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X3 F25 (2011 - current)
The latest X3 brings some added style and some new features to the BMW SUV family. Talk about the new F25 now!

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  #1  
Old 03-01-2014, 05:12 PM
bimmernut1 bimmernut1 is offline
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Engine compartment weatherstripping seal pathetic

Has anyone else noticed that the engine compartment weatherstripping across the front does a poor job keeping out spray and water from the engine compartment? It appears to me that 1) the hood design ending parallel to the front rather than wrapping over like previous BMW's 2) the combination gasket design with weather stripping on both the hood and the lower section and 3) the small diameter of the stripping itself all contribute to the problem. Consequently, unlike any other BMW I've owned, I notice salt spray gets inside and on all the components. We all know the impact of salt water on most metals.

Before I complain to BMW or see if they have thicker weather stripping, I thought I'd ask if anyone else has noticed this. I keep my engine compartments as clean as the exteriors so I tend to notice this problem. There is actually crusty salt on the engine cover and parts. I clean it off before any damage occurs but I'm used to only having to remove dust.

Because the X3 uses weatherstripping on both the hood and lower section, they must mesh together for the system to work. I don't think they mesh very well. Also the weatherstripping diameter seems just too small to get a good seal allowing water spray inside. I have ideas to fix the problem but will see what BMW says before I perform my own modifications.

For those in areas that utilize road salt, I suggest you take a look at your engine after the snow melts. Not very pretty.
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Last edited by bimmernut1; 03-01-2014 at 05:15 PM.
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  #2  
Old 03-02-2014, 01:40 AM
jeff_K jeff_K is offline
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My car is only a year old. It gets washed at automatic or manual car washing service centres. Jet sprays are routinely used but I don't find any problems with water entering the engine compartment. On the other hand, I wish to know if you guys routinely give the engine compartment a wash. Any special precautions?
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Old 03-02-2014, 05:51 AM
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Drewsky Drewsky is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bimmernut1 View Post
Has anyone else noticed that the engine compartment weatherstripping across the front does a poor job keeping out spray and water from the engine compartment? It appears to me that 1) the hood design ending parallel to the front rather than wrapping over like previous BMW's 2) the combination gasket design with weather stripping on both the hood and the lower section and 3) the small diameter of the stripping itself all contribute to the problem. Consequently, unlike any other BMW I've owned, I notice salt spray gets inside and on all the components. We all know the impact of salt water on most metals.

Before I complain to BMW or see if they have thicker weather stripping, I thought I'd ask if anyone else has noticed this. I keep my engine compartments as clean as the exteriors so I tend to notice this problem. There is actually crusty salt on the engine cover and parts. I clean it off before any damage occurs but I'm used to only having to remove dust.

Because the X3 uses weatherstripping on both the hood and lower section, they must mesh together for the system to work. I don't think they mesh very well. Also the weatherstripping diameter seems just too small to get a good seal allowing water spray inside. I have ideas to fix the problem but will see what BMW says before I perform my own modifications.

For those in areas that utilize road salt, I suggest you take a look at your engine after the snow melts. Not very pretty.

The seals are mainly for wind noise issues. You are complaining about the seals at the little tiny crack where the hood is, but just below it you have a BIG GIANT HOLE that is the radiator. I'd suspect you are getting more spray though there than from the hood gap. Don't follow so closely to the source of the spray.
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Old 03-02-2014, 06:40 AM
dudley07726 dudley07726 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bimmernut1 View Post
Has anyone else noticed that the engine compartment weatherstripping across the front does a poor job keeping out spray and water from the engine compartment? It appears to me that 1) the hood design ending parallel to the front rather than wrapping over like previous BMW's 2) the combination gasket design with weather stripping on both the hood and the lower section and 3) the small diameter of the stripping itself all contribute to the problem. Consequently, unlike any other BMW I've owned, I notice salt spray gets inside and on all the components. We all know the impact of salt water on most metals.

