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  #1  
Old 05-25-2023, 09:56 PM
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Need help finding the oil leak (picture heavy)

We all hate oil leaks!
I replaced all the steering hoses, coolant hoses, filter housing gasket, valve cover gasket, oil pan gasket (you can see its bone dry - this was a job from hell!), yet the underside of my vehicle looks like everything is leaking.

Any idea what it could be?? I can only think of the oil pressure sensor gasket and front differential fill bolt, maybe transmission pan gasket?
Any other ideas??

















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  #2  
Old 05-26-2023, 01:41 AM
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It looks too clean to be engine oil. Check your diff gear oil level. You do have brand new oil if you just changed opg so it could be just brand new oil.

When my m54 got this oilily was due to a bad o-ring on the oil filter cap so start there and work down. You should be able to wipe most of the areas clean with some brake clean and do a test drive and look for new oil. You can add some florescent oil dye to help. I bought some gm branded stuff to track down my oil leak recently
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Old 05-26-2023, 03:24 AM
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I changed oil pan gasket a year or two ago.
I've driven on this oil about 10k and now drained it.
I've cleaned the underside maybe a week or two ago, and now it's all covered in oil again.
Oil filler cap seal has been replaced. The thing is, there's no oil above the oil pan. If the leak was coming from there, it would be flowing all the way from the top, but there are no leaks on the top.
I'm wondering what else can be leaking. I did OFHG, VCG, OPG, so the only one left is the rear main seal? Am I missing any gaskets for the oil? Vanos lines are not leaking.
I added fluorescent dye but I can't tell anything front it lol







I ordered new hella oil level sensor with gasket just in case, so I'm going to leave the car until I get it, then replace the sensor and refill with oil.

In the meantime I'll look where else it could be leaking...

You're saying front differential, let me check the oil level...
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Old 05-26-2023, 04:07 AM
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I replaced the half shafts in the front not too long ago, definitely within the last 5-10k km, and replaced the seals with oem ones. And there's no leaks from where the half shafts insert into the differential.
I tried removing the fill plug for the differential, and the fluid came right out. I guess it's not a fair test right now, because I have the front of the vehicle raised by 5-10 inches, while the rear is on the ground. But I tried smelling the differential oil, which is also dark / black, and it seems to smell different than the oil from the oil leak.
I may redo the test when I get the vehicle fully level, but I fthink if the differential was leaking, I'd have no fluid there by now. I mean, fron differential only has 0.7l capacity. And the oil is everywhere and leaks on the ground when I park my X5.
I tried cleaning the oil with brake cleaner, maybe ill get another can, but it's hard to get into all nooks and crannies. Once I clean it, I'll maybe drive it for a bit and bring it back put X5 on the lift and start looking for leaks.
But that won't be for a few days, until I get the new oil filter level sensor and refill the engine with oil (and will add some dye).
Maybe ill leave it running while I'm under X5 so I can see where it's coming from...
I just thought it'd be easier to replace everything that can leak, instead of chasing this leak lol. It's gotta be a decent leak for everything to be covered in oil.
I also ordered new gasket for transmission oil pan, who know maybe that's where it leaks, but that fluid would be red/pink, while I got light brown...
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Old 05-26-2023, 04:21 AM
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Need help finding the oil leak (picture heavy)

Good observation on the gear oil smell. It's distinctly different from the engine oil it just seemed like there is a lot of oil on the diff case.

Oil filter cap leak makes a disaster off the whole front of the engine so that's not likely the source.

Outside the box thinking:

Seal at the bottom of the dipstick tube?

CCV tubing/ intake (should not have that much oil going though but if something is amiss and there is too much crankcase vacuum it can pull oil where doesn't belong.

Open your oil fill cap when running and see if there's a ton of vacuum.
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Old 05-26-2023, 04:35 AM
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The seal on my drive shaft had a leak that was only from a certain position so only leaked when the inner and outer spots lined up. It looked like the mess you have there.

I used Oil Eater to clean up then checked for leaks.

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Old 05-26-2023, 04:37 AM
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Yes you're right, there's lots of oil on the front differential, on the bottom of the engine oil pan and transmission oil pan. That oil is everywhere lol...I'm sure it gets thrown around with wind, but it's gotta originate somewhere in the front, otherwise how can oil from the rear end up in the front? I figure normally an oil leak will get spread to the rear as you drive forward and you get the wind blowing from front to rear...how does it get on the differential?? Somehow it does

If you look at pictures 4-5-6 of the first post, you'll see that the dipstick tube is capped off. I removed the ccv system and installed an oil catch can. So there's no oil flowing from the ccv hose. From the pictures and from looking in person, it doesn't seem like there's a leak. In that case, the oil from dipstick tube would flow down the oil pan, but the area around it is free from oil.
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Old 05-26-2023, 04:47 AM
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EODguy how did you fix it?
Did you replace the shaft seal, part 31521428678 (#2 on the picture)?
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Old 05-26-2023, 04:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bmwe5320023.0 View Post
EODguy how did you fix it?
Did you replace the shaft seal, part 31521428678 (#2 on the picture)?
Yes and it was super enjoyable

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Old 05-26-2023, 05:09 AM
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Haha well doesn't seem too bad

The smell just doesn't seem to be diff oil, and the color doesn't match...I tried cleaning with oil eater, not even close to brake cleaner results.
I need to put on a respirator, hang drywall drapes around the car (so it doesn't spray on the garage walls) and blast more brake cleaner.
I might just replace that seal to exclude that possibility.
I'm afraid of the oil coming from the bell housing...
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