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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 09-26-2005, 06:52 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Oil pan replacement Q's

As some of you remember, I was the one who destroyed his lowered e30 325e's oil pan.

The oil pan (of course), oil pump, and oil pressure sender also have to be replaced.

As far as I can tell, the steering rack has to be removed to get a good install of the pan et al. After everything is installed, I am planning on changing the filter, filling with oil and letting the engine run at idle for ~10 minutes, while checking for leaks. After that, I am going to change the filter and oil yet again before running around the block (~10 minutes), before changing the oil and filter for the last time. If is all and good, I think I should be good to go; I bet my mileage will never be the same (I saw 39.2 mpg at one point). Anyway, I have a few Questions for you all:

1. The bottom of the engine has been exposed, is there anyway I can clean the components before I install the new pan, etc.

2. I have the old gasket off, how do I prep the bottom of the engine block for a new gasket (to get all of the extra gunk and all off)?

3. Does anyone have any recommendations of a good silicone gasket maker for whn I install the new pan and gasket?

4. Any other advice?
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Old 10-02-2005, 07:39 AM   #2 (permalink)
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1. I would use an parts wash brush and Diesel (the Diesel will clean and lubricate)

2. Get a gasket scraper you can get them cheap and them use a razor blade or something similar

3. You only need to use sealant where the front timing cover and the rear crank sea carrier meets the block, use grease on the rest if the gasket

4. you may need to jack the engine up off its mounts a bit
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Old 10-05-2005, 07:30 PM   #3 (permalink)
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you don't have to drop the rack, just unbolt the engine mounts and either lift the engine from the top, or jack it up from just behind the oil pan.

my gasket came off very cleanly, so prepping was quick.
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Old 10-05-2005, 08:25 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Yes, just un bolt the motor mounts and jack up the engine. You are being way too paranoid about changing the oil when you are done. I work at a BMW shop and we never have to do anything like what you are talking about when we change an oil pan or pan gasket. Just make sure your new parts are clean and you will be fine, there is no need to waste 15 liters of oil. With your new oil pump so it doesn't cavitate on initial start up pour some oil in it before you install it and spin it arround a few times by hand. This way there will be proper sealing of the gears in the pump so it will pull oil and not air.
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Old 02-01-2006, 10:32 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I was a BMW tech for over 27 years & most of the advise on the latter pages is correct...just jack the engine up of the mounts. Put a block of wood on the floor jack & raise it up against the ac compressor after removing the lower engine mount nuts. I am doing this very same repair less the oil pump. I am looking for an oil pan. My son cracked mine beyond repair....anyone know of a good one I can buy???????
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Old 02-01-2006, 10:33 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Oh I forgot to mention to be sure to take the air flow meter boot loose beofe you raise the engine, otherwise you'll tear it badly.
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Old 02-04-2006, 08:39 PM   #7 (permalink)
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When doing an oil pan I advise useing a cross brace or pipe with wood blocks from the strut tower across to the hood hinge area rase the motor slightly and chain to the front timing cover engine mount so when you let the motor down the chain is tight, this way the motor doesn't drop at all. Undo the steering coulper then take off the power steering hoses to the rack catch any fluid (don't lose the banjo bolt washers) and then disconect the motor mounts, sway bar and unbolt the front cross member. I leave the lower control arms and tie rods connected and just let the cross member hang down to the ground or to a suport. I have done it many times this way. I don't think I forgot anything. This way gives you total clearance with out the risk of damaging or pinching wires or anything else.

As far as the pan goes, I use brake parts cleaner and a good rag to clean gasket surfaces, it dries quickly and completly with no trace of oil, normaly I install gaskets dry unless there is a need for RTV at compound joints and in that case I use RTV called "Great stuff" gasket maker, it is the best I have ever used, you can use this stuff on the whole pan with out the gasket. However if you do, do what you have to before you set it in place, it'll take time and a liberal dose of cursing to get it off again, that stuff is tough!!! I don't advise putting RTV on both sides of the whole gasket, the gasket can slip out of place when you tighten the bolts.

Last edited by Starmavin; 02-04-2006 at 08:51 PM.
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Old 02-04-2006, 09:01 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I had one instance where a guy jacking up the motor pinched the wire bundle that runs behind the cyl head and broke off the lower part of the radiator and snapped off two blades off the fan when it hit the shroud, I had to repair all that and replace the oil pan gasket.

Last edited by Starmavin; 02-04-2006 at 09:09 PM.
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Old 02-06-2006, 09:26 PM   #9 (permalink)
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BTW, it's not "Great stuff" that's expand foam. What I was refering to is called the "Right stuff". Noticed that when I went to work. Opps.
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Old 04-30-2007, 06:03 PM   #10 (permalink)
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bump....


everyone say's to jack up the motor....

but the Bentley manual doesn't say anything about jacking it up....

which way is easier? (Bentley vs jacking up)
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Old 04-30-2007, 08:36 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Jacking it up works, sometimes, you'll have to fight the pan out going that route. I've done it both ways. And I've found dropping the cross member is best. It ensures the gasket gets installed correctly, nothing gets stretched or pinchd (radiator hoses, wires, etc.) and not having to do it twice or risk damaging anything makes it worth it in my opinion.
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Old 05-01-2007, 06:02 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I JUST finished this job myself. Pain in the arse, to be sure. I used several sets of instructions: the Bentley's manual, the BMW factory maintenance manual, and posts from the board (especially STARMAVIN - Thanks BTW).

What I ended up doing is jalowering the steering rack and then jacking up the motor. I was able to unbolt the pan following the Bentley's manual but could not get it clear of the frame. I undid both motor mounts and jacked up slowly, checking clearances along the way. I pulled the radiator and this gave me plenty of clearance for the engine as it came up. The pan came right off.
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Old 05-01-2007, 12:09 PM   #13 (permalink)
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4 more bolts would have dropped the cross member, and then you wouldn't have needed to touch your radiator.
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Old 05-02-2007, 02:24 PM   #14 (permalink)
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so just to make sure...if I drop the cross member, then I don't need to jack up the engine?


I'm looking to do this this weekend because I'm leaving too much oil all over this city....
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Old 05-02-2007, 06:49 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Nope, with a cross bar and chain holding the motor at the front timing cover lift point, the motor never moves.
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