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E46 Xi Forum
The E46 XI was produced from 01-05 in sedan and touring body styles. Powered by either a 2.5L inline 6 in the 325xi or a 3.0L inline 6 330xi. Discuss all thing about BMW AWD E46 'Xi' here.

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Old 06-04-2013, 05:48 AM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Pittsburgh
Posts: 205
My Ride: 05 545i & 03 325xi
Odd Smell

I've had my 2003 325xi for about 6 weeks now. About a week after buying it I noticed an odd smell, hard to explain, kind of musty/oil, but not burning smell. Mainly from the trunk area.

First thought exhuast leak, but nope, none found.

4 days ago I decided to check all the fluids and just a good once over for leaks of any kind. flashlight in hand, I check all fluids, and all around for leaks.

Nothing, don't see a drop of fluid leaking anywhere, even under the car, on the undercarrige sheilds, diffs. Nothing.

Here is the weird part, smell is gone now. Could have one of the caps or dipstick not have been seated and small amounts of fluid leaking out.

Always was strongest in trunk, but this morning open up trunk and nothing.

Guess I'll just keep an eye out for leaks and be happy for now.
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Old 06-04-2013, 06:37 AM   #2
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Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: 15 acres on the river
Posts: 1,679
My Ride: 325Xi
Sounds like someone had something in the trunk prior to your ownership... You may have aired it out.
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Old 06-04-2013, 07:10 AM   #3
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Boston
Posts: 4,971
My Ride: 2003 325xi
Dead hooker juice.
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Old 06-04-2013, 03:37 PM   #4
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Park City, Utah
Posts: 1,016
My Ride: 02 330xi, 88 325iX
Does it smell like crayons? Search "crayon smell" in the General Forum.
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Old 06-04-2013, 10:15 PM   #5
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Washington (the state)
Posts: 1,689
My Ride: 2003 325xi
Yep, it's the "smelty crayon" smell from the trunk insulation noticed in warmer weather. When the factory formed the fibrous matting they used a waxy release agent to pop them out of the molds. It was retained in the matting and greets you when the cabin gets negative air pressure from a window down. The melted crayon odor is drawn from the trunk. Pop that baby open on a hot day and enjoy. The fix is remove the insulation and replace it.

I sprayed Febreeze in that thing a couple times before I found out. I don't really care now and just leave it.
Anything made can be made Better
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Old 06-05-2013, 04:10 AM   #6
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Pittsburgh
Posts: 205
My Ride: 05 545i & 03 325xi
WOW! that is it, the smelling crayon smell. It's weird though the past 2 or 3 days it has faded a lot. Might be because I had the trunk open for some time on Saturday doing some cleaning.

I also remember my 88 735i having this smell, but it wasn't as bad.

Thanks, jjp
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