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2001 325i 80,000 miles
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Discussion Starter · #61 · (Edited)
I live in Texas so maybe not be best qualified to speak on English climate. I'm currently running LM Leichtlauf 5W40 which is reportedly formulated with additives to address piston ring clogging; and also reported to reduce consumption. Certainly the best oil I've found, and I would think fine for your climate. But yes, do everything else first and leave O2 pilot mod as last resort. Its changes to engines operating parameters are not insignificant.
Is it reasonable to expect the 02 mod to reduce my mayo build-up? I can't make my commute any longer, sadly, but I can run it one gear lower than usual to try and warm things up:unsure:.

Also, any experience with engine flush? The LM Proline is reputed to be good for smoothing things out. My engine is only 83,000, but I will be taking the valve cover off tomorrow to see the state of things.
 

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2005 330xi Auto, 2006 330ci Vert Auto
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The physics behind the BMW CCV is based on a cyclone. (Side note - cyclones are commonly used in woodworking shops to capture wood dust and I happen to have one :) ). The cyclone works by creating a cyclonic action at the proper velocity so that the "solids" in the stream is separated out. In the case of the CCV, the stream is the crankcase vapor, the "solids" is the oil particles (microscopic) in the stream and engine vacuum is what causes the stream to move. When you have a vacuum leak, the stream velocity is too low, thus the oil particles are not separating and this ends up in your intake manifold, DISA, combustion chamber, etc. The O2 mod seeks to add vacuum, thus increases the stream velocity to compensate for various vacuum leakages.

Having said that, if you have too much vacuum at the CCV separator, the stream velocity is too high and this results in the oil particles not separating out at the CCV cyclone and also sucking oil out of the dipstick. This creates an oily mess in your intake. It's important to note that there is a range of stream velocity where the CCV separator works best. Too little or too much stream velocity will cause problems.

The "mayo" that you're seeing is due to insufficient temperature. You should strive to get your engine to normal operating temperature as much as possible - go for a longer drive every once in a while. You can also consider using an insulated CCV system which is supposed to retain heat so that you would have less "mayo".

My recommendation is similar to what you have read so far. Replace the CCV (make sure you put vacuum plug on CCV separate itself), smoke test to make sure you don't have other vacuum leaks, use good oil like LM Leichtlauf (sp?) 5W40, then see how things go. Only do the O2 Pilot mod after you have determined you need higher vacuum (more stream velocity).
 

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2001 325i 80,000 miles
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Discussion Starter · #63 ·
The physics behind the BMW CCV is based on a cyclone. (Side note - cyclones are commonly used in woodworking shops to capture wood dust and I happen to have one :) ). The cyclone works by creating a cyclonic action at the proper velocity so that the "solids" in the stream is separated out. In the case of the CCV, the stream is the crankcase vapor, the "solids" is the oil particles (microscopic) in the stream and engine vacuum is what causes the stream to move. When you have a vacuum leak, the stream velocity is too low, thus the oil particles are not separating and this ends up in your intake manifold, DISA, combustion chamber, etc. The O2 mod seeks to add vacuum, thus increases the stream velocity to compensate for various vacuum leakages.

Having said that, if you have too much vacuum at the CCV separator, the stream velocity is too high and this results in the oil particles not separating out at the CCV cyclone and also sucking oil out of the dipstick. This creates an oily mess in your intake. It's important to note that there is a range of stream velocity where the CCV separator works best. Too little or too much stream velocity will cause problems.

The "mayo" that you're seeing is due to insufficient temperature. You should strive to get your engine to normal operating temperature as much as possible - go for a longer drive every once in a while. You can also consider using an insulated CCV system which is supposed to retain heat so that you would have less "mayo".

My recommendation is similar to what you have read so far. Replace the CCV (make sure you put vacuum plug on CCV separate itself), smoke test to make sure you don't have other vacuum leaks, use good oil like LM Leichtlauf (sp?) 5W40, then see how things go. Only do the O2 Pilot mod after you have determined you need higher vacuum (more stream velocity).
I might have come up with a... mod for the 02 mod: an inline tap/pressure regulator in the middle of the vacuum line (ones used in aquariums have barbs at either end and will fit into a 3.5 mm vac hose).

I could use my brake bleeding kit to pull full vacuum on the regulator before I put it in, set it to let through something between no vacuum and the full manifold vacuum - 5-6 in Hg, say - and then splice it into the vac hose.

