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Old 02-09-2011, 02:03 PM   #21
nathancarter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elwin View Post
Water in the oil happens if you live in high humidity and/or drive in heavy rains. Burning high humidity air produces water steam which gets not only into exhaust, but also into the engine case around through piston rings (very low quantity). With a time it builds up in engine as water.
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoingNuts View Post
That stuff is formed from external moist air and hot oil vapour.
The ideas here are slightly correct, but not really correct for this discussion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by antonmn View Post
The water is a combustion by-product. You burn a gallon of gas, you make a gallon of water (along with a lot of other things).
This is correct. The moisture in the surrounding environment is insignificant compared to the amount of moisture created by combustion and blow-by.

To oversimplify for the purposes of a chemical equation, you could consider gasoline to be iso-octane.
2C8H18 + 25O2 ---> 16CO2 + 18H2O
You could throw in some ethanol for good measure:
C2H5OH + 2O2 ---> 2CO2 + 3H2O
And maybe some n-heptane if we're feeling ambitious:
C7H16 + 11O2 ---> 7CO2 + 8H2O

No matter how you slice it, burning gasoline makes a LOT of water, regardless of the humidity of the ambient air. The catalytic converter turns other byproducts into even more water, though that's not relevant to this discussion since it's downstream of the crankcase.
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Old 02-09-2011, 02:20 PM   #22
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So far I've not had to replace anything major in my wifes X5. Once I see a little yellow sludge on the filler cap or white smoke I know it's time to clean out the PCV tubes - all of them. If you read the BMW SIB they use the thin metal part of a wiper blade to clean out. I use kerosene to dislodge sludge and then flush them out with pressured water. Then thoroughly dry. When the pressure builds up (Again due to the sludge freezing) this is when things like the Oil Separator (OS) and the dreaded cylinder oil fill occur. I saw pics of an X5 air box that was filled with oil when it finally blew.

I think unless you have major parts to change due to failure then preventative measures work best. An earlier post said to run the car with the oil filler cap off. This indeed allows the moisture to escape but in the X5 it causes the engine to stutter and eventually kicks in the CEL (Check engine light).

Cleaning out the PCV tubes is the best method I have found to get rid of the excessive build-up. My wife drives the X5 about 10 miles round trip every day - The engine never really gets a good hot go. Running the car a little longer in the morning has done nothing since the revs are likely too low.
The other measure I took was to insulate the PCV tubes so that any sludge inside is less likely to freeze - I stole that from the BMW SIB.

I have not taken apart the e46 OS since they are never driven in winter. The x5 has 2 pressure regulating valves (one on each valve cover). Inside there is a membrame type rubber seal that moves with vacuum pressure. Last year one of these froze from sludge build-up and blew about 4 liters of oil all over the engine . I think if there is a similar part inside the e46 OS then you might want to check it for sludge buildup. I might take mine apart just to have a look.

Here's the photo of the oil blow last year on the X5 and the part I am referring to. It's the orange membrane covered in sludge. It froze -oil blew - everywhere.
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Last edited by BMW-North; 02-09-2011 at 02:26 PM.
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Old 02-09-2011, 02:29 PM   #23
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^ I wonder how many mL of H2O / hr is formed considering 2 gallons of gasoline are burned per hour if traveling at 60 MPH.
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Old 02-09-2011, 02:48 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by BMW-North View Post
An earlier post said to run the car with the oil filler cap off. This indeed allows the moisture to escape but in the X5 it causes the engine to stutter and eventually kicks in the CEL (Check engine light).
I've gotta wonder just how effective this is, if the OS is not already clogged. If the OS is functioning properly, all those crankcase gases (exhaust+moisture+oil+etc) just pass through to the intake to be burned - seems like venting out the oil filler cap is irrelevant.

Hmm.
On further thought, I suppose that opening the oil filler cap after shutting off the car would help prevent the remainder of that water vapor from condensing under the valve cover as the engine cools - since after the car is shut off, that last little bit of gas isn't going to be cycled through the intake.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BMW-North View Post
The other measure I took was to insulate the PCV tubes so that any sludge inside is less likely to freeze - I stole that from the BMW SIB.
I'm also skeptical of the value of the insulated tubes. If the car is left outdoors overnight during a hard freeze, a few millimeters of foam insulation isn't going to stop the whole thing from freezing. Sure, it'll cool off slightly slower, but by 7AM it's going to be frozen solid, insulation or not.

The electrically-heated foil wrap that you mentioned above sounds like a potential solution, though if you don't have an external power source (e.g. block heater plugged into the wall), I could see it killing the battery over the course of a few days.


