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General E46 Forum
This is the place to get answers, opinions and everything you need related to your E46 (sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon) BMW!

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Old 10-01-2012, 10:50 PM   #1
paulieb
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Rings and seals replacement??

im looking for some advice!! i have a smoke problem and my guy tells me its a valve seal issue!! he says i should replace the rings and seals and that will stop the smoking and loss of oil! he also said if i wanted to save money and time i could just replace the seals and see if that works?? now my question is what are the chances of the rings being in need of replacement?? my car has 55000 mls on it so it seems a bit low to have this problem but im aware the seals could be gone from overheating and this could happen at any millage!! i dont want to spend the money getting only seals done (around 400) only to have to go again with rings (around 1000) can anyone tell me their views on this problem please!!! thank you!!
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Old 10-02-2012, 04:45 AM   #2
paulieb
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anyone????
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Old 10-02-2012, 04:59 AM   #3
Andy2108
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Who is your guy? Your mechanic?

Please describe your smoke problem. What color is the smoke, when does it happen, does it smell like anything (sweet, like burning oil, rotten/really bad smelling), are you burning oil or loosing coolant ect...

It could also be a head gasket issue.

Last edited by Andy2108; 10-02-2012 at 04:59 AM.
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Old 10-02-2012, 05:43 AM   #4
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Yeah my mechanic! its grey smoke at random times and sometimes real bad. coolant is fine, he is not worried about the head gasket and also changed the manafold air breather! he said its a seal problem but im just wondering if i might get away with just doing the seals and not the rings???
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Old 10-02-2012, 10:26 AM   #5
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anyone??
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Old 10-02-2012, 09:04 PM   #6
paulieb
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dose nobody know what im talking about?? shame!! thanks anyway for looking!
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Old 10-02-2012, 09:29 PM   #7
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Did he do a compression test?
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Old 10-02-2012, 10:27 PM   #8
paulieb
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yes, he said the compression looked fine!! he said he has tried everything, washes and stuff expand the seals and that! he assures me the next step is rings and seals!! im just wondering do i take a chance and take a short cut and just do seals?? will only take about 4 hours compared to 10 hours doing the propper job! he said worse case i will see an improvement!! it will kill me to have to spend all that money! i just bought the car last month!! :/
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Old 10-02-2012, 10:59 PM   #9
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If the compression is good I doubt it's the seals. Replace your oil separator.
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Old 10-03-2012, 06:02 AM   #10
paulieb
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i think he changed the oil separator already but ill be talking to him today so i can ask. ok thanks for that!
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Old 10-03-2012, 11:46 AM   #11
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Is the smoke your talking about coming out the tail pipe(muffler) or is coming from under the hood?
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Old 10-03-2012, 02:46 PM   #12
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Is the smoke your talking about coming out the tail pipe(muffler) or is coming from under the hood?
This is a good question.
Do you have any oil loss?
Also don't see how the compression could be ok if it's valve seals or piston rings.
How could either go bad at such a low mileage? What's oil are you using and what's your oil change interval?
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Old 10-03-2012, 03:22 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by peytonracer4 View Post
This is a good question.
Do you have any oil loss?
Also don't see how the compression could be ok if it's valve seals or piston rings.
How could either go bad at such a low mileage? What's oil are you using and what's your oil change interval?
I'm curious. How could valve stem seals be a factor in the compression readings? The valve stems are on the other side of the valves that are sealing the combustion chamber.

Really really bad valves and/or valve seats could cause a lower compression reading, but would have nothing to do with oil consumption. (A cylinder leak-down test is more useful for finding bad valves.)

I don't think that a compression test could say anything at all about how good or bad the valve stem seals are. Am I wrong in this?
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Old 10-03-2012, 04:45 PM   #14
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^wouldnt bad valve stem seals cause oil to leak into the cylinders from the valve/camshaft area?
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Old 10-03-2012, 05:58 PM   #15
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usually bad seals leak oil into the cylinders and you get white smoke when you start it. if it happens at random times you might need rings, but at 55k rings shouldnt be an issue. maybe a sticky valve combined with bad seals might do what you describe
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Old 10-03-2012, 07:33 PM   #16
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We need more info, or, just trust your mechanic.

I didn't see where you said what kind of engine is in your E46.

What year is it? Seems like low mileage to be burning oil due to valve seals or piston rings.

Do you know anything about its history?

The normal cause of exhaust smoke in an E46 seems to be CCV system (aka oil separator). But that is just what I've read, and may only apply to USA destined engines.
If yours has a diesel, or 4 cyl, you probably want to ignore advice from anybody posting from the USA. I don't think we got those engines here.

It is hard to believe oil burning started in the short time you've owned this car. If it really started to happen all of a sudden it might be a known problem with your engine.

If you trust your mechanic - go for it. If you are not sure - get a second opinion.

Valve seals/guides should not effect compression. The closed valve should prevent any leaking.
It is possible (easy) for oil to leak down the valve stem when the valve is open and the seal/guide is bad.

edit: just looked at some of your other posts. 2003 318 convertible. Apparently with known bad engine, and top, when you bought it. I'm hoping you got it cheap. If you are paying people to fix your car, you might be better off starting again with a good one. If you cannot afford a good one - wait - work hard - your time will come. Assuming you got it cheap - drive it - have fun - dump it before you spend too much money on it. My tuppence worth of advice.

Last edited by dknightd; 10-03-2012 at 07:55 PM.
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Old 10-03-2012, 09:14 PM   #17
paulieb
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the smoke it from the exhaust and i would say it is white! very light anyway! someone said blue but i didnt think so but im not a mechanic!! haha well i wouldnt say i got it cheap but the roof was taken into concideration! its not a bad looking car and if i have to spend a couple of grand on her i wouldnt be loosing much when i sell it on! i trust my mechanic, ive been using him for a while now and he hasnt put me wrong yet!! as i said he tried all the cheaper jobs first but now is convinced its a seal problem! im just gonna go for it and do the seals and take a chance the rings are ok! i dont do a lot of mileage so id hope that even if the rings are bad it wont effect me too much till i sell it on! and there is always a chance they are fine anyway! i only have the car a short time and i have put the recomended oil spec into it, also there is a good service history up to 43000/ year and a half ago! and appart from a couple of oil leaks there is nothing of concern done to it! thanks again for all ur comments! gives me something to think about!
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Old 10-03-2012, 09:25 PM   #18
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don't listen to your boyfriend. It's not the vanos seals.
Replace whole CCV system.
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Old 10-03-2012, 09:39 PM   #19
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wow some of you people just guess. I'm glad that most of you don't fix cars for a living. there would be a lot of mad people or cars that don't get fixed. I'm not there with the car, however, if ur guys has done you well in the past then why question him now. there are ways to eliminate the rings and or valve stem seals. hint : if its costing you 400 dollars jump on it even if it is wrong. head should come off and valve job done with the seals. if you can get that done for 400 I would question that. unless ur really hot.
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Old 10-04-2012, 01:34 PM   #20
paulieb
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well the seals are only a few euro each and estimated time is 4-5 hours so not expensive and his labour costs are low so 400 is about right!just bought upgraded vanos seal kit as well so gonna get that in too! im told its a must with any vanos engine so an extra 40 for that! fingers crossed it will be ok! thanks again to everyone who posted!
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