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Old 01-23-2013, 09:05 PM   #1
stgoulet
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Engine help, headgasket/CCV problem possibly

First, thanks to all who have posted in the forum, has been great for me so far and I am hoping that some of your experience can help me with my problem I had recently. Secondly, sorry for the novella that I wrote about my problem, but thanks for your help.

Two days ago, while driving home from work, I had a problem where I noticed an abnormal condensation/smoke cloud behind my car. Within a mile of noticing it I stopped and quickly checked what was going on. I quickly smelled the exhaust to make sure it wasn't originating there, then popped the hood to find that there was either some steam or smoke coming from the right side of the engine, not necessarily a large amount, but that is what I saw. It has been rather cold where I live here in Michigan, running in the single digits lately so I don't know if it was cold air hitting the exhaust manifold or smoke coming from the head gasket.I couldn't smell smoke but it was pretty thick for condensation.

After seeing that I turned off the engine and proceeded to check the fluid levels. I had only driven a few miles from work but my water temp claimed to be running well within normal limits. Cooling fluids were filled to the normal level but as I checked the oil I experienced a "blow out" when I pulled the dip stick. There was a considerable amount of oil that shot out, probably ranging 100-250 ml. I had checked my oil two weeks prior, maybe driven all of 400 miles since, and it had been slightly under the middle of where a normal line would be when I checked it cold. After checking my oil level after my problem started, and I had shut the car off to do so, it was running around the low mark so I called someone to bring me some oil so that I could top it off and drive home. I added around 3/4 to a full quart of oil and then turned the engine over to hear a ping-ing or maybe clank-ing (sorry for the child-language) so I turned it back off again and called my uncle to get his advice (previous owner of the car). I thought that the sound was coming from the head region, but I honestly don't know the location. After talking to my Uncle we decided that since the car had not shown a low oil pressure and my water-temp was claiming to be normal, that I would drive it home and get it into be checked out the next day provided it didn't start to over-heat.

After I tried to start the car, it didn't turn over. I only tried twice but after that decided to tow it home and get some advise from someone more knowledgeable and qualified. Worst case I think that I may have developed a break in the head gasket that allowed some of the coolant into one of the cylinders and now it won't fire. Any advise or recommendations on how to troubleshoot my engine to determine the problem will be appreciated. All of the maintenance on the car has been done by me since taking ownership around a year and a half ago, changing oil every 5k and checking coolant as regular as the oil, knowing that the cooling system is the weakest part of the car.

Currently car has 155,000 on it, new coolant system replaced by a BMW mechanic at ~90K, and again meticulous maintenance by my Unlce and myself. If there is anything else that I can provide, feel free to private message me here. I am going to drain the oil and coolant tomorrow to see if there is any visible amount of either in the opposite circulation system.
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Old 01-24-2013, 01:23 AM   #2
dslboomer
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You may follow this thread. It is very similar to your case.

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=967164
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Old 01-24-2013, 04:52 AM   #3
jfoj
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Do not worry about draining the oil and coolant yet.

Suggest you pull the spark plug and crank the engine over, you will likely get oil out of some or all of the cylinders.

Your CCV likely froze and/or the lower oil return line became clogged due to the CCV lower oil return line/dipstick tube being clogged. Likely due to sludge build up/mayo in the crankcase. Pull your oil fill cap and you will likely have the brown mayo under the cap.

You also need to make sure the thermostat is properly functioning as well.

See this link - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...ghlight=report

Here is the deal, you may not need to pull your CCV and replace it at this point in the dead of Winter. You likely need to pull your dipstick tube and clean this very carefully at the base, the tube is double walled and will clog up easily. You should plan on also replacing your dipstick tube O-ring at the base and the CCV lower oil return hose as this is likely soft and/or torn.

Once you do this you can likely get your engine started and pull the dipstick up about 2 inches and make sure you do not have oil coming back out the dipstick tube. If you have no issues, put a can of Seafoam in the crankcase and drive the car long enough to fully warm up, checking coolant temp and take if for at least a 1 hour on include at least 30+ minutes on the highway.

