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How To Change The Oil Filter Housing Gasket on BMW E46 N42 Engine

The oil filter housing gasket on the BMW E46 with N42 engines are widely known to deteriorate over time and especially after 100,000 miles. If you have an oil leak and suspect your oil filter housing gasket, you may be onto something. Keep reading to find out how to change it, it’s a quick job, 30 mins max with no special tools required.

Tools needed:

  • Socket set
  • Torx screw set
  • Pick tool

Note: You can get all your tools here.

How To Change The Oil Filter Housing Gasket on BMW E46 N42 Engine

Step 1 – Remove Intake Manifold Cover

Unscrew the 2 bolts and lift and gently pull the cover towards you to reveal all the bolts holding the oil filter housing.

How to change BMW E46 N42 oil filter housing gasket step 1

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Step 2 – Remove Oil Filter Housing Gasket Bolts

The housing is held in place using 3 bolts. I put some cloth around the area to prevent oil from spilling into the engine, though not much poured out.

Step 3 – Remove Pipes

There are 2 pipes that go into the heat exhanger. Remove the clips and genty tug on them to release.

Once the pipes are removed you can carefully lift the housing and the heat exchanger off the engine unit.

Step 4 – Unscrew Heat Exchanger From Oil Filter Housing

Note: Inspect oil filter housing thoroughly to make sure it has not been warped! If that’s the case, you can get a used one here.

It is advisable to change the gasket that sits between the heat exchanger (also known as the intercooler) and the housing when you are changing the gasket that sits between the housing and the engine block. There are 4 screws that hold the oil filter housing and the heat exchanger together. You will need a torx screw to remove these.

Step 4 – Change Both Gaskets

Carefully remove the old gaskets, replace them and clean the area.

If you haven’t already bought the gaskets, they are under $15 on eBay.

How to change BMW E46 N42 oil filter housing gasket step 4

Step 4 – Clean Engine Block Surface and Reassemble in Reverse Order

Carefully clean the surface where the oil filter housing sits and put everything back in reverse order.

How to change BMW E46 N42 oil filter housing gasket step 5

Don’t forget to put your pipes back in place!

Disclaimer: Use this tutorial at your own risk, I do not assume any responsibility for any damage caused to your vehicle. This article is for entertainment purposes only.

Please comment below, like and share if you found this tutorial useful. Comment as well if you thought something is missing from it!

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11 thoughts on “How To Change The Oil Filter Housing Gasket on BMW E46 N42 Engine”

  1. Gustavo says:

    Hi there,
    I was wondering if you remove the fan, alternator, and other parts to do this job. In all the videos I found, they did.

    1. Isaac King says:

      Hey Gustavo, I didn’t remove those parts when I did mine, I didn’t have to because the oil filter housing gasket sits above the alternator. The fan does not take up that much space as well so I could do this job easily.

    2. Brett says:

      Gustavo – Those video’s and tutorial’s are referring to the 6 cylinder models. The 4’s have plenty of room to move

  2. Brett says:

    Isaac. Thanks so much for your post. I’ve found it really hard to find much about our model car. I’m in Australia and all the info out there is about the American models. I’m off to replace my gaskets. Cheers mate

    1. Isaac King says:

      Hey Brett, You’re welcome. It’s the same here in the UK and good luck!

  3. Esp MN says:

    Great tutorial, man! All i could find was for the six sylinder and it seemed like a pain in the ass to do. Thanks for making a great tutorial for our weak engines 😀

    1. Isaac King says:

      Hey No worries. Glad you found it useful!

  4. T Paterson says:

    I’m very pleased to have found this tutorial. I have been watching the YouTube videos also. I was just about to order the fan spanner when I came across this post. I have been waiting for the sun to pop its head out and am about to change both gaskets. Thank you for posting

    1. Isaac King says:

      You’re welcome T! Thanks for commenting.

      1. T Paterson says:

        Well completed in 1 hour and looks to be nice and dry… however after a test drive and getting the car up to heat I still notice oil smell in cabin.
        Could this be residual oil burning off or am I looking for a leak in another location?

        1. Isaac King says:

          Hey Tim,

          It is most likely residual oil, some might have spilled while changing the gaskets.

          However, in my experience the N42’s leak from a lot of places so worth having a look at the valve cover gasket area and also underneath at the oil level sensor!

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