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General E46 Forum
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Old 08-22-2012, 03:21 AM   #1
TonyJ
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Water in the oil cap?

After changing the oil, I noticed the back of the oil cap (the one you remove to pour oil in) has water drops on it, and the cap shows some rusty colors. How serious is that? Water can't come in from outside, and it is plain color so won't be coolant. Could it be condensation? The car runs well but this made me nervous.
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Old 08-22-2012, 03:37 AM   #2
99BlackE46
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Yes it could be condensation. How does the oil look?
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Old 08-22-2012, 05:58 AM   #3
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The old oil is dark color and not so transparent, but that would be expected. What particular sign are you looking at?

Last edited by TonyJ; 08-22-2012 at 06:01 AM.
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Old 08-22-2012, 06:01 AM   #4
99BlackE46
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making sure its not milky. if oil looks normal id say ur fine. has it been cold weather?
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Old 08-22-2012, 07:48 AM   #5
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I certainly hope it is condensation. It is winter here in Melbourne. However I discovered, and rediscovered water this afternoon, 15 minutes after driving. That's not so cold. Also, I thought the whole oil loop is largely sealed? How can so much water come in?
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Old 08-22-2012, 09:07 AM   #6
fisher_330ci
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Look up CCV issues. Your breather is most likely not able to do its job anymore.
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Old 08-22-2012, 09:46 AM   #7
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15 minutes is not near enough to dry out the moisture. why do you think short trips are tough on a car.
take a look after your next trip of a couple hours or more.

what is the history of changing your CCV? This should be done as maintenance.

Did you post your mileage and year? why not?
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Old 08-22-2012, 10:51 AM   #8
shanneba
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Water doesn't come in from the outside, but water vapor does. The Crankcase ventilation system is constantly pulling outside air into the crankcase during normal operation.
When the engine cools down the water vapor condenses into water. If you don't drive more than 20 minutes or so the oil doesn't get hot enough to turn the water back into vapor to be sucked out through the crankcase ventilation system.

The oil cap is at the top of the engine and is exposed to cooler temps especially in winter (think air flowing through the engine compartment) so the water vapor tends to condense there even if the engine is completely warmed up.
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Last edited by shanneba; 08-22-2012 at 10:52 AM.
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Old 08-22-2012, 10:57 AM   #9
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alright, thanks guys. Looks like my daily trip is too short especially in winter.

But if I replace CCV would it solve the short trip moisture problem? Or just do some long trip once a while?
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Old 08-22-2012, 11:14 AM   #10
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Long trip is preferable.

Replacing the CCV is insurance against much more drastic damage being done when it ultimately fails.

Still not posting your mileage and year?
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Old 08-22-2012, 01:54 PM   #11
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Take it for a nice long drive, 30+ min, every couple of weeks. Should clear it up.
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Old 08-22-2012, 06:05 PM   #12
TonyJ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stinger9 View Post
Still not posting your mileage and year?
03, 120k km.
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Old 08-22-2012, 06:22 PM   #13
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Age indicates that CCV may be functioning at less than full capacity.
And km's don't contradict that prognosis.

Also at your age, consider replacing the oil dipstick tube with the new single tube model.
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Old 08-22-2012, 09:34 PM   #14
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[QUOTE=Stinger9;14672396
Also at your age, consider replacing the oil dipstick tube with the new single tube model.[/QUOTE]

What would be the sympton of the old dipstick failure?

I would also interest to know the benefit of the single tube model. Is it OE or after market? Thanks.
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Old 08-22-2012, 09:59 PM   #15
Stinger9
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Symptoms would be a clogged tube over time until it blocks completely.

There was originally a double tube (tube within a tube) dipstick tube, but with enough cycles the passages clogged enough to eventually prevent the oil from the oil separator (CCV) from draining back into the crankcase. Very drastic consequences of a clogged tube.
Both old and new guide tubes are BMW parts. You can see the factory replaced the old with new from a 7/2003 supply date on this page. Reference part number 9 here: http://realoem.com/bmw/showparts.do?...87&hg=11&fg=10

When you do the CCV, the guide tube can be pulled out and inspected to see which iteration you have.
And search this board of cross section pics.
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Old 08-22-2012, 10:31 PM   #16
maliaschwenk
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The old oil is dark color and not so transparent
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Old 08-22-2012, 10:41 PM   #17
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Take some longer drives can't hurt and is fun. I read a lot of oil burning threads and you don't have the yellow stuff on the cap, but read those for general information. CCV is the likely place to look. I am no expert.
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Old 08-24-2012, 01:02 AM   #18
TonyJ
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I took a long drive today. So now the cap is dry. But... I found some yellow gunk at the rim of the cap Maybe its time for the CCV.
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