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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 01-24-2013, 04:59 AM
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Fudman Fudman is offline
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A Possible Method to Decrease CCV Mayo in Winter

It was arctic here in NE this AM (about 2 deg F). My car is garaged and the external temp reading was 15F when I turned the key. On a "normal" 25F AM, the external temp reading is about 35-40F in my garage. My 3 year old CCV is starting to demonstrate initial signs of failing (increased oil consumption & occasional smokey exhaust). It is believed (but there is no actual proof) that short drives in cold weather with a cold engine promote the accumulation of the mayo (condensed oil vapors) in the CCV. My one way commute is 11 miles and it normally takes about 3 miles for my car to fully warm up in normal winter weather (~25F-30F). At this AM's temp, it was gonna take a LOT longer to warm the car up.

In order to avoid adding more mayo to my existing problem, I tried something Doru suggested last week: I turned my heat OFF at startup which allowed the car to warm up considerably faster. This maximizes the time the engine is warm, which hopefully can help to minimize the accumulation of mayo in the CCV in cold conditions. This is not recommended if you need the defroster going but those with heated seats and gloves can actually survive during this warmup period quite nicely. My car warmed up a lot faster (in about 2 miles) using this technique compared to my normal routine. Once I turned the heat back on, my engine temp needle actually dropped for a short period of time before climbing back to 12 o'clock. That's cold!!! We are in the deep freeze for a few more days so I will continue to try and use this method. I don't know if this will help or not but anything that can help me get through this winter until I can replace my CCV this spring is worth trying.
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  #2  
Old 01-24-2013, 05:11 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
I turned my heat OFF at startup...This is not recommended if you need the defroster
Nice idea.

The (inside) heat isn't hot yet anyway, until the engine warms up - so blowing cold-to-slightly-warm air wouldn't do you all that much good anyway, in the first few minutes.

Even without engine heat, the defroster (might) work because you're blowing away the molecules of water misting the inside of the windshield (actually you're lowering the vapor pressure, but let's not get picky) which should (still) work cold (but obviously defrosting works better hot).

One question (since the IHKA is diabolically designed to be set-&-forget): HOW did you (most efficiently) turn the 'heat' off?

I had given up on touching anything on the IHKA control panel - because everything effects everything else and half of them take multiple clicks!

Do you just turn the 'fan' off?
Or do you press (both) buttons downward to lower the temperature of both sides to 60?
Or, do you turn the three-red-button dial to blue?
Or, ?

Note: Photo is re-used from the "setting up the byzantinely complicated IHKA thread":
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Last edited by bluebee; 01-24-2013 at 05:38 AM. Reason: Added photo ...
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  #3  
Old 01-24-2013, 06:12 AM
OzzieH OzzieH is offline
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Good morning! I have essentially the same scenario with 3 yr old CCV (unfortunately, not the cold weather version) but I do have the new dipstick guide tube, 11 mile commute. We have had an entire month of a inversion which keeps Boise area considerably colder than our average. In years past, we might have a couple of single digit mornings, now it's routine w/ -1 to 0 degrees. I have a small amount of mayo on the oil fill cap and some on the dipstick. With the new dipstick guide tube, you can now see the mayo as opposed to the original design which dumped the mayo or oil right into the sump. I noticed the mayo the last two years on the oil fill cap and dipstick. Once the weather warmed up, all was gone. I don't believe this necessarily indicates a bad CCV. I have read postings of people replacing the CCV only to see the mayo in a week or so. Perhaps it is most important to not do short trips in this cold weather and then do some hour runs periodically. I routinely don't turn the heat on until the car has been driven a bit. I will say that this engine warms up faster than any other vehicle I have owned. I wonder if the electronic thermostat has something to do with that.
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Old 01-24-2013, 06:23 AM
YinD YinD is offline
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Have you considered using an engine block heater or oil pan heater? I wonder if simply placing a outdoor flood light or a high intensity shop light aimed at the oil pan over night would keep the oil warm enough to minimize the blow by experienced during cold weather starting and driving.
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  #5  
Old 01-24-2013, 06:51 AM
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BentValve BentValve is offline
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This has been my routine since I got the car:

-Get in
-Turn key to ON
-Turn off HVAC
-Start car
-Turn on heated seats

I wait until the temp gauge is on the first tick mark before I turn the heat on.
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  #6  
Old 01-24-2013, 07:42 AM
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Fudman Fudman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
HOW did you (most efficiently) turn the 'heat' off?

