But really, have another person check it out
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Old 03-01-2009, 07:01 AM   #10 (permalink)
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The mechanic showed me where the leak comes from. There are three channels down the left side of the block (as you face the engine from the passenger side) The middle channel at the top, where the head and the block meet, is where the leak is. My mechanic put JB weld along that seam. It seems to have slowed the leak, but it is most certainly coming from that area. The Oil pan is not leaking. The valve cover is not leaking. I am positive the mechanic does not want this car. He is a Subaru guru. He only works on import vehicals and is very very reputable. Anyway, it still leaks when it first starts, but warms up and stops. I was thinking about 20/50 oil. Any suggestions?
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Old 03-01-2009, 09:41 AM   #11 (permalink)
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If you are getting rid of it go for a re-torque it might hold out or even cure it you never know, maybe its had a new head gasket sometime and was never double torqued.
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Old 03-01-2009, 09:00 PM   #12 (permalink)
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no, that's the oil pressure sensor, it's on the passenger side of the block and shows up at various points in the compartment. Just replace the oil pressure sensor switch (very inexpensive, 22mm deep socket required) and see if the issue doesn't go away. Bet it does...good luck
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Old 03-02-2009, 06:06 AM   #13 (permalink)
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^Interesting Sliversled, hope Catfish J goes with your theory and changes the sensor and reports back with a good result.
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