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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 11-27-2013, 06:36 AM
ferlin ferlin is offline
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BMW 540i - suspecting internal vaccum leak, am I right?

My first post so be gentle

I have a 540i -02 with about 148 000 miles on it, I'm pretty sure I have an internal vacuum leak but need confirmation and help deciding on what parts to change. First of all the symptoms:

* Random smoke at startup, white smoke with smell of oil (no doubt) It seems to happen only when I've driven the car for a while and let it sit. I do most of my driving in "short trips" and when I do that I seldom/never see it.

* Random rough idle, this happens really rarely though. Most of the time idle sits quite stable at 550 rpm

* Check Engine light comes on, error codes:

1D/01 - Additive mixture adaptation, bank 2, control limit reached
1C/01 - Additive mixture adaptation, bank 1, control limit reached

* It consumes some oil, but I think it's only when it smokes during startup.

Otherwise the car runs great, no hesitation and lack of power etc!

I have changed the PCV-valve at the back of the intake and the valve cover gaskets, the PCV was non OEM but from a trusted dealer. I have a slight vacuum at the oil dipstick and at the oil fill hole (name?) and from what I've read this would indicate that the PCV is OK?

I have ordered number 4 and 9 http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...81&hg=11&fg=40 and I'm thinking about changing number 7 as well. Anything else I should change when I'm on the go and do I have to remove the manifold to change the parts I listed?

I know the so called OSV that sits in front of the engine can cause these problems, though hoping that my problem is related to parts that more easily can be changed....

Greeting from Sweden
/Fredrik_a_
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  #2  
Old 11-28-2013, 04:48 AM
JimLev JimLev is online now
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7 and 9 won't cause smoke at startup. What brand was the CCV you put in?
Smell of oil and rough idle could be leaking valve cover gaskets.
The O2 sensors or a vacuum leak could be the cause of your mixture codes, how old are the O2 sensors?
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  #3  
Old 11-28-2013, 05:44 AM
ferlin ferlin is offline
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Don't know the brand of the PCV/CCV-valve I'm afraid, but as the vacuum at the oil dip stick and oil filler cap is OK (slight suction is OK yes?) doesnt that indicate that the PCV is OK? I have no problem changing it but want to be sure that it's the cause. I bought the car in August so I don't know how old the O2-sensors are (same as lambda-sensors?), shouldn't I have other issues (high fuel consumtion etc) if those were bad?

The fact that the car only smokes at start-up when I've driven it for like an hour, I never see it smoke at start-up when I drive it around town for like 10-15 minutes, is it possible to make any conlusions based on that? I have never seen it smoke while I'm driving either. Valve cover gaskets were changed in September so they shouldn't be the cause.

Last edited by ferlin; 11-28-2013 at 05:49 AM.
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  #4  
Old 11-28-2013, 06:35 AM
JimLev JimLev is online now
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You really need to measure the vacuum level with a manometer or a home made U tube, which is very cheap and easy to do, so you know what the crankcase vacuum is. Should be between 3-5 inches of water column.
Yes, O2 sensors are Lambda sensors.
Have you looked into the plug wells to see if the inner gasket is leaking?
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  #5  
Old 11-28-2013, 08:23 AM
rdl rdl is offline
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I second JimLev's advice regarding CCV and crankcase vacuum measurement. (the rest too) The specified vacuum is very, very weak and only an accurate measurement with a gauge or manometer will tell you if it is behaving properly. A finger on the dipstick tube or baggie on the oil fill port is not accurate at all.

A couple of years ago I measured my crankcase vacuum and found 9" water column. It was January, well below freezing & an unheated garage. It didn't seem so high out of spec so I crossed my fingers & hoped it would last until spring and warmer weather. A couple of weeks later I had severe symptoms and had to do the CCV replacement immediately. The point being that once the CCV starts failing a full failure is probably not far off.

BTW, a BMW tech doc I've seen specifies 10 to 15 millibar vacuum in the crankcase for my 530 / M54. I can't find that document to check range of application but I think it was applicable to all BMW engines. I've seen posts stating that all BMW engines use the same vacuum spec; although these are 3rd party, not BMW documents. Anyway 10 to 15 mbar = 4" to 6" water column. JimLev quotes 3-5. Perhaps someone can verify whether the V8 is different. FWIW, my brand new CCV measured at 4 1/2" w.c.

