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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 01-22-2017, 08:09 PM   #1
MrAfro
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Drinking Oil

Hey,
I'm experiencing some excessive oil consumption, and by excessive I mean I add oil to the car more times in a week than I go for gas.

Was heading to a meeting yesterday and the light came on, checked my dipstick and it was bone dry, I filled up on oil 4 days before (light was still coming up during the 4 days but for short periods). Dumped the rest of my bottle in (brought the dipstick to half) and it was all good for the rest of the day, drove about 50km.

Was coming home today from another meeting putting on another 50km or so, and the oil light came up. Checked the dipstick and its right above min mark.

Scanned the car and it threw no codes, and no visible leaking from above.

My last full oil change was maybe 3K ago, since then I've gone through 4.4L's of additional oil.

I've been looking into getting a catch can, I've just been trying to find somewhere to get the hoses and adapters just as preventative Maintenance of a failing CCV.. However the CCV oil consumption posts i've read weren't this extreme, so i'm not so inclined to believe its CCV related.

My dad is hypothesizing that there could be a leak somewhere or a very fine spray. (Maybe from when my fan decided it no longer wanted to be part of my car)


Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 01-22-2017, 08:23 PM   #2
lingon300k
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Take a look at the oil consumption link in my signature. There's a video in it, made by another member, that contains literally everything you would ever want to know about oil consumption in these cars.

The thread is in general a DIY for what I consider to be the simplest repair. A catch can is probably the "cleanest"/simplest option when finished, but requires a lot of customization.

There's no way you're losing that much oil due to a leak. You're definitely burning it.

Until then, consider a can of Liqui-Moly Motor Oil saver, and a switch to a 40 weight oil. (I saw no difference in consumption when I went to a 40 weight, but some people say they have.)

Last edited by lingon300k; 01-22-2017 at 08:23 PM.
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Old 01-22-2017, 08:30 PM   #3
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The main leak points are OFHG, VCG, Vanos oil line and oil pan gasket but you'd be leaving puddles or smelling oil smoke. What do the belly pans look like when you take them off? Some M540motors have poor oil ring and the consumption is due to burning. Is there any smoke on cold starts (valve guides) or on acceleration (rings)? Ccv could be the cause if it's full of mayo.
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Old 01-22-2017, 08:53 PM   #4
Supreme1125
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A big Ieak i found on my e46 was the oil filter housing gasket, it would drip down but the wind would push it Father towards my shield makin it look like no leaks

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Old 01-22-2017, 09:32 PM   #5
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MrAfro, remove the belly pan under the engine and you'll likely find a big oily mess. Oil usually leaks much faster than it burns.
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Old 01-22-2017, 09:39 PM   #6
MrAfro
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lingon300k - Oh man the amount of times I've read that link, and watched his vids, just haven't gotten around to actually doing it cause Uni/Exam/NewTerm life. Liqui-Moly Motor Oil saver, Alright Ill pick some up tmrw morning, and I already have 40 weight oil lined up. Mobil 1 0w40 European Formula?

jmo69 - I'll take a look at those areas in the morning, uh theres a little puff of white on cold starts, doesn't seem excessive. Like the normal puff on a cold morning that the cars around here have. The exhaust does have a slightly different smell from when I first got the car tho.

BaliDawg - I think I'll bring the car into my mech for that one, if its going to be a big oily mess.

Last edited by MrAfro; 01-22-2017 at 09:41 PM.
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Old 01-22-2017, 09:44 PM   #7
MrAfro
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Nevermind bring it to the mech, I found some car sized cardboard pieces that I can use.
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Old 01-22-2017, 09:45 PM   #8
KendrickC
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Looking from above you saw no oil leaks. There's maybe one or two oil leaks you can see from the top, and them being the valve cover gasket, and the VANOS oil line on the valve cover side. Everything else is hidden.

