Cannot unscrew oil filter housing cap - BMW E46

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7,077
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Los Gatos, CA
Head to HF and get a 1/2# breaker or long ratchet. And a dead blow hammer. You will get it off. He who dies with the most tools wins. All good. If you were near me I would lend a hand. Good luck.
 

97tbird

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9,283
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Fayetteville, NC
Originally Posted by JeffKeryk
Head to HF and get a 1/2# breaker or long ratchet. And a dead blow hammer. You will get it off. He who dies with the most tools wins. All good. If you were near me I would lend a hand. Good luck.
That's very kind. smile Thank you. I do need to get a breaker bar, even for some other stuff i am planning to do. It will have to be 3/8 for this job though.
 

97tbird

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Fayetteville, NC
Well it's been only 900 miles but several months - I do have the correct oil in it now because I was able to change the oil out. And I really can't PROVE that they were the ones who did it although I know they did. I might take it to them (if i can't get it off) when it's time for regular OC again. (After I pointed out re: wrong oil, the service advisor agreed to let me bring in my own oil next time. At that time I wasn't aware of the over-tightened filter cap)
 

JC1

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Oshawa, Ontario Canada
Lots of good advice here. I would leave it alone. Call the dealer first thing tomorrow morning and complain that it was over-tightened and that there is a risk of the housing breaking. Bring it in and get a technician to remove the cap in front of you and the service manager. (Of course they would use the excuse of Insurance regulations prohibit use to do that with you next to the car). I would request that they give you a replacement cap for this issue, since it's their doing and not yours. I'm sure they wouldn't want to do all this, but I would make it clear that I would use them for an oil change ever again.
 
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349
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Northern NJ
I honestly would not blame them all too much if all the lever strength you've got on it so far is 3/8" drive and 8". 1/2 breaker bar and it should really come right loose.
 
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JTK

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13,518
Location
Buffalo, NY
Originally Posted by 97tbird
Originally Posted by JTK
Is the cap plastic and the housing aluminum? Hopefully so. Worst case the cap will break..
Correct - it is plastic and housing metal. But i want to "secure" the housing itself before I wrestle with the cap again - perhaps wifey can grab it with an oil filter wrench and exert some counter-torque or at least hold it tight: I don't wanna "turn" the whole housing WITH the cap and break the housing.
Oh gotcha. I was thinking the metal housing was integrated into the block like some of them are. I hate when the housing and cap can move, like the setup on FCA's pentastar engine. Reef on that too hard and you crack the whole oil cooler, filter assembly that's not only expensive, but kind of a PITA to replace.
 
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America
Originally Posted by JC1
Lots of good advice here. I would leave it alone. Call the dealer first thing tomorrow morning and complain that it was over-tightened and that there is a risk of the housing breaking. Bring it in and get a technician to remove the cap in front of you and the service manager. (Of course they would use the excuse of Insurance regulations prohibit use to do that with you next to the car). I would request that they give you a replacement cap for this issue, since it's their doing and not yours. I'm sure they wouldn't want to do all this, but I would make it clear that I would use them for an oil change ever again.
Also, mention that they used the wrong oil if you are certain it was the wrong oil. If they break something, the parts will be readily available.
 
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KansasCity
They probably couldn't get it off either and didn't bother to change the filter. In fact, it might be stuck because it hasn't been off in a while. You might think I'm kidding, but it happened to me. I bought a BMW with a perfect service history (done at an independent shop). Receipts for oil and filter changes every 3,000 miles. Well, the first time I changed the oil and filter (after a mighty struggle with the cap), I find the oil filter had not been changed in years. It was completely full of dirt, so much so that the pleats were not even visible, just a solid chunk of dirt. Get that cap off, one way or another. A new cap isn't that expensive, so if you have to break it to get it off, do it. Don't break the housing though. If it won't budge, you could always take a hack saw to it (careful not to cut the housing). It is probably stuck where the plastic lip meets the aluminum housing. Good luck!
 
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MA, Mittelfranken.de
Don't use a rubber mallet, it has too much bounce in it which defeats the whole purpose of doing it this way. A shot filled dead blow or hard plastic hammer is the tool of choice. I do keep an old Craftsman ratchet for this sort of thing, it gets the old steel ball peen.
 

