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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I was on my way to work yesterday (I live about 20 miles away) and about a mile away I was sitting at a red light and started smelling something burning. I knew it had to be my car because I was first at the light. I got to work and popped the hood to find the entire front passenger side of the engine bay covered in engine oil. I got the car trailered home and I am just tearing into it today.

A little bit of background: 2004 330xi 6 spd. (M54b30). Engine was rebuilt just under 3000 miles ago by myself. Every single gasket, o ring, bearing, and ring was replaced. M50 manifold converted and SAP deleted. Vanos was rebuilt as well.

Here's what I'm thinking. The only way for oil to have gotten everywhere was for it to be on the feed side of oil pressure. The only thing I can think of on the font passenger side of the engine is the exhaust vanos solenoid. I haven't heard of these going out in glorious fashion but I'm willing to give it a shot. Also, when I first inspected the engine I wanted to make sure it still had oil. The dipstick still read on the higher side of the accepted range. Engine still runs perfectly when I started it up to move into the driveway, not missing or out of time. The engine did not leak a single drop of oil before this happened. Everything I am thinking kind of leads to the solenoid, since the cam sensor in the area and the timing chain tensioner don't spray oil when they leak.
Anyone have any ideas? I am somewhat baffled by this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I checked underneath the beauty cover and it’s bone dry. I have no clue what else it could be. I do have a catch can with a pcv valve that I am going to check to see if it stuck. But still when I just started it and I opened the oil fill cap it sucked the cap back down so it still has crankcase pressure. So I’m not really thinking it could be that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I wasn’t when I started it after I cleaned the area up. I think that it may only spray if it is the vanos when it gets into the vanos range so I guess 2500 rpm and up. I will try that later today.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
That’s why I’m kinda thinking it only was at a higher rpm, I’m gonna try reving it a little tonight and see what happens. Here’s some pics of the engine bay before I cleaned it. Sorry there not the best quality, it was in a vid I screenshotted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Okay I started it up again and let it go somewhat up to temp and as it was idling, it sort of dipped and sputtered a little bit and then caught itself again, a couple times. From what I have read, this is a symptom of a faulty exhaust vanos solenoid. I am going to get a new one but I see that Bavarian autosport makes a vanos solenoid for around $105 and I would like to know if anyone has had any luck with that or should I just go OE which is around $200?
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
I live in the northeast. New jersey. ccv has been deleted m50 manifold converted with a catch can. I have not thought about hot vs cold oil as being an option because for the 6 months I have been driving it and put 3000 mile on it after the rebuild not a single drop of oil has leaked from the engine. I am using liquimoly 5w-30. Haven't had any issues until now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
So I got a new exhaust vanos solenoid. Swapped out the original one for the new one and went for a test drive. It did not spew oil out whatsoever. This unintentionally also helped with a slightly rough cold start too. So I assume it was already on its way out a long time ago and finally blew up last week. I won’t know for sure until I take it for a highway drive but for now I will do some short errands with the car to build up my confidence in it again and some time soon I will take it on the highway and hopefully everything goes well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
Okay update the vanos solenoid did not fix the issue. Just popped my hood to replace some belt tensioners and it’s covered in oil again. I’m at my wits end with this pos rn. I have no clue what it could be.
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
judging from how much it sprayed and since I still have a full pan of oil, oil pressure wise the only thing I can think of is that maybe the vanos unit itself is cracked. I really have no other clue since it worked fine with the new solenoid for like 4 days and then everything is horrible again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
judging from how much it sprayed and since I still have a full pan of oil, oil pressure wise the only thing I can think of is that maybe the vanos unit itself is cracked. I really have no other clue since it worked fine with the new solenoid for like 4 days and then everything is horrible again.
The towel wrapped around the fan connector is just there to see if it sprayed oil again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
would it push all the way to the exhaust vanos side? If I'm not mistaken the only oil pressure switch is on the back of the oil filter housing. I'll check but I don't think this is the issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
Yes I am 100% sure it’s engine oil same color, smell and everything, since the atf for power steering is red and I just flushed the brake fluid out so it’s clear at the moment. Am I correct in thinking that it can only be on the oil pressure side of things because just a valve cover leak would drip down.
 

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Discussion Starter · #42 ·
Have not checked the tensioner but the first time the it sprayed everywhere the tensioner was dry. Just replaced the vc cap. I’m considering the vc being cracked but would it have that much pressure to spray everywhere.
 
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