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Old 01-08-2013, 10:29 PM   #1
sykane
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Unhappy Frozen CCV failure, do I need a new engine?

Hey guys, I had a pretty serious issue with my E46 and I'm looking for some advice. I have a 2004 325xi with about 80,000 miles on the clock. Yesterday I started the car up to make a quick trip, and after driving for a few blocks I was at a stop light and my engine begins to lose RPM's and begin to die. I tried revving the engine while at the light but it ended up dying. It didn't want to turn over but I was able to get it started while pumping the gas. I immediately knew there was something wrong with the engine, it idled terribly and tons of smoke poured out the exaust. I immediately pulled over and had the car towed to a mechanic I usually use.

Today I got a call from him. He said that he examined the engine and one of the cylinders was filled with oil. He believes this was caused by a frozen CCV, as I live in upstate NY (Albany) and it has been cold recently. He stated that he drained the oil from the cylinder by removing the spark plug, but there was still a large amount of smoke coming out of the exhaust, which he believes indicates that the piston and its oil ring had been damaged. He advised he believed the only way to repair it would be to rebuild the engine or replace it with a used engine.

My question is if these are really my only options? When I searched for this issue, I saw others had had it and simply needed to drain the oil and replace the valve. Is it possible the smoke is just left over oil and the engine could be ok? Could the oil cause piston damage that would require a rebuild? He advised that rebuilding the engine would be a waste of time due to the labor involved and advised getting a used engine and having him do the swap. He quoted me 5,000+ for the whole thing, which would include the used engine, new belts and everything for that,a new CCV and thermostat (which apparently is throwing coded) What do you guys think? Either way that sounded like a high estimate for a swap so if I have to go that route I would probably look for another shop, any suggestions in the upstate NY area?

Thanks for the help!
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Old 01-08-2013, 10:31 PM   #2
Mouf
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Lots of oil in the cat causes the smoke. Put a CCV kit, spark plugs, and probably a valve cover gasket. Drive the crap out of it and the smoke should fade. If the oil filled the cylinder, it has filled the exhaust.

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Old 01-08-2013, 10:43 PM   #3
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Funny how I was just starting a thermostat thread and have been discussing the fact that many of the cold weather CCV issues may be caused by engines running too cold!

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=964491

My suggestion is to have the shop perform a compression test and cylinder leakage test on your motor. This way you will have an idea if the engine is really damaged. Or if the engine is still running and not sucking oil into the intake, drive the car for a bit to see if the smoke clears up.

Hydrolocking an engine is not a good thing, but you may have gotten lucky??? and only filled your exhaust with oil that needs to burn out.

If you think the engine is salvageable then you need to replace the thermostat and make sure the engine is running at 95C and replace the CCV and make sure the dipstick dual walled drain is clear.
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Old 01-08-2013, 10:45 PM   #4
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Worked at a dealer for years. Frozen CCV/Hydro lock happens all the time on the M54. Not a major deal

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Old 01-08-2013, 10:49 PM   #5
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What kind of temps were you having in Upstate NY when this happened?

Do you make short drives?

If you get the car running, see the 3rd link in my signature to read your engine coolant temp, would be curious how low it has been running.
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Old 01-08-2013, 11:01 PM   #6
sykane
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It hasn't been THAT cold, although we did have one night where it may have hit zero degrees. The average temp at night has probably been 15-20 degrees.. I don't make a lot of short trips in the car, but I definitely do occasionally. I had never heard of this issue before his happened, or else I would obviously have avoided those types of trips without the engine heating up.

The mechanic stated that they have gotten the engine running but the exhaust is still blowing a ton of smoke. Wouldn't that indicate that I haven't hydro locked the engine and it should be ok? I really hope I don't have to replace this engine...

Last edited by sykane; 01-08-2013 at 11:07 PM.
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Old 01-08-2013, 11:31 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by sykane View Post
It hasn't been THAT cold, although we did have one night where it may have hit zero degrees.
Maybe not so cold for you, but colder than for most. You likely have 2 issues.

1. Soft failing thermostat causing engine to run too cold and not cook of moisture and water vapor from the crank case.

2. A plugged or restricted CCV system, CCV lower oil return line and possibly a clogged dual walled dipstick tube.

If you can get the car warmed up and it is not missing and has no CEL then I would be hopeful the engine is fine. You will likely need to get it out on the highway for 15-30 minutes to help clear the exhaust of oil.

The first thing I would likely do is replace the thermostat and make sure the engine is running consistently in the low to mid 90C range after it has warmed up, typically 5-7 miles in the morning.

