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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 12-07-2016, 10:46 PM   #1
yjackman
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Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Brooklyn, New York
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My Ride: 2003 BMW 325i
Repair, Replace or Rebuild? HELP! 2003 325i with M54 Engine

I recently purchased a car from my childhood that I've always admired and wanted to own. It's a 2003 BMW 325i. I think it's beautiful.. straight as an arrow and not a speck of rust in sight.

I purchased it a few weeks ago and it was running perfectly but now I noticed that there are a few puffs of light gray smoke every once in a while, especially when I shift gears, and also when the engine is warm.

It doesn't idle rough, most times it pulls well and it doesn't sputter. After asking a few friends what they think the problem might be, no one has really given me a solid answer. I've decided to get the car professionally diagnosed, and hopefully this should shed some light on the problem. I've heard it might be the piston rings, the vacuum line, the head gaskets, the VANOS, the PCV Valve.. all kinds of stuff.

If it is a serious problem, I think that I would prefer to rebuild the engine, keeping everything original; But would it be wiser to replace the engine with a more powerful power-plant instead?

I haven't grown emotionally attached to the cars yet, so if it's not feasible, I'd just get rid of the car and get a better example to make into my dream car.

What advice and experience do you guys have with this?

Place your comments, constructive criticism and questions below!

Thanks in advance!
yjackman
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Old 12-07-2016, 10:52 PM   #2
yjackman
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Old 12-07-2016, 10:55 PM   #3
Poolman
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Replace the hose , going from the CCV valve to the dipstick. It's the first to always go. Do that one thing and see if it can catch the problem before it gets to big to be rectified.
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Old 12-08-2016, 03:39 AM   #4
TWR
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Think about this

You say "You have always wanted this car" then you purchased it! if you know the last owner, how the cars been treated, how it's been driven, the service History, if the service book has been stamped, had everything done to it, why go and purchase someone else is problem? 1st check the oil filler cap, does it show white sludge? Have you coolant coming out of the rad that meaning is the system pressurising? If so it could be the H.Gasket, have you for some reason renewed the coolant? If so this could have caused an Air Lock, you say you are going to get the Engine Checked I presume this will be a Compression Test? If so this will reveal if the H.Gasket has blown, if this is the case the will remove the Head, get the Head "Skimmed UK) get the Head checked before replacement then the Gasket, Seals, Belts, can be replaced leaving you with a decent car, If all the above has been done to the car I would think twice before getting rid of it.
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Old 12-08-2016, 12:09 PM   #5
El conquistador
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Before you chalk up oil consumption to a "used up" engine (and you haven't mentioned how much is being used), consider all your options. It's not a BMW, but I had all but decided to bite the bullet and order a new crate engine for my 97 Chevy pickup with 187k miles. It had developed a healthy appetite for oil, to the tune of a quart every 250 miles or so. I had no leaks, so I knew it was burning it. Compression checked out good across the board. After scratching my head a bit, I replaced the PCV valve. My problem went away.

A $4 part is a lot better than a new engine. Check the compression and do a little research on the crankcase ventilation issue.
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Old 12-08-2016, 12:22 PM   #6
BMW-North
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Get the car diagnosed (compression and leak down tests) and codes read. This is like trying to figure out you need a heart transplant or a liver transplant or possibly euthanasia before your first trip to the doctor.
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Old 12-08-2016, 12:42 PM   #7
El conquistador
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMW-North View Post
Get the car diagnosed (compression and leak down tests) and codes read. This is like trying to figure out you need a heart transplant or a liver transplant or possibly euthanasia before your first trip to the doctor.
Listen to this man. He speaketh the truth
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Old 12-08-2016, 12:48 PM   #8
zander271
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMW-North View Post
Get the car diagnosed (compression and leak down tests) and codes read. This is like trying to figure out you need a heart transplant or a liver transplant or possibly euthanasia before your first trip to the doctor.
+2 on this
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