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2001 530i Engine Oil Leak on Exhaust

This car had a minor oil leak that dripped onto the exhaust. I read about the valve cover gasket leaking oil, so I replaced the gasket and it seems to have stopped that leak. However, there is still a slight oil leak on the exhaust. Any ideas on what to check next? Many thanks in advance.
Old 01-14-2008, 07:16 PM
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Where on the exhaust is the oil leaking? Could it be residual oil from the old leak?

I assume this is an automatic.

I suggest cleaning the are well and checking out again in a week if the smell persists.
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Old 01-15-2008, 07:09 AM
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Checked again today (two days after the gasket change) and noticed very little smell. The remaining oil leak appears to be dripping from the bottom of the oil pan. I felt around the valve cover and did not find any oil, which suggests that the new gasket is working. The oil must be running down from somewhere above (on the passenger side of the engine) and collecting on the bottom of the pan, then dripping onto the garage floor. It does not look like it is coming from the drain plug. The car does have an automatic transmission, and I cleaned the area pretty well after replacing the gasket. I am planning to put it up on a lift and do a thorough cleaning. I was hoping for some ideas on where to look when I have it on a lift. Thanks for the reply!
Old 01-15-2008, 05:44 PM
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On the passenger side, it's just the valve cover and head gaskets and the oil pan gasket.
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Old 01-15-2008, 07:51 PM
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As a follow-up, I did put the car on a lift and thoroughly clean the bottom of the engine. I was surprised to see that the oil appeared to be seeping THROUGH the oil pan gasket! At this point, I tried to remember when I first noticed this oil leak. I think I noticed it shortly after I completed the first oil change. I had put in Castrol 5W30 full synthetic oil. This seemed like a good idea since the oil cap on the engine says "BMW Recommends Castrol" and someone (the prior owner, I assumed) had written "Castrol" in the owner's manual. I decided to change the oil again. This time I put in BMW 5W30 full synthetic oil (from the local dealer's parts department). The leak seems to still be there, but is much, much less. I plan to put the car back on a lift in another week or so to take a close look. Does it make sense that changing to BMW's oil would really affect the leak (assuming that the oil was seeping through the gasket)? Since I don't know what the prior owner was actually using for oil, is it possible that he was using conventional oil rather than full synthetic? Is it alright to use conventional oil in the engine? Thanks in advance.
Old 02-01-2008, 10:54 AM
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Synthetic is spec'd by BMW but the engine will run fine on regular oil. I wouldn't do it though.

No matter the oil, I would change the oil pan gasket. It will get worse.

Any name brand synthetic is fine. You cant go wrong with BMW or Castrol.
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Old 02-01-2008, 11:26 AM
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It may be that it just "appears" to be from the oil pan gasket during the cleaning. I would wait a week and check it out again to be sure.
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Old 02-01-2008, 11:28 AM
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Just out of curiosity, what kind of job is changing an oil pan gasket? Is that something I would be able to do with a lift, or should I consult a mechanic?
Old 02-06-2008, 02:43 PM
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The procedure for a E36 is in Tech Forums. The E39 is probably similar but not exactly the same.

I did mine on jack stands in a couple of hours. It was not "easy" but moderate. I'd say 5-6 on a 10 scale.
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Old 02-06-2008, 08:36 PM
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