Your leaking oil filter housing gasket has been bothering you for months. Its dripping onto the driveway, requiring a weekly top-up with expensive synthetic oil. “How much money can I waste on oil this month?”, you ask yourself. I totally understand why the average BMW enthusiast would avoid this job for months at a time, however. Digging into this project will take anywhere from 4-6 hours depending upon your proficiency and what other items you replace along the way.
I was curious about what BMW dealerships here in Connecticut charge for such a service, so I called around to find out. I was quoted about $900 for the repair. Keep in mind, the gasket itself can be purchased here for under $7 dollars. You’ll also need two new crush washers for the vanos line, but I recommend just replacing that line as well since it can also be the source of an oil leak. You can get the line with set of washers here.
If you’ve avoided jumping into this repair for some time, you may want to also replace some other items while you’re tearing things apart. Here’s a short list of items that you can replace while performing this gasket replacement.
- Replace your thermostat and water pump
- Replace your serpentine and AC belts
- Replace the deflection pulley
- Replace the upper and lower radiator hoses
- Replace a worn out fan clutch
- Replace your coolant expansion tank
- Replace leaking power steering lines
- Replace your noisy alternator
That’s just a short list of some items that can be added to this weekend project. I previously replaced a noisy alternator in our X5 last fall, but decided against repairing the leaking gasket. Looking back, it was just a waste of time to repeat all of the steps twice, as the alternator needs to be removed for this gasket to be replaced anyway.
If your car has a long list of deferred maintenance, and you can afford it, I would highly recommend adding some maintenance items along with this job so you can avoid tearing everything apart again in the short term.
Here is the complete DIY video tutorial guide which shows you step by step removal and replacement of the oil filter housing on an M54 engine. This particular video shows an X5 being repaired, but generally speaking it should guide you for an E39, E46 or E83 as well.
If you’re looking to replace the water pump and thermostat while everything is apart, check out my video guide here.
Curious about what a leaking M54 oil filter housing gasket looks like? I posted this photo on Instagram while completing this tutorial. Feel free to stop by and say hello!
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