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Old 06-28-2014, 01:59 PM   #1
botbullet0
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What is this white stuff around my pulleys?

This is my first full day with my new 01 325i. I have been cleaning it up a bit, but when I looked down at the pulleys, I noticed a lot of white stuff that looks similar to lithium grease. The pulleys have thrown it around the engine bay and it looks like it's coming from the bottom left of the engine, but I haven't been able to pinpoint where it's coming from.

The previous owner said that a shop thought that the tensioner pulley was getting loose, and I can definitely hear something.

Here's some pictures. The places where the red arrows are are pretty much completely covered:

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Old 06-28-2014, 03:15 PM   #2
cvx5832
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Water pump weep hole, then the crank pulley throws it around.
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Old 06-28-2014, 03:21 PM   #3
botbullet0
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Does that mean it's time to replace the water pump?
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Old 06-28-2014, 03:42 PM   #4
cvx5832
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Job one is to remove the fan and belts and to look under there with a flashlight and mechanic's mirror.
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Old 06-28-2014, 03:56 PM   #5
bmwbob89
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Find the leak then fix it.
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Old 06-28-2014, 04:34 PM   #6
jdstrickland
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My best guess is that they put belt dressing on the belt(s) and it is simply being thrown around onto the adjacent parts. Remove the belt and spin the pulleys (idler and tensioner), they should be tight but smooth. If you spin them and they keep going by themselves, they are toast and need to be replaced. If you have to replace ANY pulley, you should replace all pulleys and both belts. There are three pulleys, two tension pulleys and one idler.
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Old 06-28-2014, 04:54 PM   #7
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Thanks for the tips. I'll check the pulleys out and see if anything else is messed up.
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Old 06-28-2014, 06:34 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cvx5832 View Post
Water pump weep hole, then the crank pulley throws it around.
+1000

I had the same residue. It was the water pump failing.
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Old 06-29-2014, 08:17 AM   #9
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To me it looks like there's 2 different substances being slung about.

The more uniform smaller dapples defintely look like dries up coolant. I had the same issue when I discovered my newly installed WP failed. See pics HERE.

Now that big glob on the PS resevior looks like something else...something much thicker. Like you said, maybe white lithium grease.
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Old 06-29-2014, 08:59 AM   #10
camrydriver111
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Quote:
Now that big glob on the PS resevior looks like something else...something much thicker. Like you said, maybe white lithium grease.
The stuff on the PS reservoir is most likely just PS fluid. It's very common for the cap to leak.
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Old 06-29-2014, 09:22 AM   #11
Swater330i
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That's the oil filter housing btw.
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I am going to install M3 fender grill on my 323ci.
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IMO, the euro clear corners looks too aftermarket/ricey.
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This 323 would most likely handle and drive better than a stock e46 m3.

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Old 06-29-2014, 09:36 AM   #12
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While you're in there, check the tightness on the camshaft exhaust sensor connector. The mess on the lower coolant hose indicates a leak.
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Old 06-29-2014, 09:42 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cvx5832 View Post
Water pump weep hole, then the crank pulley throws it around.
Since everybody is throwing different guesses in, I'll throw in another vote for the water pump.
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Old 06-29-2014, 09:44 AM   #14
JasonLI25t
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Originally Posted by Dave1027 View Post
Since everybody is throwing different guesses in, I'll throw in another vote for the water pump.
make it another
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Old 06-29-2014, 09:59 AM   #15
ChuckyVee
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What is this white stuff around my pulleys?

Quote:
Originally Posted by camrydriver111 View Post
The stuff on the PS reservoir is most likely just PS fluid. It's very common for the cap to leak.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Swater330i View Post
That's the oil filter housing btw.

Yes...you're exactly correct, sorry...my bad.

That glob kind of looks like toasted marshmallow.


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Last edited by ChuckyVee; 06-29-2014 at 10:01 AM.
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Old 06-29-2014, 10:47 AM   #16
botbullet0
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tcphoto View Post
While you're in there, check the tightness on the camshaft exhaust sensor connector.
The PO said that it was recently replaced, maybe they didn't tighten it all the way. I am low on coolant too, so I wouldn't be surprised if it was the water pump. Thanks guys!
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