Before I complain to BMW or see if they have thicker weather stripping, I thought I'd ask if anyone else has noticed this. I keep my engine compartments as clean as the exteriors so I tend to notice this problem. There is actually crusty salt on the engine cover and parts. I clean it off before any damage occurs but I'm used to only having to remove dust.

Because the X3 uses weatherstripping on both the hood and lower section, they must mesh together for the system to work. I don't think they mesh very well. Also the weatherstripping diameter seems just too small to get a good seal allowing water spray inside. I have ideas to fix the problem but will see what BMW says before I perform my own modifications.

For those in areas that utilize road salt, I suggest you take a look at your engine after the snow melts. Not very pretty.
Yes, I have noticed the same thing. In fact when I had the X3 in for service 2 weeks ago, I forgot to mention to them that the hood has a bit of movement when pressed down upon. It may be normal though. I was wondering if they could somehow tighten down a bit. Will have to wait till next time.
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  #5  
Old 03-02-2014, 09:34 AM
bimmernut1 bimmernut1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeff_K View Post
My car is only a year old. It gets washed at automatic or manual car washing service centres. Jet sprays are routinely used but I don't find any problems with water entering the engine compartment. On the other hand, I wish to know if you guys routinely give the engine compartment a wash. Any special precautions?
I'd like to spray it down but after I had problems with water on an earlier seven series I owned I started wiping it by hand with a cloth and one of the green cleaners on the market. Takes more time but I don't run the danger of getting water in some of the electrical components. I do it every couple months.
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Old 03-02-2014, 09:39 AM
bimmernut1 bimmernut1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drewsky View Post
The seals are mainly for wind noise issues. You are complaining about the seals at the little tiny crack where the hood is, but just below it you have a BIG GIANT HOLE that is the radiator. I'd suspect you are getting more spray though there than from the hood gap. Don't follow so closely to the source of the spray.
I'm pretty sure its the seals. My M5 also has the grill ahead of the radiator and no spray problems. It's very obvious the problem is with the seal because the spray is on the top of the engine and all the way to the back of the engine compartment. Also, I see crusted salt immediately behind the seal meaning it's not forming a tight fit against the metal. The difference is my M5 has seals on top of the headlights and at the bottom of the engine lid which wraps around to the bumper. Nothing gets past these seals and I only see dust on my M5 engine. I drive it in the winter as well. But I understand your comment. I'm sure some comes in as you describe but I really think this is an issue with the seal design. If BMW can't do anything I'll probably experiment with increasing the diameter of the existing seal in some manner.
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Last edited by bimmernut1; 03-02-2014 at 09:45 AM.
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  #7  
Old 03-02-2014, 11:08 AM
Fighterpilot Fighterpilot is offline
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I've noticed the same issue w/ our X3. Especially noticeable on the drivers side of the car. There is an area on the underside of the hood, behind the driver's headlight that gets the majority of the spray.
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  #8  
Old 03-03-2014, 07:54 AM
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I've applied cleaner followed by thorough spraying of entire engine compartment with garden hose with no ill effects. We do live in a very dry climate, however, and I don't do this type of cleaning very often.
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Old 03-03-2014, 08:53 AM
RhoXS RhoXS is offline
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I was getting concerned about the amount of whitish crust and other dirt building up on the engine compartment surfaces as I am sure the whitish crust was mostly salt. I really did not want to expose the engine compartment to a water spray but I also did want the salt sitting there causing corrosion. I also am anal about clean machinery. Saturday, in the balance, I decided to wash down the engine compartment. I used one of the local put the quarters in the machine and then use the high pressure spray wand. I kept the nozzle at a respectable distance from all surfaces so the high pressure spray did not damage anything. It did a very good job, at least from an appearance perspective, of cleaning up the engine compartment. The car started immediately and I then drove it about 12 miles at slow to moderate speeds, as traffic permitted, to help dry it up. This was Saturday afternoon. The car started fine this morning after being cold soaked at 5 degrees. I am still concerned about salt deposits hiding in electrical connectors etc. but dont know what can practically be done about that.