For comparison, inlet manifold vacuum for a typical gasoline engine at idle is 250 to 300" w.c. Atmospheric pressure is ~400" w.c. The 6" crankcase vacuum really is quite weak.
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  #6  
Old 11-28-2013, 08:44 AM
JimLev JimLev is online now
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Now that I think about it I think the upper spec is 6" WC. I checked mine yesterday and after warm up it was reading 3.5" WC.
A year or so ago I checked it from cold thru warm up. Here is the info I logged.
Hopefully the text formatting won't get messed up.
Edit: Looks like the formatting is messed up. First column is the engine temp, second is engine RPM, the 3rd it Vacuum reading.

Crank Case Vacuum Readings

Readings taken thru the oil cap with installed 1/8" NPT fitting.
Schaevitz P3061-5WD sensor used (0-5 inch scale, +/- 0.5% accuracy)

Eng Temp RPM Vacuum in inches
Cold 1300 4.64" (at startup, Sec air pump running)
54°C 600 3.61" (Sec air pump just stopped)
70°C 550 3.58"
80°C 500 3.37"
93°C 500 3.32"
102°C 500 3.29"
108°C 500 3.28"

If engine was held (1500-4000 RPM) the vacuum was 2.92"
RPM didn't matter.
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Last edited by JimLev; 11-28-2013 at 08:47 AM.
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  #7  
Old 11-28-2013, 12:09 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimLev View Post
You really need to measure the vacuum level with a manometer or a home made U tube, which is very cheap and easy to do, so you know what the crankcase vacuum is. Should be between 3-5 inches of water column.
I've followed JimLev's instructions to measure vacuum and I agree it's easy and cheap. See instructions here:
- How to test the crankcase ventilation (aka CCV, CVV, PCV, CPV, & OSV) pressure regulating valve system (1)

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimLev View Post
Yes, O2 sensors are Lambda sensors.
Typing /02 f3 in the bestlinks netted this:
- Oxygen sensor DIYs (540 M62) (525 M54) & locations (1) & O2 sensor tools you can make at home (1) or borrow for free (1) & all about 02 sensors (1) & eliminating the rear o2 sensors (1)
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Last edited by bluebee; 11-29-2013 at 02:30 AM.
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  #8  
Old 11-28-2013, 12:23 PM
ferlin ferlin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimLev View Post
You really need to measure the vacuum level with a manometer or a home made U tube, which is very cheap and easy to do, so you know what the crankcase vacuum is. Should be between 3-5 inches of water column.
Yes, O2 sensors are Lambda sensors.
Have you looked into the plug wells to see if the inner gasket is leaking?
Ok, seems I should get the vacuum checked properly! Any DIY on how to make a "u-tube"?

I changed the plugs a couple of weeks ago and in one well there was a tiny amount of oil, didn't see any traces of larger oil build-up from earlier so I dont't think that could be the reason? (Valve cover gaskets, inner and outer, changed this autumn)

Still wondering why the car doesnt smoke when I start after I've driven it shorter distances (though it gets the temp up to 12 o clock each time for a while), could it be that the oil gets thinner when I drive longer distances and what could that indicate?

Really appreciate your answers guys!
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  #9  
Old 11-28-2013, 12:49 PM
ferlin ferlin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
I've followed JimLev's instructions to measure vacuum and I agree it's easy and cheap. See instructions here:
- How to test the crankcase ventilation (aka CCV, CVV, PCV, CPV, & OSV) pressure regulating valve system (1)


Typing /02 f3 in the bestlinks netted this:
- Oxygen sensor DIYs (540 M62) (525 M54) & locations (1) & O2 sensor tools you can make at home (1) or borrow for free (1) & all about 02 sensors (1) & eliminating the rear o2 sensors (1)
Super, thank you! Only wish I had a nice big and warm garage to work in, would be so much more easy to get things done with the car then
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  #10  
Old 11-29-2013, 12:01 AM
ferlin ferlin is offline
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Any thoughts on the "only smoking at start-up after being driven longer distances"-issue? And what other then the PCV-valve could cause the car to smoke at start-up? The OSV I guess and bad valve guide seals?

And is it possible to change number 4, 7 and 9 http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...81&hg=11&fg=40 withput removing the intake manifold?

