BimmerFest BMW Forum banner
1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I love my 2004 2.5 X3 but I have just experienced a problem that has shaken me and the answer suggests that my X3 is not long for my garage. Last week when Chicago temps were at minus 15, I started my car drove for about six minutes to a business dinner and when I came out that evening, my car started with a shudder and then in about three minutes hesitated and the engine seized up.

Seems that the problem is the crankcase vent valve, which collects gunk and water over time and can seize up at the worst times leading to engine failure. $1300 later, I am back on the road but worried that it can happen again. Various posts in the X5 forum talk about how you have to start and go during cold weather, idling can build up condensation, but go means go and go, maybe 20 miles. This is nuts. Anyone else have this problem with an X3? It seems to be a big time problem with X5s. BMW refuses to stand behind the problem beyond the new car warranty other than maybe free parts. Also seems like replacing a dirty CVV before failure might need to be a scheduled maintenance item.
:cry:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
695 Posts
Wow... this plus the post about a cracked intake, all during the recent deep freeze that has swept across the country.

Wonder if European service items vary from the US...?

It seems unlikely that a frozen/stuck crankcase valve would freeze an engine within three minutes - but WTF do I know about these things. Pretty steep repair price... would love to see the itemized repairs/replacement items if you can post them.
 

·
Powder Days
Joined
·
1,998 Posts
~44000 on my 2.5 X3 and never had a starting problem. The winters in CO have numerous days in the below zero range.

Sorry to hear about this potential problem. I will have them check it the next trip for service.

Thanks for the info.

Cheers
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
834 Posts
Wonder if European service items vary from the US...?
FWIW, I spoke with my SA here in Germany during lunch and the only incident he recalled was one with a 4 cylinder engine. The only problem the owner complained of was a decrease in power. They replaced one of the hoses and the problem was solved. He was very surprised by some of the incidents of blown valve cover gaskets and oil ingestion leading to hydro-lock.

He reiterated that there really is no preventative maintenance other than ensuring that you limit short trips so that the engine gets properly warmed up so it can evaporate all of the condensation. I suppose if one wanted a warm and fuzzy and was willing to pay for it, they would be more than happy to pull it and look it over or replace it.
 

·
Aficionado
Joined
·
3,016 Posts
I love my 2004 2.5 X3 but I have just experienced a problem that has shaken me
WOW, how many miles?
Sorry to hear about your problem. What do you mean when you say the engine "seized"?
Was this a unique occurrence or did you notice any "signs" previously?
I too would like to see what they replaced for $1300.00 and who did it.

what sounds odd to me is the M54 engines are not known for this type of failures. (That I know of). You know that this engine is not exclusive for the X3 right?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I had not seen the problem posted in the X3 forum but there are a lot of posts in the X5 forum on this happening and I think the engine is probably similar. My car has 65,000 miles in four and a half years so it is not occuring from just short trips. the reason why they tell you not to idle to warm in the winter with this car (and that wording should be bolded on the cover of the owner's manual, is that when the engine is warming slowly, it can actually create condensation that collects in the crankcase vent and then instantaneously freeze during cold weather. It is not always possible to drive far enough to superheat the engine during the winter.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,596 Posts
I guess using a plain old PCV is just not sophisticated enough. Seems to work well for everyone else's machines tho'. Fortunately I don't live where it ever gets much below 30f but if I did I sure would have that vent valve checked during each inspection, even if I had to pay for it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Can anyone help?? I have a 2001 X5 3.0 with 105k miles. It was very cold today and I didn't take it for my usual 35 mile commute, so I decided to warm it up when I got home from work. Started up with no issue, except it sounded a little rough, but that was normal in really cold weather. after about 15 minutes I went out to see how warm the engine had gotten and noticed the SES light came on. I thought perhaps I should move the car as it was parked on a slight incline in my driveway. That's when it rattled a bit and stalled. I tried to start it and it wouldn't start. I left it for about 10 minutes while I went to call my mechanic. The interior lights came on so it wasn't the battery, but it couldn't engage or turn over. I noticed just before it stalled that there was a huge cloud of white smoke at the exhaust. I checked the exhaust pipe for oil and there was oil residue. ANd since I was able to back up a little, I then saw a puddle of oil in the driveway-about a half a quart worth. There was no oil level warning light prior to this. Could I have siezed the engine? Or is there enough intelligence built into the onboard computer to shut the engine down so as not to cause any more damage?
Any information anyone can provide would be greatly appreciated. I'm going to sell my beloved X5 as I cannot stand having to worry that it's too cold to use my car!


booninety
View Public Profile
Send a private message to booninety
View My Garage
Find all posts by booninety
Add booninety to Your Contacts
Add booninety to Your Ignore List

#2 01-17-2009, 08:02 AM
ncsucarjock88
Registered User
Location: Raleigh NC Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 60
Mein auto: '04 X5 4.4i
View My Garage

Your engine may have hydrolocked. But first, I'm going to yell at you for leaving a very cold car alone to warm up while idling - something that BMW explicitly states in the owners manual *should not* be done. I realize tons of people do it, especially when it's really cold out, but if you'd been in the car, you would have noticed a problem.

