Saturday, August 13, 2016

Oil Leaks and Stains

Oil Leaks and Stains
Hi Guys, just wanted to do a quick post on Oil Leaks and Stains in General, because I haven't see a lot of people talking about this.

First of all let me start by saying that I know almost all or possibly all cars leak oil of some kind at some point, be it motor oil or transmission fluid, steering fluid, etc... I also know that most of the oil doesn't leak out, some actually burns off, but we won't focus on that for today.

The point of this post is to document from where my car leaks oil/fluid from.

My car: BMW 330i 2006, seems to leak oil from a few different places:

1.  Oil Pan (not fixed yet),
2.  Transmission oil pan (replaced oil pan),
3.  Valve cover (new gasket),
4.  Oil Filter assembly (new gasket),
5.  Power Steering reservoir (not fixed yet)
6.  Radiator (new hose)
7.  AC compressor (new compressor)

*note the picture on top and you will see the different oil or fluid leaks, which is a constant reminder of what I need to fix, my future weekend work if you will...

As you can see, I have a long way to go before I can fix all of the problems, and to be honest with you I've considered getting rid of my car many times, because of these and other issues.  But I decided not to because in most of these cases I fixed the problem myself, as you may expect getting these issues fixed with the dealer is very expensive.  In most cases I've had the correct tools to fix my car so I opted to do it myself.
190K mile odometer

Now I have to be fair with all of you and to BMW in general, all of these leaks didn't happen at the same time, most started since I bought the car, and they started very small leaks, also my car has 190,000 miles on it, so keep that in mind when you read this post.  I like to be fair and balanced, I want to give all the information I can, not just the negative parts, or I try anyways...

Oil Pan, the oil leak was the very first leak I noticed, and the most easy to spot, because my car would run low on oil, and I would get the dreaded "low oil warning" in the dash, besides the oil stain in my driveway.  The only way I noticed where the oil leak came from was by looking under the car behind the plastic cover.  By far the longest running oil leak in my car.  I have plans to fix this, but I think I am going to have the dealer do this one.  I just don't want to mess it up.

The Transmission fluid leak was the scariest because if I didn't notice the "small leak" I would of ruined my transmission and to replace it would've been too expensive to fix.  I started to notice that when my car slowed down, most noticeable when I got off the freeway, and I came to full stop, my car would have an aggressive pull, that is the best way I can describe it.  Being that there is no way for a customer to check the Transmission oil level, because there is no dipstick, I became concerned immediately, and I had it checked at the dealer.  The repair was very expensive, but it was worth it.  It doesn't take long to ruin the transmission if there is no fluid in it.  I know somebody that ruined their transmission because they didn't address this problem soon, same car, different model year.

*  I can't stress this enough, if there one oil maintenance to address immediately it's the transmission fluid, because you can't check the level of the transmission fluid yourself, like you can with the motor oil.

The Valve Cover gasket, was the most noticeable oil leak I had, and you might ask yourself why it was the most noticeable... well because the oil landed into the exhaust pipe and it created a lot of smoke, some of which came through into the cabin of the car, yes you heard me right, it went into the cabin, and it smelled horrible. The first time it happened I thought my car was on fire.  I didn't think to record a video when this happened, now I wish I did, but... what's done is done. The solution was to replace the valve cover gasket, it was one full days work, but so worth it doing it myself.  The gasket is not very expensive, see that post here:  Valve cover story
During the process of replacing the gasket, I discovered a broken valve cover bolt, again not very expensive to replace and I was glad I did it myself because at the dealer they would've charged me an arm and a leg, if they discovered the broken bolt.

Oil Filter Assembly, now let me be honest about this leak, I have not fixed this issue yet. I have the gasket, but I think I discovered a quick fix, I ended up tightening the bolts on the housing and the oil seemed to "slow down" drastically, not completely fixed, but much better.  Definitely something I need to fix "quick" because the oil drips into hoses and wiring, and you know what that means, failure of those hoses is only a matter of time.

Power Steering Reservoir, I have to start by saying that I have not fixed this leak yet either, I know I am a procrastinator... , but not because I don't think it's important, but simply because the leak is so small that if I just add a little bit of fluid it lasts a long time, years in fact.  There is definitely a leak around the reservoir, and I definitely need to address it, it's just that this leak will probably be the last one I fix, because the leak is so small.

Radiator Hose, Now I know there is no oil to leak out of the Radiator, but I wanted to clump this story in with the rest because I've had leaks in the Radiator hoses, and some of which are plain to see in the main picture on this post, I just simply couldn't ignore some of the biggest leak stains created by the AntiFreeze.  I've had a couple of issues with hoses, some of which I've documented some of which I have not.  I posted about the expansion tank hose: Expansion tank hose story
I think this leak stained my driveway floor the most.

AC compressor, ahhh the good old air compressor, the source of the most embarrassing day at work. Let me start by telling you a story.   Once upon a time, a very long long time ago, in a very far far away land...  Just kidding.  No but really let me tell you a story, I'll get to the leak in a bit, I just want to tell you why the AC compressor embarrassed me so much at work.  Well, let me start by saying that my parking space is right in front of my bosses office, yes, right in front of his office, I don't know why I got the space assigned to me, but I have my suspicions, anyways.  One day I got out of work and I tried to turn ON my car, and it didn't want to start, it cranked over but it didn't start.  Now, I've always been able to start my car, even when it had a bad coil, when my spark plugs were shot, when one of the Vanos stopped working, but not this time.  The reason was that the AC compressor seized, thus ripping my Belt to shreds, now when I looked under the hood, all I could see was the belt, and I could see that it was ripped to shreds, naturally my boss came out to see what was happening, and I told him that it looked like the belt broke, and he asked when was the last time I replaced the belt, I couldn't remember when, so he proceeded to tell me how often one "should" replace the belt on a car, mind you the belt was fine, the reason it ripped was because the AC compressor seized, I didn't know that at the time, getting an ear full from my boss about "Belts" was embarrassing...  Well that is my story for today, now let me tell you about the leak, to be honest with you I didn't even notice the leak at all, the first sign of trouble was when the AC didn't blow Cold Air, I am no professional, so I didn't even know which hoses were for the AC, let me just end this by saying that, I ended up taking it to a shop to replace the AC compressor, it was "very expensive", but at least I got peace of mind that everything was good for a while anyways.

Sorry for the long post, I hope it wasn't too boring, how do you talk about oil leaks and make it fun, right...

Let me know about your oil leak stories, I hope this post was informative to you.  Until next time.

No comments:

Post a Comment