Your CCV really also needs to be replaced, but if you can get this far, it can likely wait for Spring if your thermostat is working and do no make short drives during this very cold weather.
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Old 01-25-2013, 04:36 PM   #4
stgoulet
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Thanks to both of you for replying, I am waiting to hear back from the other guy who is experiencing a similar problem to see how the mechanic fixed it. In the mean time, I am interested in asking your opinion about the thermostat before I invest in these replacement parts for a CCV. I have never used the hidden OBD values to read the real-time heat temperature as I trusted the thermostat temp as it read on the dash (realizing that might be foolish from what I've read). I have noticed in the past months here when the temperature started to drop that the on-dash reading ran slightly past 12 o'clock. I figured that the car was tuned to adjust the water temp appropriately to allow the oil temperature to get up to the desired temp. Could I have a failing thermostat? I will look to see exactly when he did it, but my Uncle had the cooling system overhauled around 50,xxx miles ago I think.

My question then is boiling down to should I replaced the thermostat as well as the CCV at the same time? From what I have come to understand, if I replace the CCV and it does start to run again, having a possible cold running engine will cause this problem over again in these cold months. Should I play it safe and replace both at the same time, both the CCV and the thermostat? Also, when I buy a new CCV, which tubes should I buy and which one should be salvageable, and the oil-dip-stick tube as well? I will get them off on Monday when I have the ability to get it in the heated garage and let whoever is able to help me know what condition they are in. Again, thanks for the help and knowledge!
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Old 01-25-2013, 05:34 PM   #5
dslboomer
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Judging from year of your car, none of CCV hose will be salvageable if they were not replaced before.
Buy CCV kit for cold weather.
http://www.getbmwparts.com/partlocat...gid=4462&tab=1
http://www.ecstuning.com/BMW-E46-330...Oil_Separator/

You can shop around for cheaper price.

If you have not changed the both intake boots, it probably is good time to replace them too. Make sure to buy a F connector (13327503677)
because you will likely break it while pulling out the vacuum hoses.

For thermostat, did you check the actual coolant temperature with OBC?
You should check it for confirmation, but I will just change it if it was not replaced before even if it reads correctly. My t-stat that was replaced in 2005 is going bad, and I ordered one to replace it. I got P0128 code (Coolant Temperature Below Thermostat Regulating Temperature) and milk shake under oil filler cap for the first time even though I have only one year old cold weather CCV system.
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Old 01-25-2013, 05:53 PM   #6
Stryker336
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Just posted this in another thread but it seems like you, me, and the other guy just had the same exact problem.

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 02-05-2013, 08:03 AM   #7
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Hey stgoulet, you ever figure out what happened? I had the ccv system cleaned out and put in new plugs and a vcg and it seems to be running okay. Still a lot of oil / steam coming from the exhaust once the engine is warmed up so I'm not sure if the problem is coming back or if I'm still burning the oil from the incident.
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:39 AM   #8
stgoulet
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I ordered a new CCV or CVV (whatever is appropriate) system with new hosing all around, new oil dipstick tube and a new thermostat, but have been waiting for the dipstick tube to show up as it was on back-order where I ordered it from. I should have it all this week and be able to let you know by Monday of next week at the latest (been getting lots of overtime so I'm going to take it). I am very confident that this system is my only problem after searching the forums. I inspected each of the cylinders in the car and had oil in three of my cylinders (cranked it over manually to get the oil out). Great to hear that your car is running fine, thanks for the update.
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Old 02-12-2013, 02:25 PM   #9
stgoulet
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I finally tore into the throttle body and CVV/CCV (whatever it is called) and replaced Valve unit as well as gaskets and rubber that I had purchased with my Kit. I am waiting on a new intake boot (found a severe tear in mine that was not noticed before, so I'm waiting on that before I try to turn it over. I still had oil in my sixth cylinder that was not seeping below the rings (the little bit that I had found in other two cylinders had leaked through over time). While taking things off to clean them, I noticed that I had oil on my exhaust manifold (4th cylinder area) and a pool of oil sitting down further in another part where oil had drained from above. I had oil spit out at me when I first encountered car trouble, but now I'm starting to thing that I have a larger problem outside of just the CVV. I ordered the few remaining parts I need to assemble the car again, but if the car doesn't turn over after making that repair, where should I start to investigate next? Thanks for any and all brainstorming!
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Old 02-16-2013, 05:53 PM   #10
stgoulet
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I finished installing the CVV and a new thermostat and now I am experiencing water-temperature issues. I just finished this morning and planned on taking in for a long ride to make sure all was well, and shortly after hitting running temp it started to overheat (I didn't have the hidden menu up yet but was going to, sorry I don't know the exact temp of the cooling system). I sat on the side of the road to let it cool down and just got it home while starting and stopping to make sure it didn't overheat. I know that everyone here is a huge advocate of doing a cooling system overhaul, should I just invest in it and then see from there (has been ~50,000 since doing). If I can figure out how to post pictures, I will show the amount of gunk that was on the area for the thermostat to sit flush on (was really bad). I am just brainstorming, any thoughts appreciated.
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Old 02-16-2013, 07:41 PM   #11
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Likely you did not properly bleed the cooling system, this is a typically issue for new BMW owners doing cooling system repairs.

