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X5 E70 (2007 - 2013)
E70 BMW X5 produced between 2007 and 2013. Discuss the E70 X5 with other BMW owners here.

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Old 03-10-2016, 09:01 PM
chhcope chhcope is offline
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So Much Sludge - Pictures

Hello All,

I bought a 2008 X5 3.0si (120,000 miles) for my wife a few months ago, she loves the car and we got a good deal on it. The guy said it needed an oil change and I could see it was leaking from the valve cover gasket. Had the pre purchase inspection done and everything checked out, the shop did note that there was some buildup in the engine. I changed the oil as soon as I got it and kept changing it every 2,000 miles or so. The filters have been caked full of black sludge at each change. Last week I decided to have a local independent shop replace the valve cover and got some pics of the inside of the engine. It was pretty nasty. Like the worst I have ever seen. The mechanic reassured me that it wasn't the worst he'd seen and I probably shouldn't worry about it, just to keep up with regular oil changes.

I am thinking about doing some sort of engine flush, I bought three bottles of autorx. I've read a lot of good and a lot of bad about this type of product. I plan on either using it and hopefully pulling the valve cover off and taking pics again or just continuing with frequent oil changes.

According to CarFax it had regular maintenance and oil changes according to BMW recommendations (15k miles). It's apparent that is not a good practice. I know it's been covered, but these engines need more frequent changes and need to get out on the highway regularly to stay clean. Also got a boost of .5 mpg after a week with the new valve cover, so that's something.

Any advice on how to move forward?
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Last edited by chhcope; 03-10-2016 at 10:43 PM.
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  #2  
Old 03-10-2016, 09:18 PM
edycol edycol is offline
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I think question is what oil was used here.
BMW's in Europe are on 20K (30,000km) schedule and they do really good.
I think oil that was used in that car was synthetic, but not BMW LL-01. My friend was using in his Audi A4 1.8T Mobil1 5W30 synthetic, that you can find in Wal Mart etc. After 80K engine had catastrophic failure due to sludge.
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Old 03-10-2016, 09:23 PM
chhcope chhcope is offline
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According to CarFax and the previous owner the oil changes were done at the dealer. I have been using Mobile 1 0w-40, but I understand that oil is no longer approved. I'm not sure what I should use going forward. I will definitely be reading up on recommended oil for this engine. I may call the dealer and see if I can just buy oil from them...

Last edited by chhcope; 03-10-2016 at 09:53 PM.
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Old 03-10-2016, 10:02 PM
DaCan23 DaCan23 is offline
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OMG sorry to hear that, never seen that on a regularly maintained vehicle. Did someone put some stop leak in it or something. Best SWAG reason I could think of is a oil line is clogged and oil is stuck in there turning to sludge.
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Old 03-10-2016, 10:17 PM
chhcope chhcope is offline
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Yeah there is a valve in the valve cover that I know was not operational, could have been compounding the issue. So that is sorted now that the valve cover has been replaced. I also put new VANOS solenoids in it after I bought it. I want to try to clean things out now and keep it from building up any more. I think I am going to go with this oil. Or the dealer oil, depending on what they say tomorrow.

http://www.amazon.com/Castrol-03101-...mula+SAE+0W-30

It is LL-01 approved. If I use the autorx engine flush, the directions say it is better to use conventional motor oil during the flush and "rinse cycle". I don't know of any reason this is a bad idea, I mean it's only going to be for 5-6k miles, then back to an LL-01 approved synthetic. It's 3k miles with the flush in the oil and a filter change halfway through, then the same with just oil.

I am starting to wonder if it is worth dropping the oil pan to see what it looks like at the bottom end. I put a magnetic drain plug in during the last oil change so it should be interesting to see what it looks like next time. I don't want to do anything too drastic. I think the idea of slowly cleaning an engine is better because as DaCan23 says if something breaks loose and clogs an oil line it could make things worse.
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Old 03-10-2016, 10:42 PM
ChristineX5 ChristineX5 is offline
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CCV System is Culprit

I have the exact same vehicle, 2008 X5 3.0si...with 115k miles. You failed to mention how many miles are on yours???

I have the same issue of the dreaded coffee grounds and "mayo" like sludge under the valve cover. Although not nearly to such an extent. You really have your work cut out for you, because IMHO, you will want to use an engine flush with every oil change. I use Lubri-Moly engine flush and their oils. My wife's 02 330i with 120k miles is spotless inside and she gets an oil change once a year with the Lubri-Moly 5W30. And she has put on 100k of these miles, mainly to and from work just a few miles. And I replaced the valve cover gasket on the 330i, and it is absolutely clean, and spotless inside.

From what I am told and have read, these M52 engines can build up the sludge not only from short, cold drives and infrequent oil changes, but ALSO if your CCV SYSTEM IS BAD. The good news is you had the valve cover replaced, right? Not just the valve cover gasket? Because the CCV Valve is built right into the valve cover! Did your mechanic also then replace the CCV VENT HOSE #11157559528 or the optional HEATED OIL SEPARATOR ANGLE CONNECTOR in the intake manifold? (Just as assurance that this heater is performing correctly to vaporize the oil as it enters the intake #11617561408. Both parts are not expensive either. $36 for the vent hose, and $80 for the heated oil separator. The valve cover is what nails you at $400+. ECS has it for $383.

