is oil leak normal?

Hi all,
I bought a 1990 BMW 318i from a dealer last week. After I took it home I found a small oil leak under the engine. I am aware that it is a 16
years old car, and after reading around the web, it seems that oil leak is quite normal. How do I prevent this to be a big problem later on? I'm an automotive newbie, so please be patient.
Thanks
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i personaly own an 85 325e which has an oil leak as well. the common cause of a leak usually originates from a worn seal or gasket. in my case it was the oil pan gasket. this was a reasonably cheap repair and is possible to do yourself depending on the shop facilities and tools you have access to.
if the oil pan gasket does not turn out to be the source of the problem, i would ask a mechanic the other possibilities. but in most cases the repair will not be costly. just make sure to monitor your oil level, making sure to maintain enough oil to keep the engine in good working order.
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Thanks for the reply,
Do you have any links explaining how to change an oil pan gasket?
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Cheepy wrote:

You might want to say what it is, but it's probably not the pan gasket regardless. Oil leaks down from other places making it look like it's coming from the pan.
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I'd suggest you buy a Haynes manual. OK for simple jobs like that. I don't know any links offhand. Manual 1948 covers the 3 series from 1983 to 1991. Have a look on eBay for a cheap s/h copy.
I think you'll find that with the M40 engine in your car, the engine mounting bolts on both sides need to be removed, as the engine needs to be lifted to completely remove the sump. So, apart from a jack and axle stands, you'll need a suitable hoist or method of lifting the engine from the top. Providing you have that equipment, the job is reasonably simple. Mike.
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Well, that what i don't have: the method of liftingthe engine from the top. What kind of equipment is that?
I've ordered a Bentley manual from amazon, it should come around next week.
Thanks.
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Ideally something like this. http://tinyurl.com/fblje They can be hired, by the day, weekend etc, but a block and tackle will do the job, providing you have a suitable place to hang it. Garage roof, tripod, etc. An easier, cheaper, but maybe riskier way, is to jack the engine from underneath, then hold it in position by tying it to a strong beam across both wings so you can remove the jack. Protecting the wings with plenty of padding, and something to spread the load. It only needs to be lifted a couple of inches or so.

Even better. I didn't suggest it, because at 40 plus, it's a bit OTT for a simple job like sump removal. Mike.
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congratulatoins on buying a fine car. If you are considering doing your own serviceing and maintenance on this car (or any car!) do consider buying a book. there are a few around, I like the bently manual.
keith 1993 E30
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Cheepy wrote:

On my 1989 318i (M40) I've had leaks from the oil filter housing (gasket needed replacing) and also from where the dip-stick tube fits into the engine block (rubber grommet needed replacing)
Stuart
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