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Old 12-21-2019, 07:38 AM   #1
Wella
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E46 330ci - Excessive oil consumption and smoke

Heyo,
Just looking for advice as I have looked around every post and haven't had much luck.

I am experiencing very heavy oil consumption as well as a blueish whiteish smoke coming from the exhaust.
Around 1L/100km of oil with using both 5w30 and 10w40.

There is still vacuum within the crankcase and no oil leaks are present, and there is no oil on the spark plug holes.

I do believe that the previous owners replaced the ccv and surrounding pipes.
210,000km

Thanks!
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Old 12-21-2019, 08:10 AM   #2
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There have been reports of bad CCV's out there - meaning they're defective.

I would replace the CCV itself with an OEM CCV. I would also make sure all pipes are clear and unbroken. And when you remove the dipstick tube be sure to clean out the vents in the dipstick tube itself.
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Old 12-21-2019, 08:32 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Wella View Post
Heyo,
Just looking for advice as I have looked around every post and haven't had much luck.

I am experiencing very heavy oil consumption as well as a blueish whiteish smoke coming from the exhaust.
Around 1L/100km of oil with using both 5w30 and 10w40.

There is still vacuum within the crankcase and no oil leaks are present, and there is no oil on the spark plug holes.

I do believe that the previous owners replaced the ccv and surrounding pipes.
210,000km

Thanks!
I could tell you that you need to have your engine overhauled or even replaced. But that would be bullsh1t to be frank. At least until you have replaced the CCV and see how that goes. I wouldn't take the po's word for sh1t to be honest. I would want to replace it myself. After that if you still have a problem then your looking at valve seal, valve guides, piston rings and crankshaft shells ie: overhaul. But do the CCV first.
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Old 12-21-2019, 08:46 AM   #4
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Concur-CVV system overhaul plus a clean dipstick drain.While you are at it.Read on the various MoDs I.e.O2 pilot ,Bavarian .,catch can etc etc.And if that doesn't help...replace the piston rings with M52 style or M54 updated rings-if you are so inclined.
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Old 12-21-2019, 05:05 PM   #5
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Meanwhile, I wouldn't drive the car.
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Old 12-21-2019, 08:16 PM   #6
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I would do these checks:
- compression and leak down tests
- cooling system pressure test
- exhaust back pressure test
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Old 12-22-2019, 07:53 PM   #7
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So I just went to an independent BMW mechanic that was recommended to me, as I have a lack of time recently.
I was told the CCV and Piston rings are fine but the valve stem seals need to be replaced.

How much roughly would that be?
Thanks, everyone for the replies.
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Old 12-22-2019, 08:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wella View Post
So I just went to an independent BMW mechanic that was recommended to me, as I have a lack of time recently.
I was told the CCV and Piston rings are fine but the valve stem seals need to be replaced.

How much roughly would that be?
Thanks, everyone for the replies.
Big job. Scope creep potential.
Out of curiosity, how did he make that determination? One liter per 100kms going past the valve seals?
Did this start suddenly? How does the coolant look?
Sure sounds like classic CCV sucking oil.
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Old 12-22-2019, 08:28 PM   #9
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Big job. Scope creep potential.
Out of curiosity, how did he make that determination? One liter per 100kms going past the valve seals?
Did this start suddenly? How does the coolant look?
Sure sounds like classic CCV sucking oil.
I hate to imagine what those catalytic converters look like...
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Old 12-22-2019, 10:36 PM   #10
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it sounds like CCV, there was a post not a long time ago, simliar symptoms, huge oil consumption. I dont think you could get that much oil gone trough stem seals and rings. Lots of info on frozen ccv too.
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Old 12-23-2019, 02:49 AM   #11
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I'd say whip out the CCV first, monitor it for a few weeks, before you even consider digging in to the engine.

You could replace the CCV entirely or try something like a catch can.

Hopefully it's not your valve stem seals.
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Old 12-23-2019, 03:13 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wella View Post
So I just went to an independent BMW mechanic that was recommended to me, as I have a lack of time recently.
I was told the CCV and Piston rings are fine but the valve stem seals need to be replaced.

How much roughly would that be?
Thanks, everyone for the replies.

The guy probably just ran the engine and removed the oil cap to see if there is a strong vacuum to test the CCV. That's all you can do really. It seems to be a reliable indicator. But you might replace it anyway before you take the seals route because that's a hell of a lot more work. Normally the head has to come off which could lead to replacing valves as well while you have it off. But you can do the job with the head in place. Watch this video to see how and what's involved. Bear in mind that there is a lot of work to do removing the timing gear and camshafts to get to where Jason is in the video. You would need the proper timing tool to reinstall the cams and the timing gear. This looks like a couple of days work.




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Old 12-23-2019, 06:09 AM   #13
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1l per 100km is A LOT.
Are you sure that there are no leaks? Check the Oil Filter Housing Gasket, Valve cover gasket, CCV, Oil cooler gasket (These will explain the blueish smoke).
Oil pan gasket, the oil pan itself (look for damage), look around the oil level sensor for leaks aswell (this would explain the huge loss in oil).
Valve stem seals will never let 1l go through in 100km. Mine are gone and it consumes like 1l per 1500km.