Little bit of vacuum assistance, but not total... thoughts? :)
 

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2005 330xi Auto, 2006 330ci Vert Auto
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Engine vacuum varies depending on multiple factors, including for example wide open throttle versus idling. I do not think you want to rig up anything that would provide constant vacuum. Having said that, I am just guessing here a bit. Others with more experience and knowledge than I will chime in :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #65 ·
Engine vacuum varies depending on multiple factors, including for example wide open throttle versus idling. I do not think you want to rig up anything that would provide constant vacuum. Having said that, I am just guessing here a bit. Others with more experience and knowledge than I will chime in :)
I've read that the highest manifold vacuum would be under braking - no throttle, brake boosting, and fast engine. Dead idle would be next, then wide open throttle.

.

My thinking is just to open the valve 1/4 of the way.
 

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2005 330xi Auto, 2006 330ci Vert Auto
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Seems you're turning this into a science project :). Maybe you should replace the CCV first and see how it goes? The O2 mode can be done without removing too many parts so it can be done later. Remember to smoke test so you have a basis for what you want to do after replacing the CCV.
 

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Discussion Starter · #67 ·
Seems you're turning this into a science project :). Maybe you should replace the CCV first and see how it goes? The O2 mode can be done without removing too many parts so it can be done later. Remember to smoke test so you have a basis for what you want to do after replacing the CCV.
I'm becoming less convinced that the CCV was at fault, to be honest, after seeing that the dipstick tube was clear; only the gunk in the breather could have presented any obstruction to the oil vapours. Still, the gunky tube has been replaced, and I can always attach the vacuum line to the separator and plug the other end so it's ready to stick on the manifold if I feel like giving it a go, eh? :)

There was quite a bit of oil residue behind my DISA and inside my "pig", though, so the 02 mod might help keep it from accumulating up there.

No smoke machine... is there another way to test?
 

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You really should identify if there are vacuum leaks elsewhere...... :) Build a smoke machine, you won't regret it.......
 

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Discussion Starter · #69 ·
You really should identify if there are vacuum leaks elsewhere...... :) Build a smoke machine, you won't regret it.......
I think I'll just buy one and re-sell it when I've finished... but the M54 is known to be a whack-a-mole when it comes to leaks, so I might just hang onto it!

In the meantime, I will install the 02 mod, but with the regulator spliced in and CLOSED (as though the 02 mod is not present). That way, I can open the valve bit by bit and observe the effects.
 

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Uncertain an aquarium valve will hold up in engine bay. Other members and myself have used, Amazon.com: New Inline Fuel Shut Off Valve Petcock Dirt Bike Go Kart ATV : Automotive


Goes together easily using thick-walled silicone vacuum hose, and can mount on front bolt of electrical harness box. O2 mod off since other items addressed. With issues addressed, visible "mayo" usually is attributable to engine not reaching sufficient temps to eliminate moisture e.g. lots of short trips
 

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Discussion Starter · #71 · (Edited)
Round 2 done - managed to get the CCV in and bolted down, but stopped short of doing the last hose (dipstick) for fear of rage-qutting. Left off the 02 mod for now because of what I discovered in the VCG.

VGC was much, much easier; it took me longer to clean it out than to refit it. The breather is a hole literally 1/4 inch wide, for god's sake:

Automotive tire Wood Gas Tread Engineering

That's my little finger, by the way. It was quite clogged with cheese, so I emptied pretty much an entire can of breake cleaner into it and shook it around before blowing it through. At least the gasket was done properly the first/previous time - Reinz on the VANOS seams and half-moons. I was terrified of what I was going to find under that valve cover... but I was greeted with this:

Motor vehicle Hood Automotive tire Automotive design Automotive lighting Motor vehicle Automotive exterior Automotive air manifold Machine Metal

Now, I know it's only done 83,000, but I was astonished at how clean this was - no sludge, not even any glazing, and the VANOS looks practically new. The only signs of anything amiss were the spots of oil on the some parts of the mating surfaces, so I Reinzed those areas. I did see a drop of oil in the bottom of each spark plug hole, though, so I Reinzed the "triple ring" sections of the gasket. No way in hell I'm going to flush it now - absolutely no point, going by what I saw.

Regarding the breather, is there any PM possible? Say, remove the oil filler and breather hose and suck through with a vacuum cleaner? It's that, or take the filler off every time I get home (which I had to do on one of my old cars whose thermostat was jammed open).


