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Old 11-16-2011, 01:54 AM   #1
Camel330i
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White smoke from exhaust on start-up

So about a month ago I took my 2003 300i to get an oil change at my mechanic. He checked the car said everything was fine. Then about 3 weeks ago my coolant was low then I refilled it, and the following week the light went back on so I refilled it again. Then a week later my oil low level lamp light went on. So I took it back to my mechanic, and he said it 'just happens' (which I think is stupid cause that never happened before) and topped off the oil and added some STP fuel **** to it. Now everytime I turn on my car white smoke comes out of the exhaust. It smells like oil, but it is cold here so it might be coolant, either way somethings wrong. At first I thought he overfilled it, but its been over 2 weeks since he topped it off.
Have any of you had this problem, can you tell me what it is, cause my mechanic is a retard and i cant afford to get it checked at a dealer? anything helps thanks.
Also it doesnt sound like a leak because there oil or anything under my car? and my check engine light just came on.

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Old 11-16-2011, 01:59 AM   #2
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get a new mechanic
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Old 11-16-2011, 03:38 AM   #3
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check your oil dipstick. run the car to nominal temp and check oil approximately 5 mins after shutting it off. As for the engine light, get to your local Autozone and they will pull the codes for free. I'd probably get a new mechanic too.
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Old 11-16-2011, 04:45 AM   #4
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It's hopefully just that stp stuff making the smoke.

I agree with saintluk, check your dipstick. But, do it in a.m. on level ground. After 5 mins. all the oil hasn't drained back into pan...I'll show an extra 1/2 qt. in the a.m....so check whenever you want, but don't 'top off' using the level you get 5 mins. afterwards as the guide.

Also, when did the low oil light come on? If it was on steadily during driving, then you were low. But, if it comes on at startup and goes off 15 secs. later, it's a bad oil level sensor is all...just monitor your oil manually...regularly!
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Old 11-16-2011, 08:13 AM   #5
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Sorry to say but it sounds like your head gasket may be leaking which allows coolant in the oil (or the opposite, or a little of both). This would explain why you see white smoke on start up (coolant is getting into cylinder and burning off). Check your coolant for signs of oil contamination, and check your oil for signs of coolant contamination.
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Old 11-16-2011, 10:18 AM   #6
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get a new mechanic
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Old 11-16-2011, 10:59 AM   #7
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you say your mech is a retard and you went to him twice.
Find an indy BMW shop; ask local members for suggestions
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Old 11-16-2011, 01:46 PM   #8
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One. The white smoke that comes out on start up, ESPECIALLY when cold, is usually water vapor that was drawn in after turning the engine off the last time you drove the car. Just because there is a puff of white smoke, or a trail of white smoke for the first several minutes after starting the car, does not mean something is wrong. Indeed, it normally means everything is okay.

Your Check Engine Light is disturbing though. And added to the other stuff that by itself is normal, can be a bad sign. You need to pull codes to see what makes the CEL come on.
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Old 11-16-2011, 05:24 PM   #9
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One. The white smoke that comes out on start up, ESPECIALLY when cold, is usually water vapor that was drawn in after turning the engine off the last time you drove the car. Just because there is a puff of white smoke, or a trail of white smoke for the first several minutes after starting the car, does not mean something is wrong. Indeed, it normally means everything is okay.

Your Check Engine Light is disturbing though. And added to the other stuff that by itself is normal, can be a bad sign. You need to pull codes to see what makes the CEL come on.
I got the codes checked it said it was code 171. Which means the pvc is messed up. the mechanic said something wrong with the seal wrong. Said parts are 300 and so is labor. Supposedly its a common problem and people just keep refilling their oil till they fix it. I guess thats what i will do.
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Old 11-16-2011, 05:44 PM   #10
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When you said that your coolant was low, and your oil was low, and you were putting white smoke out the exhaust, I thought you had a head gasket problem, but based on the code you pulled you should search for information about CCV failure. Fortunately, CCV replacement is much easier than head gasket replacement.
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Old 11-16-2011, 05:57 PM   #11
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Did you search for code 171 here? I must be getting too old for this, but I'm recalling P0171 as a lean code.

Take car to Autozone for a free scan.

The mechanic meant CCV (in fanatic-speak)...you can search for that here. Use advanced/title search.

I can tell you're way behind on the learning curve for your car...maybe all cars. Nothing personal!

When did your oil light come on, and when you drove to the mechanic, did he say something like, 'you're a quart down' and add a quart...and then that stp stuff?

In the a.m. on level ground, check your dipstick. That's first.