97tbird

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Fayetteville, NC
Good point - I also thought it felt silly and bouncy with the rubber mallet - will use a proper hammer and update after my next attempt. Thanks, Trav
 
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Indiana
I don't know if the angle you set the wrench before impacting it matters, but I'm concerned about the over-tightening. On the M52TU, it's not uncommon for the oil filter housing to begin leaking at some point, especially if it's been over torqued. On that engine it uses a very thin gasket between the engine and housing which is fairly simple to replace (but only after you remove several items to get to (7?) bolts). I'd keep an eye out for leaks and have the dealer remove it, again keeping an eye out for subsequent leaks. Also make a point of expressing a concern about this happening due to their excessive "zeal".
 
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Atlanta,GA
Originally Posted by 97tbird
Thanks for all the advice, really appreciate it. Will try to address some of the things suggested: To all who suggested getting the filter cap socket: I Already have been using the 6 point 36mm socket --That's what I have used for all of my previous oil changes for years with my 3/8 socket wrench. (that's what I meant by "oil filter cap tool" in the OP, sorry my terminology wasn't very clear) Just that this time I cannot get it done no matter how hard i try. I did try lightly using a rubber mallet on the end of the ratchet like Trav suggested. But I will give it another try, and try harder. Perhaps I wasn't using the correct technique. And good tip on having a spare filter cap on hand. Should have done that years ago anyway, but I never had a problem with it before so.... I WAS able to change the OIL using MityVac. Just couldn't change the filter. The tightening spec is stamped on the filter cap: it is 25 Nm. I always lube the O-ring, and know exactly where to seat it. Beginning to suspect that the monkeys at the dealer either didn't use it at all but that would make oil leak out of housing, no?), or perhaps seated it wrong... If all fails I am just going to take it to the dealer again. What do you guys think about warming up the engine? Will that make any difference? (My OC attempt was done with engine cold, but on a very hot day) Will update soon.
Typically you'll see a huge oil leak from the cap when the gasket isn't in the correct groove. When I performed a few changes on my 335d, I noticed that the filter cap would be hard to turn because of a small amount of vacuum and it would dissipate quicker if the fill cap was removed first. I'm NOT saying that's the problem but it may make it a little easier. I would think a cold engine would be easier
 
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40,830
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Great Lakes
Originally Posted by 97tbird
I do need to get a breaker bar, even for some other stuff i am planning to do. It will have to be 3/8 for this job though.
Oh yeah, I use a 1/2" 24-inch breaker bar with that 36mm socket on mine - it unscrews easily.
 
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9,526
Location
Virginia
Originally Posted by JeffKeryk
Any luck so far? The team is rooting for you...
LOL Kind of funny to me.. but it is true I'm sure. This World Champion typing this did something similar one time with a Fram Ultra on my car. I must have been feeling frisky and quite strong the day I put the filter on my car.... Go to take it off and after numerous heat cycles 3,300 miles worth... It would not budge at all. I spent 40 minutes pulling on it hard as I could. Rendered my right arm and right leg practically useless after all that... Mostly related to my illness from just over doing it for that long physically. Had two huge wounds on my hand. A week later tried again... Felt it move like 1/1000th of an inch. Thought to myself I think I got it to where next time I can maybe actually remove it. Next time a week after that... Took a bit like 5 minutes but I finally broke it free and rotated it off. I feltike I had just arm wrestled King Kong and actually won LOL Have not repeated that dumbness again since in the last 5 years. Thank goodness.
 

97tbird

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Fayetteville, NC
Sorry guys - been out of town and dealing with a maddening work schedule. Waiting for the 3/8 breaker bar to arrive from amazon, and gather a few more tools before re-attempt. HOPE to try it this weekend and update. Keep rooting for me and the filter housing cap. That's so kind of you guys. smile
 
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1,327
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Washington for now
Originally Posted by Quattro Pete
Originally Posted by 97tbird
I do need to get a breaker bar, even for some other stuff i am planning to do. It will have to be 3/8 for this job though.
Oh yeah, I use a 1/2" 24-inch breaker bar with that 36mm socket on mine - it unscrews easily.
this when i had my e46. 6 point and 1/2 breaker bar
 
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