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"no it's not an oil leak, they all sweat a little oil"

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  • "no it's not an oil leak, they all sweat a little oil"

    Looking at buying an M3 and have found a car that stands out, very tight with a lowish mileage. But there seems to be a bit of oil around the bottom of the sump and sway bar but can't see where it is coming from. Do S14s "sweat" a little oil? Or is this optimistic sales talk.....


    Any thoughts.

    A

  • #2
    Yeah they sweat. Like a gorilla.

    Seriously, there are probably some leak free S14s for some limited period of time after freshly built. I would wager by 50K miles most are leaking somewhere. By 100K miles I think pretty much all of them leak.

    Mine is about 3K after a rebuild, and it is leak free for now except for the ()*&*&%^ rear main seal, which I have replaced three times and it still leaks.

    My prior motor, a "factory" build, at 100K miles leaked slightly from the head gasket, timing chain cover, and oil pan. Hmmmmm....maybe I should have just reused that rear main seal in my new motor.....:idea:

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    • #3
      hehe c'mon now. "Sweating" oil??? = Oil leak!!! with the engine angle and high mileage on the original gaskets they are all prone to leakage but it's not "normal" for them to be leaking.

      88 M3 - LACHSSILBER/M TECH
      89 M3 - ALPINEWEISS II/SCHWARZ
      85 323I S52 - ALPINEWEISS/SCHWARZ
      91 M TECHNIC TURBO - MACAOBLAU/M TECH


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      • #4
        Mine doesn't leak and never has since I bought it. You might want to check the steering rack boots, they do leak and with the turbulance under there it could look like oil.

        Not ALL of them leak.

        T (126,000mi)

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        • #5
          so who here does have an oil leak?
          after moving my dipstick tube for carbon air box fitment, i now have a new oil leak.

          what a PITA!!

          prior to that the engine was leak free since i had replaced the oil pan gasket.....
          "You must drive this car before you die, it really is that good." BMWCar Magazine re:the e30m3; Oct. 2002

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          • #6
            My little 88 was nick named "The Valdez" till I spent some time sealing it up.

            Been 2 months leak free. Bone dry. I would not let an oil leak scare you off, just know that if you do your own work it will take some time, if you don't it will be expensive.

            Good luck

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            • #7
              I've got more power strreing fluid leaking than oil. Only a couple of very small oil leaks, including the rear main.

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              • #8
                Wow, my car does not leak oil at all. I had a new driveway put in a year ago and there isn't a lick of oil under the area where the M3 parks.


                But, it isn't uncommon to see a little bit drip off. If anything use it as a haggling point.
                1988 M3
                2012 335is
                1993 Civic Si

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                • #9
                  Thanks guys,

                  This info makes me a lot more comfortable. And with the heavy clutch (i assume it hasn't got that much life left) the price has come down to a reasonable amount.....

                  Cheers

                  A

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                  • #10
                    Mine leaks a little bit (just a damp area) from teh power steering hoses and the oil cooler hoses.

                    Still has a minor weep from the head jsut above the alternator.

                    An engine shouldn't leak il, but at around 15 years old, what do you expect? Seals and gaskets get hard and brittle and the mdoern oils are so thin when hot that they can make very small wepas look worse.

                    Use it to haggle the price, and then clean up the engine bay so you can pinpoint where the leak is coming from.

                    There are loads of standard places to check: sump gaskets, oil filter housing including the two pressure sensors and relief valve, cylinder head joint above alternator, distributor housing, cam cover and rear cover, cam chain tensioner, oil cooler pipes, p/s pipes...

                    Good luck.
                    Steve
                    Scottish Cecotto

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by andrewinuk
                      Thanks guys,

                      And with the heavy clutch (i assume it hasn't got that much life left) the price has come down to a reasonable amount.....

                      Cheers

                      A
                      Ask if it has a "sport clutch kit" . If not, it Sounds like it has a bad pressure plate as well so I would deduct the cost of a clutch kit and labour if you're looking to by it.
                      Worn friction disc alone would not make for a stiff clutch pedal.
                      m.

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                      • #12
                        Oil sweat as it's called is from a combination of things. Overfilling the oil 1/2 quart for the track raises oil pressure at the seals, and old seals "Sweat" a little.

                        Clean the motor and add oil dye and run it hard. Use a UV light to pinpoint the leak. Small seeps from the pan, disty seal no biggie, rear main or head I might pass.

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