OFHG drinks oil, and makes a mess of everything.
CCV can cause oil to burn like nothing else. Replacement units can fail quickly too - I went to a catch can setup after a CCV system I replaced with (OEM) failed a year later.
Oil pan gasket is usually a slow leak, but can progress to something more.
Rear main seal, if blown out, can make you lose all your oil very quickly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lingon300k View Post
There's no way you're losing that much oil due to a leak. You're definitely burning it.
Not true. The oil filter housing gasket, or the rear mail seal can fail incredibly badly. 50skid (someone we both enjoy watching, I'll bet) has videos on his RMS blowing out while the car was running, and dripping oil everywhere. Oil filter housing gasket in my case required me to top up oil every month. Not as much as OP, but still a very considerable amount. CCV made me top up every 3 months. Catch can has solved that.
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Old 01-22-2017, 09:51 PM   #9
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Quote:
jmo69 - I'll take a look at those areas in the morning, uh theres a little puff of white on cold starts, doesn't seem excessive. Like the normal puff on a cold morning that the cars around here have. The exhaust does have a slightly different smell from when I first got the car tho
The start up smoke would be blue if it's valve guides, same as rings under acceleration. Might be hard to differentiate in cold weather from condensation, the inside of the exhaust tips might tell you something. Oil film is obvious, checking the plugs can tell you if it's burning oil too.
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Old 01-22-2017, 10:01 PM   #10
lingon300k
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KendrickC View Post
Not true. The oil filter housing gasket, or the rear mail seal can fail incredibly badly. 50skid (someone we both enjoy watching, I'll bet) has videos on his RMS blowing out while the car was running, and dripping oil everywhere. Oil filter housing gasket in my case required me to top up oil every month. Not as much as OP, but still a very considerable amount. CCV made me top up every 3 months. Catch can has solved that.
Leaks can definitely cause large oil loss. A blown out RMS, like you mentioned, or a hole in the oil pan, could possibly let out the whole pan in under a minute. But oil leaks, at the rate of loss OP mentioned, are extremely obvious. I've seen a bad oil pan gasket suddenly get worse and pour out a few quarts while the car was sitting overnight. Even with the belly pans on, that kind of loss will be leaking past them on the ground.

I've probably phrased that in the same way quite a few times, without proper clarification. I mean to say that it can't just be a leak at that rate. Whenever you're seeing close to a quart per 1000 miles and there's no oil on the ground, you're burning some of it.

Oil leaks are easy to diagnose, though. You look under the engine and see oil everywhere. Then it's just a matter of isolating the leak(s), starting from the top.

Catch can is a great option, and probably what I would have gone with if I lived in a warmer climate. What kind of usage were you seeing before and after the catch can? The 02Pilot mod cut my consumption by more than half, but I keep wondering if a catch can could be better? I'm yet to find any examples of people who did the 02Pilot mod then went with a catch can.
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Old 01-22-2017, 10:49 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lingon300k View Post
Take a look at the oil consumption link in my signature. There's a video in it, made by another member, that contains literally everything you would ever want to know about oil consumption in these cars.

The thread is in general a DIY for what I consider to be the simplest repair. A catch can is probably the "cleanest"/simplest option when finished, but requires a lot of customization.

There's no way you're losing that much oil due to a leak. You're definitely burning it.

Until then, consider a can of Liqui-Moly Motor Oil saver, and a switch to a 40 weight oil. (I saw no difference in consumption when I went to a 40 weight, but some people say they have.)
If you went from a thick 30W to a thin 40W like say M1 0W40 you wouldn't expect any difference. If you went from a thin 30W to a thick 40W then you would
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Old 01-22-2017, 10:53 PM   #12
case600lp
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I was surprised to find my oil filter gasket dribbling oil out one time! But it wasn't the filter housing gasket that everyone talks about! (although I HAVE had to replace that one).

It was the filter cap O-ring - it had "squished out" on the intake manifold side - and was pouring a little stream out! I didn't think I had over-tightened it or anything, but I guess I had...


Howard
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Old 01-23-2017, 12:39 AM   #13
KendrickC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lingon300k View Post
Leaks can definitely cause large oil loss. A blown out RMS, like you mentioned, or a hole in the oil pan, could possibly let out the whole pan in under a minute. But oil leaks, at the rate of loss OP mentioned, are extremely obvious. I've seen a bad oil pan gasket suddenly get worse and pour out a few quarts while the car was sitting overnight. Even with the belly pans on, that kind of loss will be leaking past them on the ground.

I've probably phrased that in the same way quite a few times, without proper clarification. I mean to say that it can't just be a leak at that rate. Whenever you're seeing close to a quart per 1000 miles and there's no oil on the ground, you're burning some of it.

Oil leaks are easy to diagnose, though. You look under the engine and see oil everywhere. Then it's just a matter of isolating the leak(s), starting from the top.

