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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 03-14-2013, 06:03 PM   #1
basketthis
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CEL is back!

I thought I had solved my issue in another thread. I ended up replacing spark plugs, fuel filter, CCV/oil separator (and throttle body gasket), and both pre-cat O2 sensors. Car started real rough and kept dying. Removed the air box to discover I had left off the CPS. Plugged it in. Idled perfect. Drove smooth! This was 2 days ago.

Yesterday, idle didn't seem as steady when at a complete stop. Seemed to have an underlying roughness to it intermittently. However, it started up pretty good and made it to operating temperature on it's own. After about 9 hours of being parked, start it up. Seems a little more rough, but gets to operating temperature fine and still has the little bit of roughness intermittently while at a stop. On the way home, CEL pops on while on the interstate.
Codes read and are:
Code:
228,2,40,2304,Mixture Deviation Bank 2
227,2,40,2304,Mixture Deviation Bank 1
Today, car started about the same this morning as yesterday. Got to operating temperature. Didn't seem to have any noticeable changes. After sitting for about 8 hours, started it up and it seemed fine at first. Then it began to slowly start shaking and idle continued to get rougher and rougher. CEL pops on. Shut it off (because I knew it had to be misfiring). Started it back up. Was a little rough but not enough to cause concern. As it reached operating temperature it smoothed out and seemed to run as good as yesterday. It seemed to have great power, pickup, and response.
Codes read and are:
Code:
240,3,40,2976,Misfire Cyl 3
243,3,40,2976,Misfire Cyl 6
228,2,40,2304,Mixture Deviation Bank 2
227,2,40,2208,Mixture Deviation Bank 1
239,1,39,3328,Misfire Cyl 2
Anyone have speculation on this one? I will reserve my thoughts on it as to not influence anyone else's thoughts.
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Old 03-14-2013, 06:22 PM   #2
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I'd guess the o2 sensors are plugged in backwards.
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Old 03-14-2013, 06:25 PM   #3
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I'd guess the o2 sensors are plugged in backwards.
I have to refrain from laughing. In all seriousness, no. The O2 sensors are not plugged in backwards. Thank you for the reply.
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Old 03-14-2013, 07:37 PM   #4
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Put your old O2's back in. Are the replacements Bosch and the exact part number? Mixture deviation errors are new to the situation since the CCV/O2 swap yes? You started this whole effort, way back, solving for what codes? Please list original(s) other than random mis-firing. What did the plugs look like when you changed them? Oil or white in color?

Stupid cars!! All of 'em. Hate 'em when they pull this saga.
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Old 03-14-2013, 08:38 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by White_Knuckles View Post
Put your old O2's back in. Are the replacements Bosch and the exact part number? Mixture deviation errors are new to the situation since the CCV/O2 swap yes? You started this whole effort, way back, solving for what codes? Please list original(s) other than random mis-firing. What did the plugs look like when you changed them? Oil or white in color?

Stupid cars!! All of 'em. Hate 'em when they pull this saga.
Original codes (March 6th):
Code:
240,4,39,3104,Misfire Cyl 3
243,3,37,3104,Misfire Cyl 6
238,1,34,3264,Misfire Cyl 1
239,1,34,3264,Misfire Cyl 2
228,6,40,2304,Mixture Deviation Bank 2
227,6,40,2304,Mixture Deviation Bank 1
So, I just realized myself that the codes were there prior to all the work I just did. Thanks for pointing that out! My old O2 sensors were pretty white. No oil. I think they've made it to the dump at this point. Unless I left them off to the side somewhere by mistake. The replacements are Bosch exact replacements. They plugged in EXACTLY the same.

I originally posted O2 sensor codes in the original thread. I have since realized that they were shadow codes and probably didn't need to be replaced. However, the issues still remain. Even with all the work done.

Last edited by basketthis; 03-14-2013 at 08:57 PM.
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Old 03-14-2013, 10:51 PM   #6
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Okay, I suspected the codes were similar to original. White deposits on the sensors may indicate a lean condition but may be normal as well. So moving on, pre-cat O2 sensors are monitoring something in the exhaust stream that's pointing to mixture deviation. Had to eliminate new sensors which is done. I'm interested how the old plugs read in the question above. Oily, White? You described O2 condition but not the plugs. Sorry, but all these blended posts makes it hard to isolate your discoveries. What is your fuel pump/filter condition?