I dunno, I'm just glad I live in warm Florida and have a healthy 20-mile-each-way commute, so this has never been a problem for me.
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Old 02-09-2011, 02:49 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by nathancarter View Post
The ideas here are slightly correct, but not really correct for this discussion.



This is correct. The moisture in the surrounding environment is insignificant compared to the amount of moisture created by combustion and blow-by.

To oversimplify for the purposes of a chemical equation, you could consider gasoline to be iso-octane.
2C8H18 + 25O2 ---> 16CO2 + 18H2O
You could throw in some ethanol for good measure:
C2H5OH + 2O2 ---> 2CO2 + 3H2O
And maybe some n-heptane if we're feeling ambitious:
C7H16 + 11O2 ---> 7CO2 + 8H2O

No matter how you slice it, burning gasoline makes a LOT of water, regardless of the humidity of the ambient air. The catalytic converter turns other byproducts into even more water, though that's not relevant to this discussion since it's downstream of the crankcase.
This is great. Can you aproximately calculate how much water is produced by burning a galon of US91 octane gasoline?
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Old 02-09-2011, 03:18 PM   #26
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I can't any more, it's been years since I've had chemistry classes, but someone who's better than me with chemistry might be able to.
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Old 02-09-2011, 05:02 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by nathancarter View Post
I've gotta wonder just how effective this is, if the OS is not already clogged. If the OS is functioning properly, all those crankcase gases (exhaust+moisture+oil+etc) just pass through to the intake to be burned - seems like venting out the oil filler cap is irrelevant.

I'm also skeptical of the value of the insulated tubes. If the car is left outdoors overnight during a hard freeze, a few millimeters of foam insulation isn't going to stop the whole thing from freezing. Sure, it'll cool off slightly slower, but by 7AM it's going to be frozen solid, insulation or not.

The electrically-heated foil wrap that you mentioned above sounds like a potential solution, though if you don't have an external power source (e.g. block heater plugged into the wall), I could see it killing the battery over the course of a few days.


I dunno, I'm just glad I live in warm Florida and have a healthy 20-mile-each-way commute, so this has never been a problem for me.
I agree with you - I don't think removing the oil filler cap is a good idea. On any of my BMW's it always causes idling issues and I don't think it is removing much.

Most of the condensation that is formed in the engine occurs when the engine cools or is cold. Therefore when the engine is hot and running it is forming little condensation if any. The sludge forms during the period that your car is warming up. I don't even think a good 60 mph drive for an hour is enough to "burn it off" - not all of it anyway.

The BMW solution to this was the insulated pipes. I somewhat agree that the insulation might not keep a lot of heat when it's -20 degrees outside but more importantly than keeping warmth in the pipe from the foam and metallic sheath, they keep the pipes away from metal contact which has a dramatic effect on lowering the temperature through conductivity.

As I said earlier due to a combination of conditions that include my wife's short driving habits, the cold environment we live and the design of the X5 PCV system sludge buildup will occur inevitably. The only thing I have tried to do is minimize the impact and remove it on a regular basis.

I get to live in South Carolina for 2 months of the year so I don't worry about sludge freezing then.

Last edited by BMW-North; 02-09-2011 at 05:04 PM.
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Old 02-09-2011, 05:27 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Elwin View Post
This is great. Can you aproximately calculate how much water is produced by burning a galon of US91 octane gasoline?
I can't either but this site has some info-
http://www.terrapass.com/blog/posts/how-to-turn-8-p

Finally, your exhaust is quite a bit heavier if you count the steam that is generated. Those 16 hydrogen atoms attached to every octane molecule have to go somewhere. They combine with oxygen to create water (H2O). Every gallon of gas creates roughly 8 pounds of water vapor. And water vapor is, believe it or not, a greenhouse gas, although not one we generally concern ourselves with, for a variety of reasons.
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Old 02-09-2011, 05:39 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by OrientBlau View Post
Ive heard this straight from the dealer. Short trips will create moisture build up. They even replaced the oil sensor (thought to have failed due to moisture) out of warranty for free.
The dealer has no clue. I drive only short trips, and I don't get it anywhere but a miniscue amount on the outside of the engine. It only forms when there's an air leak. It cannot form in other ways.

Learn to have clean connectors and ensure they never leak, then you won't get this kind of thing. It makes no difference how you drive or where you drive.

Last edited by GoingNuts; 02-09-2011 at 05:42 PM.
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Old 02-09-2011, 05:40 PM   #30
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Interesting science though.......

