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BMW Coolant Leak Inside Bell Housing #4699041
03/18/18 07:59 PM
03/18/18 07:59 PM
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,041
Upper Midwest
kschachn Offline OP
kschachn  Offline OP
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,041
Upper Midwest
After truly believing that there was no further way for this car to have a coolant leak I was proven wrong yesterday. It has been leaking coolant onto the garage floor and yesterday I found it is coming from inside the bell housing between the engine and the transmission. Over the past few years I've replaced all 13 or so coolant hoses, the two transfer tubes under the intake manifold (and their o-rings), the rear coolant manifold, the valley pan, the electric water pump, the engine-driven water pump, the heater core, the heater core pipes through the instrument panel (all three of them), the electrically-controlled water valve, the radiator, the pressurized coolant tank (plus the cap, the level sensor and the two smaller hoses that connect to the radiator), the fan, the fan shroud and the viscous clutch. I didn't know anything was left but now due to this leak I have found there is a "cover" on the aft end of the engine inside the bell housing that commonly leaks. The gasket for the cover is a $4.03 part and is likely all that requires replacement.

Of course the transmission has to come out to replace the gasket which in and of itself isn't a horrible job on this car. The problem is going to be removing the forward exhaust system (two catalytic converters) where they meet the exhaust manifolds. The studs are rusted to oblivion and if they don't snap off during removal they will surely snap while trying to reinstall the exhaust pipes. This will likely require removal of the manifolds to repair, which is relatively easy on one side but very difficult on the other side. Not to mention that it's equally likely the studs in the head will break trying to remove the manifolds. I am not up to removing the heads on an M60 engine.

So this might be it for the old BMW. After thousands in repairs over the years and hundreds of hours of labor a $4 part is going to kill it off. The leak is pretty good so there's really no way I can ignore it and if it's like any of the other coolant leaks on this car it will only get worse with time. The gasket is #6 in the diagram below with the cover being #5. Even if the cover needs replacing too that's only about $60 more.

Oh and the engine driven water pump is leaking again and the bearing is starting to feel like gravel but hey, it's been about 100,000 miles so I guess I should expect that.




1994 BMW 530i, 231K
1996 Honda Accord, 263K
1999 Toyota Sienna, 402K
2000 Toyota ECHO, 272K
Re: BMW Coolant Leak Inside Bell Housing [Re: kschachn] #4699051
03/18/18 08:08 PM
03/18/18 08:08 PM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 17,503
Deplorable in apple valley, ca
Chris142 Offline
Chris142  Offline
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 17,503
Deplorable in apple valley, ca
No way that something up front is leaking and running down the valley and out the bell housing?


02 Wrangler durablend 10w40
87 F250 traveler 15w40
04 Tahoe super-s 10w30
Z400 castrol T 10w40
Can am maveric edge 5w40
57 case tractor 15w40
Re: BMW Coolant Leak Inside Bell Housing [Re: kschachn] #4699059
03/18/18 08:15 PM
03/18/18 08:15 PM
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 13,864
Illinois
tig1 Offline
tig1  Offline
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 13,864
Illinois
Is there a freeze plug on the back of the engine?


2007 Ford Fusion 233,000 miles
M1 0-20 EP
2017 Ford Fusion 58K
M1 0-20 EP
10,000 mile OCIs on both engines
M1 ATF and Valvoline LV
M1 10-30 in all OPE
MC filters

Re: BMW Coolant Leak Inside Bell Housing [Re: kschachn] #4699060
03/18/18 08:18 PM
03/18/18 08:18 PM
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 4,804
Taiwan
Ducked Offline
Ducked  Offline
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 4,804
Taiwan
Sorry for your (coolant) loss.

Since you apparently have little to lose, and, assuming you dont get better suggestions, might be worth trying the GM ginger tabs?

This was suggested to me recently, but the leak "got better" and I forgot to ask the gf to bring some back from the UK, which I'll probably come to regret.

If you do try the job, candle wax on the studs is another trick I've never tried.

Re: BMW Coolant Leak Inside Bell Housing [Re: kschachn] #4699065
03/18/18 08:21 PM
03/18/18 08:21 PM
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 597
West Ma.
rollinpete Offline
rollinpete  Offline
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 597
West Ma.
I've heard this stuff works great for coolant leaks.


K-Seal


Pete.
97 Ford Expl.Sport 4.0 ohv 4wd 5spddrive185k miles
Last Change;
50/50 QSUD, QSHM. 5w30
Fram xg8a, Fram CA8141

Currently under the influence of oil shocked2

Re: BMW Coolant Leak Inside Bell Housing [Re: kschachn] #4699066
03/18/18 08:22 PM
03/18/18 08:22 PM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 4,450
KY
MCompact Offline
MCompact  Offline
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 4,450
KY
I love BMW V8s when they are new- but I prefer the fours and sixes for long term ownership.
Although an E39 M5 is still a tempting proposition.