CCV may be able to wait a bit, but you may not want to chance it this time of year.
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Old 01-09-2013, 01:35 AM   #8
adaseb
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Didn't think a CCV could cause engine damage. Worse I assumed was a blown valve cover gasket.
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:22 AM   #9
RayPooley
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sykane View Post
Hey guys, I had a pretty serious issue with my E46 and I'm looking for some advice. I have a 2004 325xi with about 80,000 miles on the clock. Yesterday I started the car up to make a quick trip, and after driving for a few blocks I was at a stop light and my engine begins to lose RPM's and begin to die. I tried revving the engine while at the light but it ended up dying. It didn't want to turn over but I was able to get it started while pumping the gas. I immediately knew there was something wrong with the engine, it idled terribly and tons of smoke poured out the exaust. I immediately pulled over and had the car towed to a mechanic I usually use.

Today I got a call from him. He said that he examined the engine and one of the cylinders was filled with oil. He believes this was caused by a frozen CCV, as I live in upstate NY (Albany) and it has been cold recently. He stated that he drained the oil from the cylinder by removing the spark plug, but there was still a large amount of smoke coming out of the exhaust, which he believes indicates that the piston and its oil ring had been damaged. He advised he believed the only way to repair it would be to rebuild the engine or replace it with a used engine.

My question is if these are really my only options? When I searched for this issue, I saw others had had it and simply needed to drain the oil and replace the valve. Is it possible the smoke is just left over oil and the engine could be ok? Could the oil cause piston damage that would require a rebuild? He advised that rebuilding the engine would be a waste of time due to the labor involved and advised getting a used engine and having him do the swap. He quoted me 5,000+ for the whole thing, which would include the used engine, new belts and everything for that,a new CCV and thermostat (which apparently is throwing coded) What do you guys think? Either way that sounded like a high estimate for a swap so if I have to go that route I would probably look for another shop, any suggestions in the upstate NY area?

Thanks for the help!
Never had this personally but think of it like this. Oil gets sucked into cylinder during piston intake stroke. At bottom of intake stroke all valves in that piston close in readiness for compression stroke. Piston moves up but does not get to top of compression stroke because oil is incompressible and piston cannot complete its travel all the way to TDC. Engine stalls. I can't see how, under these circumstances, valves can be damaged because they are closed and seated. Stems are not exposed. If oil gets pushed out during the exhaust stroke its going to end up in the exhaust manifolds and its going to smoke like hell no matter what until its burnt off. I think you should just fit a new cold weather CCV and see how it goes. I can't see how the valves can get busted, unless the timing went all to hell and they came into contact with the pistons. I guess blown head gasket is a possibility but thats not a replacement engine requirement by any means. Go somewhere else.

Last edited by RayPooley; 01-09-2013 at 09:25 AM.
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:32 AM   #10
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My personal experience. Happened to my 2001 x5 3.0 with 65k I used to have. Sucked in 5 quarts of oil. 2800$ later. All repaired and ran fine. And it had oil in every cylinder. Almost was a complete rebuild.
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:58 AM   #11
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My personal experience. Happened to my 2001 x5 3.0 with 65k I used to have. Sucked in 5 quarts of oil. 2800$ later. All repaired and ran fine. And it had oil in every cylinder. Almost was a complete rebuild.
Not being funny dude but dis you just accept the first diagnosis? Did you do it yourself? What did you/they replace?
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Old 01-09-2013, 10:05 AM   #12
AquaRelliux
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If one cylinder has oil in it why does it need to be rebuilt? just change all that Mouf suggests and you will be fine. I will in Sweden and we get alot colder climate here than in NY so I recently changed my CCV just to be sure it dosent freeze, also get the cold climate version!
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Old 01-09-2013, 10:11 AM   #13
phish032009
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oil sep question

I have a 330xi 2005 57k.....I had a mechanic look at the oil sep because I do smell burning oil occasionally...they said it was wet outside of it meaning its leaking a little...i haven't had any other symptoms besides adding 1/2 qt oil every 2-3k or so....should I be in a rush to replace the oil sep? or wait until i get more symptoms? I live in new england but keep the car garaged...
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Old 01-09-2013, 08:20 PM   #14
9000aero2_E46
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had same issue
Pulled plugs
cranked it over to purge the oil from the cylinders
reinstalled plugs and drove it for 4 hrs
it took almost 60 mile on the highway to burn all of the oil out
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Old 01-25-2013, 05:48 PM   #15
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This just happened to me as well. Started it up after sitting in the 10 degree weather all night, drove about 1 mile and noticed that my exhaust was spitting out white smoke. Shut off the engine and the oil cap was covered in white gunk. Car started and I moved out of the middle of the road but it immediately stalled again. Waited 2 hours for the tow truck to arrive and dropped it off at a nearby shop I've never been to before. Hopefully I won't be getting terrible news tomorrow morning.
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Old 01-25-2013, 06:11 PM   #16
jfoj
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If you were smart, you would tell the shop to not try and start the engine.

