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E34 Engine ticking & low engine oil fix

Forum 5 E34 E34 Engine ticking & low engine oil fix

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2017-02-24 12:29:45

BMW M60 E34 540i : How to fix engine ticking and low engine oil pressure  |  More info

***UPDATE -- 6 months after completing this repair, I removed my oil pan to check and the bolts and nuts were all still tight. So the repair has worked and things are still looking great. ***

In this video we're working on the BMW V8 M60 engine (E34 540i had this engine, as did E32 740i, E38 740i, and E31 840i).

If you run into problems, head over to There are a lot of great guys there who are happy to help -- they helped me diagnose this problem and so I decided to video it to help anyone else.

This video shows you how to fix low engine oil pressure that causes two related symptoms:

1) the engine ticking that is coming from the cylinder heads, caused by low oil pressure, which is making the valve lifters collapse

2) low engine oil pressure, which is indicated on the dashboard check panel as "ENGINE OIL PRESS"

Likely cause of low engine oil pressure:

It is common for the oil pump bolts to become loose on these engines, and over time, back themselves out and fall into the oil pan.

You may have this problem if you are seeing the two symptoms described above.

One quick way to tell is if you drain the oil from the car, and using a rubber mallet, rap on the bottom of the oil pan at its lowest point. You can hear the bolts in the pan bouncing around -- you will need to drain as much of the oil as possible and give the pan a good whack with the mallet. When I did this, it sounded like quarters bouncing around in there.

Even a newbie can follow the steps in this video and fix the problem at home. Here is what you will need:

TIME: 2-3 hours for a weekend warrior. 4-6 for a novice.


  • A Bentley repair manual for E34 can be helpful for this and other repairs in the future, but not required as this video explains the steps well
  • jack stands
  • floor jack
  • oil pan for catching old oil (needs to hold 8+ quarts)
  • several rags
  • nitrile/vinyl gloves
  • 3/8" ratchet drive and various extensions
  • 3/8" drive sockets 10m, 13mm, 17mm
  • 3/8" drive torque wrench, or 1/2" drive torque wrench with 3/8" adapter
  • 1/4" ratchet drive with 10mm socket
  • Breaker bar (I used 1/2" drive with a 3/8" adapter) just to coax off the oil drain plug, and maybe for the oil filter housing
  • 10mm open end wrench
  • gasket scraper or razor blade and steady hand
  • 8mm hex wrench (allen key)
  • headlamp, flashlight or shop light will be helpful
  • a very large adjustable (crescent) wrench, or 36mm socket or 36mm wrench for the oil filter housing. A special socket is available from for this, P/N 02341


  • BRAKE PARTS CLEANER - - I didn't use this in the video, but so many of you commented and it's a great idea... I should have used it. Use it to clean the oil out of the threads on the bolts and the holes the bolts will go into, before you apply the locktite. Thanks for the suggestion guys!
  • 8 quarts of new oil - I suggest Mobile 1, 0w40. Personally, I used 1 quart of Lucas Heavy Duty Oil Stabilizer and 7 quarts of Mobile 1, 0w40.
  • new oil pan gasket BMW P/N 11131436324
  • new oil filter (part number depends, check
  • new oil filter housing o-ring BMW P/N 11421741000
  • new drain plug crush washer BMW P/N 07119963151
  • OR you can get the oil filter set from the dealer, which includes: new oil filter + filter housing o-ring + drain crush washer as BMW P/N 11427510717

optional: Oil Pressure Switch BMW P/N 12617620512

After completing this repair, if you still have ticking, you may have a failing oil pump, or worn followers (hydraulic lifters) in the cylinder heads and will need to replace them. A Bentley manual for E34 can be helpful. So can help from a more experienced buddy from your local BMW club, BMWCCA chapter, or German auto club. Also, for some people that are having ticking or engine chatter but did not find their oil pump bolts loose, your chatter may go away simply by switching to an oil like Mobile 1, 0W40 with a quart of Lucas Heavy Duty Oil Stabilizer.

I welcome your comments unless you're a douchebag or drive a Dodge. :) Happy wrenching.