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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E39 (1997 - 2003)

E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 02-04-2009, 05:45 PM
Dworkin Dworkin is offline
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Tan sludge on oil cap?

Hello all,
Recently I've noticed some tan sludge on my oil filler cap and around the opening on the inside.
I'm running Mobil 1 0W40 and seem to be burning some oil, but with no visible signs of any leaks.
Coolant level is fine, no contamination.
Anyone seen this before? Is it just a natural byproduct of the oil?
Thanks,
Bill
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  #2  
Old 02-04-2009, 06:03 PM
poolman poolman is offline
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It's normal--don't sweat it-----
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  #3  
Old 02-04-2009, 07:03 PM
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gtxragtop gtxragtop is offline
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Burning oil is not normal for most stock engines. I'd personally try a 5W-30 oil. It seems that some folks have mentioned oil consumption issue with Mobil 0W-40.
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  #4  
Old 02-04-2009, 07:26 PM
Dworkin Dworkin is offline
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Yeah, I'm going to switch to 5W-30 factory oil and give it a try.
Thanks for the advice.
Bill
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  #5  
Old 02-04-2009, 07:28 PM
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02 330Ci 02 330Ci is offline
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That tan sludge, its also yellow as mentioned in a recent post. Moisture from the air rising to the highest point in the system which is the oil fill cap and condensing.
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  #6  
Old 02-04-2009, 08:20 PM
roadshadowww roadshadowww is offline
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No problem.........

Like been said, Oil vapor mixing at the cap with cooler air that creates the moisture, oil and water mix and gives that little yellowish/white on the inside of the cap.

No Biggie..........
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  #7  
Old 02-04-2009, 08:58 PM
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I'm running Mobil 1 0w40 and will never again. Burns like gas!
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  #8  
Old 02-05-2009, 02:45 AM
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Doesnt look like this does it?
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  #9  
Old 02-05-2009, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Schnell!!! View Post


Doesnt look like this does it?
Yikes!

Blown head gasket!...

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  #10  
Old 02-05-2009, 09:51 AM
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That pic scares me to death....
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  #11  
Old 02-05-2009, 09:56 AM
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That does not indicate a blown head gasket, that is not antifreeze it is condensation from moisture in the air meeting colder air from outside the engine.
Sure it looks like crap but if you warm the engine more drive it farther it will cook the moisture out.
Winter time is when you see all kinds of that.
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  #12  
Old 02-05-2009, 05:44 PM
Dworkin Dworkin is offline
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Yeah, it looks like that, but not as much sludge. It is very cold here, I drive 1 hour each way to work.
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  #13  
Old 02-06-2009, 03:04 AM
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Mmmm. Mmmmm... gotta love that BMW mayo, naturally cholesterol free...

It has been said that to a degree, this is some times concidered normal such as what was said before.. but then again if you are having any other problems... this may be a sign to something... if the car is strong and is running at normal operating temperatures with no sign of "odd" noises, you may just have the moisture goo...
Hope this helps
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Last edited by Schnell!!!; 02-06-2009 at 03:07 AM. Reason: not done writing original post
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  #14  
Old 02-09-2009, 08:31 PM
denis denis is offline
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I'm doing a headgasket right now and that is what the oil cap look like about 3wks ago but no coolant leak when cold but hot and pressure tested leak into timing cover from headgasket this is my 3rd 530i fixing
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  #15  
Old 02-10-2009, 09:23 AM
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weasel like weasel like is offline
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could be the head gasket... if you aren't having any other troubles though, tough to say.
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  #16  
Old 02-10-2009, 09:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason5driver View Post
Yikes!

Blown head gasket!...

I don't think this is normal IMHO.
I had a very, very mild development of the above pic - the metal parts started to develop some sort of a very thin film yellow/brownish in color close to the pic. Also, there was visible steam coming out (in cold winter days, and after the engine was turned off - to cool down a little). I started to change the oil at 5-7 k intervals, and it healed. Also, a year later during a very cold day my CCV froze. Not sure if it's related (I think the CCV was already shot when I started to do the oil changes at "my" interval). Car was previously BMW serviced.
No hiccups since.
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  #17  
Old 02-10-2009, 10:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doru View Post
I don't think this is normal IMHO.
I had a very, very mild development of the above pic - the metal parts started to develop some sort of a very thin film yellow/brownish in color close to the pic. Also, there was visible steam coming out (in cold winter days, and after the engine was turned off - to cool down a little). I started to change the oil at 5-7 k intervals, and it healed. Also, a year later during a very cold day my CCV froze. Not sure if it's related (I think the CCV was already shot when I started to do the oil changes at "my" interval). Car was previously BMW serviced.
No hiccups since.

Of course it's not normal!
LOL!
Why do you think I suggested a blown head gasket...???

I would run a engine compression check...
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  #18  
Old 02-10-2009, 10:20 AM
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tjh530i tjh530i is offline
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If I may chime in on the condensation...