I'm beginning to think that doing both jobs was necessary - the blocked breather would be compromising the already-pitiful vacuum applied by the CCV, and the CCV itself was showing signs of distress (oil on the separator body and slugded connections). If the oily plugs weren't due to blow-by, I'm probably going to investigate some thinner oils next time around; Titan Supersyn 0W-40 has caught my eye - crazy low cold viscosity, but "catches up" with a lot of 5W-40 by the time it gets to 40 degrees C. Also looking at Leichtlauf 5W-40, since nobody seems to have a bad word to say about it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #72 ·
Uncertain an aquarium valve will hold up in engine bay. Other members and myself have used, Amazon.com: New Inline Fuel Shut Off Valve Petcock Dirt Bike Go Kart ATV : Automotive


Goes together easily using thick-walled silicone vacuum hose, and can mount on front bolt of electrical harness box. O2 mod off since other items addressed. With issues addressed, visible "mayo" usually is attributable to engine not reaching sufficient temps to eliminate moisture e.g. lots of short trips
How about this:

Cylinder Automotive exhaust Automotive exterior Metal Font

Ostensibly for an aquarium, but all-metal.
And ridiculously cheap.
 

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Discussion Starter · #73 ·
Well, I managed to finish the job, and not only did the thing actually start, it's running better than ever - much smoother idle, noticeably more power (especially low down), a bit more induction "whoosh", and early signs point to improved fuel economy. And, crucially, NO EML!

The very occasional drops in power and rough idle that I'd put down to blowby might not have been blowby at all - maybe it was the blocked breather (I think I can actually hear it, now), or an incidentally-fixed vac leak at the "pig" o-rings, or an incidentally-fixed vac leak at the VCG, or any combination thereof.


Am I sorry I did the CCV VCG? Not really, no - even if the breather was culprit, I would have had to do all the dismantling steps to get to the thing, and doing the CCV itself is pretty much "in for 90p, in for a pound". Also, it would have been no good just to clean/replace that tube without also blowing all the shit out of the VCG... and it would have been daft not to replace those gaskets while I was already in there.

Two days getting to know my engine a bit better, in the end.
(And it kept £500+ out of the mechanic's pocket🤣.)
 

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Congrats! Time to get an initiation tattoo and a few pints of adult beverages :) ??
 

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Discussion Starter · #75 ·
Congrats! Time to get an initiation tattoo and a few pints of adult beverages :) ??
Holding off on that - I checked my oil about an hour after the trip and it was dead on the mininum, from 1/2 the last time I checked it (a week/60 miles ago). That's just under half a quart, in Yank.

Now, I usually check cold, and I know that opening up the filter housing and letting that drain into the sump can add half a litre, so that may be the cause.

If not, there are two possibilities:

1. It leaked, or
2. It burned.

I'm prepared to rule out 2. - I went maybe ten miles, never exceeding 3500 rpm and watching the exhaust in my wing mirror when stationary, and half a litre burned in ten miles with a new CCV is pretty much out of the question. That leaves an active leak.

The only oil interfaces I have touched for this job are the VCG and dipstick tube. If the VCG were leaking I think I would definitely by able to smell it after opening the bonnet, and I smelled absolutely nothing immediately after the test drive. Also, there was visual conformation that there were no leaks on the downward side of the engine tilt.

With regard to the dipstick tube, I knocked it on with a long, thin piece of wood tapped onto the Y-joint, and I was certain it was seated - wouldn't come out with some decent tugging. If that leaked into the sump, I assume that's something else I would be able to smell? Or see, as drips under the car? I know that a leak from the dipstick tube would end up on the reinforcement plate, but surely it would eventually drip through the sump plug hatch when I get home, even if it were leaking on the move?

I will just have to keep an eye on things, I suppose...
 

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You need to check your oil level with a consistent methodology. Easiest is to check it cold in the morning ideally with the car at the same location.
 

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[Sorry, hit save twice, can't delete - ignore]
You need to check your oil level with a consistent methodology. Easiest is to check it cold in the morning ideally with the car at the same location.
 

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Discussion Starter · #78 · (Edited)
You need to check your oil level with a consistent methodology. Easiest is to check it cold in the morning ideally with the car at the same location.
I'm both hoping for and leaning towards its being down to the methodology, because 500 ml in 30 mins/10 miles is both catastrophic and, presumably, very apparent - I think I would have been punched in the face by the smell the moment I opened the bonnet, and/or it would have been pissing oil all over the floor. I think I'll wait for the next oil light, add exactly one litre, and wait for the next light - probably the most accurate way.

In the meantime, I think I will change my driving habits. I'm a cruiser - I get into high gear as quickly as possible and just stay there - but this car really, really does not seem to like that, especially with my short commutes. One gear lower, from now on, and a weekly blast home the long way on my last day of work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #79 ·
I might just run a bead of Reinz on top of the dipstick/sump interface just to be 200% sure it is sealed.

Cannot possibly do any harm because the next time I have to get that dipstick out, I'm driving the bastard off a cliff...
 

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At this time, do you know if you still have an oil consumption problem definitively? Do you know for sure you're leaking oil pass the dipstick/sump o-ring? I urge you not to smear RTV everywhere without really identifying the problem, or if you actually have a problem.
 
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