White smoke could just be normal, but that you also had a cooling loss is concerning...but might just be stupid mech again...and yours may or may not be...but this is 3 times now. Think he had his chance!

Check coolant level in a.m. also. Lube cap with coolant.

Your homework if you want to keep your car much longer:

Study the following threads/diys (use advanced/title search)

Cooling issues --see Bimmersgarage (cooling issues will kill an engine)
Headgasket
How to DIY
Tools

Read fanatics until you want to own a beagle.

You are way behind on this, OP...the $600 for ccv isn't a horrible price. But I should say that idiots here have done that and succeeded. So, did you play with legos when you were young? Can you multiple 7 by 6 without a calculator? You can tell us and no one will make fun of you if you can't--half don't even recognize that as a math problem!

Oh, almost forgot...what oil you using...keep a close eye on coolant level...put heater on in car while driving (for coolant circulation)...and come back if you get more lights on!

FInally...when did your oil light come on? While you were driving, or just after you started up and then it went off?
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Old 11-16-2011, 06:11 PM   #12
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In cali, autozone doesnt do anything no checks or nothin. he said its a bunch of pipes gotta be replaced so yah prolly ccv. and the engine light just came on about 3 days ago, and i just added an oil of quart to it to keep it at a good level.
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Old 11-16-2011, 06:18 PM   #13
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In cali, autozone doesnt do anything no checks or nothin. he said its a bunch of pipes gotta be replaced so yah prolly ccv. and the engine light just came on about 3 days ago, and i just added an oil of quart to it to keep it at a good level.
Seriously? Maybe try another store.

Make sure the good level you keep it at is never above the bottom of the top notch. If it's above the top notch, it's too high.

I also honestly think you should change your oil pretty soon anyway, as I believe that's what the stp bottle says...and I think it might need changing soonish...so go to auto store and read stp can.

Most here take about 4-5 hours to do ccv first time. I did it once and think I could do it again in much less time. Sounds like it might take you longer if you wanted to try.

Instead of the $300 for mechs. labor, it'd be about $200 in parts, $100 in tools, and maybe 20 hours studying here to do it properly. Sort of your own class.

Your car will become very expensive to maintain, though, if you don't start doing stuff. CCV isn't the best place to start, but maybe you can find a local that can help. If you dress really nicely, photograph yourself with ride, bet you'll get a lot of offers of help from the Northern Cali guys...if you know what I mean.
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Old 11-16-2011, 06:22 PM   #14
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Likely only condensation. Normal to see steam coming from exhaust on start up.
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Old 11-16-2011, 06:29 PM   #15
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Likely only condensation. Normal to see steam coming from exhaust on start up.
Oh, forgot to mention you should maybe try a long drive...like at least a couple of hours to really dry things out....maybe? You have a big circular highway where if you need to, you can get home easily?

Humidity gets mixed with oil and it can froth...can clog ccv...and the cure can be a long drive. Might be much cheaper than my idea above!
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Old 11-16-2011, 08:22 PM   #16
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The code was not 171. It was P0171, else it was not an OBD II code, it was some other kind of code. You cannot go around truncating codes.

Who fixes a code by pouring in more oil? That's the dumbest thing I ever heard of. Okay, maybe you said they ignore the problem, and add oil as needed until the problem is properly repaired. That is kind of silly too, but it makes sense.

You need a new mechanic. The CCV (Crank Case Ventilation) is a part that most people can replace at home. And, it's a part that needs to be cleaned more than it needs to be replaced, but it can still be fixed at home.

I have my own code reader (scan tool), but AutoZone has them in the Loaner Tool Program. You give them your credit card, they give you the tool. You bring the tool back, then put a credit on the card equal to the charge they put on it earlier. You can use the scan tool in the parking lot, or take it home for a couple of days. If Autozone does not do this anymore, it's news to me.
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Old 11-16-2011, 10:25 PM   #17
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This is what my mechanic listed needs to be done. : PCV system problem, vacuum hoses, vacuum pipes, PCV valve, gasket somethin (he then scribbled which I understand nothin ); All for $650 plus tax
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Old 11-16-2011, 11:22 PM   #18
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My car does the same thing and it started happening right after I put that STP crap in it!
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Old 11-16-2011, 11:31 PM   #19
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Cylinder Head Gasket!
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Old 11-17-2011, 07:34 PM   #20
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If you guys have had this problem , did replacing the CCV completely fix the problem? and I have the engine light on, which is making me think it might be something else. Id rather do it myself and not pay 300 for labor, but I want to make sure its the right thing so the light goes off.
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