If lean, she'll misfire and have mixture issues. Something makes me think - she's starved for fuel or you were the owner posting oil fouled plug pics? You may still be sucking air somewhere. I know you have fresh intake boots but a home made smoke tester or the ol' starting fluid spray test may be in order? Seems a leak would never heal itself, it would always be present where the car wouldn't ever run right. It's tormenting you.

Stay in there basket, you're close moving through elimination. Intermittent symptoms are the worst. It wants to run! Think about loss of fuel pressure or the cam sensor freaking out. Let's say the CPS is dropping the pulse signal in and out. A mis-fire occurs when the valve barely opens due to a glitchy sensor, the O2 bank reports a mixture issue. That would be accurate, it had no fuel. The sensor heals itself and sends good pulses for awhile until the next flat-line. My intake CPS was stalling the car and sometimes creating a rough idle. Intermittently!

Now the same deal where fuel pressure is intermittently restricted or low. She's running fine when pressure suddenly drops cascading mis and deviation codes. My pump went nutty to where it would start-run-drive-die. Did this for a couple weeks. Intermittently!

I am looking for a 1967 Chevrolet pick-up with a three speed to trade my car straight across. They have no fiddly bits to drive us crazy!!!!! Technology - Bah!
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Old 03-15-2013, 10:14 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by White_Knuckles View Post
Okay, I suspected the codes were similar to original. White deposits on the sensors may indicate a lean condition but may be normal as well. So moving on, pre-cat O2 sensors are monitoring something in the exhaust stream that's pointing to mixture deviation. Had to eliminate new sensors which is done. I'm interested how the old plugs read in the question above. Oily, White? You described O2 condition but not the plugs. Sorry, but all these blended posts makes it hard to isolate your discoveries. What is your fuel pump/filter condition?

If lean, she'll misfire and have mixture issues. Something makes me think - she's starved for fuel or you were the owner posting oil fouled plug pics? You may still be sucking air somewhere. I know you have fresh intake boots but a home made smoke tester or the ol' starting fluid spray test may be in order? Seems a leak would never heal itself, it would always be present where the car wouldn't ever run right. It's tormenting you.

Stay in there basket, you're close moving through elimination. Intermittent symptoms are the worst. It wants to run! Think about loss of fuel pressure or the cam sensor freaking out. Let's say the CPS is dropping the pulse signal in and out. A mis-fire occurs when the valve barely opens due to a glitchy sensor, the O2 bank reports a mixture issue. That would be accurate, it had no fuel. The sensor heals itself and sends good pulses for awhile until the next flat-line. My intake CPS was stalling the car and sometimes creating a rough idle. Intermittently!

Now the same deal where fuel pressure is intermittently restricted or low. She's running fine when pressure suddenly drops cascading mis and deviation codes. My pump went nutty to where it would start-run-drive-die. Did this for a couple weeks. Intermittently!

I am looking for a 1967 Chevrolet pick-up with a three speed to trade my car straight across. They have no fiddly bits to drive us crazy!!!!! Technology - Bah!
This is my post from the other thread with the condition of my plugs when I removed them. Now remember, I had the fuel pump done 3 months ago. Just did the fuel filter, spark plugs, O2 sensors, and oil separator.
Quote:
Originally Posted by basketthis View Post










Also, remember, I left the CPS harness unplugged once I put everything back together. Had to get back in there and reconnect it. Now, I know what a CPS failure feels like. It seems to bog, lag, or hesitate. That doesn't seem to be the same issue I'm experiencing now. I do believe I will need to get in there (again) with some starter fluid and spray around. Going to remove the engine cover first this time. Carb+choke cleaner is what I used before. I'm starting to lean more toward the VCG having a crack/hole in it somewhere. Just my speculation.

EDIT: Thanks for the motivation. And, are you seriously looking to get rid of your e46?

Last edited by basketthis; 03-15-2013 at 10:15 AM.
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Old 03-15-2013, 08:05 PM   #8
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No, I'm kidding about going back in tech. I like my car, most of the time. It certainly has not been a money pit compared to others. I babysit several cars that pull these kind of tricks and often think back how easy it was to troubleshoot pre 80's cars. It's now magic having OBD telling us what's wrong. Hmmmm, evil magic.

