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General E46 Forum
This is the place to get answers, opinions and everything you need related to your E46 (sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon) BMW!

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Old 08-13-2014, 04:55 PM   #1
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Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 29
My Ride: 1999 323i
White smoke on start.

This seems to have been discussed a lot, albeit there appears to be conflicting advice.

We have a very high-mileage '99 323. It blows white smoke (without odour) on start, which dissipates within 10-20 seconds. No obvious issues driving the car.

The check engine light is on. We took it to Autozone. They said it was "throwing random misfires," and advised changing the plugs/boots, which has been done. They were uncertain whether the misfires were linked to the smoke.

Engine light still on, smoke remains. I did notice a couple of the plugs had a small amount of oil on them, though not vast amounts. Neither the oil nor coolant seem contaminated, though the car is using quite a lot of oil.

I have read that it may be the CCV? If so, is there an easy way to check? There are all sorts of different suggestions online, which conflict.

The final piece of the puzzle is my FIL added seafoam to the oil/engine, which having read around may create smoke. How long would that last for? It's still smoking maybe 100 miles/2 weeks on.

If it is the CCV, there appears to be just the CCV itself for sale online (about $22 on a quick look) and a CCV kit of some sort, which comes to more like $100. That seems to contain hoses etc, so maybe the extra is worth it so the whole thing is replaced?

I know my posts so far reflect my complete lack of any car knowledge, but I'm trying to catch up if I can I am determined this vehicle won't beat me

Thanks for any replies.
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Old 08-13-2014, 10:51 PM   #2
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 340
My Ride: '04 330xi, '04 X3
bad CCV will cause smoke on startup. Best to get the codes scanned and post them on here for us to diagnose. Seafoam is never really a good idea, but we don't have to get into that, but that smokes for 15 minutes maybe.

You'd need the CCV kit as the hoses are all crap by now, and you'd be best to look up a DIY on here for the replacement, its not too hard, just a lot of time and patience to remove a lot of stuff. Good luck.
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Old 08-14-2014, 07:39 AM   #3
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: USA
Posts: 6,042
My Ride: 2001 330Ci
I'd change the oil after changing the entire ccv system. Also, remove the dipstick tube (the tube in which the dipstick sits) and clean out the gunk in the tube which receives oil from the ccv. It's probably blocked. Check the DIY for this.

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Old 08-14-2014, 09:48 AM   #4
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 340
My Ride: '04 330xi, '04 X3
forgot to mention youre supposed to do an oil change anytime you use seafoam
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