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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
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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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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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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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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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
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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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
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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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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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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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.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
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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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.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
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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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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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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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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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
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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