I had given up on touching anything on the IHKA control panel - because everything effects everything else and half of them take multiple clicks!

Do you just turn the 'fan' off?
Yep. I just turned the fan down to zero and the entire MID, including the center vent lights go off.

Correction: The center vent "lights" are never lit and do not go off. The dots are always unlit. Sorry!

Last edited by Fudman; 02-03-2013 at 05:15 PM.
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  #7  
Old 01-24-2013, 07:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OzzieH View Post
Good morning! I have essentially the same scenario with 3 yr old CCV (unfortunately, not the cold weather version) but I do have the new dipstick guide tube, 11 mile commute. We have had an entire month of a inversion which keeps Boise area considerably colder than our average. In years past, we might have a couple of single digit mornings, now it's routine w/ -1 to 0 degrees. I have a small amount of mayo on the oil fill cap and some on the dipstick. With the new dipstick guide tube, you can now see the mayo as opposed to the original design which dumped the mayo or oil right into the sump. I noticed the mayo the last two years on the oil fill cap and dipstick. Once the weather warmed up, all was gone. I don't believe this necessarily indicates a bad CCV. I have read postings of people replacing the CCV only to see the mayo in a week or so. Perhaps it is most important to not do short trips in this cold weather and then do some hour runs periodically. I routinely don't turn the heat on until the car has been driven a bit. I will say that this engine warms up faster than any other vehicle I have owned. I wonder if the electronic thermostat has something to do with that.
I have the insulated CCV and pipes but the older dipstick tube. I have no signs of mayo on my oil cap or dipstick (not a surprise given the older tube design). My commute is all local roads at 35 mph and takes 20 minutes door to door. I do get one 15 mile highway run every week but that does not appear to be enough to clear the system. However, my oil consumption is up (1 qt/2,500 miles) and I get an occasional smokey exhaust at startup and these are the same symptoms I experienced 3 years ago. Hence, I think I am due a new CCV. I just want to avoid hydrolocking my engine in this extreme cold.

And I agree, my M54 warms up incredibly fast. My Explorer (V6) takes at least twice as long to warm up.
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Old 01-24-2013, 07:59 AM
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johnstern johnstern is offline
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Bluebee-The way to turn the HVAC off is to turn lower the fan speed to its lowest setting, take your finger off the speed bar and then press the minus side of the speed bar again. The whole panel and the HVAC should then turn off.

The other factor that I'm thinking about concerning mayo in the CVV system is that the coolant temp has little, if anything, to do with dissolving mayo. It is the oil temp that is important and it takes double, triple or more time for the oil to get to operating temp than the coolant. Then it takes still more time for the hot oil to start dissolving the mayo. So a run of at least a half hour in the winter is needed to start that process.

So if you shut off the car after the oil has reached operating temp, the mayo dissolving will continue as long as the oil stays hot. The insulated cold weather CVV gives the mayo in the valve a longer time to stay hot and dissolve. I would further theorize that if you drive short distances and the oil never gets hot, the cold weather CVV does not give you any advantage. The same must be true if you are on a very long drive as the oil will get hot, dissolve the mayo and if all the mayo gets dissolved before the car is shut off, the valve staying hot longer is of no advantage.
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  #9  
Old 01-24-2013, 08:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YinD View Post
Have you considered using an engine block heater or oil pan heater? I wonder if simply placing a outdoor flood light or a high intensity shop light aimed at the oil pan over night would keep the oil warm enough to minimize the blow by experienced during cold weather starting and driving.
I don't really need extreme measures (e.g. block heater) as single digit temps in NE are fairly rare and my car is garaged. The problem with the CCV system is that blockage can occur anywhere in the various pipes or the dipstick tube. You just cannot heat all those parts. And I think the damage is cumulative over a long period of time. It's just a bad design and periodic replacement appears to be SOP. The replacement interval just appears a little short (40K) as opposed to the cooling system (100K). The previous CCV replacement process was a PITA due to lack of access. When I do it again, I'll probably pull the oil filter housing to improve access and then replace the OFH gasket while it's off.
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Old 01-24-2013, 08:27 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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As any engine ages, the piston rings, valve seals become worn ---> more combustion blow-by in the crankcase ---> overwhelming the stock CCV system which was designed for brand-new car but not a high mileage car.

I recently discovered something interesting in my 1998 S70 GLT with 150K. The Volvo factory 3/8" vent pipe is inadequate for a high-mileage engine, so I modified it using 5/8" heater hose and I no longer have smoking dipstick!

