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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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  #26  
Old 06-18-2013, 03:48 PM
sannouni sannouni is offline
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Thanks for the input... Fast Bob, do you mean Techron fuel additive ? And when you say "good long run", is it a 5 mile highway drive ? (5 miles is a long distance when running a high RPM)
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  #27  
Old 06-18-2013, 03:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fast Bob View Post
I`ve never been a fan of products like Seafoam, but that doesn`t mean they`re totally useless (maybe ). I would just try something I`m familiar with, and that has a good track record, (like Techron), and then take the car out for a good long run in a gear that will keep the engine spinning at 4000-5000 RPMs, with occasional blasts up to redline.
This is the traditional, old-school mechanic`s technique for "de-carbonizing" the engine....nothing like prolonged high RPMs to blow the crud out....

You seem to be going about this the right way....I wish I had a better answer for you. Maybe one of our resident wizards will find the right answer....
Guess I'll post this here. A few weeks ago I seafoamed the ZHP. I was bored and figured I'd try it as I had bought the bottle MONTHS ago and never used it.

I poured 1/3 in my gas tank and the rest went into the intake via the brake booster vacuum line. I let it set 10 minutes and fired it up. I was surprised by the amount of smoke I got from my car. I have a new fuel system and only run 93 octane and also I don't exactly baby my car. But it SMOKED and SMOKED and SMOKED like my dearly beloved granny. I drove around the "hood" smoking all over and helping control Skeeters I guess.

After the smoking stopped I felt like my car was stronger, but figured it was placebo affect and parked it. Next day I filled it with gas and reset my MPG gauge just to see. After driving for a week or so I realized my MPGs went up from an avg of 20.9 to 22.6. I did not change my driving style or anything like that. Now, the car still drives good but the MPGs have settled in at about 21.8 IIRC. So it looks like it worked. I was skeptical, but I can't argue with the result.

My ZHP has had pretty meticulous maintenance and has 185k miles on it.
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now, go burn your Man Card, and buy yourself a Camry....
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  #28  
Old 06-18-2013, 07:01 PM
sannouni sannouni is offline
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i'll mix the two suggestions then, i'll pick up a seafoam bottle on my way home tomorrow, then i'll seafoam the intake (through the brake vacuum line)... then take her out for a spirited drive (as Fast Bob suggested) and i'll report back with the results... in the meanwhile, if i'm about to blow my engine up by doing what i mentioned, then please let me know...

Fast Bob, how long is a "good long run"

smolk, they dont talk much about how hard you should drive the car after applying the seafoam (when the exhaust is smoking), did you "dirve it like you stole it" after the hot soak period ?
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  #29  
Old 06-19-2013, 08:23 AM
sannouni sannouni is offline
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after extensive reading, it seems like i'll pull out the spark plugs, pour some cleaner (not sure yet, maybe seafoam or if you suggest something then please let me know so i can research it), then let it sit for few hours or over night, then use a wick/syringe/or such, to take out the fluid... then run a seafoam treatment, the take it for a spirited drive... and i'll report back...

BUT, that is not a solution to the oil consumption (or at least, i doubt it is)... As i mentioned earlier, the pipe running from the oil separator to the intake manifold (where it splits to the 6 cylinders, as in the picture i posted in page 1) is oily, which means that there is something upstream of that... what should i check for...???
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  #30  
Old 06-19-2013, 08:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sannouni View Post

Fast Bob, how long is a "good long run"

?
4 or 5 miles at "elevated RPMs" should do it. Remember, these cars were designed for cruising the Autobahn at 140 mph for hours on end, so a few miles shouldn't hurt anything....
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  #31  
Old 06-19-2013, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by sannouni View Post
smolk, they dont talk much about how hard you should drive the car after applying the seafoam (when the exhaust is smoking), did you "dirve it like you stole it" after the hot soak period ?
Drove it like I stole it (or what I call "commuter mode"). It was very James Bond like. Smokescreen activated!
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now, go burn your Man Card, and buy yourself a Camry....
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  #32  
Old 06-19-2013, 07:59 PM
sannouni sannouni is offline
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I tested the Oil Separator and it seems to be working fine... the video shows one of the tests that i did (just by using air)... the other test that's not shown in the video was that i was using the same hose (as in the video) to introduce the air pressure, but i had the dipstick in all the way and the oil fill cap open, and the air flow was coming out of the oil filler cap.... please correct me if i'm wrong, but based on my basic understanding of the functioning of the oil separator, there shouldn't be oil coming back to the intake if the CCV is working properly (i referred to the diagram in : http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...3&postcount=14 for the description)