Suggest you see the Cooling System Sticky in the first few threads in the forum.
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Fuel pump failures - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=929501

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

Hidden OBC Menu - Check Voltage, Temp, Fuel Level - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=239619

E46/E39 GM5 Door Lock Info - www.bmwgm5.com

Lower hose temp switch O-ring - BMW #13621743299
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Old 04-02-2013, 03:47 PM   #12
stgoulet
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I finally did a proper bleed of the coolant system and had the cooling system apart to inspect on whether or not I needed to buy new components (decided that the new thermostat was good enough; hoses in great shape; just replaced gasket on the pump and had the radiator tested by a local shop).

Now, after having the car out for a few test rides, I've found that the car is running around 96 C all the time. There is no smoke coming from the exhaust but there is some smoke on the exhaust side of the engine. Without tearing into the car too much more to actually see what is wrong, what do you think could be the culprit for the smoke? I've entertained the idea that it could be gaskets around the manifold, valve cover gasket, something? There is no noise involved with it, just the small bit of smoke.

Thanks to any and all help provided.
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Old 04-02-2013, 04:00 PM   #13
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Valve cover leaks are VERY common on these engines after about 75k miles.
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Hidden OBC Menu - Check Voltage, Temp, Fuel Level - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=239619

E46/E39 GM5 Door Lock Info - www.bmwgm5.com

Lower hose temp switch O-ring - BMW #13621743299
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Old 04-02-2013, 04:49 PM   #14
stgoulet
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jfoj - you seem extremely knowledgeable; do you need anything else other than just the VCG when replacing? (making sure that I don't need to order any other small parts while I'm at it). Also, what other things should I think about getting proactively to ensure no more failure in the near future? Thanks
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Old 04-02-2013, 04:57 PM   #15
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Yep vcg alright. Remember if you do it to use that rtv silicon stuff. Who wouldve thought that gaskets on our car no longer served its original purpose without help from a paste. Check your plugs as well for signs of oil contaminating them due to valve cover gasket
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Old 04-02-2013, 04:59 PM   #16
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It seems you've experienced most of the common urgent issues we all eventually face. Has anybody mentioned expansion tank? That little bastard is the whole reason why im on this forum and has lead me to where I am today.
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Old 04-02-2013, 05:04 PM   #17
stgoulet
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The expansion tank looked fine to my eye when I had it out, has only been in use for approx 30K miles (My uncle, owner before me, had that and the electronic fan replaced). As for the silicon goo, did you need more than one tube? Thanks again
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Old 04-02-2013, 05:39 PM   #18
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I heard on our cars that stuff is used liberally more than a tube of some ky jelly by porn stars.
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Old 04-02-2013, 05:46 PM   #19
jfoj
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OP, suggest you get the OE valve cover gasket from an online BMW dealer as well as the 16? grommet/washers. Aftermarket gaskets are just crap from my understanding.

You need to be careful about removing and re-installing the valve cover as it is plastic and it can and will crack. Use a center outward torque sequence, do not perform a final torque on the first tightening. Also I hear you really only want some of the bolts snug as they can and will break the valve cover on the rear.

Scraping the old gasket can also be a PITA as it becomes VERY hard over time.
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Fuel pump failures - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=929501

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

Hidden OBC Menu - Check Voltage, Temp, Fuel Level - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=239619

E46/E39 GM5 Door Lock Info - www.bmwgm5.com

Lower hose temp switch O-ring - BMW #13621743299
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Old 10-22-2016, 07:33 PM   #20
te46m813
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I had the same issue i thought it was a blown head gasket so I bought a new engine and replaced it than I noticed as I was getting the swap done that the ccv was broke snaped and I did my research and some say that BMW do not smoke when they have a blown head gasket the only reason why mine was smoking was because of the ccv valve but still not knowing if the engine is still good cause it already been swaped can some one plzz tell me can a snapped ccv destroy my engine ?
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