Burning Smell or Oil Drips on the Ground Due to Engine Oil Leak on BMW Z3

Valve cover gasket leaks are common after 60,000 miles. Symptoms will include oil drips under the vehicle and burning oil smell from the engine compartment.

RepairPal Verified
Average mileage: 76,645 (13,000–160,000)
Engine affected: 1.9L 4 Cylinder
7 model years affected: 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, more2000, 2001, 2002
15 people reported this problem
7 people shared problem details
1998 BMW Z3- 1.9L 4 Cylinder13,000
Had the severe coolant leak repaired and the shop that did the work mentioned the leak. will order and replace. Notice some drips of oil around 70-90K miles.
1998 BMW Z3- 1.9L 4 Cylinder101,000
I noticed oil leaking on the concrete in the parking spot. I took it to my mechanic, he went over it. He told me several gaskets, oil pan, valve cover, front timming chain cover etc. I had all gaskets replaced the hoses replaced. All is well.
1996 BMW Z3160,000
Still ongoing
2001 BMW Z369,000
Valve cover gasket leak. Repair was quick, $260.
1997 BMW Z3- 1.9L 4 Cylinder85,000
I have had the same issue, I have changed the valve cover gasket, but still had the same issue, due to bolts stripping out. I have since added thread inserts, and will change the gasket again this morning, since I lose about a quart a week. I now have over 97,000 miles on the car, and drive downtown to Houston everyday, so if I can get this car to make it a few more years, I will try and nurse it along as long as possible. Also, I just pulled the last valve cover gasket I installed and found that it was NOT leaking, since I placed a small amount of silicone on the top and bottom of the gasket, to hold it in place. The gasket remained intact, so I will need to look for another source of the oil leak. My first thought is the rear seal, and or the oil sending unit, but when I stop at a red light in town, I smell burnt oil through the AC vents, so it has to be dripping on the exhaust manifold at some point. That was why I thought it leaked on the rear of the valve cover gasket, which ends up behind the engine, and seemed to be my source of the dripping oil. I have a large puddle of oil every time I leave home and work, so I know it has to be one of the aforementioned issues, unless someone knows one that has not been mentioned.
2001 BMW Z360,000
Valve cover gasket leaking; needed replacement
1999 BMW Z3110,000
oil leak near back of engine due to failing valve cover gasket
Related Items:
Engine will sputter when I shift gears. Code P0303 was stored. I replaced the coil but problem...
my engine light is on code 1423 car runs fine but need to pass inspection
The thermostat may fail resulting in engine overheating and/or illumination of the Check Engine...
I have a 2001 z3 with a 5-speed manual tranny and a 3.0 efi engine,my ? is I have a filler unit...
I use synthetic oil. Should I rely on the oil change light on my dash or change at 6500 miles?