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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Guys.
So some of you know i have a 1999 E46 323ci Auto.
I left these with the ex wife as she still loves the car - it does look awesome.

Anyways, she took it for an MOT and it failed on emissions. She only does around 3k miles a year locally and does not drive the car as she should.

The mech said there was oil in the exhaust and because of the age should just replace it as its not worth repairing what the issue maybe.

The car drives smooth, sounds perfect and doesn't cough when starting.

When the mech was revving the car up, they noticed some smoke coming from the engine.

I was thinking of getting some additive (i know she wont have used any in years) to help "unclog". Would something like redex help?
Any anyone recommends?

Thanks
 

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Any codes?
Gut reaction is you need to replace the crankcase ventilation valve or CVV. Reason is combo of short drives, winter temps, and smoke. Plenty of threads on it, do a search. Either way take it for a nice long drive prior to that test.


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Any codes?
Gut reaction is you need to replace the crankcase ventilation valve or CVV. Reason is combo of short drives, winter temps, and smoke. Plenty of threads on it, do a search. Either way take it for a nice long drive prior to that test.


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Hey. Thanks for the response. No codes. The car literally runs mint. Smooth as anything.

I do keep telling her to take it for longer harder runs.

I'll have a look at that.

My plan is to add some Redex to it and take it on a drive.

I think normally it's a bottle to a full tank. I may do a bottle to 2/3rds


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With the engine idling open the oil fill cap. Place a plastic bag over the opening to see if there’s a vacuum. Modern BMW engines require that the crankcase be under a slight vacuum or else the engine will burn oil.

I concur that the prime suspect is the CCV. It’s job is to suck the oily vapors out of the crankcase, separate the liquids from the vapor, return the liquid to the crankcase via the dipstick tube and send the vapors to the intake manifold to be burned. The M54 engine CCV was designed by an engineer who’d been fired by Audi. True story.

Replacing the CCV is a bit of pain in the butt job as a bunch of stuff has to come off to reach the CCV body: it’s located under the intake manifold. Be advised that BMW sells a regular CCV kit and a cold weather CCV kit. The difference is that later kit has the CCV body wrapped in foam insulation. Buy the regular kit as the foam insulation prevents the CCV body from getting up to the proper temperature. Make sure that whomever is replacing the CCV remove the dipstick tube, thoroughly cleaned it and replace the tube’s o-ring in the oil pan.

Driving short distances is hard on an engine. Why not take the car on a 20 mile trip on the motorway on a weekly basis.

You mentioned that the car didn’t pass MOT. The first step in diagnosing a problem is to scan the engine computer (DME) for codes. The Service Engine Soon (SES) light is on only when an emissions related code is present. So, there can be active codes without the SES light being on. Check with the British equivalent of our BMW Car Club of America for recommendations for a reputable indie shop that specializes in bimmers. The shop needs to have the proper BMW software.
 

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Thanks for the detailed response.

With the engine idling open the oil fill cap. Place a plastic bag over the opening to see if there’s a vacuum. Modern BMW engines require that the crankcase be under a slight vacuum or else the engine will burn oil.
I took out the dipstick with the engine running and it immediately made a strong sucking noise. I put my finger over it and it was sucking quite strong.

I concur that the prime suspect is the CCV. It’s job is to suck the oily vapors out of the crankcase, separate the liquids from the vapor, return the liquid to the crankcase via the dipstick tube and send the vapors to the intake manifold to be burned. The M54 engine CCV was designed by an engineer who’d been fired by Audi. True story.
Lol was it a bad design then?

Replacing the CCV is a bit of pain in the butt job as a bunch of stuff has to come off to reach the CCV body: it’s located under the intake manifold. Be advised that BMW sells a regular CCV kit and a cold weather CCV kit. The difference is that later kit has the CCV body wrapped in foam insulation. Buy the regular kit as the foam insulation prevents the CCV body from getting up to the proper temperature. Make sure that whomever is replacing the CCV remove the dipstick tube, thoroughly cleaned it and replace the tube’s o-ring in the oil pan.
I looked at a whole load of youtube videos and it does seem like a real pain. Lots to take out and then replace. I think the car is very old, so not sure i can be bothered to do it now. I will just tell her to get rid of it as soon as she can.


