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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 11-28-2008, 07:17 PM
BeAmW325i BeAmW325i is offline
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Lots of white smoke coming out of exhaust

A LOT of white smoke is now coming out of the exhaust. After doing some research, it seems like a head gasket issue?? I opened the engine bay and checked the oil dipstick. The oil is not milky, and looks normal. However, I saw some splashes of white dried liquid (probably coolant) near the coolant reservoir. Would a blown gasket cause that? Errr!!! The car is a 2002 325i with 58K miles.
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  #2  
Old 11-28-2008, 08:17 PM
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Probably head gasket. So low mileage though....... Anything crazy happened before? May be overheat or something else?
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  #3  
Old 11-29-2008, 05:00 AM
BeAmW325i BeAmW325i is offline
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I don't think it has overheated. I'm the second owner though! Few days ago, the startup idle was a little rough and that was it.
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  #4  
Old 11-29-2008, 05:10 AM
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If it is coolant, and I think it is, the exhaust should smell like coolant.
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  #5  
Old 11-29-2008, 08:03 AM
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Do you have an oily tailpipe? Mine looked like white smoke but was actually light blue. I ended up with a blown oil separator "CCV". Take your spark plugs out and check for black oil on them.
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  #6  
Old 11-29-2008, 09:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nov99328i View Post
Do you have an oily tailpipe? Mine looked like white smoke but was actually light blue. I ended up with a blown oil separator "CCV". Take your spark plugs out and check for black oil on them.
+1. Another fester had the SAME issue. he thought he blew his motor. I fixed the CCV for $185 in parts and about 4 hours. Oh, you'll need new plugs too. YOU DO NOT HAVE A BLOWN HEAD GASKET!
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  #7  
Old 11-29-2008, 10:19 AM
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I agree with smolck....the easiest & cheapest way to verify this is to pull the plugs after the car has sat for awhile....if they have an oily film on them (as opposed to a nice, dry, greyish-tan color), your oil seperator is shot.
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  #8  
Old 11-30-2008, 09:43 AM
BeAmW325i BeAmW325i is offline
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Thank you for the feedback guys. I don't know much about these things, but had a few emails back and forth with a tech, and he was saying that it sounds like the Crankcase Vent Valve. Would that explain the little bit a white "splash" around the coolant reservoir area? I will take the car to a BMW service shop on Monday or Tuesday and have them take a look at it. If it is the CVV, can I drive the car for about 5 miles to the shop, or will take make things worst? I don't want to tow it, if not necessary. BTW, there are no CEL's or warnings on the dash.
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  #9  
Old 11-30-2008, 09:45 AM
BeAmW325i BeAmW325i is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by da geez View Post
If it is coolant, and I think it is, the exhaust should smell like coolant.
This might be an obvious smell to some, but I have no idea what coolant smells like
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  #10  
Old 11-30-2008, 10:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeAmW325i View Post
Thank you for the feedback guys. I don't know much about these things, but had a few emails back and forth with a tech, and he was saying that it sounds like the Crankcase Vent Valve. Would that explain the little bit a white "splash" around the coolant reservoir area? I will take the car to a BMW service shop on Monday or Tuesday and have them take a look at it. If it is the CVV, can I drive the car for about 5 miles to the shop, or will take make things worst? I don't want to tow it, if not necessary. BTW, there are no CEL's or warnings on the dash.
Yea, you can drive it 5 miles. It might sputter and die a bit. But the CVV is most certainly the problem. Don't let them take you for a ride on this repair. The parts are only $160 or so, and I did one in 4 hours first time ever doing it. I have seen quotes as high as $1100 which is pure BS. Don't be afraid to shop. You have power the regular public does not have......Bimmerfest. Report back their findings and cost BEFORE you authorize work if you want to save $$ and not get screwed!
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  #11  
Old 11-30-2008, 10:37 AM
BeAmW325i BeAmW325i is offline
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Thanks. I will get estimates from 2 shops before dropping the car off. I will report back and let you guys know what they find. Smolck, wanna drive to North Florida and hook up a brother Is there some kind of a TSB for this issue...I read about it on e46fanatics? I will call the dealership on Monday too.
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  #12  
Old 11-30-2008, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by BeAmW325i View Post
Thanks. I will get estimates from 2 shops before dropping the car off. I will report back and let you guys know what they find. Smolck, wanna drive to North Florida and hook up a brother Is there some kind of a TSB for this issue...I read about it on e46fanatics? I will call the dealership on Monday too.
You won't get the CVV replaced by BMW. You got SEC championship tickets? I'd drive to North Florida for that! What part?
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  #13  
Old 11-30-2008, 11:24 AM
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If it were me, I'd spend a few dollars and get a compression test done. Or if you know how, do it yourself.
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  #14  
Old 11-30-2008, 12:31 PM
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If it were me, I'd spend a few dollars and get a compression test done. Or if you know how, do it yourself.
Why? It is clearly the CVV....
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  #15  
Old 11-30-2008, 12:32 PM
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Why? It is clearly the CVV....
Because I don't like to guess.
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  #16  
Old 11-30-2008, 12:55 PM
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Because I don't like to guess.
But what has the OP said that even remotely sounds like a blown head gasket? White residue near the coolant resevoir (aka expansion tank)? My car has that too. If it was milky in the oil then I could understand that. But since I have just fixed this EXACT same problem for another Fester when most people here diagnosed as a blown head gasket, it isn't a "guess" it is an "educated guess" It was Nova's comments that helped me pin it down. This guy has all the same issues, and a simple glance at the plugs will show them covered in black oil and thereby confirm a bad CVV.
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  #17  
Old 12-01-2008, 01:54 PM
BeAmW325i BeAmW325i is offline
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Just got an estimate of $500 to replace the CVV with parts and labor. This place only works on BMW's. I should have the car by tomorrow evening. They said the white smoke was caused by the oil being sucked out of the engine and getting burned, not the coolant. I'll update you guys again tomorrow.
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  #18  
Old 12-12-2008, 12:57 PM
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i had the same problem and still do, i had the valley pan seal replaced, and the osv (oil seperator valve) and the thing still smokes when starting it up but stops after.....I'm going bonkers because its more annoying than a mechanical problem. any other suggestions from anyone ...thanks
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Old 12-12-2008, 01:06 PM
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i had the same problem and still do, i had the valley pan seal replaced, and the osv (oil seperator valve) and the thing still smokes when starting it up but stops after.....I'm going bonkers because its more annoying than a mechanical problem. any other suggestions from anyone ...thanks
If your oil separator went bad, your plugs are probably fouled. Change them....
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  #20  
Old 12-12-2008, 03:51 PM
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Nov99328i Nov99328i is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smolck View Post
If your oil separator went bad, your plugs are probably fouled. Change them....
O2 sensors are prolly shot too...............
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  #21  
Old 12-13-2008, 04:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeAmW325i View Post
This might be an obvious smell to some, but I have no idea what coolant smells like
It smells "sweet". Buy a gallon of BMW coolant and sniff it. If your exhaust smells the same, it's a bad gasket.