Last edited by ferlin; 11-29-2013 at 12:24 AM.
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  #11  
Old 11-29-2013, 02:32 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ferlin View Post
Any thoughts on the "only smoking at start-up
I typed /white smoke f3 in the bestlinks, and maybe these will help:
- Diagnosis of white smoke out of your exhaust pipe (0) (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8)

Here's one response to a different OP, with all the possible causes:
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
Since you've read all those threads, and, it didn't help, it's not any of the following:
- It's not water condensation in the tail pipe (1)
- It's not coolant burning in the cylinders (1) (2) (3) (4)
- It's not brake servo vacuumed fluid (1) (2) (3)
- It's not oil burning in the cylinders (1)
- It's not a blown head gasket (1) (2) (3)
- It's not a cracked head (1)
- It's not a burned exhaust valve (1)
- It's not bad piston rings (1) (2)
- It's not your CCV crank case vent valve (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7)
- It's not your OSV oil separator valve (aka CCV) (1) (2)
- It's not your VCG valve cover gasket (1) (2) (3) (4) (5)
- It's not your air inlet pipe cracking (1)
- It's not your OS oil separator (1) (2)
- It's not your OFH oil filter housing gasket (1)
etc.

For diagnosis, I can also tell, since they didn't help, that you already:
- Checked your coolant level and it's fine (1) (2) (3)
- Checked your coolant consistency & it's not milkshake (1)
- Checked your oil level and it's fine (1)
- Checked your brake fluid level and it's fine (1) (2)
- You have no bubbles in your radiator (1)
- You have no mayonnaise on your dipstick (1)
- You've tested there is no white smoke after 30 minutes (1) (2) (3)
- You've tested for vacuum around the oil dipstick tube (1) (2) (3)
- You've done the disconnected & plugged vent pipe test (1)
- Your oil fill cap does not have a milkshake look (1)
- You don't have a burning smell while the smoke emanates (1) (2) (3)
- You've pass the compression test (1) (2) (3)
- You've done the "cylinder leakdown test" (1) (2)
- You've done the "sniffer" test and the "block test (1) (2) (3)
- You do not have any hissing from adjacent cylinders (1)
- You do not have a ruptured rank case vent valve (1)
- Checked that your engine didn't recently overheat (1)
- Know that when you rev the engine, the smoke does not return (1)
- Since your white smoke is not intermittent, it can't be a head gasket (1)
- You've tested for hissing/bubbles in the oil dipstick tube (1)
- You've had your oil analyzed for hydrocarbons (1)
- You've tested your OFH oil filter housing gasket for leaks (1)
- You've checked your engine for grimy leaks around the VCG (1) (2)
- You've checked for pools of oil under the spark plug covers (1) (2) (3)
- You've run compressed air thru the plug holes to the radiator (1)
- You've pressure tested the radiator and it's fine (1)
- You're positive the smoke is white and not bluish (1)
etc.
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  #12  
Old 11-29-2013, 05:36 AM
ferlin ferlin is offline
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Thanks Bluebee! Some links to look at indeed
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  #13  
Old 11-29-2013, 05:49 AM
JimLev JimLev is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ferlin View Post

And is it possible to change number 4, 7 and 9 http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...81&hg=11&fg=40 withput removing the intake manifold?
That center tube is made up of two pieces that will pull apart. After you remove the throttle body and the front plate it mounts on from the intake manifold you can see where the front end fits into the lower left corner. Push it back to release it and the give it a yank to separate the two pieces.
You can then remove the rear CCV and possibly wiggle and slightly bend the back half to get it out. I'm pretty sure I have removed mine this way many years ago.

Typically worn valve guide seals will cause the engine to smoke when you first start the car.
Are you sure it's from oil and not coolant, leaking head gasket?
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  #14  
Old 11-29-2013, 06:00 AM
ferlin ferlin is offline
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Thanks for the info, I'm thinking about getting more things done when I'm already in there so to say. Valley pan gasket etc

I'm actually loosing cooling liquid as well, however I think that's a separate problem (radiator/hoses or valley pan gasket) The white smoke I get at random* is without a doubt oil burning, if it was the head gasket wouldn't it be more consistent?

*As said, start-up smoke ONLY seems to occur when the car has been driven for a longer while, haven't seen smoke since last weekend when I went for a longer run, very strange...

Last edited by ferlin; 11-29-2013 at 06:05 AM.
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  #15  
Old 12-05-2013, 12:57 AM
jpseagle jpseagle is offline
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Cheap DIY homemade manometer
Adapted: http://www.perr.com/tip3.html
To Sweden based OP: Sorry for the US businesses
Black Rubber stopper, Home Depot, one size larger than smallest. This was exactly right for the dipstick tube. ($2)
Smallest pipe fitting: one notch smaller than ¼ inch ($2)
Aquarium “Air line“ tubing 8 ft ($5 Petco or EBay)
Transparent ruler
Wooden shelf 12 inches square or longer.
Pencil to trace vertical lines where tubing will go
Scotch Tape to attach tubing to shelf
Bottle of water: dip tip of tube in and inhale to pull about 1 foot of water up into tube
Mark zero point of water on the shelf
Place shelf vertically.
Start car
Remove dipstick and jam in stopper
Mark new position on the shelf and record shift in inches
Add both sides:
Measured: 5.25“or 137mm (5.39”) x 2 = 10.4”
Spec: 5.22” +/ - 7%
M62TU 13.0 Mbar +/ - 1 = 5.22” or 132.5mm water = 0.188 PSI = 0.38 in hg
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Old 12-05-2013, 01:02 AM
jpseagle jpseagle is offline
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Some DIYs on this board for crankcase vacuum:
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...9&postcount=80
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...&postcount=102
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...0&postcount=26