Driving short distances is hard on an engine. Why not take the car on a 20 mile trip on the motorway on a weekly basis.
Yeah i am going to tell her that. She mentioned she hasn't had it services in about 2 years :dunno: I presume it hasn't had an oil and filter change in a long while. I may just do it? is it easy on them?


You mentioned that the car didn’t pass MOT. The first step in diagnosing a problem is to scan the engine computer (DME) for codes. The Service Engine Soon (SES) light is on only when an emissions related code is present. So, there can be active codes without the SES light being on. Check with the British equivalent of our BMW Car Club of America for recommendations for a reputable indie shop that specializes in bimmers. The shop needs to have the proper BMW software.
I ran it through a Snap on computer. I couldn't see any codes related to anythng like the emissions which is strange. I put some Redex in it and drove it down the motorway giving some maximum acceleration every so often. This let out a cloud of smoke. I took it for an MOT again and it passed.

Still means i have the problem. I am thinking now -
Do i change the oil and filters
Do I consider changing the CCV.
Do I get a full proper BMW diagnostic on it?
Or shall i just tell her to get rid of it after summer.

:dunno:
 

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Yes, change the oil and filter ASAP. You’ll need 7 quarts of fully synthetic oil. Look for “BMW LL01” on the label. The filter should be made by Mann or Mahle. Stay away from parts store filters. There have been horror stories about how an aftermarket oil filter disintegrated in the filter housing! You’ll need a 36mm (preferably 6-point) socket to get the filter out.

The CCV can malfunction and send engine oil into the cylinders. This will destroy the engine. Yes, it’s a crappy design. Did mention that its designer was fired by Audi? Nuf sed. Check the vacuum at the oil fill cap. Did the engine stumble a bit when you pulled the dipstick? It should as the engine is getting a lean fuel/air mixture.

What color was the cloud of smoke? It may have been some burned condensation, or maybe some carbon residue from the combustion chambers. The car gas an M52 engine. It’s one of BMW’s better engines. This engine, like almost all BMW engines, loves to rev. The car needs to driven on the highway (motorway for you!) for at least 20 miles each week. Keep the revs between 3000rpm and 3500rpm. The engine will love you for doing so.
 

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Hey thanks for the response.

Yes, change the oil and filter ASAP. You’ll need 7 quarts of fully synthetic oil. Look for “BMW LL01” on the label. The filter should be made by Mann or Mahle. Stay away from parts store filters. There have been horror stories about how an aftermarket oil filter disintegrated in the filter housing! You’ll need a 36mm (preferably 6-point) socket to get the filter out.
I have never done an oil and filter change - so this will be interesting lol. Wish me luck!

The CCV can malfunction and send engine oil into the cylinders. This will destroy the engine. Yes, it’s a crappy design. Did mention that its designer was fired by Audi? Nuf sed. Check the vacuum at the oil fill cap. Did the engine stumble a bit when you pulled the dipstick? It should as the engine is getting a lean fuel/air mixture.
The engine didnt just stumble. It made a sucking whistling noise (until i replaced the dipstick) then went onto have a bit of "pulsing wobble". I think the spark plugs need to be changed / cleaned too.

What color was the cloud of smoke? It may have been some burned condensation, or maybe some carbon residue from the combustion chambers. The car gas an M52 engine. It’s one of BMW’s better engines. This engine, like almost all BMW engines, loves to rev. The car needs to driven on the highway (motorway for you!) for at least 20 miles each week. Keep the revs between 3000rpm and 3500rpm. The engine will love you for doing so.
The Cloud was dark. But immediately cleared up with no further smoke. I have told her she needs to drive it a little hard weekly now. SO fingers crossed she will do it.


Thanks again. I appreciate all the hep everyone's given this far!
 

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Not necessarily drive it hard but drive it longer, like 20 miles, and change oil at least once a year or every 7.5k miles.


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