So I'm working up a parts list for this same job! And I believe in the merits of the CCV FAILURE being the culprit, because this vehicle was a cpo after the lease and should have had enough oil changes. Especially the fact the vehicle has been in warm weather Florida its whole life.

Did you by any chance try to open the oil filler cap when the engine was running at idle? Mine right now, you cannot lift the cap up PERIOD. It's glued on with suction! And I pulled the forward DISA Valve and out to greet me ran a capful or two of raw oil from in the intake manifold! BAD CCV.

GOOD LUCK, and please let us know what you find out.
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Old 03-11-2016, 11:52 AM
chhcope chhcope is offline
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Thanks for the reply ChristineX5, I have 120,000 miles on the X5. I don't think he replaced those parts, but I will order them from ECS and install them in a few weeks, that's a great tip. I had checked the oil filler cap before the new valve cover and it definitely had some suction and was difficult to take off while the engine was idling. It wasn't whistling like I have seen on some videos online but I'm sure it was getting close.

I am trying to find some info about replacing the vent hose and oil separator, hopefully that won't be a big job. I am planning on replacing the oil filter housing gasket and oil cooler gasket during the next nice weekend I have, parts are on my desk. The list is growing, but I feel like I am on my way to a better running X5. I think you are exactly right about the CCV system. I'll update once I get this flush going and as I replace these parts. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one with these issues.
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Old 03-11-2016, 02:27 PM
SoCaLE39 SoCaLE39 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edycol View Post
I think question is what oil was used here.
BMW's in Europe are on 20K (30,000km) schedule and they do really good.
I think oil that was used in that car was synthetic, but not BMW LL-01. My friend was using in his Audi A4 1.8T Mobil1 5W30 synthetic, that you can find in Wal Mart etc. After 80K engine had catastrophic failure due to sludge.
There's a lot more to what causes engine sludge than just an oil certification. I think you are getting too wrapped around the axle when it comes to this whole BMW LL-01 approved oils shenanigans. Certainly, lower quality oils can contribute to the issue but as mentioned above, a failing CCV system, infrequent oil changes and driving habits play a much bigger part.
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Old 03-11-2016, 02:33 PM
RIHI RIHI is offline
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^^^ I was a Mobil dealer once and all my cars were on Mobil 1. My friend had a Fiero (POS) and no matter how often you changed the oil, the sludge would form. It definitely the PCV and EGR systems creating all these issues.
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  #10  
Old 03-11-2016, 03:23 PM
ChristineX5 ChristineX5 is offline
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And a note on your mileage going up....certainly we can all agree that changing a leaking valve cover with gasket, does -absolutely nothing- to your mileage!!! What your increase came from...was the fact our N52 6cyl., engines have a BUILT IN CCV VALVE, built right into the valve cover! Now unfortunately that's not the -total- CCV system, but certainly the heart of it!
I NEED TO DO THIS REPAIR JOB MYSELF ASAP, and anyone who did their CCV system -on this engine with built in CCV in valve cover- PLEASE note here in this thread all the parts you went with and why. For example the heater I mentioned in the intake manifold is not required, but recommended. Personally... I'm an old man, and I'd hate like hell, in a couple years to have to replace a $400 valve cover -again- because this heater has or had failed after almost a decade of use, and 115k miles!!! I hate wasting money, but this $80 item might just be "good insurance?" Thank you in advance for your help with this repair.
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Old 03-11-2016, 06:25 PM
chhcope chhcope is offline
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Yes, I understand that the MPG increase was from the CCV valve in the valve cover. I would like to do this job myself and may look at it some tomorrow. I have had trouble finding a how to or DIY for this online but I'll continue to look. If I end up doing it, I'll take some pics as well. The weather doesn't seem to want to cooperate with my plans but if I can get under the hood, I will. Since the valve cover (and built in CCV valve) has been replaced it drives smoother and seems more responsive, I'd hate to clog it up and definitely don't mind spending under $200 to make sure those parts are working properly. Thanks for all the info everyone. I definitely welcome more input and instructions!
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Old 03-11-2016, 10:16 PM
ChristineX5 ChristineX5 is offline
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Inspection before parts

Maybe if you can just -carefully- unclip one end of the CCV hose and shine a flashlight down it looking for crud? Or even again carefully, run a thin wire a ways up the hose, feeling for blockage or withdrawing it and seeing it coated in sludge?

I noted on my 2008 X5 3.0si, that the CCV hoses "seem" in much better shape (not rock hard and brittle) as they were when I changed the CCV system on my wife's 2002 330i (that was a bear of a job, and lucky I did it with the oil housing gasket job at the same time).

Yes...I wish we could both get more input on this project. I'm sure many others will be dealing with this issue soon if about 110,000 miles is the failure time. What was actually seen in the other ancillary parts? Were they clean or gunked up??? And what actually makes up an entire CCV system on the M52? Wonder what the Stealer all changes in parts on one of these jobs?

