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Old 07-27-2008, 02:39 PM   #1
pic_whizz
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Oil fouled spark plug/heavy oil consumption

Hi Guys,

Got an issue with my 2001 320ci. I've had it from new and it always seems to have needed a top up of oil every few thousand miles. However, the car has now done 85K and drinks more oil that it used to. I'm running Castrol Edge
0w40 and have noticed very occasional blue smoke when decelerating but not all the time.

I've noticed the old spark plugs (Denso Iridiums) where very tired and one in particular was very bad (Crusted and eroded) Now replaced them wiith OEM NGKs and as the pic below shows one is soaked in oil. Is this a valve stem seal problem?? Any help guys?

cheers,

Matt
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Old 07-27-2008, 03:48 PM   #2
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Sounds like a classic example of bad valve stem seals to me. This would only mask the problem, but have you tried running a different type of oil?
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Old 07-28-2008, 04:31 AM   #3
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Hi Steve,

Have tried 0w30, but thought that might be making it worse so I'm currently using 0w40, but it seems just as bad!!

Is it possible to have a knackered seal on just one cylinder? What other oil can I try?

Cheers,

Matt
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Old 07-28-2008, 04:45 AM   #4
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I agree that the thinner 0w30 should only make the oil consumption worse, but I'd be hesitant to use anything thicker than 0w40. There are probably some additives that you could use to help freshen up the offending seal, but that should be unnecessary on such a relatively young engine.

I actually had to go and look up what "knackered" means ....but yeah, it looks like it's just one seal on whatever cylinder that oily plug was removed from. The seal shouldn't have failed this early through normal wear and tear, so I suspect that it might've been bad from the factory..
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Old 07-28-2008, 05:36 AM   #5
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Sorry for the "knackered" Steve :-)

Valve seal job looks a bit tough to me. I would like to have a go at it though.

I think you need some VANOS & cam tools, and an airline to reset the VANOS unit whilst you take it off. Would like to know what tool the mechs use to hold the valves in place to stop them dropping into the cylinder whilst doing the seals??

Any advice appreciated.

Cheers,

Matt
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Old 07-28-2008, 11:10 AM   #6
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try replacing the valve cover gasket
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Old 07-28-2008, 11:42 AM   #7
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Um, the valve cover gasket is not going to do anything for you.

It is your valve seals. This can be done by a shop without removing the head, but it is almost as easy to just remove the head. Might as well get a port and polish done, and a three angle valve job too...

Maybe cams??
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Old 07-28-2008, 04:28 PM   #8
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I assume the Euro models have a PCV (crankcase vent valve, oil separator, whatever) like the US models.

It could be a failed oil separator is not separating oil from the crankcase gases, instead just dumping the oil-laden gases into the intake. Seems more common than valve problems, and certainly easier to fix.
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Old 07-28-2008, 05:42 PM   #9
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Ok, if the PCV is at fault, surely all 6 cylinders would be affected by oil??
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Old 07-28-2008, 06:23 PM   #10
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This could also be some bad piston rings allowing blowby.
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Old 07-29-2008, 03:08 AM   #11
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Guys,

I've just done a cold and hot compression test.

Here's the results in PSI:-

COLD HOT
Cylinder 1 = 205 116
Cylinder 2 = 202 115
Cylinder 3 = 202 115
Cylinder 4 = 205 116
Cylinder 5 = 202 115
Cylinder 6 = 205 116

What do you think?
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Old 07-29-2008, 05:10 AM   #12
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Auto-Rx it with an oil that has no PAO or ester and see how you go. If you don't understand PM me...s
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Old 08-15-2008, 03:27 PM   #13
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Update

Just had my Valve stem seals replaced and to my dispair the car is still using oil and the same spark plug (no.5) is wet and black with oil! :-(

Not sure what else this could be. Both compression and leakdown test proved to be ok.

Any ideas before I set fire to it??

Thanks,

Matt
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Old 08-15-2008, 03:33 PM   #14
Erick Sermon
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isn't correct oil 5w30. 0w30 or 0w40 is not right for our cars if i am not mistaken. that is probably you're problem.
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Old 08-15-2008, 03:53 PM   #15
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The car came with 5w30 Esso Ultron when I bought it from new. I changed to 0w30 then 0w40 recently as it is supposed to be BMW Longlife approved. It was worse using 0w30 than 0w40, but why would one cylinder be very bad?

I have noticed that all the plugs have oil on the threads, could the oil be too thin?
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Old 08-15-2008, 04:21 PM   #16
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Check the PCV as mentioned. Oil is getting in the combustion chamber from somewhere
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Old 08-15-2008, 04:25 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by E36bimmer View Post
try replacing the valve cover gasket
+1
Just do that mate
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Old 08-15-2008, 04:57 PM   #18
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With regards to the PCV. I've compared the suction on the oil cap just as you remove it and it seems to be slight and the same as my friends 328ci. I guess it can't be that then??
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Old 08-15-2008, 04:57 PM   #19
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He did the valve seals, this means the valve cover gasket must have been changed as well. And even if broken, what does it have to do with oil on spark plug?
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Old 08-15-2008, 05:05 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by pic_whizz View Post
Update

Just had my Valve stem seals replaced and to my dispair the car is still using oil and the same spark plug (no.5) is wet and black with oil! :-(

Not sure what else this could be. Both compression and leakdown test proved to be ok.

Any ideas before I set fire to it??

Thanks,

Matt
A compression, and much less a leakdown test will show much in the valve stem/guides area. Valves are closed and rely on the valve seats to produce a seal, thus preventing any detection of measurable leakage in those areas. This is because the valve stems/guides/seals are "upstream" of the valve seats.

If you are absolutely sure that the shop did in fact do a valve guide seal replacement, then I would look to the area of the valve stem itself and the guide. Could be that one has opened up a bit more than servicable tolerance or that some foreign matter has gotten in there and scored the surfaces. Obviously the head would have to come off to check for certain . The smoking on deceleration is a classic sign that your leak is somewhere in that area. Good luck.
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