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Old 12-06-2012, 02:31 PM   #1
diM3tri
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Smoke from engine.. Fire smell.. Help!

I drove my car 2 blocks, parked it, then got out popped the hood and smoke was coming from the valve cover and that area. Smoke was coming out mostly from the back of the engine. I also smelled a strong burning oil/fire smell.. I then heard a crackle from the engine in the same area and a lot of heat was coming from it.. This got my really worried! I originally thought it was my valve cover gasket but this problem seems way worse.. I let it sit for about 10 minutes and the smoke is going away but still a little there. Any ideas what could be wrong?! I included some pics of where the smoke was coming from.. My car has 133k miles. I just did an oil change less then 500 miles ago and I checked my dipstick.. I have enough oil!
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Old 12-06-2012, 02:33 PM   #2
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Just checked.. My coolant light is on as well..
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Old 12-06-2012, 02:47 PM   #3
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Anyone??
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Old 12-06-2012, 03:08 PM   #4
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Symptoms point to a VCG leak, but the crackle and Coolant light being ON would worry me.
Check if you have enough coolant in the tank.
Get cracking with checking for coolant leaks.
Check for oil in coolant and coolant in oil.
Hopefully it was just an air pocket or a small leak.

I get the oil light ON all the time after I drive about 10 miles, not because I am running low on oil, but because of faulty CCV. Also have a small leak on VCG.
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Old 12-06-2012, 03:10 PM   #5
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Check coolant level if the coolant light came on, if its still hot wait for the car to cool down before you check. Check to see if you have anything dripping under that car.
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Old 12-06-2012, 10:39 PM   #6
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I got those smells when vcg was leaking a lot. Could get that if vcg is done improperly too. Do vcg, as for the coolant not sure. Small leak somewhere or air pocket. Look under your expansion tank for leaks, that's where mine leaked. Auto trans thermostat was cracked from age.
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Old 12-07-2012, 10:23 AM   #7
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so you guys just thinks its the VCG? because to me it seems way worse.. ill bring it to a shop and see what they say.
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Old 12-07-2012, 10:27 AM   #8
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First things first get that battery cable disconnected until you figure it out. If it is electrical your car could burn to the ground.
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Old 12-07-2012, 10:29 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Treburkulosis View Post
First things first get that battery cable disconnected until you figure it out. If it is electrical your car could burn to the ground.
Good point.. i dont think it is electrical because smoke is coming out of the valve cover are in the engine not anywhere near the lights/interior.. hopefully its not electrical.
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Old 12-07-2012, 10:49 AM   #10
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Good point.. i dont think it is electrical because smoke is coming out of the valve cover are in the engine not anywhere near the lights/interior.. hopefully its not electrical.
You have electrical components on every square foot of your car. Not just things that light up.
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Old 12-07-2012, 11:33 AM   #11
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You have electrical components on every square foot of your car. Not just things that light up.
Your right. Ill get it checked out soon. Thanks! I hope it's not electrical..
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Old 12-07-2012, 11:40 AM   #12
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Yes, I do think it is 100% your valve cover gasket but I would be concerned over the coolant level being low. The crackling is normal, it is often the heat shields or cats cooling off. However, the crackling may also be due to drops of oil hitting the very hot heat shields, thus lots of smoke. Personally cooling system (i.e. finding out where your coolant went) would be priority rather than the smoke.
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Old 12-07-2012, 11:49 AM   #13
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Yes, I do think it is 100% your valve cover gasket but I would be concerned over the coolant level being low. The crackling is normal, it is often the heat shields or cats cooling off. However, the crackling may also be due to drops of oil hitting the very hot heat shields, thus lots of smoke. Personally cooling system (i.e. finding out where your coolant went) would be priority rather than the smoke.
I will definitely be doing my VCG. The thing about the coolant light is it comes on randomly and goes off at different times. I have full coolant too. I checked it and topped it off a few weeks ago.. There doesn't seem to be a coolant problem and my engine temp gauge never shows it getting too hot.. What I'm thinking is the coolant light has to do with my heating system because I'm getting heat randomly. It doesn't come on all the time. I'm also not throwing any coded web I plug in my obd2 scanner.. I'm gonna start with my VCG then while it's in the shop ill check out the cooling system as well
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Old 12-07-2012, 11:57 AM   #14
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Sounds like your system isn't bled correctly and there's air in there. If I'm remembering correctly the coolant level sensor is actually partitioned off in the expansion tank and can be subject to air bubbles making it think its low.
That would also explain your intermittent heat situation.
When's the last time your coolant was changed? Maybe a flush and fill would do you good. The key ingredient in these cars is bleeding it correctly though.
I think it's your vcg too. It's somewhat common for bmws to leak oil out onto the headers and it leaves no trace because it burns off.
An oil leak won't cause a smell. Burning oil will. I think that's what you're getting.
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Old 12-07-2012, 12:00 PM   #15
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If your getting intermittant heat, you may need to bleed the system.

I believe an air pocket could cause an issue with the sensor tripping too...not too sure.
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Old 12-07-2012, 12:05 PM   #16
diM3tri
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Originally Posted by peytonracer4 View Post
Sounds like your system isn't bled correctly and there's air in there. If I'm remembering correctly the coolant level sensor is actually partitioned off in the expansion tank and can be subject to air bubbles making it think its low.
That would also explain your intermittent heat situation.
When's the last time your coolant was changed? Maybe a flush and fill would do you good. The key ingredient in these cars is bleeding it correctly though.
I think it's your vcg too. It's somewhat common for bmws to leak oil out onto the headers and it leaves no trace because it burns off.
An oil leak won't cause a smell. Burning oil will. I think that's what you're getting.
I bought the car about 4 months ago and they said they changed all the fluids.. Not sure if that includes coolant or if they did it correctly.. Ill bleed the system and do VCG. Hopefully that will help.
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Old 12-07-2012, 12:09 PM   #17
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This is from left-field .... See if you can look down under/around the exhaust manifold and header pipes and spot anything that looks like an artifact of burnt plastic. Check the areas on/around the firewall for missing or cracked plastic parts. These cars are getting older and the splashguard (firewall) black plastic cowling can age, crack, fall off, and melt on the exhaust .....
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Old 12-07-2012, 12:09 PM   #18
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I second the advice above, sounds like air is in your system and is in need of proper bleeding.
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Old 12-07-2012, 12:16 PM   #19
diM3tri
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This is from left-field .... See if you can look down under/around the exhaust manifold and header pipes and spot anything that looks like an artifact of burnt plastic. Check the areas on/around the firewall for missing or cracked plastic parts. These cars are getting older and the splashguard (firewall) black plastic cowling can age, crack, fall off, and melt on the exhaust .....
When installing angel eyes I accidentally cracked one of the clips for my corner lights and it fell to the bottom of the engine but I didn't think this could burn..
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