Detail in here:
http://www.matthewsvolvosite.com/for...ic.php?t=53448

Back to the E39, the CCV is mated directly into the Intake Manifold, making it difficult to enlarge the outlet.
However this is not impossible if one is clever enough to feed an extra port into another part of the I.M.
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Old 01-24-2013, 09:45 AM
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Once a week, take the car out and drive the snot out of it for 50 miles or so, at freeway speeds.

The mayo is caused by a mixture of oil and water vapor. The vapor accumulates as a result of short low speed trips in cold weather, where it can't get hot enough to evaporate.

This operating mode has traditionally been called "severe service," and requires more frequent oil changes, esp if you push the oil according to the Service Interval Indicator.
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  #12  
Old 01-24-2013, 10:37 AM
poolman poolman is online now
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How's about pulling the CCV hose from the valve cover and while the engine is at idle spray some sensor safe throttlebody cleaner in there--say about 5 seconds worth--that will break up the crud andbe pulled out through the engine--I do that every couple of months with my PVC valve on my oil catch can--don't know if this would hurt the plastics in the CCV --but doubt that it would because of the petro chem's in the oil going through it already--
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Old 01-24-2013, 11:57 AM
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With that method, I also observed that I have absolutely NO MAYO. Chiming in, just because you asked.
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Old 01-24-2013, 12:40 PM
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bkgreene39 bkgreene39 is offline
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I always shut of the HVAC system when entering the car during winter, does no good to leave it on unless you like cold air in the cabin.
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Old 01-24-2013, 03:58 PM
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I think it helps to have a manual transmission. I hold my gears and shift at 2500-3000 on cold mornings keeping engine vacuum as high as possible plus I try to take one day a week to drive 30 miles or so to allow the mayonnaise to evaporate.
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Old 01-24-2013, 04:19 PM
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bkgreene39 bkgreene39 is offline
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Originally Posted by AnotherGeezer View Post
I think it helps to have a manual transmission. I hold my gears and shift at 2500-3000 on cold mornings keeping engine vacuum as high as possible plus I try to take one day a week to drive 30 miles or so to allow the mayonnaise to evaporate.
My GM automatic does this upon cold start up, initial RPM's are raised to warm engine.
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Old 01-24-2013, 06:17 PM
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My GM automatic does this upon cold start up, initial RPM's are raised to warm engine.
I'd love to poll everyone with CCV problems just to see if they are more prevalent in automatics. Mine has yet to be touched and has yet to have issues and I live in the prime climate for trouble.
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Old 01-24-2013, 07:16 PM
mda185 mda185 is online now
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I am seeing mayo on the oil filler cap of my 530i for the first time in this cold NE weather. Is there any way to estimate how close the system is getting to a dangerous hydrolock incident? This is my first winter with M54 engine so I do not have previous experience to guide me. Does this condition get progressively worse in terms of oil consumption and any other symptoms before it clogs up and sucks oil into the engine or is this typically a sudden failure?

My normal commute is 22 miles each way at about 35-60 mph. It takes about 30 minutes and I warm the car up for at least 5 minutes before leaving the driveway. My oil consumption last month was 1300 miles before I had to add a quart.

I have all the CCV cold weather kit parts but no room in the garage to work on the E39 yet. Still finishing the S52 swap into my E34 touring. I would hate to ruin the M54 with a hydrolock failure when I have the necessary parts on the shelf. Any suggestions regarding warning signs beyond the mayo I see on the oil cap will be appreciated.
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Old 01-24-2013, 07:31 PM
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Old 01-24-2013, 07:39 PM
Ari03e39 Ari03e39 is offline
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Not sure if the tone of this thread... Mayo is not acceptable. I think post 11 is accurate. Your oil is neither hydrophobic or hydrophilic. It doesn't attract or repel water. The mayo you see is agglomerated and suspended water. Engine filters do not have water separation elements they only catch pieces of solids. I'm not being snotty with lots if big words, I work in filtration. It's a passion. Ideally after the engine heats up it boils out the water vapor. Short trips over periods of time mean it never heats up enough and the water becomes mechanically dissolved. Think choc syrup in milk. When the warm oil starts cooling some of that moisture will rise to high points. If you are worried wipe it off don't dissolve it back in. IMO
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Old 01-25-2013, 04:11 AM
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Fudman Fudman is offline
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Originally Posted by mda185 View Post
Is there any way to estimate how close the system is getting to a dangerous hydrolock incident?

