Gas Tank Gasket Repair and Oil Change

For about half the trip from Baltimore to Milwaukee I had a strong whiff of gasoline in the car caused by bad gasketing of the fuel tank sender.  The guys in Dayton kindly made a temporary fix but once I got home it was time to make a proper cork gasket with some material purchased at Autozone.

It’s also time to renew all fluids.  Being new to the car and not knowing for certain how long they’ve been in, it’s out with the old in with the new.  The oil appeared fresh when we picked up the car in Berlin and it’s been driven around 1,600 miles at this point so I’m probably OK for a few more miles but it’s cheap insurance.  BMW called for a 4,000 mile oil change interval in summer or 2,000 during transition months, winter or with short trips.

I placed an order of common maintenance parts through Walloth and Nesch at, German purveyors of parts for classic BMWs.  Their prices, even taking shipping into account and the Euro exchange, were better than the BMW prices, even withe BMWCCA 10% discount my dealer provides.

This car has a canister and cartridge oil filtration system where only the insert gets replaced.  There is a fiber seal (asbestos in the old days) that seals where the canister lip sits in a grove on the flange, a fat O-ring on top of the cartridge and a rubber insert that sits below the filter and on top of a spring that provides calibrated pressure for the filter to seal against the top which in an overpressure situation (dirty filter) would allow oil to circulate around and bypass the filter.  The fiber seal should be replaced every oil change and the I also replaced the other two rubber parts although they didn’t look to be in bad shape.

Oil filtration parts. The O-ring is not seen here and sits on the flange shaft/tube.

Upon removing the oil drain plug, I inspected the magnetic tip and it showed some ‘fuzz’ but nothing serious.  I’ll have to keep an eye on that in the future and also check compression and leak down of the engine to assess if this might be from abnormal wear but it doesn’t seem to me like it is.

Magnetic oil drain plug as it came out,

Magnetic oil drain plug after wiping the fuzz off

The canister and cartridge came off easily but trying to remove the old fiber seal from the flange was very difficult with the oil filter flange on the engine so out came the flange off the engine block.  Not bad but I had to manufacture a new gasket for the flange-block interface as the old one was toast upon removal of the flange.  Not difficult at all with some cardboard-like gasket material from AZ.  Par for the course with classic car ownership.

Flange with old fiber gasket stuck on it.

Old gasket halfway scraped off

Gasket completely off

Fresh gasket and O-ring in place

Filter paper element spread out for visual inspection. I found no bits of metal or anything else that I could observe.

Back in place

After tightening the canister in place to what felt ‘pretty tight” I had a slow leak  at the canister/flange junction.  I tightened more a couple of times and it would still leak so I pulled out the torque wrench to make sure I wasn’t applying a crazy amount of force.  I went up in force a couple more times until it finally was dry at 30 Lb. Ft. of torque.  Not too much but more than I would have thought.

Pretty satisfying stuff…  But again, simple minds are simply entertained.

This blog sometimes feels like a pretty lonely pursuit; I know that many of you out there are reading it since I see the number of daily hits but I’m getting no comments so feel free to crank it up a little bit and post comments once in a while to spice it up a bit…!


4 responses to “Gas Tank Gasket Repair and Oil Change

  1. Luis,
    Thanks for a great blog. I’m one of the visitors who never comments. I’m a vintage BMW owner envious of your purchase. I saw your Fiat in the latest issue of Hemmings Sports and Exotic car and I’m looking forward to the article about your importing experience.

    I’m going to Italy in 2011 and hoping I can find something to inport. (e30 touring?)

    Keep up the great work.


  2. blair barondes

    Enjoyed your blog. My Dad had an 1800 he purchased new in 1968 and kept for 10 years and 100K miles. If you’re in Massachusetts, I’d love a drive! My father had a second battery put in the trunk which solved cold-weather starting. When the car was new, the carb kept clogging because of bad fuel line material. And a wheel bearing kept going because the working in Germany was overtightening something. The steering arms were bent by unknowing mechanics who didn’t yet know about unibody cars. A piston collapsed at around 60K miles, apparently a manufacturing defect, and my Dad found a 1600 engine to replace ours. Bimmer driver in those days would flash their lights whenever they passed another. Wish I had that car, although it would be a rusty mess for sure after being salted in upstate NY winters.

  3. Great write up and illustrations. Spent the whole evening reading the blog. Please post updates.

  4. Thanks for the oil filter explanation. I’d been puzzling over those little gaskets for some time and hadn’t until now figured out where to place the profile gasket
    (part # 11420661165)

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