Catch can is a great option, and probably what I would have gone with if I lived in a warmer climate. What kind of usage were you seeing before and after the catch can? The 02Pilot mod cut my consumption by more than half, but I keep wondering if a catch can could be better? I'm yet to find any examples of people who did the 02Pilot mod then went with a catch can.
Yeah, I meant no disrespect if it seemed that way. Your points are correct.

Oil usage was 1 quart of oil 3 months, which was roughly 4000kms. Post catch can, I have not needed to top at all. No more black exhaust tips either as far as I can tell. There is some gunk there, but that's probably because I pressure washed the tips, but didn't actually clean them with anything.

The 02pilot mod is more than adequate honestly. I did the catch can cos... it looks cool.
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Old 01-23-2017, 10:35 AM   #14
lingon300k
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sprintman View Post
If you went from a thick 30W to a thin 40W like say M1 0W40 you wouldn't expect any difference. If you went from a thin 30W to a thick 40W then you would
I went from BMW oil--which was in the car from a dealership service--to Mobil 1 High Mileage 10w40. Definitely on the thicker end of 40. There wasn't any discernible difference in usage.
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Old 01-24-2017, 03:33 AM   #15
MrAfro
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I ended up just going to my mechanic and telling him about the situation, since he'd be able to get whatever part in under 30 min, compared to me having to drive around and find it. He suggested either the Oil pan gasket, the filter housing or potentially the RMS, just as you guys mentioned. Turns out one of the e46s that is sitting on his lot has a similar problem, however the owner hasn't given him the green light to look at the car.

He told me to swing by tomorrow so he can take a look.

Thank you guys so much for the quick replies and help, Ill post an update when I get back from the shop tomorrow.
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Old 01-24-2017, 04:49 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lingon300k View Post
I went from BMW oil--which was in the car from a dealership service--to Mobil 1 High Mileage 10w40. Definitely on the thicker end of 40. There wasn't any discernible difference in usage.
At 16.0 cSt that's a thick 40W indeed
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Old 01-24-2017, 06:29 PM   #17
MrAfro
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Went in, he snooped around and everything seemed in okay shape, the RMS is showing signs of wearing, but no signs of oil.

Got him to do an oil change. I'm going to keep track of the dipstick for the next few days to see if the 0w40 is going to make a difference.

Last resort he said was to consider a rebuild if excessive oil consumption continues.

Going to order a catch can, and continue my way down kpeng's maintenance guide.
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Old 01-24-2017, 06:43 PM   #18
lingon300k
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrAfro View Post
Went in, he snooped around and everything seemed in okay shape, the RMS is showing signs of wearing, but no signs of oil.

Got him to do an oil change. I'm going to keep track of the dipstick for the next few days to see if the 0w40 is going to make a difference.

Last resort he said was to consider a rebuild if excessive oil consumption continues.

Going to order a catch can, and continue my way down kpeng's maintenance guide.
You went to the mechanic, and he looked over the car, and decided that the rear main seal is showing signs of "wearing"? I'm wondering if your mechanic knows what a rear main seal is. I'm assuming you didn't pay him to remove the transmission from the car, so there's no way your mechanic has any idea what the rear main seal looks like.

Being in Canada, you should know that your engine will be destroyed if your catch can fills up with liquid and freezes. This could happen if you forget to empty it.
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Old 01-25-2017, 12:12 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lingon300k View Post
You went to the mechanic, and he looked over the car, and decided that the rear main seal is showing signs of "wearing"? I'm wondering if your mechanic knows what a rear main seal is. I'm assuming you didn't pay him to remove the transmission from the car, so there's no way your mechanic has any idea what the rear main seal looks like.



Being in Canada, you should know that your engine will be destroyed if your catch can fills up with liquid and freezes. This could happen if you forget to empty it.


^That's hilarious.

OP you should listen to Lingon...
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Old 01-25-2017, 08:40 PM   #20
MrAfro
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Surprisingly he stopped making me pay for any issue inspection. Only makes me pay for parts and the labour of putting new parts in, or just labour if I bring it in.

Yeah I've been thinking about that big downside with the catch can, and forgetting to do frequent checks.

I was wondering if the BMW Oil separator could work? There is 2 for sale near one of my friends, who I have to pick up on friday.
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