I cleaned up the valve cover, and removed the two leaking fasteners, cleaned and added some gasket maker and put them back, tightened to spec plus a 1/4 turn.... so i'll drive for a couple of days and check for leaks from the area...

as i mentioned earlier, i'll be doing the Seafoam treatment and piston soaking over the weekend and report back... i'll probably be doing a compression test as well since i'll have all the spark plugs removed...

for the time being, anything i should check ???
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  #33  
Old 06-20-2013, 04:41 AM
sannouni sannouni is offline
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referencing a very nice read regarding the subject (and a possible fix) : http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum....php?t=1629018
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  #34  
Old 06-21-2013, 03:23 AM
sannouni sannouni is offline
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Has anyone done this ??? (link below)

http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...8#post23714558
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  #35  
Old 06-21-2013, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by sannouni View Post
Has anyone done this ??? (link below)

http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...8#post23714558
Now, that`s a very interesting read, and certainly throws yet another possibility into the mix...."Ring Flutter"....who would`ve suspected that ? In theory, it makes a lot of sense, and equalizing the intake/crankcase vacuum should help. Having higher vacuum in the combustion chamber would definitely induce pulling oil up past the rings, burning it in the cc, then sending it out the exhaust.

The valve guides issue is also a difficult one to evaluate, given the irregular nature of the symptoms (they only appear under certain conditions).

I recalled from about a year and a half ago that there was an E39 Forum member who had reached the end of his patience in dealing with the CVV Voodoo, and decided to remove it and go a different route:

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...ight=catch+can
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  #36  
Old 06-22-2013, 09:25 AM
sannouni sannouni is offline
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does anyone have an oil separator handy that can take a quick measurement?? i'm looking for the size of the plugged vacuum line ... Thanks
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  #37  
Old 06-23-2013, 03:34 PM
sannouni sannouni is offline
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update:

used the seafoam through the intake manifold and the vacuum line (as per http://www.diymybmw.com/e46/seafoam-...or-hesitation/ )

While i was visiting the family over the weekend (around 200kms away), i did a compression test (pics attached), all cylinders have a reading ranging from 180-190 PSI (procedure here: http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showpos...62&postcount=9 , but i removed all spark plugs to reduce the load on the starter while testing)

Next, i removed the air hoses that run from the oil separator to the Intake Manifold, and noticed that they are wet with oil again (drawing attached, items 3 and 7), which is now pointing my attention towards the oil separator once more...

(http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...94&hg=11&fg=15 ) i believe that the internal spring in the upper part of the separator (diaphragm) is not being overcome (to force it in the closed position) by the amount of vacuum that is being applied through the lines coming from the intake (items # 3 and 7)... i need to study the effect of applying vacuum to the capped vacuum line (item # 6) to assist in the closing the diaphragm (the upper section of the separator) when needed...
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  #38  
Old 06-23-2013, 04:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sannouni View Post
update:

used the seafoam through the intake manifold and the vacuum line (as per http://www.diymybmw.com/e46/seafoam-...or-hesitation/ )

While i was visiting the family over the weekend (around 200kms away), i did a compression test (pics attached), all cylinders have a reading ranging from 180-190 PSI (procedure here: http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showpos...62&postcount=9 , but i removed all spark plugs to reduce the load on the starter while testing)

Next, i removed the air hoses that run from the oil separator to the Intake Manifold, and noticed that they are wet with oil again (drawing attached, items 3 and 7), which is now pointing my attention towards the oil separator once more...

(http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...94&hg=11&fg=15 ) i believe that the internal spring in the upper part of the separator (diaphragm) is not being overcome (to force it in the closed position) by the amount of vacuum that is being applied through the lines coming from the intake (items # 3 and 7)... i need to study the effect of applying vacuum to the capped vacuum line (item # 6) to assist in the closing the diaphragm (the upper section of the separator) when needed...
There`s been years of frustration and speculation surrounding this issue....it would be a total revelation if you discovered that the answer was as easy as equalizing the vacuum with that extra hose.

You`ve uncovered irrefutable proof that the CVV is not doing the job it was designed to do, and that it has failed miserably, no matter what the reason....

Good luck to you !
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  #39  
Old 06-23-2013, 11:10 PM
sannouni sannouni is offline
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this is going to be long.....

Fast Bob, i agree, it is in fact very frustrating, I have the service records of the car since day one (i bought the car from the first owner), the first mention of oil consumption came at 116,000KM = 72,079Miles (where the owner complained that they had to add a liter every 5,000Kms = 3,106 Miles), then again at 147,000Kms = 91,341Miles (where the complaint became a liter every 2000Km = 1242Miles.... you get the idea)

one important thing to note before i start.... when i change the oil/filter, the first low oil light would come on after at least 2000km = 1242Miles of driving. then the interval shortens (between yellow low oil lights)....

i'm just speculating at the moment, but my research is leading to the spring inside the Oil Separator Diaphragm to be the culprit...