Although I am in NY my real home is in Florida. For many years I have periodically pressure cleaned my engines, carefully keeping the nozzle far enough way to prevent damage from the high pressure spray, and never have seen any ill effects.

Last edited by RhoXS; 03-03-2014 at 08:54 AM.
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  #10  
Old 03-03-2014, 05:02 PM
bimmernut1 bimmernut1 is offline
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To prove a point

We got about 5" of snow on Sunday followed by an immediate melt on Monday. The X3 looks like I've driven about 1000 miles in snow and slush. Here are some photos:

The first photo shows my M5 with seals along the side of the engine compartment and the back.

The second photo shows the M5 seals also run along the top of the headlights and underneath the grill. The combination of weatherproof seals front, side, and back keeps spray completely out.

Now look at the X3. The third photo shows absolutely nothing along the sides. Anything can enter through the gap.

The fourth photo shows the partial attempt to seal above the headlights fails miserably because it doesn't go all the way across. There's about a 3" gap on the outside that the seal doesn't cover for spray to enter. The result is obvious.

The fifth photo shows the seal on the X3 that is supposed to seal the engine compartment across the front. You can see spray is getting past it.

The last photo also shows the spray is getting past the front seal and is on the inside of the engine lid itself. It's also on the top of the engine.

Fortunately I don't see any exposed electrical connections in the engine compartment, however this spring I plan to completely steam clean and detail the entire engine compartment.

Just for grins I'll ask my service advisor to forward these photos to BMW's regional contact. If they do nothing I'll correct the design myself.
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  #11  
Old 03-04-2014, 02:48 AM
jeff_K jeff_K is offline
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Wow! And that wasn't after a car wash but purely due to the snow. You guys have my sympathy. Take care and be safe!

Last edited by jeff_K; 03-04-2014 at 06:12 AM.
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  #12  
Old 03-04-2014, 09:30 AM
RhoXS RhoXS is offline
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Bimmernut1, thanks for that very good post.

After working in an industry with very large complex machinery for 40 years, I abosulutely believe a clean machine works better and more reliably than a dirty machine, even if there is no obvious reason why it should make a difference, all other things being equal. I also believe that one should wash their car and engine before taking it in for service because the condition of the machine will influence the care the mechanic takes. So, obviously, this is a problem I want to at least minimize.

Your pictures gave me an idea. I am going to buy a roll of that thin rectangular rubber weather stripping with contact adhesive on the back and see if I can somewhat reasonably seal at least the sides and full front of the hood. Unfortunately it appears there will be more than enough crappy salted sanded roads weather left here in NY for the next few weeks to see if I can accomplish anything.

Last edited by RhoXS; 03-04-2014 at 09:31 AM.
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  #13  
Old 03-04-2014, 01:36 PM
87bimmerguy 87bimmerguy is offline
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You could always try turning the hood d-rings in a turn or two and see if that tightens it up any. Just make sure you turn both sides evenly and the hood still closes correctly without too much force.
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Old 03-04-2014, 04:53 PM
bimmernut1 bimmernut1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RhoXS View Post
Bimmernut1, thanks for that very good post.

After working in an industry with very large complex machinery for 40 years, I abosulutely believe a clean machine works better and more reliably than a dirty machine, even if there is no obvious reason why it should make a difference, all other things being equal. I also believe that one should wash their car and engine before taking it in for service because the condition of the machine will influence the care the mechanic takes. So, obviously, this is a problem I want to at least minimize.

Your pictures gave me an idea. I am going to buy a roll of that thin rectangular rubber weather stripping with contact adhesive on the back and see if I can somewhat reasonably seal at least the sides and full front of the hood. Unfortunately it appears there will be more than enough crappy salted sanded roads weather left here in NY for the next few weeks to see if I can accomplish anything.
I agree. A clean engine seems to run better. Mechanics like it and I being a DIY type also like to work on an engine free from lots of grease and dirt. Not only that one of the reasons that screws and hex head bolts strip at the heads is they are half filled with gunk and tools can't get a good bite.