You'll need the coolant soon anyway.
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A bimmer with forced induction should have a proper manual gearbox. Anything less is like french kissing your sister.

Last edited by Scott ZHP; 12-13-2008 at 04:29 AM.
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  #22  
Old 12-13-2008, 04:29 AM
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But what has the OP said that even remotely sounds like a blown head gasket?
Reread the first post ...

"A LOT of white smoke is now coming out of the exhaust."
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JUST...LOOK...UNDER...THE...CAR....for Chrissakes....it`s like checking to see if a dog is male or female....
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A bimmer with forced induction should have a proper manual gearbox. Anything less is like french kissing your sister.
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  #23  
Old 12-13-2008, 08:45 AM
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Reread the first post ...

"A LOT of white smoke is now coming out of the exhaust."
Doesn't automatically mean blown head gasket. A failed oil separator can cause more smoke than you can imagine. This was the problem with a recent fester I helped replace the CVV.....
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  #24  
Old 12-13-2008, 09:13 AM
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Doesn't automatically mean blown head gasket. A failed oil separator can cause more smoke than you can imagine. This was the problem with a recent fester I helped replace the CVV.....
Yeah, no kidding. I've been around, in, under and through enough engines to know that as well.

Your quote was this: "But what has the OP said that even remotely sounds like a blown head gasket?" Re-read the first post, including the title.
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JUST...LOOK...UNDER...THE...CAR....for Chrissakes....it`s like checking to see if a dog is male or female....
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A bimmer with forced induction should have a proper manual gearbox. Anything less is like french kissing your sister.
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  #25  
Old 12-13-2008, 12:25 PM
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Yeah, no kidding. I've been around, in, under and through enough engines to know that as well.

Your quote was this: "But what has the OP said that even remotely sounds like a blown head gasket?" Re-read the first post, including the title.
Yes Scott, we bow to your greatness...

He also said "oil level is fine and not milky" and his car only has 58k on it. These engines don't have a habit of popping head gaskets unless overheated with only 58k.....
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