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X3 E83 (2004 - 2010)
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  #1  
Old 09-11-2011, 10:10 PM
itsanywhere itsanywhere is offline
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Location: Los Angeles
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 5
Mein Auto: 2006 BMW X3 3.0i M
White smoke on startup

So my 2006 x3 has been acting really strange these past two weeks. mileage is at ~77000

i've noticed that five times, on startup, a thick white cloud of smoke comes from the exhaust.
at first i thought it was black but now I'm sure it's white and it's pretty ridiculous.

the cloud of smoke is literally huge but it only blows out for five seconds or so

i'd say 5/30 start ups its done this..at different times of day.

what can it be? I've done some research and black smoke is burning fuel or running rich. white might be antifreeze.

help please! i really appreciate it. thanks!
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  #2  
Old 09-11-2011, 11:02 PM
Supercourse Supercourse is offline
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Location: British Columbia, Canada
 
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Posts: 3,068
Mein Auto: 2004 X3 2.5i
If it's definitely white and not blueish, then it's water vapor.

As it happens at any time of day, it's not likely normal environmental moisture.

Especially if parked in a garage.

Could be a head gasket leak, or could be the oil separator/crankcase vent valve beginning to fail.

For either of these, examining the underside of the oil filler cap may show a mayonnaise type deposit, rather than the normal dry reddish color.

Head gasket leak would likely be accompanied with signs of over-heating and other symptoms.

Smell of coolant might clinch it - but BMW blue coolant doesn't smell strongly like the old Prestone green.

Day to day variation in white smoke might be explained by how fully the engine was warmed up on the last trip.

Good plan to try and diagnose it before major damage occurs.
An oil change might reveal something and buy you a bit of time to complete the diagnosis without any damage occurring.

If there is any hint of blue in the smoke, you are burning oil, which will take the diagnosis in a different direction.
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  #3  
Old 09-12-2011, 06:54 AM
UncleJ UncleJ is offline
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Location: Silicon Valley
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 6,513
Mein Auto: '06 X3
+1 a huge cloud of white smoke on startup is not a good thing. Perhaps you might have a leaking head gasket, or worse case. a cracked head. This needs prompt attention by a dealer or BMW indy. Sorry, but it won't be cheap.
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  #4  
Old 09-12-2011, 08:14 AM
X3-terrestrial's Avatar
X3-terrestrial X3-terrestrial is offline
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Location: N.Miss - Memphis,TN Area
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,630
Mein Auto: '05 X3, '95 M3, '89 MkI
Quote:
Originally Posted by Supercourse View Post
If it's definitely white and not blueish, then it's water vapor.

As it happens at any time of day, it's not likely normal environmental moisture.

Especially if parked in a garage.

Could be a head gasket leak, or could be the oil separator/crankcase vent valve beginning to fail.

For either of these, examining the underside of the oil filler cap may show a mayonnaise type deposit, rather than the normal dry reddish color.

Head gasket leak would likely be accompanied with signs of over-heating and other symptoms.

Smell of coolant might clinch it - but BMW blue coolant doesn't smell strongly like the old Prestone green.

Day to day variation in white smoke might be explained by how fully the engine was warmed up on the last trip.

Good plan to try and diagnose it before major damage occurs.
An oil change might reveal something and buy you a bit of time to complete the diagnosis without any damage occurring.

If there is any hint of blue in the smoke, you are burning oil, which will take the diagnosis in a different direction.
Coolant loss would be another clue for a head gasket. If is not losing coolant, possibilities point to the oil separator. (Which is cheaper)
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  #5  
Old 09-12-2011, 08:20 AM
mlukas161's Avatar
mlukas161 mlukas161 is offline
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Location: WNY
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 905
Mein Auto: 03 330i, 04 X3
It's very common for the CCV Crankcase Ventilation system to fail on these engines. That's my guess, especially if you make frequent short trips without allowing the engine to reach full operating temperature.

Here is a DIY. All the parts are less than 200 dollars, but the job is pretty difficult.
http://blog.bavauto.com/8003/diy-vid...lation-system/
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  #6  
Old 09-12-2011, 10:22 AM
fivepointnine fivepointnine is offline
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Location: Olympia, Wa
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 345
Mein Auto: BMW X3, Mercedes CLK500
Im going through the CCV issue now, the symptoms are getting worse by the day, so its parked till I take it in on wednesday afternoon. labor is running me $320 and parts are $210 (all hoses, OS and intake manifold gasket, the indy shop Im taking it to likes to pull the manifold to ensure all hoses get connected correctly)

my symptoms are rough running especially when cold, extreme suction in the dip stick and oil filler when running and occasional blue smoke out the tailpipe when starting....and 2 codes for lean running.
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