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I am trying to locate the root cause from where this engine is leaking oil so that I can buy all the right gaskets.

What confuses me is that highest spot where the oil traces are visible is around engine oil cap. Can oil seep upwards and defy gravity giving a wrong impression about the origin? Or is there a need to replace cap as well?

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Also, there are some oil traces around what presumably is valvetronic motor. Could it be again seepage from a lower point somewhere else? Can oil vaporize and condense giving these traces?

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This is 2008 BMW X3 30.si (n52 engine)

  • Yes, oil can vaporize and condense, but I think the oil traces you are seeing have not occurred as a result of vaporizing and condensing oil. To see how high temperatures you need to vaporize and condense oil, take a look at fractional distillation of oil. Lubricating oil vaporizes at bit below 400 degrees Celsius. – juhist Jul 21 at 9:45
  • You could be getting leaks from the cap because of gas in the oil causing froth when the engine is running. If the cap is "blowing oil bubbles" the oil may get spread around a bit outside the engine when they collapse. – alephzero Jul 21 at 10:58

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