What I do know is that all of your money "changes" from your pocket into the Stealers pocket if you let them do the job. I was quoted $1140 for the CCV and filter housing gasket on the 330i. And there is no valve cover involved in the M-54! I did the job for $200 in parts. And I replaced the entire CCV system, upgrading to their new "CCV in a Blanket" option. Literally a clip on insulated skin for over the CCV valve for cold climate sludge prevention. Made it even more fun to get installed! (:
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Old 03-12-2016, 10:40 AM
chhcope chhcope is offline
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So it's raining here this morning, but I was able to get out early and take a look at this. It appears the CCV tube that we are talking about is directly underneath the intake manifold. I wasn't able to get my hands underneath it to reach the clips but I plan to replace the oil filter housing gasket and while that is off I may try to reach the CCV tube from the front but I don't have a lot of faith in that method. It seems that the intake manifold must be removed to gain access. Which actually didn't look difficult at all, I will do some research on that today. I think I will most likely buy the gaskets and parts needed for the intake manifold and have them handy when I change the oil filter housing gasket, It makes sense to do it all at once I think. If the intake is off and the oil filter housing is removed there should be ample room to work comfortably. I sent my mechanic an email last night for an estimate to replace the CCV parts ChristineX5 mentioned earlier. I'll update when he responds.

Last edited by chhcope; 03-12-2016 at 10:42 AM.
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Old 03-12-2016, 07:32 PM
ChristineX5 ChristineX5 is offline
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I would suggest you -go slow- and don't do anymore work than is really necessary. These things always seem to come apart far easier than they go together! But here is a report on replacing the valve cover. Unfortunately the buyer does not state the model year of his X5. But note only 80k miles. Far less than ours, and he reports failing CCV hose! "The vent hose was brittle and cracked..." Now that statement is leading me to believe one must strive to replace at the very least this "vent hose" as well as the valve cover. I'm sure there is a simple electrical test to insure the angle CCV heater is coming on? Voltage drop across the wires? But when does it run? All the time the engine is on??? Maybe someone else has experience with these CCV heaters and could chime in? (His last sentence is referring to the valve cover).

<<30K miles still holding strong..My car would not start at cold temperatures and was leaking oil at 80K miles, so I changed eccentric sensor and put in a new valve cover & gasket and a new servo motor. The vent hose connecting valve cover with intake manifold was brittle and cracked on me so I had to get a new one (cheap). Also changed gaskets on the intake manifold, DISA was OK. It is somewhat time consuming and difficult to work in the proximity of the firewall as space is limited. Care must be taken so that the gaskets do not slip/move off during installation. Also not a good idea to use crazy glue to affix gasket to the plastic valve cover, as gasket will polymerize and become hard and brittle and likely leak oil. Overall well made, high quality OE plastic BMW part.>>
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Old 03-13-2016, 10:02 AM
pshovest pshovest is offline
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Was the valve cover cleaned before reassembly?
Measure the crankcase vacuum, before you consider a very expensive CVV/valve cover replacement. Should be about 4" water.
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Old 09-08-2017, 02:12 PM
Sundevil84 Sundevil84 is offline
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Hi Guys,

I know this is an old post, but was there any update on this. I am currently in the exact same situation. I recently picked up a 2010 X5 3.0 with 100k miles. I just pulled the valve cover and there is sludge in there. It is not anywhere as bad as what is in the pictures, but the inside of the valve cover is nasty and the sludge appears to mostly be on top of the springs on the intake side. I purchased a new valve cover because I did not want to put the sludged one back in. I haven't touched of the sludge in the motor. Any advice?? I am nervous that in all the jostling to get the valve cover out I knocked some sludge off and it is now going to block a passage or the pickup tube.

I am thinking of changing the oil immediately and then just keep changing it every 700-1000 miles with good synthetic that is high in detergents.

Any advice is appreciated.
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Old 01-18-2020, 08:54 AM
runnr548 runnr548 is online now
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My 2011 328i has 124,000 miles. Bad valve cover removed. WTF?!?! That was a huge P A I N in the rear!!!! Now the sludge. I have a HUGE accumulation of sludge. I'm going to remove as much as I can with lint free towels, then use carburetor cleaner on lint free towels to clean up a bit. Liqui Moly Pro Line Engine Flush will be administered after the reassembly, if I can get the new valve cover installed. Then an oil/filter change. I will be looking for a strong detergent oil, or possibly Engine Flush again. Time will tell.

https://products.liqui-moly.us/pro-l...e-flush-1.html
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  #18  
Old 01-19-2020, 03:34 PM
ChrisM011 ChrisM011 is offline
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Move ahead with your plan. A good quality motor oil and extended trips where the engine can get up to temperature help tremendously. I have an old F150 I inherited that had severe sludge accumulation. 20k miles later with good oil (Pennzoil high mileage), 3 engine flushes with the Liqui-Moly or CRC stuff (at 5k mileage intervals) and it seems to be fairly clean. Granted, I have not removed the valve cover to check but the grime on the dipstick is gone and the oil becomes far less dark between oil changes. BTW, my first few oil changes were at only 2-3k miles rather than 5k miles.


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