Honestly, it sounds like you have a headgasket that went south. You may not have had the right antifreeze in a passage, or it simple could have been time and age. Basically, the head gasket let go, which caused coolant to enter a cylinder (explaining the huge cloud of white smoke at the exhaust), and as coolant filled that cylinder, it "rattled" because you can't compress liquids, and then the engine stopped.

Depending on when and how it stopped, you may be okay, or you may have bent a connecting rod, broken piston rings, or damaged the main bearings or crank. I don't know the inherent weaknesses of the 3.0L block and lower end.

The oil is probably from the head gasket as well - when the engine tried to compress the liquid, it could have developed enough pressure to blow a bigger chunk out of the HG (and this would be a *good* thing - you want the weakest link to die to preserve the rest of the engine), and allow some oil to escape before the engine shut down.

You're not going to know exactly what's wrong or what exactly happened until the engine is torn down.

Sorry bud.

PS: Even if you'd be driving the car, chances are this would have happened - only on the road, at speed, and things would have happened faster, with possibly more cataclysmic results.


ncsucarjock88
View Public Profile
Send a private message to ncsucarjock88
View My Garage
Find all posts by ncsucarjock88
Add ncsucarjock88 to Your Contacts
Add ncsucarjock88 to Your Ignore List

#3 01-17-2009, 10:17 AM
UncleJ
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Silicon Valley Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 780
Mein auto: X3
View My Garage

+1! Time for a new headgasket (best), head (not so good), or block (awful!). You have an old, high miler so check out the indy shops and start thinking about getting a "new" engine from a BMW dismantling yard if its a cracked block. Rebuilding the engine is going to cost a ton!


UncleJ
View Public Profile
Send a private message to UncleJ
View My Garage
Find all posts by UncleJ
Add UncleJ to Your Contacts
Add UncleJ to Your Ignore List

#4 01-17-2009, 10:48 AM
booninety
Registered User
Location: new york Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 11
Mein auto: 2001 x5
View My Garage

anyone interested in buying it for parts??????


booninety
View Public Profile
Send a private message to booninety
View My Garage
Find all posts by booninety
Add booninety to Your Contacts
Add booninety to Your Ignore List

#5 01-17-2009, 08:05 PM
Ghost-Flame
Registered User
Location: Doylestown, Pa Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 27
Mein auto: BMW 2002 X5 3.0
View My Garage

Dude!!

I logged on to tell my story, I had the EXACT same thing happen to me today. How wierd is that?
It was 3 degrees here today. I got in dorve about a mile and white stuff (steam I assume) was spewing out the rear. By the time I got the car stopped grey smoke was filling the passenger area.
I opened the hood and it had puked oil all over the manifold. I could smell anti freeze.

I just picked this car up Wednesday night.

2002 X5 3.0 80,000 miles. I put only 160 miles on before this happened. Thank God I bought the extended warranty.

But what did the cold have to do with it. These cars are designed and built in a very cold country. What's the deal.


Ghost-Flame
View Public Profile
Send a private message to Ghost-Flame
View My Garage
Find all posts by Ghost-Flame
Add Ghost-Flame to Your Contacts
Add Ghost-Flame to Your Ignore List

#6 01-17-2009, 10:48 PM
ncsucarjock88
Registered User
Location: Raleigh NC Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 60
Mein auto: '04 X5 4.4i
View My Garage

Weird...

very odd...

Cold or heat can exacerbate any lingering issue, as it puts more stress on all systems (starting, charging, oil pressure, coolant flow). Not to mention that when things get cold they *contract*, and a few hundreths of a millimeter on an engine gasket can cause issues...

Yes, they're designed to be rugged, but even so, they are hightly tuned machines, with very tight tolerances. They won't tolerate things being out of whack - even by a small amount.