You would need a full head revision to get everything in good shape, I don't know where you live but I know a guy in the Netherlands that does it for Ä850 on the N42 engine so I guess the M54 engine will cost like Ä1100 of something in that direction. You can also just get another revised engine from a BMW specialist with 6 to 12 months warranty.

And don't use 10W40 that is semi-synthetic oil, use 5W-40 instead that is full synthetic

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Old 12-23-2019, 06:21 AM   #14
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The Mechanic wrang me about 2-3 hours ago to say that his apprentice misdiagnosed it after talking about diagnosis with him which was quite weird.
The car is going in for another diagnosis after the Christmas break.

Regarding the oil, I am using full synthetic 10w40 at the moment, as it seemed to smoke much less when compared to the 5w30. So the CCV maybe still the culprit. There are no seeable leaks that I could find at all weirdly.
Yeah, it kinda sucks as not many people within Australia are inclined for e46's.
Also regarding the coolant, looks fine, had a full flush about 2 weeks ago and it started quite suddenly.

And trust me, out the back is worse enough, don't want to imagine the cats!

Thanks everyone, I really appreciate all the replies!
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Old 12-23-2019, 07:01 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Wella View Post
The Mechanic wrang me about 2-3 hours ago to say that his apprentice misdiagnosed it after talking about diagnosis with him which was quite weird.
The car is going in for another diagnosis after the Christmas break.

Regarding the oil, I am using full synthetic 10w40 at the moment, as it seemed to smoke much less when compared to the 5w30. So the CCV maybe still the culprit. There are no seeable leaks that I could find at all weirdly.
Yeah, it kinda sucks as not many people within Australia are inclined for e46's.
Also regarding the coolant, looks fine, had a full flush about 2 weeks ago and it started quite suddenly.

And trust me, out the back is worse enough, don't want to imagine the cats!

Thanks everyone, I really appreciate all the replies!
Good to hear. But it would be nuts to go straight for the valve seals. The CCV is a relatively simple and inexpensive task to undertake to eliminate that as a possibility.
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Old 12-23-2019, 07:36 AM   #16
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Remove the CCV hose that goes to the dipstick to see if itís wet or dry. Iím betting itís dry. You can have vacuum at the oil fill hole in the valve cover but still have a bad CCV. Why? The CCV has a diaphragm through which crankcase vapors flow on their way to the intake manifold. If that diaphragm leaks unfiltered vapors and oil liquids can flow into the intake manifold. Iím betting the CCV diaphragm is bad. Burning 1 liter of oil every 100kms tells me the CCV is allowing liquids into the intake manifold. Bad valve stem seals are evident when you use engine braking. That creates a huge vacuum in each cylinder as the throttle is closed but the engine is revving. Iíd replace the entire CCV system.
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Old 12-23-2019, 07:55 AM   #17
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Quote:
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The Mechanic wrang me about 2-3 hours ago to say that his apprentice misdiagnosed it after talking about diagnosis with him which was quite weird.
The car is going in for another diagnosis after the Christmas break.
I bet the Mechanic has been following this thread, saw our replies calling BS, and changed his diagnosis!
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Old 12-23-2019, 08:48 AM   #18
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I've brought this up before, so time for a refresher. (LONG)

The topic of heavy oil consumption and M54 engines was a lengthy discussion on our (closed) BIMRS forum. Thousands of cars with this engine grace our bays and our own personal driveways.

Many suffer the ravages of heavy oil consumption. Long term this will destroy the catalytic converters. Leading to a very expensive repair. Furthermore if one doesn't address the underlying issue of oil consumption, you'll be doing them yet again.

One of my friends that owns a shop outside Austin had a heavy consumption issue with his wife's 530iT. (Used car from a customer) He spent a considerable amount of time & expense to experiment & test as to the root cause. Starting with aggressive oil changes, adding ATF to the oil, replacing the valve guides AND seals.
Nothing brought about a significant improvement until he replaced the piston rings. They were heavily coked up and had no movement and/or tension to control the oil.

I had the chance to take a chemicals class one year as part of the annual BIMRS training, taught by Gary Smith, whom has extensive knowledge about oils, additives, deposits and how to effectively clean such. After class I spent a considerable time discussing the M54 oil consumption issues and the ongoing conversation within the BIMRS forum.

He was overly confident (I wasn't) that with the correct application of chemistry one should be able to bring 90% of these back from the brink with chemicals alone. Having 3 such cars as customers we had nothing to loose. Furthermore if it worked a win-win for my customers.