Okay, so we're back on track with your car and its history. You thought the plugs showed oil residue. We hoped the oil source was the CCV. You would have discovered oil trails in the intake path if that were true. You need to solve for how oil is getting to the plugs if that indeed was oil fouling. You should consider a compression test including an oil squirt after each dry reading (per cylinder) looking for change. To me, the pics reveal carbon deposits not wet oil or goo deposits. You know the plug condition best, pics are tricky. The VCG may leak oil from a breach, look for an oil trail. Starting fluid or propane will pick up the idle quickly when sprayed into a vac leak area. Carb cleaner? Never tried it but it's certainly combustible. Do some leak spraying and then pull a couple plugs again.

Good luck.
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Old 03-17-2013, 07:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by White_Knuckles View Post
No, I'm kidding about going back in tech. I like my car, most of the time. It certainly has not been a money pit compared to others. I babysit several cars that pull these kind of tricks and often think back how easy it was to troubleshoot pre 80's cars. It's now magic having OBD telling us what's wrong. Hmmmm, evil magic.
Yeah. The magical OBD port.

Quote:
Originally Posted by White_Knuckles View Post
Okay, so we're back on track with your car and its history. You thought the plugs showed oil residue. We hoped the oil source was the CCV. You would have discovered oil trails in the intake path if that were true. You need to solve for how oil is getting to the plugs if that indeed was oil fouling. You should consider a compression test including an oil squirt after each dry reading (per cylinder) looking for change. To me, the pics reveal carbon deposits not wet oil or goo deposits. You know the plug condition best, pics are tricky. The VCG may leak oil from a breach, look for an oil trail. Starting fluid or propane will pick up the idle quickly when sprayed into a vac leak area. Carb cleaner? Never tried it but it's certainly combustible. Do some leak spraying and then pull a couple plugs again.

Good luck.
I managed to take off the engine covers today and spray around directly at the VCG and the intake manifold. I didn't seem to get any results. No matter where I sprayed. I admittedly didn't get really far in there, but I was using the included long, thing, red straw with the carb+choke cleaner.
I understand that to do a compression test I will need some more equipment. However, I'm not sure what you mean by an oil squirt after each dry reading. Could you clarify on that?
I was hoping for the VCG to be the issue so I could have an answer to the issue. I haven't had the chance to look really good at it (nighttime by the time I had the chance tonight). Would I be correct to believe that if the idle didn't stumble when I sprayed around the VCG, then I can assume it isn't leaking oil? Or is the valve cover something that would leak oil and possibly cause this issue? This will definitely be the next thing I investigate when I have some daylight! Thanks for the responses thusfar! Hope to hear back. I definitely need some clarity at this point. And, good to hear that you wouldn't give up on your car that easy for older tech.
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Old 03-18-2013, 05:49 PM   #10
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Okay. Scanned again today. These are my results:
Code:
228,8,40,2272,Mixture Deviation Bank 2
227,7,40,2304,Mixture Deviation Bank 1
240,2,37,3360,Misfire Cyl 3
243,1,35,3360,Misfire Cyl 6
This is how it appears on the screen:


Would it be helpful in diagnosing the car to pay for the BMW Logger software and monitor everything while the vehicle is running and post the results here?
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Old 03-19-2013, 12:29 AM   #11
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That logger software looks feature rich. If you could monitor the Lambda results graphed or in real-time, it may yield a clue where trouble begins? Someone may be able to answer your question about the paid feature with the logger software but a pro opinion from a shop familiar with interpretation of their results may be worth the shop fee?

