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X3 E83 (2004 - 2010)
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  #1  
Old 02-09-2013, 01:13 PM
wil33562 wil33562 is offline
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Where is the oil going?

Over the past 15,000 miles I've added about two quarts of oil due to being low. I changed the oil today and poured the old oil back into the used containers. I put in 6.5 quarts, but only drained out about 5.25 quarts.

I've never noticed any smoke or oil burning smells and I've never had any oil leaks below my vehicle.

Here is the backstory on my vehicle: It currently has 114,000 miles. At around 88,000 I noticed that it was losing oil by using the onboard electronic dip stick. I added a quart. A couple of months later at around 95,000 miles I changed the spark plugs and found oil on plug #4 or #5. I took this in for service around 98,000 miles. The dealership, while under CPO warranty replaced the valve cover gasket and the oil filter gasket to fix the problem with oil leaking into the spark plug holes.

The oil and filter were replaced around this same time at 98,000 miles. Since then, I'm now out of warranty and have put in about two quarts of oil due to being low.

At 111,000 miles, Nov. 2012, my fuel pump went out and I took it to the dealer to be replaced. While it was there I had them look into my lose of oil. They said they found nothing and no signs of a leak anywhere.

I've noticed since Nov. 2012, that I've been a little low according to the electronic oil meter.However, today when I changed the oil I decided to pour the old oil back in the containers just to see how low I was. I was about 1.25 quarts low.

Any ideas on where the oil could be going? Again, I have no puddles beneath the vehicle, no burning oil smell, and no smoke from the exhaust.

Thanks,

-w
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  #2  
Old 02-09-2013, 10:11 PM
x3brian x3brian is offline
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Hmmmm....My first impression is that I think your dealer didn't do any digging.

If I were you I would do the following:

1) crawl under car and remove lower modesty cover (four 17mm bolts on stiffening plate and about 12 8mm bolts). Do this to look for where the oil is going...it has to be somewhere and it will always find its way to the lowest spot.

2) remove upper engine modesty cover (its what your oil cap is in). 4 torx screws and it pull off. Your looking for the following:

-valve cover leak
-oil filter housing leak
-since you have an 07 there is a solenoid on the valve cover that has also been reported as a leak source.

-the final place to check is to pull your spark plugs...probably due anyway at 111k.

3) if none of the above doesn't point out a leak I would suspect a faulty oil level sensor but you just measured the drained oil so i would send into blackstone for analysis....I would fear leaking head gasket.

The only other possibility...but haven't heard this on a na n52 with out direct injection is really mucked up combustion chamber with cooked oil...but like I said that's common with the turbo...not a na motor....

Keep us posted...my 09 is similar milage 109k and doesn't burn any oil.

Last edited by x3brian; 02-10-2013 at 12:29 PM.
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  #3  
Old 02-11-2013, 05:12 AM
jdauria jdauria is offline
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Only thing I could think of (after I read brian's post) was bad CCV??
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  #4  
Old 02-11-2013, 07:21 AM
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Technically you're within the specs provided by BMW, which is up to a litre of consumption every 2000km (1200mls) is considered "normal"......but then again there are a lot of factors that affect oil consumption such as environment, driving habits, etc....
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  #5  
Old 02-11-2013, 11:51 AM
BMW220i BMW220i is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AzNMpower32 View Post
Technically you're within the specs provided by BMW, which is up to a litre of consumption every 2000km (1200mls) is considered "normal"......but then again there are a lot of factors that affect oil consumption such as environment, driving habits, etc....
I, too, have seen this or similar figure for BMWs and other cars. However, my car can go 7,000 miles and not consume any measurable oil. What they probably mean is that 2000 km with oil loss is either not important or difficult to find the source of the loss so don't blame the dealer if they give up.
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  #6  
Old 02-20-2013, 03:19 PM
Aaron1021 Aaron1021 is offline
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Just out of curiosity, what kind of oil are you using? My Subaru had a problem with Mobil1 5w-30. I was having to add a quart or more every 1000 miles, but I could never find a leak from anywhere and no smoke out the exhaust to indicate burning oil. I switched over to Pennzoil Platinum 5w-30, and I rarely have to add any oil between my 5k interval changes now. Some WRX guys have the same problem with Mobil1 and some don't.
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Last edited by Aaron1021; 02-20-2013 at 03:21 PM.
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  #7  
Old 02-21-2013, 12:44 AM
mchova01 mchova01 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wil33562 View Post
A couple of months later at around 95,000 miles I changed the spark plugs and found oil on plug #4 or #5.
If you have a 2007 or newer X3, it might be worth replacing the $30 USD Valvetronic gasket and this is something you can easily do yourself. Below is a picture from a DIY I am working on which shows the gasket. If this is bad, it would cause some oil to appear in one or two of the center two plugs. Mine had some oil there; however, I never have to add oil to my X3 between changes at ~80k miles.