I think we're talking two different things here now. Any vapours that are created in your cylinders or after combustion will be blown out your exhaust. These vapours are not an Oil Separator issue as they don't enter the PCV system or get back into the crankcase.

The condensation that causes the issue with the oil separator is formed on the inner walls of the valve cover, on your camshafts and your cylinder head etc. Same as when your glasses fog up coming into a warm room from outside. This is the moisture that is supposed to be vaporized and circulated into the intake manifold and burned off - problem is that not all of it does.
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Old 02-09-2011, 05:48 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by BMW-North View Post
Interesting science though.......

I think we're talking two different things here now. Any vapours that are created in your cylinders or after combustion will be blown out your exhaust. These vapours are not an Oil Separator issue as they don't enter the PCV system or get back into the crankcase.

The condensation that causes the issue with the oil separator is formed on the inner walls of the valve cover, on your camshafts and your cylinder head etc. Same as when your glasses fog up coming into a warm room from outside. This is the moisture that is supposed to be vaporized and circulated into the intake manifold and burned off - problem is that not all of it does.
So what do you suppose the oil seperator serperates ? It seperates oil from what ? A) popcorn, B) vapour, C) coffee.
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Old 02-09-2011, 06:00 PM   #32
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So what do you suppose the oil seperator serperates ? It seperates oil from what ? A) popcorn, B) vapour, C) coffee.
I read in another thread you were an *******. I tend to agree with the other guy.
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Old 02-09-2011, 06:06 PM   #33
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I read in another thread you were an *******. I tend to agree with the other guy.
Glad you agree. I like to pick people who can't be bothered to reason to pieces.
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Old 02-09-2011, 06:14 PM   #34
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I'm sure not going to pay any attention to a guy whose last 5 contributions to this forum were this: (Why don't you do all of us a favour and go buy a Volvo.)

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Wouldn't it be simpler to wear sun glasses ?
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I think the colour of your knob is wrong.
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Should of bought a honda. Even hondas are more manly than e92.
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You need to find that car smell like ass thread.

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Yes, it came out of nowhere and did a ninja park right where the OP wasn't expecting. The OP swerved, but it was no used. The parked car just kept coming at him.

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Old 02-09-2011, 06:24 PM   #35
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With BMW being so reliable and, when correctly used and conditioned, is sludge free. Your suggestion of a volvo makes no sense. Only if you would bother to reason.
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Old 02-09-2011, 06:35 PM   #36
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GoingNuts, I'm not surprised you are at 5,670 posts.

It's impossible to get that many posts with just solid reasoning within 2.5 years.
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Old 02-09-2011, 06:37 PM   #37
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ok, what is a "Cyclone Separator" my mechanic told me i needed it changed, but i googled it and i got like 3 different names from that (PCV, CCV, VCG...)....
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Old 02-09-2011, 06:40 PM   #38
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GoingNuts, I'm not surprised you are at 5,670 posts.

It's impossible to get that many posts with just solid reasoning within 2.5 years.
If forums had village idiots...
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Old 02-09-2011, 07:03 PM   #39
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With BMW being so reliable and, when correctly used and conditioned, is sludge free. Your suggestion of a volvo makes no sense. Only if you would bother to reason.
"Sludge Free" is that like "lifetime" transmission fluid?

I guess you should call BMW and save them $millions as there is obviously no need for the following then???

CRANKCASE VENTILATION SYSTEM / OIL SEPARATOR NOW COVERED UNDER CPO
BMW has revised the SIB's for the "Crankcase ventilation system / Oil Separator /Sludge - Cold climate conditions" for the N62/N62TU and M54 engines in just the past couple of days. Nothing has changed by way of parts used or the fixes employed, BUT the repairs are now "Covered under the terms of the BMW New Vehicle Limited Warranty or the BMW Certified Pre-Owned Program."


BMW-North Note: When BMW refer to moisture accumulating in the PCV system they are referring to sludge which is the common term for a combination of oil and water which turns into a yellow "sludge".
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Old 02-09-2011, 07:07 PM   #40
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If forums had village idiots...
Nah, GN is like the village clown.

The village idiot was the boogie dude with the 325ci "coup" who was into doing "epic" mods like cutting off his roof to make a convertable.

Back on topic now...


So the past month or so (ever since I installed my headers), when I go wot in 1st or 2nd I will occasionaly (espically on very cold days) see a decent puff of white smoke. Like I said given that it is on cold days, and only occasionaly I am hoping and praying its just my ccv, and not blow-by. Anyone have any insight on this? All on the 330 btw
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