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Hi, New to this forum. We have a 2004 325 XI Wagon with 114,835 miles. Slight burning smell began after driving 2 months ago. Changed oil. Then battery warning light went on when we drove - hard to start, indeed we needed new battery. Got new battery. All's well and good UNTIL, batter warning light when on again, and slight burning smell after driving, again. Went to mechanic. Alternator is OK. Belts are tight and OK. He replaced the power steering reservoir which was greasy thinking that was source of burning smell. Drove car again, all was well UNTIL battery warning light went on again and slight burning smell after driving. Battery warning light goes on - flickers and/or stays on when we accellerate. If we just drive very gently - say 30/35 mph - it doesn't go on. It happens with a more intense accelleration over 40/45 mph. Any thoughts? Someone suggested a valve somewhere in the back of the engine as a possiblity. Has anyone else experience this and found a solution? Thanks from Turnip
 

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Living Life At The Beach
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3,809 Posts
Sounds like you need a new tensioner. It is not keeping the belt tight enough, and the belt slips when you accelerate hard. As mentioned, check all pulleys and water pump for play while you are in there. If the car is an auto trans, check the fan clutch as well. Might as well do everything once while you are in there.
 

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Cogito Ergo Zoom
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The burning smell is quite often not a valve, but the Valve Cover Gasket. Usually, they leak at the back of the engine and drip onto the exhaust manifold. The smoke then rises directly into the cabin air filter and you smell it when the vents are open. Look at the back of the motor for slight oil drips on the heat shield or manifold. The smell is probably coincidental to the battery issue.

BTW- power steering fluid reservoirs in almost all E46's drip a little out the top. Replacing it is a waste because it will leak again. For a cure, use the SEARCH function and look for "sock mod".
 

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Properly chastised re: Xi
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The burning smell is quite often not a valve, but the Valve Cover Gasket. Usually, they leak at the back of the engine and drip onto the exhaust manifold. The smoke then rises directly into the cabin air filter and you smell it when the vents are open. Look at the back of the motor for slight oil drips on the heat shield or manifold.
I'm going to check this out when I get home tonight. We've had a burning smell come and go a few times over the last two weeks. Annoys the crap outta my wife... (for bimmerfest regulars, yes, wife -- the deed got done yesterday!)

If the VCG has sprung a leak, what are typical causes of this? Just plain age, or should I start looking for symptoms, like the CVV starting to plug up?
 

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The burning smell is quite often not a valve, but the Valve Cover Gasket. Usually, they leak at the back of the engine and drip onto the exhaust manifold. The smoke then rises directly into the cabin air filter and you smell it when the vents are open. Look at the back of the motor for slight oil drips on the heat shield or manifold. The smell is probably coincidental to the battery issue.

BTW- power steering fluid reservoirs in almost all E46's drip a little out the top. Replacing it is a waste because it will leak again. For a cure, use the SEARCH function and look for "sock mod".
I would urge you to watch the "sock mod" video, if for no other reason than it is hilarious!
 

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Seek to understand,^Value
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I would urge you to watch the "sock mod" video, if for no other reason than it is hilarious!
While the BMW M-Sock mod is hilarious, the actual fix costs only a mere $2.00 and has been tested by us for years to be successful in the E39 side of the house for the M54 engine:

- POWER STEERING RESERVOIR CAP LEAKS OILY MIST: constantly wet power steering reservoirs due to poor O-ring design (1) (2)


PS: We think everyone is wrong in suspecting the vent hole as the major culprit and our tests, anecdotally at least, bear out our convictions.
Still, the M-Sock mod is hilarious!

Or, we can do the M-sock mod (see video below):
 
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