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E46 Xi Forum
The E46 XI was produced from 01-05 in sedan and touring body styles. Powered by either a 2.5L inline 6 in the 325xi or a 3.0L inline 6 330xi. Discuss all thing about BMW AWD E46 'Xi' here.

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Old 10-24-2013, 10:52 AM   #1
biglittledog
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oily spark plug threads and lots of carbon (video)

Hi,
We just bought a second '02 325xiT that's in a little rougher shape than the first (my wife's). It's running fine but when I pulled the plugs, there was quite a bit of carbon on them and the piston crown. I did the baggie test of the CCV or Oil Separator and found slight vacuum with the same at the dipstick tube. That seems to say the CCV system is working okay. What's crazy to me is how much oil is on the plug threads.
This is a one owner car in Colorado it's whole life. It's been subjected to many many short commutes of 4 miles each way or shorter and not much highway driving. I hope this is why there is so much carbon buildup...
No mayonaise in the oil and the anti freeze looks like it should.
I'm going to run a can of BG44K through it and take it on a decently long highway cruise and see if it cleans some of this out. Any other thoughts or tests I should perform or check?

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Steve in the foothills of the Rockies
1991 325iC
2002 325xiT
1967 Jaguar 420G
2003 Moto Guzzi 1100
1989 Honda XR600r
1968 BSA Shooting Star

Last edited by biglittledog; 10-24-2013 at 10:55 AM.
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Old 10-25-2013, 02:59 PM   #2
tomoyer
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Well, first of all no one can view your video of what ever you were trying to show as it comes up "This video is private". When you pulled the coils to remove the spark plugs, was there any sign of oil on the coils rubber boots? Did you look or use a rag to "dip" into the spark plug wells to see if there was any oil in the wells? How long, many miles were the plugs in before you removed them?
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Old 10-25-2013, 04:44 PM   #3
biglittledog
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oops, sorry! I think I just fixed the video problem (of course it was letting me see it but not anyone else). Thanks for letting me know...
No oil on boots, only threads.
I don't know how long the plugs were in because we've only owned the car a short time.
I'm gonna do plugs VGC Vanos seals, Mango's cooling refresh without the radiator and a couple hoses that are obviously pretty new and running some BG44K through it.
136k on the one owner car...
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Steve in the foothills of the Rockies
1991 325iC
2002 325xiT
1967 Jaguar 420G
2003 Moto Guzzi 1100
1989 Honda XR600r
1968 BSA Shooting Star
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Old 10-25-2013, 06:29 PM   #4
e46alfonso
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That car needs a lot of work.
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Old 10-26-2013, 11:01 AM   #5
tomoyer
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Easy fix for the slight vacuum leak at the dip stick, replace the 2 o-rings and keep a thin film of grease on the o-rings. The oil on the threads of the plus may well have been put there when the plugs were changed last. The head is aluminum and the spark plug threads are steel. If a film of oil, grease or never-seize compound isn't put on the threads of the plugs, galvanic corrosion can fuse the plugs to the cylinder head. I would recommend using never-seize compound on the threads of the new spark plugs before installing, you want to brush on enough to lightly cover all the threads. The black/carbon on the plugs suggests that they are either the wrong/incorrect plugs (i.e. too cold/incorrect heat range) for the car, a fuel mixture that is always too rich or piston rings/or cylinder bore(s) that are worn and letting oil past the rings into the combustion area. A compression test of all cylinders will help give you and indication.
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Old 10-31-2013, 09:51 AM   #6
biglittledog
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Seems to have abated with a tankful of gas run through it. It will sometimes still smoke for a couple seconds at cold startup but often times not.
I've ordered the cold weather CCV kit (with lower intake boot), new design dipstick tube, vanos seals, and spark plugs and VGC. Also ran some BG MOA in it.
A local mechanic seems convinced it's a classic failed CCV on top of a million short trips where the car never warms fully.
I'll report back after the new bits are on...thanks for the suggestions so far.

PS- I always use anti-seize on spark plug threads and many other things. Great stuff and you will thank yourself next time you have to remove the part!
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Steve in the foothills of the Rockies
1991 325iC
2002 325xiT
1967 Jaguar 420G
2003 Moto Guzzi 1100
1989 Honda XR600r
1968 BSA Shooting Star
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Old 11-03-2013, 09:52 PM   #7
biglittledog
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Just a quick update:
No more smoke the last 5 days. I'm still collecting parts for the CCV and Vanos replacement etc. I hear a faint hissing if I'm not touching the brake pedal indicating a vacuum leak. Gotta fix that too!
Car is running really well but still throwing misfire codes...
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Steve in the foothills of the Rockies
1991 325iC
2002 325xiT
1967 Jaguar 420G
2003 Moto Guzzi 1100
1989 Honda XR600r
1968 BSA Shooting Star
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Old 11-15-2013, 06:58 PM   #8
biglittledog
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good news update: no more smoke but the car was throwing all the usual codes 0174,0171,0183,0185 so I went in and changed the CCV oil separator valve and it's four nasty hoses. What a PITA...the bottom hose was broken and hanging off and the valve was brittle and snapped in half while I was removing it. BMW gets an A for engineering and an F for execution on this one. I also cleaned the MAF, DISA and idle valve while they were out.
The good news is it's like a new car. I've run two tanks of gas through it and no smoke, no hiccups, no codes on anything. I took it down to Colorado emissions and it passed with flying colors (very low everything).
It was basically all caused by THAT DAMN VALVE! What a POS piece of plastic and plastic hoses....
Now I'm on to replacing the brake booster that has a small hissy leak in the diaphragm and turning the drums/check pads while the wheels are off to bleed the brakes after install.
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Steve in the foothills of the Rockies
1991 325iC
2002 325xiT
1967 Jaguar 420G
2003 Moto Guzzi 1100
1989 Honda XR600r
1968 BSA Shooting Star

Last edited by biglittledog; 11-15-2013 at 06:59 PM.
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