Glad you got the extended warranty - it should be covered...


ncsucarjock88
View Public Profile
Send a private message to ncsucarjock88
View My Garage
Find all posts by ncsucarjock88
Add ncsucarjock88 to Your Contacts
Add ncsucarjock88 to Your Ignore List

#7 01-18-2009, 08:48 AM
booninety
Registered User
Location: new york Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 11
Mein auto: 2001 x5
View My Garage

I can't have the car evaluated until tomorrow and i'm getting more anxious as time goes on. would the onboard computer provide any clues as to what the problem is? No, I'm not going to try to figure it out myself. I did check the display and the only warning is SES


booninety
View Public Profile
Send a private message to booninety
View My Garage
Find all posts by booninety
Add booninety to Your Contacts
Add booninety to Your Ignore List

#8 01-18-2009, 12:40 PM
jcl10
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: BC Canada Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 310
Mein auto: 2003 X5 3.0
View My Garage

Both failures described above are consistent with the crankcase ventilation valve failing. It is a well-known and understood condition. It isn't a major failure, but it has the potential to cause more significant engine damage in some cases.

The crankcase is vented, and other vehicles use a PCV (Positive Crankcase Ventilation) valve for this function. BMW routes the crankcase ventilation line into an oil separator, which separates out the oil mist and vapour, and returns it to the sump.

Over time, gunk collects in the line. If you have had lots of short trips, or don't get the engine hot enough regularly, there is moisture (condensate) in that gunk. Then, when it gets cold enough, it freezes. It can block the vent line in that case. Now the crankcase is pressurized. It builds up pressure, and then the engine forces oil out and the weakest point is usually a valve cover gasket. That is what has likely happened if you have oil all over the engine. There can be lots of smoke when this happens.

In some cases, the valve can fail such that oil is drawn into the intake, and this has the potential to create a hydraulic lock (liquid enters the cylinders, is not compressible, and the engine stops). It doesn't always fail in that manner, but it is not unusual.

Newer models have heated vent and drain lines so they are less likely to freeze. It can still happen. The root cause is lots of short trips, the engine not getting hot enough to boil off the moisture, the moisture collecting in the oil and then in the valve, and very cold ambient conditions.

Note that the first failure mentioned leaving the car idling. As has been noted, that is a bad idea, and can contribute to this failure. Your engine wears faster when it is cold, or warming up. Warming it up with load on it (ie driving) shortens the duration of the warm-up cycle. Warming it by idling (no load) takes a long time, and the wear is multiplied. There also may not be enough heat under the engine to melt any frozen condensate in the oil separator, and then you get a trip to the repair shop.

The valve and lines are not expensive ($$ are hundreds, not thousands), but are a pain to replace. Valve cover gaskets, or other seals if required, add to the cost. In the rare cases when a hydraulic lock occurs, a bent connecting rod is possible. That is not very common. It gets very expensive very quickly.

For more information, do a search on 'crankcase ventilation valve' or 'oil separator' and BMW, and read about it.
 

·
Think Solar
Joined
·
477 Posts
Ok, I'm a little confused here....You have both a 2001 X5 and 2004 X3 with the same problem? Just looking at your very first post, and your latest....
 

·
Aficionado
Joined
·
3,016 Posts
So what was replaced in your case??
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,892 Posts
I love my 2004 2.5 X3 but .... seems like replacing a dirty CVV before failure might need to be a scheduled maintenance item.
Sympathies to Steve, but following up on the good suggestion for maintenance of the CVV:

http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts.do?model=PA73&mospid=47793&btnr=11_2194&hg=11&fg=15

This is for the early 2.5i.

Parts not that costly, maybe $150 total, and the labor not too complex I would guess.

Interesting that there is a "cold-climate version" of the valve and associated pipes, etc.

Can we assume that all N. American models would have the cold-climate version?

Having it as a regular maintenance item might only be needed for those that do short trips and/or warm their vehicle up in the driveway, but no harm in being cautious.
 

·
Aficionado
Joined
·
3,016 Posts
Pretty much the parts suggested by Supercourse posting. Parts were $186.00 Labor $1100.
Ouch. Thanks, I guess it was done at the stealership.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Ouch. Thanks, I guess it was done at the stealership.
It was done at the dealership and I am not sure that an independent mechanic would very easily be able to identify the problem/solution. Once it was diagnosed I thought I might have it towed to an indie but figured they would hit me for a big diagnostic charge plus additional towing. Reason why they diagnose it so easily is that they see it often enough.
 

·
Registered
2018 X5M, 2014 X3
Joined
·
769 Posts
Ouch!! That doesn't look like a 10 hour job to me, so why the $1100 labor charge unless they have to dismantle half the engine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
176 Posts
What is a short trip? I use my X3 only in the winter. What the hell is a lot of short trips? I drive 3.5 miles to work everyday and then back home. Should i be going for 20 mile drives on the weekend?
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top