Dry compression readings (just cranking the engine) are compared to wet where a teaspoon of oil is squirted into the cylinder before a second reading. The oil flows around the rings sealing for a few seconds sometimes raising compression noticeably. That's bad if it jumps up. The rings or cylinder are worn. If there's no change with adding oil and low compression remains, it points to the valves. I use a hypodermic shot plunger with a section of clear tubing pushed on the tip. You draw just a few cc's to test. The engine will burn it off when started. This is solving for oil on the plugs and is normally only a symptom of high mileage cars. With the CCV ruled out, I'm not sure what's next other than a compression test? Note: all of this is only needed if oil is present on your plugs!
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Old 03-19-2013, 09:03 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by basketthis View Post
I managed to take off the engine covers today and spray around directly at the VCG and the intake manifold. I didn't seem to get any results. No matter where I sprayed. I admittedly didn't get really far in there, but I was using the included long, thing, red straw with the carb+choke cleaner.
I understand that to do a compression test I will need some more equipment. However, I'm not sure what you mean by an oil squirt after each dry reading. Could you clarify on that?
I was hoping for the VCG to be the issue so I could have an answer to the issue. I haven't had the chance to look really good at it (nighttime by the time I had the chance tonight). Would I be correct to believe that if the idle didn't stumble when I sprayed around the VCG, then I can assume it isn't leaking oil? Or is the valve cover something that would leak oil and possibly cause this issue? This will definitely be the next thing I investigate when I have some daylight! Thanks for the responses thusfar! Hope to hear back. I definitely need some clarity at this point. And, good to hear that you wouldn't give up on your car that easy for older tech.
The car's idle shouldn't change at all when you spray around the VCG. There's no path to the intake system or combustion chamber from the valve cover and if there is, you have much bigger problems.

Anyway, just throwing this out there because it's easy to check. Is everything plugged in right? I don't say this because I question your abilities but because we all make mistakes. Another thing to do is clear your codes and unplug your battery over night and allow your engine computer to reset.

If everything else looks good, I'd check fuel pressure at the rail and then either new injectors or get them rebuilt... I'm really not sure where else to go on this one. My gut tells me that it'll be something really simple and dumb when you figure it out.

Last edited by SamDoe1; 03-19-2013 at 09:04 AM.
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Old 03-19-2013, 10:04 AM   #13
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3 & 6 are very close in terms of firing order, try swapping coils around and see if one of the two is causing your issue. also check for a vac leak under the intake (maybe you bumped a hose or something) also clear adaptations and check them out after a few days of driving the car. if the short term and the long term adaptations are different (IE: one is negative the other is positive) there is a pretty good chance you need a new mass air flow sensor (depending on what year your car is, hyundai units are a cheaper alternative to OEM and are made by bosch)
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Old 03-19-2013, 12:17 PM   #14
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Thanks for all the input guys!

Quote:
Originally Posted by White_Knuckles View Post
That logger software looks feature rich. If you could monitor the Lambda results graphed or in real-time, it may yield a clue where trouble begins? Someone may be able to answer your question about the paid feature with the logger software but a pro opinion from a shop familiar with interpretation of their results may be worth the shop fee?

Dry compression readings (just cranking the engine) are compared to wet where a teaspoon of oil is squirted into the cylinder before a second reading. The oil flows around the rings sealing for a few seconds sometimes raising compression noticeably. That's bad if it jumps up. The rings or cylinder are worn. If there's no change with adding oil and low compression remains, it points to the valves. I use a hypodermic shot plunger with a section of clear tubing pushed on the tip. You draw just a few cc's to test. The engine will burn it off when started. This is solving for oil on the plugs and is normally only a symptom of high mileage cars. With the CCV ruled out, I'm not sure what's next other than a compression test? Note: all of this is only needed if oil is present on your plugs!
I went ahead and purchased the software. I used it for the first time today. Looks like I will need to get a "from cold to fully warm" reading to have some useful data. Thanks for the clarification on the compression tests!


Quote:
Originally Posted by SamDoe1 View Post
The car's idle shouldn't change at all when you spray around the VCG. There's no path to the intake system or combustion chamber from the valve cover and if there is, you have much bigger problems.

Anyway, just throwing this out there because it's easy to check. Is everything plugged in right? I don't say this because I question your abilities but because we all make mistakes. Another thing to do is clear your codes and unplug your battery over night and allow your engine computer to reset.

If everything else looks good, I'd check fuel pressure at the rail and then either new injectors or get them rebuilt... I'm really not sure where else to go on this one. My gut tells me that it'll be something really simple and dumb when you figure it out.
Good to know. It makes sense now that the valve cover doesn't suck in air.
I double checked every plug. Last time I removed the air box, I really got in there and looked. I'm sure my issue is going to be very simple and probably something stupid.


