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Re: water came out when the oil cap was taken off on my...
Water actually came out of the oil fill cap? is there a white milky residue on the bottom side of the cap? did this happen when it suddenly got cold? if you pull out the dipstick, do you see "bubbles" on it indicating water is present in the oil pan?
i remember my 540i use to do this and there was a BMW service bulletin indicating such and it was not an issue. it only happened when it was really cold out (winter months), but then would go away in the summer. maybe that's why BMWs now have oil/water separators?
is the coolant level dropping in the overflow tank or in the radiator? if not dropping, then it may be the issue i mentioned above.
if you want piece of mind, take it somewhere for an oil change and have them put it into a separate container. if it was a head gasket that went south, then the oil & water should separate in the container and it will be obvious that jo jo jo is correct with the head gasket.
also give BMW service a call and ask if this is normal (some water vapor on the bottom side of the oil fill cap) during the winter months. hopefully its not an issue or it will be pricey to get the head gasket changed. good luck.
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in my opinion the #1 most common place is from the oil filter housing. Stand at the front of the engine bay, look at the right side of the engine block under the intake manifold. If the block is oily, wet, then that's the culprit. There's a $5 oil seal that dries out and can end up causing oil drops on your driveway. The labor for this repair can be several hundred bucks. it takes about 3-4 hours. Other common areas are the valve cover gasket in cars over 100K miles. If you smell oil burning inside the car, when you start it up in the morning, it's likely leaking here and getting on the exhaust manifold where it burns off..
Next place to look is the high pressure hose form the vanos to the oil filter housing. It's a 8" hose with banjo fittings. Over the years they can start to leak a little. Lastly the oil pan gasket can start to leak on cars with high mileage. My 98 323is has had all four over the years. It has almost 200K on it. I've done the oil filter housing gasket and some day will do the rest
The oil filter gasket is the one that leaks the most. It's not hard to do yourself if you are mechanically. There might be youtube videos to help. Good luck.
It is located on the driver's side of the engine. To see what it looks like, go to REALOEM.com and enter the last seven digits of your VIN or month and year of production from the car's name plate. Select Main Group 11 Engine, Subgroup 11 30 Lubrication System, then select diagram "E93 323i Lubricat.syst.-oil filter, heat exchanger" For example a 2009 323i uses part numbers 11427548032 for aluminum housing, 11427525334 for the oil filter cover (usually plastic) which uses a special wrench for removal, and 11427566327 for the cartridge type oil filter and o-rings.
does the car seem to run roughly? sounds like a possible head gasket or a cracked cylinder. is there an unusual amount of moisture coming out of the exhaust pipe, would smell like antifreeze gaseous sweet smell. a crack will fill either the top of a given cylinder but only when the engine is not running. head gasket will dump water into the oil giving it a milky look also will be prone to overheating
Both E36 and E46 models have oil filter under the hood, towards the front of the block. You will need a special socket to remove the oil filter cap and once it's out, can replace the filter. Make sure to replace the gasket on oil filter cap, it should come in oil filter kit you bought.
the oil filter is right in the middle of the engine (between the intake and valve cover gasket) near the radiator it has a 36mm cap over the top of it. the transmission doesn't have a dipstick. the fluid must be checked through a fill plug (transmission must be cool and vehicle running) would not attempt in driveway with vehicle on jackstands