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Oil pan gasket change
Oil pan gasket change
Published by Entropyman
Default Oil pan gasket change

1. Jack up the front end of the car as high as possible and support with jack stands
2. Remove wheels
3. Support engine from the top. If you have an engine hoist, now is the time to roll it out. I didn’t so I did the following:
a) Obtain a piece of 4”x4” wood at least 50 inches long (measure between the shock towers to verify this length). I had an old piece of fence post lying around so I used that.
b) Attach a short piece (about 8”) of 2”x4” wood to each end of the 4x4. This gives the 4x4 some clearance over the top of the engine. I used countersunk wood screws for attachment.
c) Place some sort of padding on top of each shock tower to avoid scratching the paint. I used towels. Put the ends of the 4x4 beam on the padded shock towers.
d) Attach one end of a ratchet strap to ring at the front of the engine just above the oil filter housing (see picture).
e) Attach the other end of the strap to the nub at the back of the intake manifold (see picture).
f) Tighten the strap as much as humanly possible. When weight is applied, any kind of nylon strap will stretch and this will reduce the amount of room you have to work with underneath. I actually jacked the engine up from underneath after I disconnected the motor mount lower nuts and then tightened the strap more.
g) If you are going to jack up the motor, remove the two bolts in the transmission to exhaust bracket and loosen the main transmission mounts.
4. Remove lower motor mount nuts.
5. Remove the rear control arm mount bolts.
6. Remove the front sway bar.
7. Remove the steering rack mount bolts. These are a bolt/ nut arrangement. The nut is on the top. For some reason I didn’t take a picture of these but they are the bolts that hold the steering rack to the front subframe.
8. Place a jack under the front subframe and apply some light pressure to the subframe.
9. Remove the 4 subframe mount bolts.
10. Slowly lower the jack. Watch to make sure the subframe is coming down with the jack. I had to persuade it a little with a prybar but not much.
11. Separate the steering rack from the subframe. This gives some extra clearance for the oil pan.
12. Remove the oil pan bolts. Be sure not to miss the bolts that are under the bell housing. They can be reached through these access holes. IRRC there are two on one side and one on the other.
13. Remove the oil pan. This should not take much force so if it is being difficult, make double extra sure you have all the bolts out. Refer to a tech manual to be sure. Here are some of the sneaky ones.
14. Remove the old gasket, make sure the sealing surfaces on the engine and the pan are clean, and install the new gasket. Pan with new gasket installed:
15. Installation is reverse of removal. I torqued the oil pan in a cross pattern starting in the middle and working my way out. This really wasn’t that hard, don’t be scared
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By Entropyman on 06-14-2012, 08:06 PM

I apologize for the weird spacing and what not in the above tutorial. I'm not sure what happened there.
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By ttklaus on 06-08-2013, 07:05 AM

Fantastic. Thanks!
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By paul somlo on 07-20-2013, 06:50 AM

Having just replaced the oil pan gasket on my '96 318ti, I'd like to offer a slightly different take.

Rather than lower the subframe, etc., I raised the engine slightly, here's how:
  1. Disconnect the intake boot from the air filter box.
  2. Disconnect the oil dipstick tube from where it attaches to the intake manifold and pull on the tube to disengage the o-ring from the pan.
  3. Loosen the nut that secures each transmission mount.
  4. Remove the nut that secures each motor mount.
  5. Using a hydraulic jack with a 2x4 between the jack pad and the oil pan, raise the engine just enough to get a 3/4" block of wood between the left (driver's) motor mount and where the mount sits on the subframe.
  6. Disconnect the bracket which secures the fuel lines to the oil pan.
  7. Remove all the fasteners holding the pan and allow the pan to rest on the subframe.
  8. Remove the dipstick tube.
  9. Using the jack and a long block of wood, raise the motor at the right support arm. I did this by positioning the block of wood where the support arm meets the engine block. Raise the motor just enough to remove the pan.

I didn't loosen the fasteners which secure the exhaust bracket to the transmission, on the assumption that the exhaust/transmission/engine move as one, with the exhaust free to move on hangers at the rear (but it couldn't hurt to do so). Also, when reinstalling the pan, prior to fastening it, insert the dipstick tube from above. If you reinstall the pan before seating the dipstick tube, you'll need to remove the DISA valve to maneuver the tube into place.

I also think that it's possible to change the gasket merely by dropping the pan - there may be just enough clearance to remove the old gasket and place the new one. With 3/4" blocks interposed between the motor mounts and the subframe, I felt that there was certainly enough clearance to remove the old gasket and replace it with the new one, just by working it around the perimeter of the pan.

'96ti 204,000mi
Last edited by paul somlo; 08-02-2013 at 08:45 AM..
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