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General E46 Forum
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Old 12-18-2006, 06:38 PM   #1
25-PILSUNG!
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02' 330i Burning Smell?

Hi Folks,
A couple of issues I need some help diagnosing:

First, has anyone else noticed a burning smell (similar to an electrical overheat/plastic burning) coming from their car? I typically notice it in the garage as I'm getting out of my car after driving home from work (13 miles @ 60 m.p.h.). Really noticed it today when I left my motor running for about 5 minutes during an errand. I had the heat on (fresh air setting) and when I got back into the car the interior smelled like something electrical was burning. The smell went away when I drove off and the fresh air flushed it out. No associated smoke/odd sounds/engine or electrical overheat type issues - just the smell. All fluids appear to be good and I'm not getting a CE or SES light. Both cabin filter and engine air filter need to be replaced but I wouldn't think that would make a difference. Any thoughts?

Second issue is a very high pitched squealing sound every once in a while coming from the dash area (I think) when I start the car. Typically lasts about 30 seconds max and goes away when I drive off. Doesn't sound like a power steering pump failure but of course I can never dublicate the sound at the stealership. Thanks for your help!
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Old 12-18-2006, 07:39 PM   #2
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i get that smell too
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Old 12-18-2006, 10:19 PM   #3
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i have gotten the smell as well ??? just never really bothered to figure out wat it was ?? hmm..
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Old 12-18-2006, 10:41 PM   #4
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It could be the valve cover gasket leaking. i know mine leaks just a slight bit and it gives my car a faint smell of burning oil. while idling it builds up pressure and give the tiny bit of smoke to sit and become more noticable because no air is moving it away. But if you say its an electrical smell im not sure your valve cover gasket is the cause.
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Old 12-19-2006, 09:07 AM   #5
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^^^ mine has that faint smell of burning oil sometimes.
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Old 12-19-2006, 10:27 AM   #6
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Happened to me the first time I used the heat this winter, but not since.
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Old 12-19-2006, 01:27 PM   #7
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Does this only happen when the heat is on / in the winter months?
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Old 12-19-2006, 02:50 PM   #8
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I never smelled it until the first winter with my car, and I only smelled it once.
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Old 01-04-2007, 10:47 PM   #9
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Any solutions? I drove up north and after I started using the heater i started noticing a burning smell also.. my battery happened to go bad at the same time, so I thought it was electrical.. but I only get the smell at idle when there isnt fresh air moving through the engine compartment, and not all the time.. i notice it maybe once a day or every other day or so... i havent really been able to smell anything with the hood up and the car running..
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Old 01-05-2007, 12:13 AM   #10
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mine stinks alot, especially with 144k miles, helps some to clean the engine. but it comes back in a week or two.
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Old 01-05-2007, 11:08 AM   #11
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you might want to check for tranny fluid leak.
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Old 01-29-2007, 01:39 PM   #12
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Damn i just replaced the valve cover gasket thinking that might be the smell, oil burning, but my car still smells. I only smell it once the car is up to temp and i am not driving. So basically if the car is on and parked, i smells through the vents and sometimes there is alittle faint white smoke from the engine. Any ideas?
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Old 01-29-2007, 02:21 PM   #13
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weird.... I also have an '02 and I get the high-pitch squealing/whistling sound every few weeks or so when I start my car. I can't tell where it's coming from (but sounds like from the dash), and it usually goes away after a minute or two, so I just added it to the list of my car's imperfections.
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Old 01-29-2007, 03:40 PM   #14
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its prolly ur belt tensioners or rollers
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Old 01-29-2007, 04:30 PM   #15
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I had this problem too it turn out to be a fan somewhere in the dash warranty cover it, i just brought it in and told them I have this ****ing loud noise like a alarm oor some sort of high pitch wistle and it is coming from the dash i want it fixed I have cpo warranty so fix the damn thing

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Originally Posted by TheBeerAssassin View Post
weird.... I also have an '02 and I get the high-pitch squealing/whistling sound every few weeks or so when I start my car. I can't tell where it's coming from (but sounds like from the dash), and it usually goes away after a minute or two, so I just added it to the list of my car's imperfections.
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Old 01-30-2007, 12:50 PM   #16
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Burning smell while sitting is almost definitely a leaking VC gasket. It leaks on the exhaust and burns. Here's a quick check - if you have a powerful, thin beam flashlight (like a maglight), pop the hood at night after driving. If there's blue smoke rising off of the exhaust in the engine bay, you'll be able to see it with the maglight.

Reason you smell it while stopped is that the A/C air intake is right at the top of the engine bay where the burned oil rises to.
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Old 01-30-2007, 03:15 PM   #17
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I replaced my valve cover gasket yesterday and it cured my burning oil smell on my car. The gasket is pretty cheap and the install was real easy. Get a can or two of Gunk, Engine Bright degreaser to clean off all the old oil that leaked out after you are done with the new gasket.
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Old 02-01-2007, 09:20 PM   #18
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Does anyone know aroundhow much it cost to replace the Valve cover gasket at a local bmw mechanic?? Also how much to replace tranny gasket?? Than.ks
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Old 02-02-2007, 12:52 AM   #19
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easy fix, wash the engine out at a car wash, takes care of the smell for 3-4 weeks, mines does this too.
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Old 02-02-2007, 01:17 AM   #20
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washing the engine bay cant be good for air filters and lubercation compounds
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