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Hello all! I purchased my baby about a month ago and decided to make an introduction on here. She's an '04 330ci 5 speed with 128k miles. This is my first stick shift and my first e46 and I must say, I am really loving her. I only have one problem that everyone else probably also has and it's that my car eats oil for breakfast. Anyone know any common leaks or reasons why they do this? I changed the oil and filter about 3 weeks ago and I already need another quart. Thanks.
 

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2001 e46 330i 5 Speed Manual
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Valve cover gasket could be the first Easy check!

do you smell oil while the ac is running? Especially at high revs.
 

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If it's a leak, you will see it in the driveway. A very common one is the oil filter housing gasket. It's almost guaranteed to leak if it's never been changed. It it's burning that much oil, you have a bigger problem. Check the tips of your exhaust to see if they are "wet". You can also hold up a white tissue to the exhaust and see if any oil is getting blown through. Next time you drive it, accelerate aggressively at some point and see if there's any smoke coming from the exhaust.
 

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When you did your oil change did you notice a large oil accumulation in the belly pans? A thin film with a bunch of grit stuck in it is very normal, but pooling oil would be an indication of a bigger issue. Since you changed your own oil I'm going to assume you're somewhat comfortable being under the car? If so, pop off the plastic splash shield (a bunch of phillips screws and a few plastic rivets) and take a peak underneath the engine looking up:

  • Valve Cover Gasket (VCG) will be leaking down the passenger side of the engine from the top. You'll usually smell burning oil when it first starts leaking because it'll typically drip onto the exhaust manifold first.

  • Oil Filter Housing Gasket (OFHG) will be on the driver side of the engine. This one can drip onto some things that don't like having oil dripped on them, so it's usually a pretty important one to go ahead and address.

  • Oil Pan Gasket is the biggest pain to do, but also (in my opinion) the least urgent to address. It can leak from any side of the engine, but it's more likely leaking from the passenger side.

Do you know if the previous owner replaced the CCV components anytime recently? If you're not hemorrhaging oil (which you would likely be seeing on the ground if it was leaking 1 quart every couple weeks), then you're consuming it, and the CCV would be where I'd start for a consumption issue.
 
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