I spoke to my service advisor and he's interested in taking a look. I'll give them the first shot before I look at adjustments to the hood and additional seals myself. I actually think the seals used are either too soft or not thick enough. I had an idea that if I used some of my detailing clay, rolled it into a ball then stuck it where I think seals should go and closed the hood, I could get a good idea of the required diameter the seal should be. Then I just need to get seals the same thickness of the squashed clay.
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Old 03-05-2014, 07:16 PM
Masterx5 Masterx5 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fighterpilot View Post
I've noticed the same issue w/ our X3. Especially noticeable on the drivers side of the car. There is an area on the underside of the hood, behind the driver's headlight that gets the majority of the spray.
I saw the same issue when I inspected mine today. Quite shameful as my Odyssey which has not been washed for months now had a very clean engine bay - no stupid salt sprays. This german peice of engineering has all wrong for keeping the engine bay clean
Honestly I was QUITE disappointed today and was thinking if I should ever buy such expensive driving machines again given some of these stupidities. I can not be cleaning engine everytime i wash this car

Can anybody shed some light on what kind of rubber stripping should be applied? thanks
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Old 03-07-2014, 02:48 PM
Fighterpilot Fighterpilot is offline
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Originally Posted by Masterx5 View Post
I saw the same issue when I inspected mine today. Quite shameful as my Odyssey which has not been washed for months now had a very clean engine bay - no stupid salt sprays. This german peice of engineering has all wrong for keeping the engine bay clean
Honestly I was QUITE disappointed today and was thinking if I should ever buy such expensive driving machines again given some of these stupidities. I can not be cleaning engine everytime i wash this car

Can anybody shed some light on what kind of rubber stripping should be applied? thanks
The engine compartments on our former 5 series were watertite it seemed. Nothing really got past it. Granted it was not an overhanging hood design like the X3 is. That could be the ultimate issue.
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Old 03-07-2014, 03:23 PM
jeff_K jeff_K is offline
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Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by bimmernut1 View Post
I agree. A clean engine seems to run better. Mechanics like it and I being a DIY type also like to work on an engine free from lots of grease and dirt. Not only that one of the reasons that screws and hex head bolts strip at the heads is they are half filled with gunk and tools can't get a good bite.

I spoke to my service advisor and he's interested in taking a look. I'll give them the first shot before I look at adjustments to the hood and additional seals myself. I actually think the seals used are either too soft or not thick enough. I had an idea that if I used some of my detailing clay, rolled it into a ball then stuck it where I think seals should go and closed the hood, I could get a good idea of the required diameter the seal should be. Then I just need to get seals the same thickness of the squashed clay.
I inspected mine yesterday. The original weatherstripping seals are held in place with clips. How would weatherstrip seal with a sticky side stand up to the heat of the engine compartment?
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Old 03-07-2014, 08:09 PM
bimmernut1 bimmernut1 is offline
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Originally Posted by jeff_K View Post
I inspected mine yesterday. The original weatherstripping seals are held in place with clips. How would weatherstrip seal with a sticky side stand up to the heat of the engine compartment?
That's a good question. I checked my seals and just as I thought they are so far forward they are actually out of the engine compartment and ahead of the radiator. I don't feel heat from the engine will be an issue.

Also, after checking I'm pretty sure nothing is getting in on the sides of the hood, so I'm going to leave it as is for now. I think the solution is going to be to install an additional seal behind the existing seal in the front. There's a shelf at a perfect location right behind the front seal that I can apply the new seal to. As far as the partial seals over the headlights, I'm going to leave them in place as well. Instead of modifying them, I'm going to run an additional seal along the entire back edge of the headlights on the flat glass portion, then downward in the center. It will end up behind the existing seal providing basically a double seal. This should result in the entire front being sealed and not interfere with the factory seals at all.