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  #8  
Old 02-21-2013, 06:07 AM
mhughett mhughett is offline
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mchova01,

I'm very interested in the DIY you're working on. My daughter and wife both drive N52-engined BMW's and both have about 90k miles. The X3 had a new valve cover gasket put in when they replaced the lifters (ticking issue) but daughter's car is definitely due for the gasket change. Looking forward to it.
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  #9  
Old 02-22-2013, 12:21 PM
nightmareuki nightmareuki is offline
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this is why you should change oil every 7500 at the latest. all engines burn oil but at different rates. I add a quart over that period, yours seems to take a bit more. you will not see any smoke coming out until the engine is faked usually. your cats are removing most of it. take a look at cold starts if there is any smoke.
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  #10  
Old 07-13-2013, 08:59 AM
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AzNMpower32 AzNMpower32 is offline
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Bah, this is becoming a very minor occurence for me as well. My X3 asks for a litre of oil every few thousand kms (3-4k mls), although I think with the mountains comes more strain on the engine. With the 6-8% gradients, the engine is seeing 3-4k rpm sustained for longer periods (10-15km or 6-10 mls nonstop). It also chewed thru the oil last week when I drove to the OBX with speeds holding or exceeding 170km/h for 30-40min non-stop.

No visible VCG leaks, smells, oil burns on the exhaust manifold plate, or smoke and the CCV was just replaced 2 months ago.

But unless someone else says otherwise, I'll assume this is still acceptable. Looking at the E46 threads, these M54 engines just tend to consume some oil.
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  #11  
Old 07-13-2013, 09:13 AM
Grabby544 Grabby544 is offline
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Re: Where is the oil going?

You can pull your spark plugs and see if your burning any oil. Just a suggestion.

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  #12  
Old 07-13-2013, 01:24 PM
usaret usaret is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AzNMpower32 View Post
Bah, this is becoming a very minor occurence for me as well. My X3 asks for a litre of oil every few thousand kms (3-4k mls), although I think with the mountains comes more strain on the engine. With the 6-8% gradients, the engine is seeing 3-4k rpm sustained for longer periods (10-15km or 6-10 mls nonstop). It also chewed thru the oil last week when I drove to the OBX with speeds holding or exceeding 170km/h for 30-40min non-stop.

No visible VCG leaks, smells, oil burns on the exhaust manifold plate, or smoke and the CCV was just replaced 2 months ago.

But unless someone else says otherwise, I'll assume this is still acceptable. Looking at the E46 threads, these M54 engines just tend to consume some oil.
Totally fine. I owned an Isuzu that burned a qt every 1,000 miles like clockwork from new. I just kept it topped off and put 189,000 trouble free miles on it. I still see it running around occasionally.
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  #13  
Old 07-14-2013, 06:29 AM
rmerkushen rmerkushen is offline
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Dealer will tell u it's within the specs. I had issue with mine at 98kmiles where I was loosing a quart every 1100miles!! Took it to bmw dealer and they found nothing, instead compression and leak down test was performed for $500. Everything came back normal.

So a month after my warranty has expired, I decided to replace spark plugs. Pulled the top cover off, spark plug boots, then discovered oil in 2-5 plug holes, and oil coming out of valvetronic motor. Now I am steaming, got under the car and discovered rear main seal and oil pan gasket. My blood pressure shut up, face turned red, wrote long email to my SA with pics. He said bring it in and we will see what we can do ( now I am out of warranty).

They confirmed three sources of oil leaks and did nothing about it. I had to call bmw myself and they replied "what case?".. I am still fighting to get my money back for compression and leak down tests.

I had fixed vcg, oil pan (big pia), and main seal. Main seal is still leaking, but that's due to me most likely installing it incorrectly. So as someone mentioned, remove the covers, cause those thing hide oil leaks, even pretty significant ones. Do that before warranty expires otherwise its $$$$. Hopefully you can get it all resolved before warranty runs out.

My car had been dealer maintained since the day I got it. And as soon as cpo has expired, all hell broke loose. I have dumped 5k into it so far.. Dealer that I am not going to name has bent me over big time!!

Last edited by rmerkushen; 07-14-2013 at 06:30 AM.
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  #14  
Old 07-18-2013, 06:23 AM
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A B Able Truck A B Able Truck is offline
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I'm just poking around other forums - this may help - You may not smoke yet but keep using oil and you will - Also check for carbon buildup on the top of your pistons.


****This note was copied from a BMW Technical Training manual
Note: If the exhaust system produces blue smoke, it is necessary to check whether the engine is also drawing oil into the combustion chamber through the crankcase breather, which suggest that there is a fault in the area of the crankcase breather. A clear sign of a problem is an oiled up clean-air pipe.
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