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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 06-29-2014, 10:29 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Oceanside, CA
Posts: 2
My Ride: 2004 X3, 2003 Z4
Mann+Hummel Provent 100 as oil separator on M54

Hello guys!!!! I thought I'd share here a mod I've done to our Z4 that you may find of use for the E46...

It's no news that the crankcase breather system on the M54 is a great idea with poor implementation. The thing either cracks causing vacuum leaks, or does a poor job separating the oil suspended in the crankcase fumes. On the Z4 it cracked and after I replaced I discovered the car went from using basically no oil to using 1 quart every 3K miles. After disassembling the plumbing of the CCV I discovered quite a bit of oil in the line going from the CCV to distribution rail on the intake.

What I went ahead and did was installing a Mann+Hummel ProVent 100 oil separator. You can find the catalog of Mann+Hummel ProVent here: https://www.mann-hummel.com/fileadmi...nt_en_2013.pdf

These separators are designed for diesel engines and because of that we need to keep in mind two things:

1) The HP rating is not a good metric for our NA cars: diesel have a much higher boost (my X5 35d runs a bit over 40 psi), much higher compression (16:1 Vs 11:1), which (along with diesel burning characteristics) result in much higher peak cylinder pressure. Bottom line HP per HP they generate more blow-by. The issue with flow and flow rating of the ProVent unit is not so much because they would cause a restriction, but primarily because the efficiency of the filter to separate oil particles decreases with flow.

2) They never run under any significant vacuum so the CCV uses the small depression between the air filter and the turbo to draw blow-by into the intake. As a result of it, the valve on the Mann+Hummel filter can't be used to regulate crankcase pressure in our engine

Because of #2 we need to do 2 things:
a) savage the valve from the stock CCV system
b) disable the valve ProVent

For (a) I simply cut the valve off of the stock CCV

For (b), it may be not needed at this point since the stock CCV is already reducing the vacuum from several inches of mercury (what you find in the intake of a NA car) to few inches of water (what you find between the filter and the turbo of a diesel engine). You can't completely remove the membrane since it acts as seal as well, but you can simply superglue it to the cap: this way it will not interfere...

Other than that you have some plumbing to do. Form the valve cover to the ProVent 100: you can disconnect the connector from the stock plumbing and using a 3/4 inch rubber hose you can have a very stock look.

From the ProVent to the stock modified CCV

And also from the ProVent back to the oil sump. On that line I added a check valve to ensure that under no condition the oil dipstick acts as a crankcase ventilation chimney; to ensure proper filtration I want fumes to always come only from the valve cover

I secured the ProVent 100 under the air filter so it's not visible

After putting all back together I quickly checked the crankcase pressure using a plastic bag over the oil cap: as expected there is a mild vacuum under all condition. The pressure drop across the ProVent filter element is extremely small.

After about a week of driving here's how the filter was:

Mind you that these are coalescer filters: their job is to combine oil droplets and vapor into larger drops that stay behind. Once the filter reaches a certain saturation it start shedding oil: gravity will cause oil to collect towards the bottom of the filter and eventually pool and drain back in the sump. In diesel engine these filters need to be replaced every so often primarily because the soot suspended in the oil particles tends to clog the filter. In our cases the replacement interval should be longer

I guess it's now drive and see...

Hopefully you find this useful!!!_a_
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Old 07-02-2014, 02:18 AM   #2
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Join Date: Apr 2012
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awesome writeup!

any updates?

what was your oil consumption before and after?
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Old 07-02-2014, 10:53 AM   #3
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Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Oceanside, CA
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My Ride: 2004 X3, 2003 Z4
Originally Posted by Tappers View Post
awesome writeup!

any updates?

what was your oil consumption before and after?
I don't have much of an update yet since I basically just installed it other than everything appear to be working fine... I'll keep you posted on oil consumption.

My situation was pretty obvious since I went from no oil used to 1qt every 3k miles just by changing the stock CCV. Also the tubing going from the CCV to the distribution flute on top of the intake was coated with oil.

Last edited by zetatre; 07-02-2014 at 11:09 AM.
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Old 07-02-2014, 04:19 PM   #4
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Posts: 222
My Ride: 2001 330ci
I just started to lose a lot of oil in my car as well. I will definately look into this good DIY!

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