I was going to search tomorrow for a seal that had sticky backing and also was thicker than the small ineffective seals BMW used. It suddenly struck me that I had a length of seal laying around in the garage. Don't ask why; I think I was going to seal around some doors in the house but it was too thick. However it is perfect for this application, it sticks up even further than the BMW seals and even has sticky tape on it. Sometimes things work out.

I plan to clean the engine real good this weekend, apply the additional seals then wait for the next heavy rain with lots of spray off the road to test the design. Hopefully I won't get to test salt spray again until next winter.

I'll post back if this works. Oh, my service advisor is going to send an email to the BMW engineers but said it's hit or miss whether they respond. At this point it doesn't matter.

Here's what I found in my garage. Seems perfect at first glance.
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  #19  
Old 03-08-2014, 02:55 AM
jeff_K jeff_K is offline
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Hi Bimmernut1. Great idea and happy experimenting over the weekend. Looking forward to your feedback but please do so with pics.
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Old 03-08-2014, 05:18 AM
Masterx5 Masterx5 is offline
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Bimmernut1. Please do post your results. Extremely disappointed with BMW engineers on this. I would like to put this application as soon as possible.
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Old 03-08-2014, 08:09 AM
bimmernut1 bimmernut1 is offline
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Ok. I'll post photos and results.

Being an engineer myself, I'm always cautious on making any changes without knowing the reasons other engineers may have implemented a certain design. My concern here is that the gaps along the side and maybe in the front were done to help evacuate heat from the engine compartment. With that thought in mind I will not put any seals along the side of the compartment. I don't know if they left it off because of heat soak concerns with the turbos (my M5 is normally aspirated) or not. I just see little upside benefit in sealing this side area because the spray causing the problems is entering from the front. Just for the record with the temp outside at 30 degrees, my engine runs at about 230 degF. I recall in the heat of summer it's around 250 degF, sometimes a little less and sometimes slightly more. I'll use this as a baseline to determine if the additional sealant across the front has any impact on engine temperature. By limiting the additional seals to the front I really do not think it will.

As a test this morning I used a spray wand across the front of the X3 and the observed where the water struck inside the engine compartment. Most is entering the gaps where no seals are present, as I suspected. Afterwards I covered every electrical connection I saw with plastic, including the alternator, applied engine cleaner and steam cleaned the entire engine. I only used the high pressure stream in spurts on the cover, plastic hoses, and metal. In the gaps and near connections I used low pressure water. Now the engine looks new again and no electrical problems from the water.

Later today I'll start applying the additional seals and see how it looks.
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Old 03-08-2014, 10:50 AM
RhoXS RhoXS is offline
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Originally Posted by bimmernut1 View Post
I covered every electrical connection I saw with plastic, including the alternator, applied engine cleaner and steam cleaned the entire engine.
In a post above, I commented that last week when the amount of dirt on my engine, including a lot of road salt, reached critical mass, I sprayed down the engine. I did consider covering some of the electrical connectors, including the clearly exposed alternator, but immediately decided against it. Contrary to what most people think, clean water is not an enemy of electrical insulation or electrical equipment (not refering to electronics). In fact, absolutely pure water (not available in large quatities anywhere except in industrial facilities like a power plants) is a good insulator and it is not a conductor of electricity. Since everything in the engine department was coated with a filthy mist of corrosive salt and dirt, I felt washing all this crap off as best I reasonably could, especially off the elctrical equipment, was much more important than keeping it dry.

I have personaly taken electrical equipment like small 120 volt residential A/C fan motors and washed them off in a bucket of water. I have used a pressure cleaner to spray down the internals of motors as big as 7000 horsepower 6900 volt pump motors. As long as they are dry and clean when reenergizing them there is no harm done. At only 12 volts electrical equipment will work fine wet (not the electronics) but the equipment should nevertheless be at least mostly dry to prevent electrolytic corrosion over the long term.

