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E85 / E86 Z4 (2003-2008)
E85 Z4 Roadster, E86 Z4 Coupe, E85 Z4 M Roadster, and E86 Z4 M Coupe talk with our BMW gurus here.

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  #1  
Old 01-22-2013, 02:17 PM
merithynos merithynos is offline
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Mein Auto: 2003 Z4
2003 - Massive amounts of smoke, then engine died.

Just got my Z4 back from the dealership after some routine service (oil change, etc). Drove home last night with no problems, parked it outside (no garage) as normal. Started it up this morning in the bitter cold (about 10 degrees F.) without any problems, let it idle for 5 minutes or so while I took out the trash and dropped off a letter at the mailbox.

5 miles down the road, on the interstate, the car started spewing copious amounts of white smoke from the tailpipe. I was going about 70. Since I was near an exit, I immediately moved over and took the exit (less than 1/4 mile). The engine stalled out halfway down the ramp, and I coasted the car off the exit. The car was running maybe 30 seconds from when I noticed the smoke and the engine stalling.

On a quick inspection, there was no oil visible on the engine block, and a small amount of oil residue in the muffler. I checked the oil level, and it was effectively empty (not good).

So now the car is at the dealership again (thanks for the two hours in the cold waiting for a tow truck), and I am waiting to hear back about a root cause. I am assuming either A) the cold caused something to jam shut and blew oil back into the engine or B) the dealership forgot a step in the oil change and the oil all leaked out, somewhere I couldn't see it.

Considering the engine seized due to lack of oil, is the engine salvageable, or am I looking at a dead Z4?
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  #2  
Old 01-22-2013, 02:28 PM
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IgotBMW IgotBMW is offline
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My vote is B)

Hope you get it sorted out. Keep us updated.
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  #3  
Old 01-23-2013, 04:13 AM
Mikey48 Mikey48 is offline
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Did you have the proper amout of antifreez in the cooling system ? In the bitter cold it is Very important to make sure of that. Sounds like you froze up the radiator. Going 70 in the bitter cold the temp droped a lot more for your cars cooling system. If you did not have enough antifreez in the cooling system it will freez up. Sounds like that is what happened to you. You may of blown out the rad or a hose. Hopefully not the head gasket. Good luck and please keep us posted.
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  #4  
Old 01-23-2013, 07:01 AM
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Pinecone Pinecone is offline
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White smoke is indicative of coolant. And coolant into the cylinder/exhaust. Typically blown head gasket.

Oil smoke is blueish.
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  #5  
Old 01-23-2013, 09:57 AM
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vintage42 vintage42 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinecone View Post
White smoke is indicative of coolant. And coolant into the cylinder/exhaust. Typically blown head gasket. Oil smoke is blueish.
No oil on dipstick after an oil change would be dealer's fault. Bad head gasket would not be dealer's fault. But I think head gaskets fail slowly with gradual loss of coolant, and do not suddenly open up and blow clouds of smoke.
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  #6  
Old 01-23-2013, 10:59 AM
merithynos merithynos is offline
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Looks like option A). Dealership is saying a valve froze shut causing an overpressure situation which blew oil back into the engine. They're currently pulling the engine apart to clean everything out and see how much damage there is.

Crap crap crap.
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  #7  
Old 01-23-2013, 12:55 PM
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shipkiller shipkiller is offline
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That valve is most likely the BMW special wamadine PCV valve (not its real name of course). This valve has a history of this type of failure in extreme cold temperatures on M54 engines. They even have an upgraded 'cold weather option' upgraded valve....

Do a search, especially on the E46 chassis and you will see.


.
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  #8  
Old 01-23-2013, 03:38 PM
merithynos merithynos is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shipkiller View Post
That valve is most likely the BMW special wamadine PCV valve (not its real name of course). This valve has a history of this type of failure in extreme cold temperatures on M54 engines. They even have an upgraded 'cold weather option' upgraded valve....

Do a search, especially on the E46 chassis and you will see.


.
Yeah, that's what the issue was. $1949 later I am on my way to pick it back up...
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  #9  
Old 01-24-2013, 06:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vintage42 View Post
No oil on dipstick after an oil change would be dealer's fault. Bad head gasket would not be dealer's fault. But I think head gaskets fail slowly with gradual loss of coolant, and do not suddenly open up and blow clouds of smoke.
Agreed with the first.

The second, nope, sometimes the fail suddenly. BT, DT, changed them in odd places (parking lots, side of the road). It is much easier on a non-overhead cam engine.
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  #10  
Old 01-25-2013, 04:05 AM
Mikey48 Mikey48 is offline
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merithynos, sorry that happened to you. If I were you I would still double check that antifreeze when you get the car back. Better safe than sorry.
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  #11  
Old 01-25-2013, 05:11 AM
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vintage42 vintage42 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinecone View Post
... nope, sometimes the fail suddenly. BT, DT, changed them in odd places (parking lots, side of the road). It is much easier on a non-overhead cam engine.
I know that some head gaskets can and have failed suddenly, but in my experience this is on vintage or racing engines. And I know that for a decade, the Subaru EJ model 2.5L engine, which I have, was notorious for developing a slow head gasket leak due to movement of the cylinder deck.
But I would be curious to know if anyone in the forum has heard of a Z3 engine whose head gasket suddenly and completely failed and blew out the coolant in a trail of steam.
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  #12  
Old 01-25-2013, 07:48 AM
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Why are we talking about head gaskets? The issue was diagnosed and fixed.....
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How does something immoral, when done privately, become moral when it is done collectively?
Furthermore, does legality establish morality?
Slavery was legal; apartheid was legal; Stalinist, Nazi, and Maoist purges were legal. Clearly, the fact of legality does not justify these crimes. Legality, alone, cannot be the talisman of morel people. - Walter E. Williams
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  #13  
Old 01-25-2013, 06:42 PM
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Zedfor Zedfor is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shipkiller View Post
Why are we talking about head gaskets? The issue was diagnosed and fixed.....
Some people can't (or won't) read.
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  #14  
Old 01-27-2013, 12:17 AM
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Because it is an interesting topic.

It happens all the time.
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  #15  
Old 01-27-2013, 05:29 AM
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amancuso amancuso is offline
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I bet you the valve that stuck closed was the CCV. Same thing happened to my 540i a few years back. I didn't drive it till it shut down though. I ended up having it towed to my indy and the total bill was $650.00. I guess you love paying dealer prices. .
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