Mine:
2014 M235i
1999 Wrangler Sahara
1995 318ti Club Sport

Wife's:
2009 Cooper Clubman

Son's
2009 328i

Buy what makes you smile...
Re: BMW Coolant Leak Inside Bell Housing [Re: Chris142] #4699074
03/18/18 08:27 PM
03/18/18 08:27 PM
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,041
Upper Midwest
kschachn Offline OP
kschachn  Offline OP
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,041
Upper Midwest
Originally Posted By: Chris142
No way that something up front is leaking and running down the valley and out the bell housing?

No unfortunately. Because the engine is relatively short compared to the 6-cylinder you can see down on top of the bell housing between the intake manifold and the firewall. It is dry as a bone up there.

I can see the coolant dripping out of the bell housing and there's some inside if I put my finger in the hole. It's coming from inside.


1994 BMW 530i, 231K
1996 Honda Accord, 263K
1999 Toyota Sienna, 402K
2000 Toyota ECHO, 272K
Re: BMW Coolant Leak Inside Bell Housing [Re: kschachn] #4699079
03/18/18 08:29 PM
03/18/18 08:29 PM
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,041
Upper Midwest
kschachn Offline OP
kschachn  Offline OP
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,041
Upper Midwest
I found this video that shows even much newer engines apparently have the same general design and leaks:



1994 BMW 530i, 231K
1996 Honda Accord, 263K
1999 Toyota Sienna, 402K
2000 Toyota ECHO, 272K
Re: BMW Coolant Leak Inside Bell Housing [Re: kschachn] #4699083
03/18/18 08:32 PM
03/18/18 08:32 PM
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,041
Upper Midwest
kschachn Offline OP
kschachn  Offline OP
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,041
Upper Midwest
I thought about the coolant tabs and other leak stops, I might try it. It will surely clog up the electric heater valve but that could be bypassed.... I think...

It's leaking pretty good and anything that seals up this leak is probably going to seal up a few other things too.


1994 BMW 530i, 231K
1996 Honda Accord, 263K
1999 Toyota Sienna, 402K
2000 Toyota ECHO, 272K
Re: BMW Coolant Leak Inside Bell Housing [Re: tig1] #4699085
03/18/18 08:35 PM
03/18/18 08:35 PM
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,041
Upper Midwest
kschachn Offline OP
kschachn  Offline OP
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,041
Upper Midwest
Originally Posted By: tig1
Is there a freeze plug on the back of the engine?

I don't know. I haven't seen any freeze plugs on this engine, at least not any that are like the ones on cast iron blocks. Someone who I know mentioned that they seal up the boring passages with some kind of non-replaceable plug on the aluminum blocks.


1994 BMW 530i, 231K
1996 Honda Accord, 263K
1999 Toyota Sienna, 402K
2000 Toyota ECHO, 272K
Re: BMW Coolant Leak Inside Bell Housing [Re: kschachn] #4699152
03/18/18 09:21 PM
03/18/18 09:21 PM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 17,503
Deplorable in apple valley, ca
Chris142 Offline
Chris142  Offline
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 17,503
Deplorable in apple valley, ca
I think I oukd not use a gasket. Clean it and dry it with brackleaner then use ultra grey.


02 Wrangler durablend 10w40
87 F250 traveler 15w40
04 Tahoe super-s 10w30
Z400 castrol T 10w40
Can am maveric edge 5w40
57 case tractor 15w40
Re: BMW Coolant Leak Inside Bell Housing [Re: kschachn] #4699153
03/18/18 09:21 PM
03/18/18 09:21 PM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 8,072
Cincinnati, OH, USA
bullwinkle Online confused
bullwinkle  Online Confused
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 8,072
Cincinnati, OH, USA
I'm not a BMW guy, but is there any chance the exhaust could be cut off & welded back on (obviously by an experienced welder)? That sounds easier than dealing with all the rusted hardware (?)


06 Ram 3500 CTD 4X4(FG Venturi), 93 GMC C3500 6.2, 89 F-450 7.3, 98 XJ 4.0(XG8A), 05 xB(XG3600), 18 Transit 3.7, 03 Merc Grand Marquis 4.6 2V(XG2)
Re: BMW Coolant Leak Inside Bell Housing [Re: kschachn] #4699222
03/18/18 11:14 PM
03/18/18 11:14 PM
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 588
Under the hood
Carmudgeon Offline
Carmudgeon  Offline
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 588
Under the hood
Are you certain it's not the valley pan leaking again? The M6x V8s are notorious for leaks from the valley pan gasket.

Re: BMW Coolant Leak Inside Bell Housing [Re: MCompact] #4699581
03/19/18 10:22 AM
03/19/18 10:22 AM
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 1,365
Up State NY
SEMI_287 Offline
SEMI_287  Offline
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 1,365
Up State NY
Originally Posted By: MCompact
Although an E39 M5 is still a tempting proposition.


Agreed, I'm on an active hunt for a low mileage one.


2005 BMW 325xi- Delo 400 XSP 5W40, K&N
2008 Mitsubishi Galant- Parts Master 5w30, Wix




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