Last edited by RhoXS; 03-08-2014 at 10:52 AM.
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Old 03-08-2014, 11:17 AM
bimmernut1 bimmernut1 is offline
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Originally Posted by RhoXS View Post
In a post above, I commented that last week when the amount of dirt on my engine, including a lot of road salt, reached critical mass, I sprayed down the engine. I did consider covering some of the electrical connectors, including the clearly exposed alternator, but immediately decided against it. Contrary to what most people think, clean water is not an enemy of electrical insulation or electrical equipment (not refering to electronics). In fact, absolutely pure water (not available in large quatities anywhere except in industrial facilities like a power plants) is a good insulator and it is not a conductor of electricity. Since everything in the engine department was coated with a filthy mist of corrosive salt and dirt, I felt washing all this crap off as best I reasonably could, especially off the elctrical equipment, was much more important than keeping it dry.

I have personaly taken electrical equipment like small 120 volt residential A/C fan motors and washed them off in a bucket of water. I have used a pressure cleaner to spray down the internals of motors as big as 7000 horsepower 6900 volt pump motors. As long as they are dry and clean when reenergizing them there is no harm done. At only 12 volts electrical equipment will work fine wet (not the electronics) but the equipment should nevertheless be at least mostly dry to prevent electrolytic corrosion over the long term.
I'm a bit gun shy after water got in both crash sensors in the engine compartment on my old 740 and caused them show a fault. It never got out on its own and the dealer ended up addressing the issue.

I agree windings on motors can probably be washed down because they have to be insulated between the turns but I would not want to wash down a circuit board or a socket where the pins are close together. It's the sockets in the engine compartment that concern me. Covering the alternator was probably overkill.

I'm not worried about the electrical insulation being damaged, but instead that the water will form a short circuit between two adjacent electrical connections that are not hermetically sealed. I've demonstrated the conductive properties of water (regular, not DI water) by placing VOM leads in a glass of water and watching the resistance drop to near zero. But I understand what you're saying about big electrical equipment.
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1996 Porsche 993 C4S
2003 BMW M5
2013 BMW X3 35i

Last edited by bimmernut1; 03-08-2014 at 11:22 AM.
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  #24  
Old 03-08-2014, 11:46 AM
RhoXS RhoXS is offline
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Mein Auto: Z3 & X3
Aside just just generally washing the salt deposits away my main concern was washing the salt out of the electrical connectors and exposed alternator. I don't know that I was all that successfull because I was carefull not to blast anything with a close up high pressure spray but the engine compartment sure looks a lot nicer and ignorance can indeed be bliss.
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Old 03-08-2014, 11:48 AM
bimmernut1 bimmernut1 is offline
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Mein Auto: Porsche, BMW
I'll post photos of the before and after engine cleaning later but for now I'll jump straight to the solution I'm trying.

First, the seal I showed earlier ended up being too old from lying around the garage. The tape backing did not stick at all. Also the thickness was about two times what I needed. The engine lid required considerable force to close, which was not acceptable.

I ended up going with a seal that is 5/16" thick and added a strip of strong double sided tape underneath it across the center section only to get a littled additional thickness. I've attached photos of the materials I bought at Ace Westlake hardware and of the installation. Be careful as there is a similar product right next to this one but is only half this width. The fit of the seals is perfect and if someone is unfamiliar with the X3 stock look they would never know it was added. The only other thing I changed was to put the seal more to the front of the headlight rather than the back to avoid several interferences and uneven spots. This location catches the spray sooner as well. Total cost of the upgrade was about $15. I'll watch the installation for a bit to see if my engine stays any cleaner and the operating temperature remains unchanged. It's hard to see how it wouldn't but I'm in the wait and see period now.

Also, remember to leave the gap in the center section where the unlocking latch has to fit.
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1979 Porsche 911SC
1996 Porsche 993 C4S
2003 BMW M5
2013 BMW X3 35i

Last edited by bimmernut1; 03-08-2014 at 11:53 AM.
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