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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 01-12-2013, 09:05 PM
Beemer13 Beemer13 is offline
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@@@ Need help.... 2002 325 losing oil.

Hello all, newbie here to the forum. I need some help

Recently bought a very clean 2002 325 with 164,000 on it. Shortl after I noticed the oil consumption. It's bad, I have a problem. I will shorten the story and fast forward...... After research, I found the canister gasket to be leaking, no other leaks!. Also assumed the crank case ventilation kit to be shot. BMW also told me if I'm burning oil that's it. Well, after these repairs, and a fresh oil change, 85 miles later, the yellow light came on tonight when I shut the car off......meaning the oil level has dropped in those 85 miles.

Cliff notes
Steam cleaned the car to look for leaks
Found canister gasket leak, replaced gasket.
Replaced crank ventilation assembly Valve and hoses
85 miles on Fresh oil change
Oil light came on when car was shut off tonight
I don't see it burning?

Thoughts? - Thank you

Last edited by Beemer13; 01-13-2013 at 05:40 AM.
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  #2  
Old 01-13-2013, 05:41 AM
Beemer13 Beemer13 is offline
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....
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  #3  
Old 01-13-2013, 06:56 AM
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jonathan2263 jonathan2263 is offline
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Did you check the level on the dipstick or are you just relying on the light? Oil level sensors have been known to fail. That could be your problem.
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Old 01-13-2013, 07:05 AM
Beemer13 Beemer13 is offline
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Yes, thank you for the response. I do know about the sensors and mine seems to be working properly. This was happening before I did the work. Along with the work, the oil was changed and toped off. Its losing oil. What else can cause loss in addition to the items I replaced. I am hoping its not rings? I would see smoke though? Im not?
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Old 01-13-2013, 08:14 AM
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When you park the car for the night, slide a clean piece of cardboard underneath, and check it in the morning for any oil stains. Do you still have all the plastic panels under the car? Sometimes they will disguise or divert oil dripping from a leak.
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Old 01-13-2013, 08:28 AM
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halltristan halltristan is offline
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Originally Posted by Fast Bob View Post
When you park the car for the night, slide a clean piece of cardboard underneath, and check it in the morning for any oil stains. Do you still have all the plastic panels under the car? Sometimes they will disguise or divert oil dripping from a leak.
Agreed.

Remove the plastic panel under your car and use the cardboard like Bob said. If you find oil on the passenger side of the car, its most likely your Valve cover gasket. If its on the driver's side, its most likely the oil filter housing gasket. Also, just to rule out major problems, check your coolant and see if there any discoloration that would indicate oil.
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  #7  
Old 01-13-2013, 08:36 AM
Beemer13 Beemer13 is offline
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Hello Guys, thanks for the feedback

Valve Cover gasket was done on 12/1/2012 (last month)
Oil filler housing gasket was done on on Wednesday with the crank Case Ventalation set up
Plastic cover was off the car, I just put it back on do to no drips after the replacement of these parts.

Check the coolant huh? Ok I deffinitly will. So meaning head gasket issue potentially? Car never over heats and runs Mint.

Last edited by Beemer13; 01-13-2013 at 08:37 AM.
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  #8  
Old 01-13-2013, 08:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beemer13 View Post
Hello Guys, thanks for the feedback

Valve Cover gasket was done on 12/1/2012 (last month)
Oil filler housing gasket was done on on Wednesday with the crank Case Ventalation set up
Plastic cover was off the car, I just put it back on do to no drips after the replacement of these parts.

Check the coolant huh? Ok I deffinitly will. So meaning head gasket issue potentially? Car never over heats and runs Mint.
Sometimes the plastic valve covers will warp or crack, causing a leak. Take a small mirror and a flashlight, and examine things between the rear of the engine and the firewall, sometimes that area will develop a leak that`s hard to see normally.
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  #9  
Old 01-13-2013, 09:28 AM
Beemer13 Beemer13 is offline
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The coolant concern scares me, So I checked at the radiator. The dip stick "floats" all the way out showing proper level, but its pretty far down in there. I used a flash light to look and the coolant is clear. Not Green, not blue. . . Clear, basically the color of power steering fluid. Also, I might say, not water clear. but very clean looking.? It didnt look milky or nasty, jsut a very clean looking, but a bizzar color. Make sense? Again, car has never overheated. It maintains the same temp. Well - I dont know the normal, but mine runs right at the half way point on the guage. never more, never less. thoughts on that?

Also checked fire wall best I could with a small telescoping mirror. I didnt see any sign of oil.

Guess its gotta go back on the lift. . . . $weet !

