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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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Old 08-21-2016, 07:30 AM
Maserbob40 Maserbob40 is offline
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Location: Rome, Italy
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 1
Mein Auto: BMW 320D Wagon
E-46 diesel 'making' oil

We have a 2001 320D wagon here in Rome. Other than the gizmo that slides back to open the 'moonroof' being stuck, everything seems to work. Car is used in Rome, Italy, & has just returned from a trip to the Swiss Alps. Some of the nomenclature may differ, but the thing has the 2.0 4-banger diesel engine - I think they call it the 'high pressure' engine - 146 bhp & about 260 fp of torque. Good little runner & despite having 267000 km on the clock, it gets right down the road. No chain noise, etc, most of the mileage by previous owner was on 2 hr trips from Grossetto to visit his wife in Rome on weekends.

Problem is that it seems to be 'making' oil - level on dipstick gets progressively higher between changes, which can't be good as diesel oil is obviously leaking into the cylinders from somewhere, probably when it's shut off. Diluting the lubricating oil reduces the viscosity which is emphatically not desirable!

I've run into this same problem with a friend's 2.5 litre diesel Land Rover 90. He had a helluva time getting it to stop - replacing injectors, etc, didn't seem to help.

Retired mechanic friend advised changing the injectors (think the thing only runs electronic injectors, but hard to tell with all the plastic under the hood - no obvious mechanical injection pump).

Anyway, if anyone has had a similar experience with one of these things, I would like to hear from you. I can probably swap the injectors myself, the problem is getting them from someone besides the dealers. Presumably there is an aftermarket, even here in Europe?

Thanks for anything anyone can come up with.

Bob Shipley
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Old 08-21-2016, 09:15 AM
floydarogers's Avatar
floydarogers floydarogers is offline
Pedant and Curmudgeon
Location: Renton, WA
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 4,985
Mein Auto: 335d, 328d, Toyota T100
That's an older M47 or M47TU engine IIRC. Never got that engine here in the USA/CA, so I'm just guessing. Looks like you're looking at obvious things. One thing that has happened on the M57 engine *occasionally" is a leak in the fuel pump that lets diesel fuel get by the seals into the crankcase (fuel pump is on front left of engine, driven by gear/chain). Pricey.
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Old 08-22-2016, 06:19 PM
das_autobahn das_autobahn is offline
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Location: north carolina
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 5
Mein Auto: 2004 330ci
i have a dodge cummins 2500 (i rebuilt it by hand in my garage) and yes you are putting fuel into the oil. take a piece of paper towel and drop a drop of oil from dipstick onto it and see how much diesel wicks past the oil spot. this will help identify how much is in the oil.

i am unsure of the injection style but you may have one of the following...

cracked nozzle
worn injector "pissing" when not injecting
pintle worn causing the above
dirt causing pintle to not fully seat

i highly recommend pulling injectors and have them bench tested to find the culprits. If this issue isnt sorted out you may end up burning a hole in a piston or trashing the engine from diluted oil.

i would stop driving it asap and test injectors and or replace them all.

How much "idling" do you do? this will wash cylinders down and allow excess unburnt fuel to contribute to oil
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Old 08-22-2016, 06:20 PM
das_autobahn das_autobahn is offline
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Location: north carolina
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 5
Mein Auto: 2004 330ci
oh and it might be a common rail injection system. most newer diesels are this way
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