The 1st. one was having consumption of about 1L per 400-500 Km.
We placed 1 can of BG EPR into the crankcase and let the car run for about 1/2 a day outside my shop. The hood was open and the heat was on full to negate any overheating issues. Occasionally (every 1/2 hr.) we would blip the throttle to move coolant around and cycle the product.
Near the end of the day we brought the car into the shop and loosened the oil filter and drained the disgusting oil overnight. At the same time we removed the spark plugs, jacked up the right side of the car as far as we dared. Taking a 2nd. can of BG EPR we split the can equally and poured it into the 6 spark plug holes. We then returned the spark plugs about 1 turn in, to help stave off evaporation with the heavy VOC product.
(Footnote: Jacking the car up on the right side brings the pistons/rings closer to flat. This helps ensure the chemical is not only sitting at the bottom edge of the pistons/rings. True horizontal would have been ideal, albeit impossible with the engine in the car.)

During the last hour it sat in the shop, we used a breaker bar with a socket on the crankshaft bolt and moved the pistons up/down about 30į of rotation back/forth several times, to get the rings to flex up/down and get the chemical into-around the rings to do it's magic.

The next morning we rotated the engine just a little more. We used rags to soak up ALL the nasty oil/chemical out of the oil filter housing. Replaced the drain plug seal and filled the crankcase with Liqui-Moly Leichtlauf 5-40, also pre-filling the oil filter housing with 1/4 L of oil. New filter.

Removed the spark plugs & the main relay (no fuel injection was to take place) covered the center of the engine with rags and cranked the engine, to expel any of the residual chemicals we poured into the tops of the pistons. Replaced the spark plugs.

Then we performed a BG induction service using the pressurized apparatus and injected BG Air Intake and Valve Cleaner. Followed up with a can of BG 44K into his fuel tank. We sent him on his way.

Two weeks later his oil consumption was about half of what it previously was. Not completely satisfied with the results, (his was our worst offender of oil consumption) we repeated the above a 2nd. time. Albeit this time we let the BG EPR run (at idle) in the crankcase for most of the day with periodic checks and repeated the pour into the tops of the pistons overnight.

Changed the oil yet again with L-M Leichtlauf 5-40 and another BG 44K into the tank.

His oil consumption is now almost nil and he continues to morph towards more normal oil changes of 7K miles.

We have done the above in one form or another on 3 such cars with excellent results.

Some notes about why and what we used and performed:

The M54 family of engines (regardless of displacement) uses a "Low Tension" piston ring to obtain a couple of percent improvement of fuel consumption. If an engine with these rings has had a sketchy service history coking of the piston rings can often be the result.
Read the many threads of a fast crank & no start when cold and how one needs to remove the plugs and add a small amount of oil into the CC in order to temporarily restore compression (that's stuck rings my friends!) to get the car to start.
Following the laborious procedure above can bring back 90% of the rings.

The use of the pressurised apparatus and chemical will help clean the substrate of the catalytic converter safely. Naturally having fresh and not tired & overdue oxygen sensors are part of the equation.

Liqui-Moly leichtlauf 5-40 is oil specially formulated to cut grime and clean engine internals. A perfect fit of the M54 engine that has a less than stellar oil service history. Keep in mind many of these were leased cars with "free" oil changes and many were long overdue, so they started off on the wrong foot from the beginning.
L-M Leichtlauf is not 100% synthetic, rather a blend. I have spoken with one of LM's engineers (Stephan) and unlike many claims, it truly is heavily synthetic, albeit not 100%. We fill problem cars with it regularly.

Many here talk of vacuum testing the engine and the CCV system. Lifting the fill cap when the engine is running doesn't cut it, sorry. The only true method is to obtain a proper vacuum reading through the filler cap and a manometer. Anything else is a guess.

It should be either 13 or 16 mBar, depending on which service bulletin you use, there are two. (see the attachments.)
Is the CCV system a PIA, you betcha'. It's cheap so get the revised version (cold climate) and replace it. Ensure you also get a new oil return tube and take the extra time to clean out your double walled dipstick tube so that the oil flow back (after CCV separation) actually returns to the pan and NOT sucked into the intake. Catalytic converters can only take so much oil onto the substrate before permanent damage is the result.

My only regret is that we weren't aware of the above before we could save a early E60 530 with a M54 engine that had heavy oil consumption also. If that car was still available (traded in) I'd buy it and resurrect it.
YMMV
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Crankcase pressure specs.pdf (34.6 KB, 21 views)
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Old 12-23-2019, 10:35 AM   #19
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I will defer to MrMcar, but it seems to me that 1L/100km, or 60 miles to my US friends, is well past the ring (or valve seal) stage and into CCV territory, based partly on my knowledge of two CCV failures om an E39. I wouldn't be driving the car any more than necessary, given the risk of the engine hydro-locking on oil. Not a happy thing.
I'd wonder about a shop that lets the apprentice hand out un-reviewed advice for multi thousand dollar jobs. Maybe he's already on commission?
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Old 12-23-2019, 03:13 PM   #20
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Fitted a new dealer CCV then it sucked oil. Your burning way too much for oil rings, valves etc. Dealer admitted may be faulty batch. Fitted another one and fitted one way valve so it can't suck oil under any CCV failure event. CCV only has a spring and rubber diaphragm pretty primitive and subject to vast variation in terms of what exact vacuum causes it to open close to balance the vacuums. Whatever you do fit a one way valve
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