Here is what i understand about the functioning of the Oil Separator/CCV/ whatever you want to call it: (I'm referring to http://www.bimmerforums.co.uk/forum/...erator-t86647/ for the image in my description)

the "heart and soul" of the oil separator is vacuum, it needs vacuum to function and to do it's job properly, vacuum (through a line from the intake to the CCV, i.e. from the intake through item #5) causes the fumes from the Valve Cover to be drawn down to the Separator through the side entrance (entrance to the centrifuge) of item #6... (you might ask, why wouldn't it pull oil from the dipstick tube ??... well, oil is more dense than air and vacuum always likes to take the path of least resistance...)

once fumes enter, the separation begins, where the oil, being heavier than air, condenses/sticks to the walls of the centrifuge (item #6) and eventually makes it's way through the helical path and down to the bottom hole of the oil separator (bottom center of item #6) and into the dipstick tube; while the air continues all the way til the end of the centrifuge and upwards towards the upper chamber of the Oil Separator (which comprises items 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, note that the visible part of items 1 and 5 in the picture face each other and are separated by the spring, i.e. item #3)

when the engine is under relatively strong vacuum, (while at idle or engine braking), the diaphragm (items 1 and 2) should overcome the spring (item #3) and seal off the vacuum coming from the intake (item #5). and when under partial vacuum, the diaphragm should not be closed (the spring should be adjusted "by the manufacturer" in such a way to make it impossible for the diaphragm to close and seal off the intake vacuum line while under partial vacuum). during that time (partial vacuum) the oil separator should be working (i.e. separating oil from air, letting the air up to the intake and oil down to the dipstick tube)...

I'm assuming that the spring there to maximize the efficiency of the oil separator (based on my limited understanding of the system, i would imagine that for the centrifuge to work properly {i.e. separate oil from air}, a certain band/range of flow speeds at the side entrance of item #6 should be reached, such that, if the flow is faster or slower than optimum, then the diaphragm should be closed preventing oil fumes from entering the intake)

now:
  • if the spring is too stiff (with a higher K-value than designed for), then the diaphragm (items 1 and 2) would not be able to overcome the spring (item #3) and seal off the intake vacuum line (center of item #5). this case is also valid if there is lower vacuum than the spring is designed for (i.e. if you have an intake manifold vacuum leak, most common being a vacuum hose)
  • if the spring is too soft (i.e. lower K-Value and hence, the spring closes too easily), then the diaphragm (items 1 and 2) would almost always be closed against the intake vacuum (center of item #5) and with that, there wont be any oil entering the intake, and any residue within the oil separator (oil and air from the valve cover) would end up in the crankcase via dipstick tube...

please correct me if i'm wrong

again, as i mentioned earlier, i believe that the most common problem is either vacuum leak (which lowers the ability of the diaphragm to close), or oil separator internal spring (item #3) being too stiff that vacuum and diaphragm can not overcome...

any ideas? inputs? corrections?
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  #40  
Old 06-25-2013, 11:30 AM
sannouni sannouni is offline
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I'm ordering a new oil separator, and should be replacing it sometime in August... and will monitor the oil consumption afterwards (i'll dismantle the current oil separator once i remove it just to see what the hell went wrong)

new dipstick tube (single wall) or not?? (i never had any issues with the dipstick tube, such as blocking, or leaking O-ring)
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  #41  
Old 06-25-2013, 12:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sannouni View Post
I'm ordering a new oil separator, and should be replacing it sometime in August... and will monitor the oil consumption afterwards (i'll dismantle the current oil separator once i remove it just to see what the hell went wrong)

new dipstick tube (single wall) or not?? (i never had any issues with the dipstick tube, such as blocking, or leaking O-ring)
I would opt for the single-wall tube, as logic would dictate that it would provide the path of least resistance for any oil being returned to the sump....

Are you going to add the extra "vacuum-balancing tube" ?
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  #42  
Old 06-25-2013, 01:46 PM
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valve cover seeping oil, its very common. You might need to reseat it, remove cover, clean, and retighten. You dont need a new gasket to do that if old 1 still in good shape. Otherwise replace the gasket
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  #43  
Old 06-25-2013, 02:53 PM
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valve cover seeping oil, its very common. You might need to reseat it, remove cover, clean, and retighten. You dont need a new gasket to do that if old 1 still in good shape. Otherwise replace the gasket
You`re not seeing The Big Picture here....this issue goes waaaaay beyond a new VCG....
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  #44  
Old 06-25-2013, 05:44 PM
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excaliber: valve cover seeping oil, its very common. You might need to reseat it, remove cover, clean, and retighten. You dont need a new gasket to do that if old 1 still in good shape. Otherwise replace the gasket
I fixed the valve cover gasket leak (refer to the bottom of post #34)....

