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BMW 3-Series and 4-Series Forum (F30 / F32) | F30POST > Technical Forums > Mechanical Maintenance and TSBs: Break-in / Oil & Fluids / Servicing / TSBs and Service Bulletin > UV dye and diagnosing an oil leak
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      10-01-2019, 03:32 PM   #1
ScubaSteve
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UV dye and diagnosing an oil leak

So after doing some reading on the forums and doing a little work with the car, cleaning the engine bay and looking around I've decided to order some UV dye and a UV flashlight on Amazon. I only did an oil changer earlier this year and since I don't have the luxury of my garage and my jack and tools, I thought the dye would be the easier way to go rather than ordering some molygen and doing an oil change myself. I had a small leak originally coming from around the filter cap and I had the last shop that did my oil change put a new o ring on the filter and tighten the filter cap and that seems to have stopped that small leak. I brought the car to an indy shop and after putting it up on the hoist and taking the panels off, they were quick to say that the OFHG, valve cover, and oil pan, all needed to be replaced along with an oil change and coolant change totalling around $4500 for all the work. Yeah right. I took the car straight to the self serve car wash and pressure washed the engine bay and paid close attention to around the OFH area and around the valve cover in the usual places where everyone says to look. I honestly can't see anything so I'm hoping this UV dye will help. The hardest part to see anything is the back of the motor, I have a small mirror on a telescoping wand that I will try and get back there but other than that I don't see any oil leaking down the passenger side of the block like others have reported. I'll report back what I've found and try and take some pictures but just wondering what others have found using this technique?
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      10-01-2019, 05:04 PM   #2
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An oil leak from the filter cap is inexcusable, as the filters come with a new gasket. Changing your own filter is so simple there's no reason not to do it yourself, all you have to do is lift the hood. OEM Mann and Mahle filters are dirt cheap on Amazon.
I started using Molygen not because I had a leak but in anticipation that it might happen. If I see what looks like oil on my garage floor all I have to do is shine my UV light on it and I'll know.
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      10-02-2019, 09:22 PM   #3
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I had my oil changed at a local reputable tire chain that have been doing my seasonal swaps for years. I usually got them done at Calgary BMW but decided since I was there it couldn't hurt especially now the car is out of warranty. I wish I never would have let them touch the car. I brought it back to give them a chance to look at it and see if the leak was caused due to the recent oil change to which after inspecting the car they said no. I was then referred to a local indy shop that came highly recommended and that's who told me that more than likely all 3 gaskets needed changing. First thing I noticed when I popped the hood and started looking around was an obvious slow leak coming from the filter cap. I brought it back to them and they put a new o ring and re tightened the cap and that seems to have stopped that but I'm sure there's another leak coming from somewhere else which is why I ordered the dye.
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      10-03-2019, 08:23 AM   #4
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The valve cover gasket and oil filter housing gasket are likely culprits, the pan gasket less so. Both are not terribly difficult to replace, and there's no shortage of youtube videos showing how. Depending on how long ago you got the oil filter O-ring replaced you may not have a leak, oil dripping will pool and it takes a while for it to all dissipate.
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      10-07-2019, 03:54 AM   #5
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You are in Calgary. hmm, ok, PM sent.
I will help.
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      10-17-2019, 01:02 PM   #6
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BillFitz, yeah I was kinda thinking the same thing actually. Everyday when I back out of my parking spot I notice a little bit of oil on some cardboard that I've put down on the floor, however it doesn't seem to be a large spot. I wondering if from the slow leak from the filter cap caused the oil to drip down all the way to the bottom, soaking the bottom of the motor and the belly pan and that maybe just maybe the small leak that I'm seeing on the ground is just residual oil that's left in the pan dripping down. I did remove the engine cover and pressure washed the engine a couple of times, and without even adding the dye, looking around the usual spots around the OFHG and around the valve cover I don't seem to see any kind of leak so we shall see what happens when I put the dye in. I'll be sure to report back.
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      10-21-2019, 06:21 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScubaSteve View Post
BillFitz, yeah I was kinda thinking the same thing actually. Everyday when I back out of my parking spot I notice a little bit of oil on some cardboard that I've put down on the floor, however it doesn't seem to be a large spot. I wondering if from the slow leak from the filter cap caused the oil to drip down all the way to the bottom, soaking the bottom of the motor and the belly pan and that maybe just maybe the small leak that I'm seeing on the ground is just residual oil that's left in the pan dripping down. I did remove the engine cover and pressure washed the engine a couple of times, and without even adding the dye, looking around the usual spots around the OFHG and around the valve cover I don't seem to see any kind of leak so we shall see what happens when I put the dye in. I'll be sure to report back.
if you see a oil drop on your driveway with the belly pan ON.
you have a moderate leak.
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      10-21-2019, 08:40 AM   #8
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Not necessarily. Only after adding the UV dye will he be sure if leaking is still present. If so then he'll have to drop the pan to see the source.
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      10-24-2019, 01:12 AM   #9
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Bash, yeah I'm hoping that it was just residual oil that was leaking down from the filter cap that was just accumulating.

*UPDATE* I have been busy so haven't had a chance to put the UV dye in the oil yet, but today I was able to measure the oil level and it's still showing max capacity after about 3 weeks since the last time I put oil in the engine which only took about a month for it to go from max to min, so I'm hopeful that the filter cap was the only issue!
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      10-25-2019, 08:45 PM   #10
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scubasteve, how much oil were you going through prior to changing the oil cap?

I just purchased my car and put a quart of oil in right after i bought it and then 1800 miles later (today) i had to put another quart in. I have not had an inspection done on it yet so i am trying to figure out what culprits could be for the oil consumption. At this point i don't know if it is a leak or just burning oil. I know valve cover gaskets are common issues on these cars.

side note** this is my first post so i am unfamiliar with the format, so apologies if you already stated the answer to this question.
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      10-27-2019, 05:48 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by f30_335i_crandle View Post
scubasteve, how much oil were you going through prior to changing the oil cap?

I just purchased my car and put a quart of oil in right after i bought it and then 1800 miles later (today) i had to put another quart in. I have not had an inspection done on it yet so i am trying to figure out what culprits could be for the oil consumption. At this point i don't know if it is a leak or just burning oil. I know valve cover gaskets are common issues on these cars.

side note** this is my first post so i am unfamiliar with the format, so apologies if you already stated the answer to this question.
welcome aboard.

see if the front of your engine is oil wet or not?
see if there is oil on the belt or tensioner.
if yes to either, then most likely you have a OFHG leak.

report on a new post and see the response.
also my 2 cents.
1) Get OEM Newest version of Gaskets.
2) Get Permetex Ultra Grey tube. you will thank me.

Good luck.
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      10-29-2019, 11:21 PM   #12
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Crandle, I would say that the first time the low oil light came on and the next time I checked the oil and it was low was about 4-6 weeks or something like that? I haven't had much time to put the dye in the oil and look yet, but I checked the level just last week as it had been a couple of weeks since I put the last quart in and it said it was still at full capacity. I'm hoping that those clowns that never installed the filter cap properly was the only culprit, but who knows.
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