Just pull the plugs and crank the engine over to purge the cylinders.

Put plugs back in, top off oil and start the engine. If the engine starts, you need to pick the car up and drive it for more than 1 hour on the highway and check the engine temp using the Hidden OBC menu.

If you have not been making a lot of short trips, you likely need a thermostat as well??

CCV likely needs replacement, however, I think coolant temp and short drives is a bigger factor than the CCV itself.
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Old 01-25-2013, 06:27 PM   #17
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Thanks for the advice. I'm going to let them look at it and take it from there. Since it stalled in the middle of center city in rush hour traffic I did manage to start it after a few attempts and pulled over to the side road and immediately shut it off. I'm just hoping I didn't damage the engine after it flooded with oil. Oh, and when I shut it down for good the thermostat was still cold. Could there still be head gasket damage?

Can fixing this be as simple as cleaning the cylinders, replacing the VCG (due anyway), possibly a new thermostat, and topping off the oil?

To add insult to injury, both my kidney grills fell out too as the clips snapped due to the cold. It's a bad day.


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Old 01-26-2013, 05:05 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by sykane View Post
Hey guys, I had a pretty serious issue with my E46 and I'm looking for some advice. I have a 2004 325xi with about 80,000 miles on the clock. Yesterday I started the car up to make a quick trip, and after driving for a few blocks I was at a stop light and my engine begins to lose RPM's and begin to die. I tried revving the engine while at the light but it ended up dying. It didn't want to turn over but I was able to get it started while pumping the gas. I immediately knew there was something wrong with the engine, it idled terribly and tons of smoke poured out the exaust. I immediately pulled over and had the car towed to a mechanic I usually use.

Today I got a call from him. He said that he examined the engine and one of the cylinders was filled with oil. He believes this was caused by a frozen CCV, as I live in upstate NY (Albany) and it has been cold recently. He stated that he drained the oil from the cylinder by removing the spark plug, but there was still a large amount of smoke coming out of the exhaust, which he believes indicates that the piston and its oil ring had been damaged. He advised he believed the only way to repair it would be to rebuild the engine or replace it with a used engine.

My question is if these are really my only options? When I searched for this issue, I saw others had had it and simply needed to drain the oil and replace the valve. Is it possible the smoke is just left over oil and the engine could be ok? Could the oil cause piston damage that would require a rebuild? He advised that rebuilding the engine would be a waste of time due to the labor involved and advised getting a used engine and having him do the swap. He quoted me 5,000+ for the whole thing, which would include the used engine, new belts and everything for that,a new CCV and thermostat (which apparently is throwing coded) What do you guys think? Either way that sounded like a high estimate for a swap so if I have to go that route I would probably look for another shop, any suggestions in the upstate NY area?

Thanks for the help!
If some of that oil got out of the piston through the exhaust valves and into the headers and exhaust you will continue to get blue smoke out of the exhaust until it all burns off. If the car is now running ok, having been fixed regarding the CCV, continue to run it to see if the smoke subsides. If it doesn't then fair enough. But give it a go anyway. You have nothing to lose.

It is possible for head gasket damage even with a cold engine. When you get a piston full of oil it effectively turns the piston into a hydraulic ram depending on how much oil is in there but its not a foregone conclusion.

Last edited by RayPooley; 01-26-2013 at 05:09 AM.
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Old 01-26-2013, 05:10 AM   #19
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My advice would be to get a compression test. If that cylinder still has adequate compression then just drive it for a while and see if the oil will burn away.
I kinda doubt you did too much damage.
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Old 01-26-2013, 05:30 AM   #20
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Usually you bend connecting rods before you damage the headgasket when hydro locking.

But what have you got to lose pulling the plugs, purging oil from the cylinders and driving the car?? If it still runs, drive it and watch the temps and make sure the CCV does not freeze again.

CCV freeze up is most likely not due to a bad CCV but due to brown mayo/goo in the crankcase because of a bad thermostat and short trips in the cold weather. The brown mayo/goo is a water/oil milkshake mix that will freeze and clog the CCV and CCV oil return line. The CCV oil return line and a clogged dipstick tube are really the most likely cause of this problem along with the crankcase never getting hot enough to "cook" off water vapor in the crankcase.
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