Last edited by jpseagle; 12-05-2013 at 02:10 AM.
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Old 12-05-2013, 01:59 AM
jpseagle jpseagle is offline
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And is it possible to change number 4, 7 and 9 http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...81&hg=11&fg=40 without removing the intake manifold?
While the pipe in this diagram, number 7, is relatively accessible (it can be detached at the rear by removing the CCV), it is rarely mentioned when replacing vacuum related parts.
Number 4 is not really a separate part. It is an o-ring included with the breather pipe 11151705301 from the CCV to the OSV. After taking care of the more obvious causes of vacuum leaks---CCV above all, but also the intake manifold gaskets, and the OSV--people also replace this pipe, which tends to leak at it’s front, rubber end. The pipe runs under the intake along the passenger side. It is shown in another diagram: Crankcase-Ventilation/oil separator:
http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...11&fg=15&hl=13
It is a spring loaded part in 1999 and later 540s. You could lift up one side of the intake to get at it, but then you should do the intake gaskets. You can detach it from the front end without worrying about disturbing the brittle neck of the OSV, which connects to the front side of engine, not to the breather pipe. As you seem to be aware, the OSV (aka cyclone) would require removal of the lower timing cover, usually part of the timing chain guides job (book time 20+ hours).
I would try a BMW CCV
I experienced just how bad an aftermarket CCV can be:
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...&postcount=103
Bad, bad, bad aftermarket CCV!
After seeing aftermarket CCVs at many tuner sites, I went ahead and made a mistake: I replaced my original CCV with an aftermarket one.
What a bad aftermarket CCV caused, after a month:
High crankcase vacuum (2x normal).
Oil leak into the intake manifold. Where I had only dry residue in the intake manifold, now, upon removing the aftermarket CCV from the back of the intake, there was a little wet oil.
Rear Main seal leak (not leaking to ground, just a few drops on the bottom surface)
After new BMW CCV:
Crank case vacuum measures normal (about 5.5)!
No more Rear Main Seal leak!
Manometer: I measured the vacuum at the dipstick, following suggestions by DIYers who prefer a dirt cheap tool (as opposed to vacuum gauge for $40 plus oil cap $20)
BlueBee has used the simplest possible tool (tubing over the dipstick, post#80). I used an alternative that is not much more expensive and uses available aquarium “air-line” tubing (1/4”), plus a small, tapered rubber stopper (smaller than 1/4 “) connected the smallest brass fitting I found at Home Depot. I applied suction by mouth to the tubing to draw water in from a bottle to the tubing. A piece of shelving served to support the tubing, fixed to the shelf with scotch tape, and as a tablet to pencil the level measurement onto. Don’t forget to add both sides.
Descriptions of this method:
http://www.edensltd.com/crankcase_vacuum.htm
http://www.perr.com/tip3.html
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  #18  
Old 12-08-2013, 06:49 AM
ferlin ferlin is offline
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Super info you're providing guys, really appreciated! I had kind of ruled out the CCV but after reading here and the start this morning I'm almost willing to say it could be the cause. Started the car, really cold about -4 degrees fahrenheit, run smooth for like 30 seconds, then: A howling sound from back of the engine and at the same time the idle got really rough, classical symptoms of crappy CCV right?
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Old 02-24-2014, 01:49 AM
ferlin ferlin is offline
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OK, short update: What I will do is lower the oil pan and try to clean the OSV, or at least check that it is not clogged. My plan is to get a "pipe cleaner" and push it up the oil pipe that connects to the OSV and returns the oil to the pan, then remove the PCV-cover and blow compressed air in the vent pipe to check that air has free passage = air is blowing. I will also change the PCV to an OEM, have ordered one from the dealer. Then, I will keep my fingers crossed... Any comments on this?

Another question: Is it most common for the OSV to break/disintegrate or getting clogged?

Last edited by ferlin; 02-24-2014 at 01:53 AM.
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