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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 02-17-2013, 04:18 PM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: KY
Posts: 30
My Ride: 325i
Oil Problem

I am having an oil loss problem that I have researched and attempted to repair but am struggling to find the right solution.

I have a 2002 325i M52 that is losing about 1 qt of oil every 500 miles.
I have approx 150k miles on the car and use Mobil 0w-40 oil. I have done a fair amount of research on the issue.

I have never had oil leakage on the ground or on the plastic cover on the underside of the engine. To date I have replaced the valve cover gasket, the oil filter housing gasket, and the ccv with all new hoses. When I did the ccv about 45 days ago there was considerable yellow sludge in the ccv and the hose that goes to the dipstick. The inlet at the dipstick was backed up with gunk as well. To clean the dipstick tube I used compressed air to blow it out (without removing the tube itself). I have now gone around another 1000 miles and have lost about 2 qts of oil. This weekend I took the hose off of the dipstick tube and there was more yellow sludge backed up in the tube and hose. This time I removed the dipstick tube and thoroughly cleaned it, as well as, the hose that leads into the dipstick tube. There was thick yellow sludge about the consistency of mustard there.

I have had this oil problem for quite awhile and am frustrated with it. I would like to hear if anyone has a solution.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 02-17-2013, 04:46 PM   #2
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Location: This is LONDON??
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Did you check your old oil after the last change? any coolant mix? check your ET for mixed oil with the coolant.
If all is well, check your compression. See if your burning oil when high rpms. If the exhaust is blue, that's your lost oil.

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Old 03-25-2014, 11:35 AM   #3
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Just curious, OP, were you able to do a compression test? If so, did you do a DIY or have a link to a DIY on how to do it? Thanks.
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Old 04-02-2014, 12:20 PM   #4
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I may be incorrect, but I was under the impression that the yellow substance in the oil is caused from moisture condensation within the oil. I will post a quote from fellow member JFOJ. Very helpful post plus he has many other very helpful posts if you search for them.

JFOJ's typing below.

Crankcase water vapor build up and/or CCV Freeze Up is typically caused when excess water vapor or an oil/water mixture (we will call mayonnaise) cannot be "cooked" or boiled out to the crankcase due to short drives, usually less than 20 minutes, in close to or below freezing ambient air temperatures.

The best approach to dealing with the "mayo" problem is management. When ambient overnight temperatures are near or below 40F, you should really check your oil and oil fill cap at least once per week, usually later in the week before the weekend hits so if you are having a "mayo" problem, you can plan an extended weekend trip that includes highway speeds and will last approximately 30-40 minutes or more. Also verify the engine thermostat is also working properly and bring then engine up to full operating temperature. Once you start checking your oil and the underside of your oil fill cap once a week, you can adjust your driving habits as needed to get the "mayo" issue under control. Just so everyone is aware, this is not just a BMW problem, this is a problem that plagues many manufactures and models and even if you own other cars or trucks you should them for moisture build up in the crankcase.

This moisture can and will freeze and block the CCV's ability to drain oil and equalize pressures if not properly managed during very cold, sub freezing temperatures. Of the CCV is filled with "mayo", the oil/water mixture can freeze, possibly split the CCV housing, allow excessive crankcase pressures to build up to the point that the valve cover gasket and/or valve cover can become damaged and/or split. Then the oil in the crankcase can be siphoned or sucked directly into the intake depending on how bad the freeze up is and cause very heavy exhaust smoke or in more severe cases causing the oil to be sucked into the engine very quickly causing the engine to stall because of hydro lock and possibly cause serious, catastrophic and expensive engine damage. CCV freeze up is not a directly a result of a bad thermostat, however, a weak or bad thermostat along with short driving trips of less than 25 minutes in the Winter at ambient temps close to or below freezing can be a big contributor to water vapor build up in the crankcase. You have to constantly monitor and manage the water vapor build up in the crankcase during the colder months or you will have a big problem on your hand when the CCV freezes and likely cracks.

The CCV freeze up can also cause valve cover gasket failure and/cracked valve cover due to unexpected crankcase pressure differences. This mayonnaise is a yellow puffy looking sludge that will also form on the underside of the oil fill cap. Mayonnaise is usually in indicator of low coolant temps, short drives in cold weather and a CCV system that is not working correctly.

Since we have AGAIN seen a lot of issues with CCV freeze ups and yellow/brown mayo or goo on the underside of the oil fill cap in the sub freezing weather again this season, I thought I would add a number of links regarding CCV freeze ups and issues about the CCV oil drain system. One item that commonly gets overlooks during CCV replacement is the dipstick tube. The original dipstick tube is a double walled tube that can clog easily. You can remove and clean the base of the dipstick tube or replaced it at a big expense with a updated single wall dipstick tube.
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