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E46 (1999 - 2006)
The fourth generation 3 Series (E46 chassis) was introduced in 1999 and set the standard for engineering and performance during it's years of production including being named to Car & Driver's 10 best list every one of those years! ! -- View the E46 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 01-07-2013, 03:58 PM
GBUTLER GBUTLER is offline
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Exclamation 2006 325ci Engine Failure

Hi everyone,

Looking for a little help out there or advice from someone with a similar problem. I have a 2006 325ci (E46 coupe model, inline six, 5 speed std.) that had engine failure today. Earlier today I was driving to work and noticed a smell of smoke (no visable signs) that gradually got worse, eventually my car (aprx. 2 mins later) engine stopped as I was in 3rd gear going about 60km/hr (apr. 40m/hr) and as the engine quit, a large cloud of white smoke came from the exhaust. I pulled it over and had to get it towed to my mechanic.

In addition, or a little further background, the distinct smell was like a burning oil. At first I thought nothing of it thinking it was a old transport truck or an old diesel pickup, then noticed the problem was my car when it happen so quickly and shut off! The outside temperature was about -2 degrees C, 30 degrees F. Car has 110 XXX KMS (aprx. 70XXX miles) Car has been using recommended Castrol Synthetic Oil and was only changed last month with low milage put on since. Had not been leaking oil and antifreeze levels seemed to be okay. Engine temperatures had been fine, battery still works strong. Essentially the car was working perfect and there was no indication of declined performance.

I've been reading these forums and seeing gasket and cooling as being common problems. I just wanted to see if there was anyone out there with a similar senario and find out exactly what they did / had to pay to get this kind of issue fixed.

Could this lead to an engine replacement and if so, what are my best options? I live in St. John's, Newfoundland (Canada)

-greg
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  #2  
Old 01-07-2013, 04:37 PM
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Fast Bob Fast Bob is offline
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Was there any indication of overheating during this episode ? Is there any overheating in the car`s history ? Has the cooling system ever had any refreshing/ rebuild ?
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Old 01-07-2013, 04:45 PM
GBUTLER GBUTLER is offline
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Overheating

No there has been no rebuild and no prior scenarios of overheating, the engine noise was up a little, but may have had to do with the colder temperature this morning.
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Old 01-07-2013, 06:08 PM
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jvr826 jvr826 is offline
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And what did the temp gauge say? Was it in the red? Any lights on the dash like the red oil lamp?
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Old 01-07-2013, 06:27 PM
GBUTLER GBUTLER is offline
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engine lights

All the engine lights (service, battery and oil) flicked for literally 1-2 seconds as the fumes came out of the exhaust, then the engine conked out, had to pump the hand break and get it off the road. Then ten minutes later when I tried to restart the car she wouldn't turn, but when I turned the key to position one, the radio and all electronics were still functioning perfectly.
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:22 PM
vandyboy vandyboy is offline
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You say your engine noise levels were higher. Was it an increased exhaust sound or was the noise from under the hood? Running low on oil can certainly make a car louder. I know you changed the oil last month, but when was the last time you checked it and your coolant level? There is not a lot of info to go on, but I think the head gasket may have blown. I hope I am wrong.

Last edited by vandyboy; 01-07-2013 at 07:24 PM.
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:56 PM
GoForthFast GoForthFast is offline
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There is nothing we can do here with the information given so far except guess. You need to get into the engine and play detective to actually know what happened. Sounds serious, but hope it isn't. Find out what is wrong before you explore a new engine. Think one step at a time. And be thorough.
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Old 01-08-2013, 10:46 PM
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iskoos iskoos is offline
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Did you check the oil level after the incident? If low, did you check the cylinders and intake for oil?

I have heard of CVV failures (especially in cold weather) causing engine hydro-lock; and it can happen fast. Smoke coming out of the tailpipe shouldn't be white though.
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Old 01-09-2013, 04:40 AM
gesoffen gesoffen is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iskoos View Post
I have heard of CVV failures (especially in cold weather) causing engine hydro-lock; and it can happen fast. Smoke coming out of the tailpipe shouldn't be white though.
I'd guess/hope for a CCV failure based on the info provided so far ( although not to the point of hydro lock). Oil smoke (blue/grey) can look white under certain lighting conditions.

If you're attempting to diagnose yourself, the first order of business is to pull the spark plugs and see if you can get the engine to turn over by hand.
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Old 01-22-2013, 05:17 AM
GBUTLER GBUTLER is offline
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Solution

Thanks for the help everyone!

Turns out it was a PVC valve, seized up and malfunctioned due to cold weather. Essentially, the Oil wasn't distributing through the engine properly.
Seems to be running fine now, engine is still burning a little bit of oil that got in when the incident occurred, but this was expected and I'm hoping everything will be fine after a few fresh tanks of gas go through her.

-greg
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Old 01-22-2013, 10:12 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GBUTLER View Post
Essentially, the Oil wasn't distributing through the engine properly
I am no expert - but - seems to me if the CCV blocked, the problem would be excess pressure and loss of oil (which would show up in the exhaust) - but not necessarily that oil wouldn't be circulating.

IMHO, oil should circulate just fine even if the CCV hoses & valve were blocked solid.
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Old 01-22-2013, 10:16 AM
joegr joegr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
I am no expert - but - seems to me if the CCV blocked, the problem would be excess pressure and loss of oil (which would show up in the exhaust) - but not necessarily that oil wouldn't be circulating.

IMHO, oil should circulate just fine even if the CCV hoses & valve were blocked solid.
I assume that he meant that it wasn't flowing (circulating) from the separator to the oil pan. I agree that it's a bad way to describe the problem.
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