Quote:
Fast Bob: I would opt for the single-wall tube, as logic would dictate that it would provide the path of least resistance for any oil being returned to the sump....

Are you going to add the extra "vacuum-balancing tube" ?
I'm thinking of installing the vacuum hose this week (between the oil separator and the intake manifold), and keep monitoring the oil consumption closely over the next couple of weeks...

i'll search the oil dipstick part number and order it from ECS along with a new O-Ring (that's going to be the 4th order from ECS in the month of July alone, i should get a discount.... )
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  #45  
Old 06-26-2013, 09:25 PM
sannouni sannouni is offline
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Update:

got some fuel hose and connected it to the back of the intake manifold (i clamped it in place, learned it the hard way)

on the oil separator side, the fuel hose is too big, so i used the plug that's already a part of the CCV (i cut the plug to make it a small hose, it fit perfectly to the fuel hose, and since it's part of the oil separator, it was perfectly fit in there as well)

I drove the car for a bit (mix of highway and city), topped up the oil, and i'll keep an eye on the level over the next couple of weeks (mileage 218,966Km, i'm using that for reference)

now i have a question, is it supposed to increase the vacuum considerably ?, as in, if i let the car idle for a few seconds, it would take somewhat of an effort to remove the oil filler cap ?? (see video for details)

Observation: there is a minor change during coasting (using engine braking), i feel that the engine is not braking as hard, it's still braking, but not as hard... also when i check the oil after the car's been sitting for few minutes, i used to usually notice some smoke inside when i lift up the oil filler car (inside of the crank case/ valve cover), this is no longer happening (after installing the extra vacuum line), i'm really not sure if all of these things are good or bad yet (i need to study this a little more to get a good grasp of this USO "unidentified sucking object" that some call an oil separator, which's a part of the E46 M54)

there is no smoke out of the tail pipe, but the CCV was making a strange whistling noise (not sure if it is clear in the video) when i first connected the hose, but now the noise is gone (or i'm not able to reproduce the same condition, i remember the car being at idle for a while then i put a fight with the oil filler cap to remove it, that's when the whistling started)...

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  #46  
Old 07-13-2013, 09:39 AM
sannouni sannouni is offline
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A quick Follow up:

I'm at 219,995 (almost a thousand Km since the last update) and the change in oil level (dipstick) is very minor, I'm not going to conclude yet, but i'll keep observing.

but when comparing to before adding the vacuum hose (as outlined in post #45 above), i was loosing 1 Liter every 300-400Kms so i'm already at double the Kms with no yellow oil light.... but again, i need more data (more mileage) to conclude...

Note: the small change in oil level could be because i have a small leak from the rear main seal that i'm planning to repair in a couple of months (since i'll remove the tranny, I'll change the clutch, shifter links, starter, etc...)
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  #47  
Old 07-20-2013, 04:32 PM
sannouni sannouni is offline
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Mileage is now 220,650Km (1,650Kms or 1,025 Miles since the last top up) still no oil light... i'm starting to be convinced, not totally yet, but the data is becoming more substantial favoring a cure...
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  #48  
Old 07-29-2013, 04:50 AM
sannouni sannouni is offline
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2150 Kms (1336 Miles) since the last top up/introduction of the extra vacuum line, still no light... That's the longest I've driven without topping up the oil on this particular car
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  #49  
Old 08-14-2013, 02:42 PM
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Nice work sannouni, do you have any more oil consumption updates to share?

By the way, the extra line you added and connected to the back of the manifold, not quite clear exactly where you hooked it up? I would like to try this as well given my oil consumption is up there.
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  #50  
Old 08-14-2013, 06:25 PM
sannouni sannouni is offline
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over 4000Kms now (~2485 Miles) and no sign of the oil level dropping (very very little, as in less than 100ml (~3.5oz))

the hose is connected to (http://realoem.com/bmw/showparts.do?...79&hg=11&fg=40) item #17

you will need to remove the cabin air filter housing, and reach behind the intake manifold, you will find an output that is plugged (near the driver side in the back of the intake manifold, in other words, between the intake manifold and the firewall)

make sure that you have a fully functional CCV system with unclogged hoses or dipstick return line before attempting this...

If you have any more questions or if you want me to take some pics to clarify the location, then please let me know

and finally.... the standard disclaimer, i'm not held liable for any damage you may cause
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