This weekend I poppoed open the oil cap after reading this thread. I had very little of this tan gunk on my cap, which is normal, but...what I was surpirsed to see was that when I looked at the cap there was actually 2 or 3 drops of water condensation on the cap. It was crystal clear and had no scent to it at all. And this was after I had been driving for over 30 mins! Thought any condensation would have burned off by then.
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  #19  
Old 02-11-2009, 07:46 PM
m33m m33m is offline
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condensation

Everything I've read says it's from condensation. I've had it on my cars before
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  #20  
Old 02-12-2009, 12:09 AM
HanSolofliesBMW HanSolofliesBMW is offline
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Gentlemen:

http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum....php?t=1171916

I now have ZERO gunk on my oil filler cap. For the past three months there was a little. Change your CCV Valve and all hoses. It is very likely that moisture is due to the CCV. I spoke with the BMW dealership on LI, they are seeing CCV failures, 2-3 a day.

My symptoms before today's work: Car would have **** on the oil filler cap, a moist exhaust, loud idle audible in the cabin/or outside the car and when you removed the oil filler cap while the car was running...nothing happened.

My new reality after today's work: Car sounds extremely quiet at idle, the pressure is released. The throttle, rpm's are altered as there is now total smoothness throughout the entire range from 600rpms and upwards. If you try to remove the oil filler cap as the car is running their is suction which can easily be felt...and when you remove the oil filler cap the engine gets upset with you.

My engine was retaining moisture. It could not exhale. The vacuum system was fubar.

My car at 70mph is silent, stealthy, super smooth. My oil filler cap is now spotless after driving five miles or seventy-five miles.

I changed my CCV about nine months ago, but not the hoses...today the hoses were clearly FILLED with mung/****/crap. As I placed Sea Foam in the crankcase last week, it pushed sludge into my CCV system and over the edge. However, the vacuum system was failed before the Sea Foam. I Sea Foamed the engine hoping it'd remove sludge or moisture. The real issue was CCV Sytem failure.

Try this at home. Next time you vacuum the carpeting and the bag or cannister in the vacuum is completely filled...remember how the vacuum works? Then empty the bag or cannister, plug it in and then see how it works! This is what's going in with many, many, many BMW's and it's often a slow, silent killer.

I replaced my CCV last year for no reason other than knowing it was a smart thing to do. It was foolish not to do the hoses. They were filled with brown toothpaste...which FREEZES in the winter temps, rendering your vaccum system on fail alert.

Gumbi's father-in-law jumped on my car today. I arrived with tools, burgers and a grill. I expected to do the install and cook afterwards. Instead, he nailed it while I made killer bacon cheeseburgers. I had a great time in NJ today, Gumbi's men were all over the car.

Harry (thrilos5) stopped by. I adjusted his front door hinges and door jam/striker and they now sound exactly as BMW doors should sound when they close...Thhhdut. He enjoyed a burger too, God bless beef, bacon, bread and ketchup with soda that tastes like candy.

While Gumbi's father-in-law worked, he and I cleaned the throttle body, the ICV and the DISA Valve with the proper spray and TLC. My DISA Valve is now f-ing silent at idle. Before this repair it was quite loud at idle. I suggest all of you run out and make it a serious priority to replace your CCV valve (what the cats at BMW refer to as an Oil Seperator) and all of the hoses (don't cheap out like I did).

I thank poolman and many others who comforted me while I couldn't sleep at night, dwelling on my engine's woes. A screwed up vacuum system can take your engine and make it cranky, upset and possibly flat out miserable.

Last edited by HanSolofliesBMW; 02-12-2009 at 12:11 AM.
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  #21  
Old 02-12-2009, 12:57 AM
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I need to check for yellow sludge in mine. That does not look good.
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  #22  
Old 01-08-2011, 02:52 PM
BlackPearlX5 BlackPearlX5 is offline
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Oil cap sludge is back

Last winter my 2003 X5 unexepectedly blew a bunch of blue smoke out the exhaust about 20 minutes after being driven from a semi-heated garage. The garage was about 40 degrees while the outside temp was in the teens.

I had Devon Hill BMW in Pennsylvania replace the oil separator last year this time (Dec) when we had temps in the teens. The cost was $800+. The were supposed to put in the cold weather mod.

Today Jan 8, I checked my oil and the dreaded sludge is back. We have had temps in the high 20's. Nothing out of the ordinary. I checked my oil filter and it is clean. I checked the dip stick and it has small bits of sludge on the "fins". It does appear the sludge is being scraped off the inside of the oil tube as the oil level guage is extracted from the tube.

I find it hard to believe my ?new? oil separator is failing after only 12 months.

Any thoughts?
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  #23  
Old 01-08-2011, 04:10 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackPearlX5 View Post
...I find it hard to believe my ?new? oil separator is failing after only 12 months.

Any thoughts?
There is more to CCV, when doing a CCV job, all of the associated hoses should be replaced as well.

Also, if you do short trips less than 6-7 miles/day, it is a setup for sludge. If your daily commute is short such as 3-4 miles, then once a week, group together all shopping trips and do them all together, this way the engine is properly warmed up.
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  #24  
Old 01-08-2011, 04:27 PM
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bmw_n00b13 bmw_n00b13 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dworkin View Post
Yeah, I'm going to switch to 5W-30 factory oil and give it a try.
Thanks for the advice.
Bill
A common misconception. 5w30 is NOT thicker than 0w30. Actually, if you are switching from 0w40 to 5w30 it's getting THINNER. The first number refers to viscosity when "cold".

READ THIS: http://www.bobistheoilguy.com/cms/in...onth&Itemid=92
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  #25  
Old 01-08-2011, 05:36 PM
repcapale repcapale is online now
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I installed a brand new CCV this summer still have some of that build up. Its from short trips in the cold weather, nothing else.
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