Quote:
Originally Posted by redbull 325is View Post
3 & 6 are very close in terms of firing order, try swapping coils around and see if one of the two is causing your issue. also check for a vac leak under the intake (maybe you bumped a hose or something) also clear adaptations and check them out after a few days of driving the car. if the short term and the long term adaptations are different (IE: one is negative the other is positive) there is a pretty good chance you need a new mass air flow sensor (depending on what year your car is, hyundai units are a cheaper alternative to OEM and are made by bosch)
Thanks for the suggestion. I forgot to mention that I recently replaced the MAF with indications that it may be bad. Turns out it wasn't. Now I have two good MAFs. After clearing adaptations two other times, similar codes pop up. That is the results you see in this thread. Consecutive days after clearing adapts.
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Old 03-19-2013, 04:09 PM   #15
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Well for what it's worth, at least cylinders 4 and 5 are apparently running fine...
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Old 03-19-2013, 07:35 PM   #16
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I'm still not liking oil on the plugs so let's revisit that. If you go in again to swap coils like Red suggests, pull a couple plugs on your troubled cylinders and carefully look for wet oil deposits or sheen. The pics bug me as they don't look oil fouled. You posted you saw/felt oil and your Wife smelled it as I recall. Are you absolutely sure about this?? You probably smelled like oil?? Wife comments are out in my world.
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Old 03-19-2013, 09:46 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SamDoe1 View Post
Well for what it's worth, at least cylinders 4 and 5 are apparently running fine...


Quote:
Originally Posted by White_Knuckles View Post
I'm still not liking oil on the plugs so let's revisit that. If you go in again to swap coils like Red suggests, pull a couple plugs on your troubled cylinders and carefully look for wet oil deposits or sheen. The pics bug me as they don't look oil fouled. You posted you saw/felt oil and your Wife smelled it as I recall. Are you absolutely sure about this?? You probably smelled like oil?? Wife comments are out in my world.
Old oil fill cap:

Replaced cap. Cleared adaptations. Drove 50 miles. SES has not returned yet. Morning shall prove to be the ultimate test.
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Old 03-21-2013, 12:01 PM   #18
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Update:
The ses returned after 160 miles on the highway.
I get mixture deviation bank 1 and 2.
The oil filler cap replacement was definitely part of the problem and smoothed things out significantly. However, there seems to be a possible small vacuum leak somewhere else. The only thing I haven't checked/replaced in the system is the oil dipstick o-ring, nor do I know the condition of it. I've read in other threads that there are hidden vacuum line "caps" that should be checked on our engines.
Some more backstory: the dealership did the VCG approx 30k ago prior to me purchasing the vehicle. I hadn't had any ses issues until the past 5k. This leads me to think that the VCG is most likely not a culprit here. The disa is in good shape and I just recently (during CCV replacement) replaced the disa o-ring. I'm going to perform the "flame" test to ensure that the disa o-ring is sealed and is not the source.
Other than those thoughts, I'm at a loss.
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Old 03-21-2013, 12:28 PM   #19
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Here is a copy of two of my runs after replacing the oil filler cap:
http://www.datafilehost.com/download-945abade.html
I've been corresponding with the member who made the software and have received some great feedback. Based on the information from the logs it has been determined that I most likely still have a vacuum leak (yeah, yeah I know) somewhere. The logs show that I'm running lean. Based on monitoring the lambda sensors, it shows that mine are mostly positive. It sees that my air/fuel mixture is more air than fuel and the positive means that it's telling the DME to add fuel. Or at least that is the theory. If anyone is willing to download the software, there are also samples on the website that can be watched. It is free to download and free to watch recordings of any logs (the ones I've provided and the ones on the site). Comparing the two, it is evident that my lambda sensors are seeing a lean condition. When looking at the sample (of a properly running e46) the lambda sensors spend about equal time positive and negative, and swing to zero occasionally. This is very different from mine.
A tip to using the software: load the file to view and on the top bar, under the file menu are some icons. Click on the one that says graph. That will allow the sensors to be laid out and compared at different intervals. It's possible to add and remove sensors as necessary. I personally recommend changing the display colors too.
Anybody with suggestions would be great!
(White_Knuckles this is for you. Because you requested monitoring of the lambda sensors )
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Old 03-21-2013, 09:08 PM   #20
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Now you're getting somewhere confirming the unusual O2 behavior. Search Google for homemade smoke tester plans. I remember they are easy to make and can spot a leak where spraying carb cleaner will fail. YouTube has many smoke designs from cigars to smoke bombs. Crazy stuff but works. I think oil on plugs can safely be ruled out.
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