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DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 02-18-2014, 11:04 PM   #1
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Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: NJ
Posts: 271
My Ride: 99' 328i
Engine Smoke Problem

Often when I drive my car the engine bay will start smoking and puts a bad smell through my vents. I initially thought that the smell was coming from engine coolant leaking out of my radiator and landing on hot parts thus smoking. But I have just put in a new radiator and the same thing is still happening. The car is running at the correct temperature too. It seems to me that the smoke is originating from under the cabin air filter. I am almost positive it is an oil leak but not sure where to start to repair the leak. Any help would be great!

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Old 02-18-2014, 11:14 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: CT
Posts: 2,129
My Ride: 2001 325i
First thing to check is the passenger side of the valve cover, as it's not unusual for oil to drip from there onto the exhaust manifold. Also get a mirror and check at the back of the valve cover gasket, closest to the passenger compartment. If that's what's leaking, a new valve cover gasket and rubber o-rings for the bolts around the valve cover are the minimum of what's needed. If you get a complete valve cover gasket set, it will include new gaskets that go around the spark plugs. Oh, while there, a great time to replace the spark plugs, if close to being time to change them.

I use BMW valve cover gaskets when I replace them. There have been issues with at least one other brand, where they start leaking after a short while. Also, you'll need some RTV sealant when replacing the valve cover gasket. There's an excellent DIY at Beisansystems.com under procedures, as part of the vanos replacement o-rings procedure.
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Old 02-18-2014, 11:23 PM   #3
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Thank you very much for the information! I have a valve cover gasket set and Besian vanos seals waiting to be installed. I just wanted to know if it could be something else so I can get it all done at once.

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Old 02-19-2014, 04:14 AM   #4
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Location: Finland
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My Ride: 325 (E46) Cabrio
I'm curerntly working on oil filter housing gasket. My 325i engine is oily below the intake manifold up to gearbox! I blame oil filter housing gasget, even I started to fix CCV valve & hosing. See the thread:
. A good comment by "ssm1991" gives advice to check the oil filter housing gasget if engine is oily under intake manifold. I believe its hard leak to locate since engine can be somewhat dirty there anyway and the leak may occur only higher oil pressures (higher revs).

Last edited by karitammi; 02-19-2014 at 04:15 AM. Reason: typing error
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