Last edited by Beemer13; 01-13-2013 at 09:30 AM.
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  #10  
Old 01-13-2013, 09:49 AM
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halltristan halltristan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beemer13 View Post
The coolant concern scares me, So I checked at the radiator. The dip stick "floats" all the way out showing proper level, but its pretty far down in there. I used a flash light to look and the coolant is clear. Not Green, not blue. . . Clear, basically the color of power steering fluid. Also, I might say, not water clear. but very clean looking.? It didnt look milky or nasty, jsut a very clean looking, but a bizzar color. Make sense? Again, car has never overheated. It maintains the same temp. Well - I dont know the normal, but mine runs right at the half way point on the guage. never more, never less. thoughts on that?

Also checked fire wall best I could with a small telescoping mirror. I didnt see any sign of oil.

Guess its gotta go back on the lift. . . . $weet !
Well first, your power steering fluid shouldn't be clear. If it is you have some other serious problems you need to address. It should be red. As for the coolant, start the car and let it idle for about ten minutes and then check it. It being clear right now is probably just the water sitting on top. If needed, find a tube and suck some of the fluid out so you can see it. If everything checks out, top off your coolant with distilled water.

As for the lack of overheating issue, if your head gasket was in the early stages of failure you might not see any overheating, but you're right that it likely would have overheated. I had a Taurus once though with a blown head gasket; it ran fine until it got low on coolant, and only then was there ever a problem. Your issue may not be a coolant leaking into the head issue, but oil though; so you might not see any overheating at all until the heads warp.
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Old 01-13-2013, 02:04 PM
Beemer13 Beemer13 is offline
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Yes, your right, lol. .. its red. Was thinking about my Honda dirt bike, stuff I used on that was a clear kinda color and was fresh in the mind. Red on the beemer for sure, i was inthere today as well.

I'll dig more into it tomorrow morning. Im gonna stop in to the shop that did the recent work on my way in to work.

Thanks everyone
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  #12  
Old 01-16-2013, 07:37 AM
Beemer13 Beemer13 is offline
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Ok, Here is the update. Spoke to the mechanic. He said he put 6.6 quarts of oil in on the change. He said that reading on the dipstick was just touching the "square" above the pointed section of the dipstick. Meaning the entire pointed section, the short "bar" between that and the square were wet. He said, it was a tiny bit on the square section
1) Dont these cars take up to 7.0 quarts. I read 6.9. (I also read 6.6 was xi only?).
2) If the oil level is just below the "square" section of the dipstick. . . Isnt that the area that will begin to trigger the light?

Now withthat said, we added a 1/2 quart thinking this would put us up into the square section. I drove it to work the next day, let it sit cold for 4 hours (just happened to be the anount of time) lunch time I checked it. On flat ground, the oil level read in the same spot he said he filled it to.
So - It would seem I lost at least a half quart in 80 - 100 miles.

Last night I drove the car about 40 miles on the highway and romped on it a litttle, nothing crazy but bouncing around on the highway a lot between 65 - 85 just making sure to get it working. I saw nothing in the form of smoke at that RPM. On Back roads between 25 and 45, I saw nothing. When I got home I walked around the car. I smelled nothng. I even got down and smelled the exhaust tip..LOL.

Also - we confirmed the coolant is clean
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  #13  
Old 01-16-2013, 07:59 AM
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halltristan halltristan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beemer13 View Post
Ok, Here is the update. Spoke to the mechanic. He said he put 6.6 quarts of oil in on the change. He said that reading on the dipstick was just touching the "square" above the pointed section of the dipstick. Meaning the entire pointed section, the short "bar" between that and the square were wet. He said, it was a tiny bit on the square section
1) Dont these cars take up to 7.0 quarts. I read 6.9. (I also read 6.6 was xi only?).
2) If the oil level is just below the "square" section of the dipstick. . . Isnt that the area that will begin to trigger the light?

Now withthat said, we added a 1/2 quart thinking this would put us up into the square section. I drove it to work the next day, let it sit cold for 4 hours (just happened to be the anount of time) lunch time I checked it. On flat ground, the oil level read in the same spot he said he filled it to.
So - It would seem I lost at least a half quart in 80 - 100 miles.

Last night I drove the car about 40 miles on the highway and romped on it a litttle, nothing crazy but bouncing around on the highway a lot between 65 - 85 just making sure to get it working. I saw nothing in the form of smoke at that RPM. On Back roads between 25 and 45, I saw nothing. When I got home I walked around the car. I smelled nothng. I even got down and smelled the exhaust tip..LOL.

Also - we confirmed the coolant is clean
It will not hurt the engine to put 7 quarts in. I do just that with every oil fill.