Does this condition get progressively worse in terms of oil consumption and any other symptoms before it clogs up and sucks oil into the engine or is this typically a sudden failure?

My normal commute is 22 miles each way at about 35-60 mph. It takes about 30 minutes and I warm the car up for at least 5 minutes before leaving the driveway. My oil consumption last month was 1300 miles before I had to add a quart.
I have not experienced a total CCV failure but have gone through a failing CCV twice. My symptoms were increasing oil consumption and occasional smokey exhaust (various colors, mine was dark smoke). The cause of CCV failure is a gradual process but the failure itself is sudden. The mayo is a mix of condensed water and oil vapors. The accumulation of the mayo is a gradual process over time. When that mixture accumulates sufficiently and freezes, it can kill the CCV (rupture the diaphram) suddenly which can then lead to hydrolock. Your commute is reasonably long but it does not acount for previous usage. Hence, you likely "inherited" this problem from the PO. Given the consequences of a CCV failure, fixing it sooner rather than later is recommended. However, hydrolock is a fairly rare occurance. Which is why I am waiting until it is warmer to change my CCV.
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Old 01-25-2013, 08:10 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
hydrolock is a fairly rare occurance.
This hydrolock was from driving through water - but look at what it does to the piston rods!
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Old 01-25-2013, 07:03 PM
mda185 mda185 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
I have not experienced a total CCV failure but have gone through a failing CCV twice. My symptoms were increasing oil consumption and occasional smokey exhaust (various colors, mine was dark smoke). The cause of CCV failure is a gradual process but the failure itself is sudden. The mayo is a mix of condensed water and oil vapors. The accumulation of the mayo is a gradual process over time. When that mixture accumulates sufficiently and freezes, it can kill the CCV (rupture the diaphram) suddenly which can then lead to hydrolock. Your commute is reasonably long but it does not acount for previous usage. Hence, you likely "inherited" this problem from the PO. Given the consequences of a CCV failure, fixing it sooner rather than later is recommended. However, hydrolock is a fairly rare occurance. Which is why I am waiting until it is warmer to change my CCV.
Fudman and bluebee, thanks for the input. I am sufficiently concerned about inheriting the problem that I am going to try to get my E34 on the road this weekend and get the 530i inside to do the work. I also have a significant oil leak that I can't pinpoint until I get the car on a lift. It is either the oil pan gasket or combination of that and valve cover gasket. I also have those parts on the shelf ready to install. I am kicking myself right now for wasting some sunny warm weekends watching football instead of working on the E39. It was 17 degrees F in the garage this evening and very uncomfortable to work in for long. Working outside on the driveway is not an option for my moderately old bones.

Last edited by mda185; 01-25-2013 at 07:04 PM.
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  #24  
Old 01-26-2013, 09:56 AM
Jim Rolando Jim Rolando is offline
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My car, with automatic transmission, has spent most of its life in Montana where cold weather is common. None the less, I have never seen any sign of mayo or had any indication that my CCV was going bad. But, when I changed it at 110,00 or so, I don't see how problems were avoided or at least how I didn't have mass vacuum leaks. Everything was shot. All of the tubes were hard and crumbly. So, having lucked out, I now try to do everything I can to preserve the new system. I try to avoid short trips, I drive ten miles or more every chance I can and learned yesterday that, indeed, turning off the heater makes a significant difference in the time it takes to warm up. It is about 45 degrees in my garage and a mile from my house to the bridge across the river. With the heater off my car is completely warm by the time I get to the bridge. So, one more preventative measure to employ. Thanks for the tip.
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Old 01-26-2013, 12:47 PM
pleiades pleiades is offline
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Oil brand/grade influence on mayo ?

This is the time of year that I see many more threads about frozen CCVs and e39s and e46s dumping their sumps on the pavement, sometimes with hydrolock.

I ran across a thread on the e46fanatics forum not long back discussing CCV mayo and recall someone hinting that the formulation in generic BMW oil is more conducive to mayo formation than certain aftermarket brands.

I live in a mild winter climate, almost never gets below freezing here -- lows are usually mid-30s -- so have no firsthand experience with the failing CCV syndrome yet, no oil smoke and no mayo to report but am just curious if any of you have noticed more or less mayo or other CCV-related symptoms that you can correlate with a change to a different oil?
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