I'm sure your mech checked this, but whenever you first start the car in the morning look at the exhaust and see if it has a blue tint to it. If it does, your engine is burning oil. It might not be pooling enough to make a noticeable exhaust until the car sits for a while. Other than that, there has to be a leak. If the engine isn't burning oil, it has to be going somewhere.

Last, whenever you check your oil, make sure that the engine is not running and wait about five minutes after turning it off to let the oil settle. Doing that will at least take human error out of the equation. As long as the oil is in between the two metal areas, the square, you're fine.
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Last edited by halltristan; 01-16-2013 at 08:01 AM.
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  #14  
Old 01-16-2013, 11:17 AM
Beemer13 Beemer13 is offline
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Ok, so no matter what "the square" is the sweet spot.

I guess i gotta get it back on the lift, drop the plastic tray and see if any Oil has made its way out since the steam cleaning and 2 weeks of driving.

I love this car and just want to see it healthy. Im gonna start having nightmares of this yellow light chasing me through the woods with a chainsaw !
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Old 01-16-2013, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Beemer13 View Post
Ok, so no matter what "the square" is the sweet spot.

I guess i gotta get it back on the lift, drop the plastic tray and see if any Oil has made its way out since the steam cleaning and 2 weeks of driving.

I love this car and just want to see it healthy. Im gonna start having nightmares of this yellow light chasing me through the woods with a chainsaw !
Next time you change the oil & filter, add 7 quarts (which IS the correct amount), and observe the level on the dipstick. Draw a diagram of the stick, take a picture of it, or file a reference mark on the stick to indicate the proper full mark.
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Old 01-17-2013, 03:22 PM
Beemer13 Beemer13 is offline
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Just got back from talking with the guys that worked on it. They threw it on the lift just moments ago and we saw nothing, no leaks at all. At this point I have added a quart of oil since the oil change, only 160 miles.

There are no puffs of smoke when starting it and no smoke screens while driving it. Tail pipe has some black soot, but nothing out of the norm. That's a lot of oil man, it must be burning. But there is no evidence. I have even had people follow me....a buddy that has owned several bmw's. He saw nothing while behind the car..Very bizar.

Last edited by Beemer13; 01-17-2013 at 03:24 PM.
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  #17  
Old 01-17-2013, 05:17 PM
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halltristan halltristan is offline
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At this point i suggest you Pull your spark plugs, take pictures and post them.
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Old 01-17-2013, 06:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Beemer13 View Post
Just got back from talking with the guys that worked on it. They threw it on the lift just moments ago and we saw nothing, no leaks at all. At this point I have added a quart of oil since the oil change, only 160 miles.

There are no puffs of smoke when starting it and no smoke screens while driving it. Tail pipe has some black soot, but nothing out of the norm. That's a lot of oil man, it must be burning. But there is no evidence. I have even had people follow me....a buddy that has owned several bmw's. He saw nothing while behind the car..Very bizar.
Possible failing CVV....plugs should tell the story....
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Old 01-17-2013, 06:12 PM
Beemer13 Beemer13 is offline
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Originally Posted by Fast Bob View Post
Possible failing CVV....plugs should tell the story....
CVV meaning crank ventilation valve? Part of the crank case ventalation kit? I just did it 160 miles ago with the canister gasket and valve cover gaskets....Or does that stand for something else....sorry, new to the Beemer thing.

So, maybe check plugs and do a compression test as well?
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Old 01-17-2013, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Beemer13 View Post
CVV meaning crank ventilation valve? Part of the crank case ventalation kit? I just did it 160 miles ago with the canister gasket and valve cover gaskets....Or does that stand for something else....sorry, new to the Beemer thing.

So, maybe check plugs and do a compression test as well?
Yes, "Crankcase Ventilation Valve"

(and BTW, "Beemers" have two wheels, "Bimmers" have 4...."BIMMERFEST", ya dig ? )

Re: that CVV job:
Did you do it yourself ? If not, there`s no way for you to know if it was done *properly*. Was the dipstick tube removed from the block and cleaned *thoroughly* ? If that detail was overlooked, the oil could still be being diverted into the intake, rather than draining back into the sump. This is where examining the plugs comes in....
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Old 01-17-2013, 08:06 PM
Beemer13 Beemer13 is offline
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Ahhh, ok. No I did not do it myself. Local mechanic took care of it. They used oem parts, but I don't know if the dip stick filler tube was removed? they get clogged too huh.

Ok next step look at the plugs.

Are there any tricks to knowing the tube is diverting the oil? Or just check the plugs? Again, the car runs mint, no hesitation or ruff running
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