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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a weird smell comming from the engine. I have never smelled this before, but if i had to describe it i would say it smelled like wet clothes burning. Its hard to describe, but i can only smell it when i open my windows and i feel the hot air from the motor. i have no smoke comming off the engine, and i ran it today at idle for 15 minutes to make sure it didn't overheat and it was fine. any suggestions? its a 97 540I with 132K, auto.
 

· Corey
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I have a weird smell comming from the engine. I have never smelled this before, but if i had to describe it i would say it smelled like wet clothes burning. Its hard to describe, but i can only smell it when i open my windows and i feel the hot air from the motor. i have no smoke comming off the engine, and i ran it today at idle for 15 minutes to make sure it didn't overheat and it was fine. any suggestions? its a 97 540I with 132K, auto.
Sounds like it's burning oil... Mine does it to... I have a bad valve cover gasket, so oil slowly seeps out (really slowly) and one in a great while a drop of oil will burn on the outside of the hot engine and then you smell the burning smell. Look around you engine and see if there are any noticeable spots where oil is coming out. I'll take a pic tomorrow in the daylight and show you what I'm talking about.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
no, not a rotten egg smell, that only happens after sundays baltimore ravens games. lol,but no, i just had the cats done. it might be the valve cover gasket, but i thought you would see smoke?
 

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It also may be coolant ...... I have a very fine slow slow leak at the top plastic end of my radiator .... drips slowly ...... i run fine and dont overheat but i get a unique smell coming from the drivers side when i open my window (I only smell it when i push it kind of hard mainly after getting off of the highway) It may be that but the smells of these two are completely different.
 

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It also may be coolant ...... I have a very fine slow slow leak at the top plastic end of my radiator .... drips slowly ...... i run fine and dont overheat but i get a unique smell coming from the drivers side when i open my window (I only smell it when i push it kind of hard mainly after getting off of the highway) It may be that but the smells of these two are completely different.
You know that "fine slow leak" is a ticking time bomb right?
 

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oh no not the dreaded vally pan!!!! I have read some of the post about this thing, and if that is the problem how much to fix it, and how long will i be able to leave it be?
Depends on if you plan to do it yourself, go to an indy or the stealer. Not hard at all, just time consuming and if you plan to do that, you mine as well tackle the valve cover gaskets, intake gaskets, CCV, clean the ICV and MAF.

This will give you a better idea
 

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so what are you saying?! that this leak is a symptom for an overhaul!?

or you mean it may leak all the water out of the car causing an overhaul :dunno:

im worry because i had it once but i changed the radiator then, am i in the safe side or what?!

please say yes :bawling:
It has been suggested over and over on these forums that if you have over 80K miles on your E39, you should do a cooling system overhaul as it is the Achilles's Heel on the car.

Once the radiator or water pump goes, the rest of the hoses, fan clutch, expansion tank SHOULD BE replaced as preventative maintenance so that you don't find yourself far from home and at the mercy of a dealer or shop. Change it, bleed it and you should be good for another 80K miles.

Unfortunately, the E39 has gotten so cheap these days that anyone who wants to get in, can. BUT most fail to budget $1,000 for yearly maintenance to keep these beasts running.
 

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If it is coming from the left front just in front of the driver's door it could be your heater valve (or also called the aux. water pump). I had that similar coolant smell and it finally went. Luckily I wasn't stranded on the road. It went on the way home and I was able to make it the mile I needed to go without overheating. For such as small part it was not cheap. And that was through an indy. If you get coolant just behind the left front tire, that is your culprit. The diaphragm ****s the bed. They had a hard time pinning it to this even with a pressure test.
 

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It has been suggested over and over on these forums that if you have over 80K miles on your E39, you should do a cooling system overhaul as it is the Achilles's Heel on the car.

Once the radiator or water pump goes, the rest of the hoses, fan clutch, expansion tank SHOULD BE replaced as preventative maintenance so that you don't find yourself far from home and at the mercy of a dealer or shop. Change it, bleed it and you should be good for another 80K miles.

Unfortunately, the E39 has gotten so cheap these days that anyone who wants to get in, can. BUT most fail to budget $1,000 for yearly maintenance to keep these beasts running.
yup what he said , my 528 hasnt had one completed yet other than the thermostat, thermostat housing and upper radiator hose. ....... it cracked on me so i replaced that.... the rest ... expansion tank, radiator, water pump etc ... will be done shortly is what im getting to so idk if you are good but im just on the cautious side cause it hit 105k and still havnt had all of my cooling items replaced :thumbup:
 

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Come to think of it, every once in a while, maybe on a hot day, up a long hill, I get this really sickly sweet smell ... when I stop the car and walk out ... it wafts up at me ... but it's gone the next day.

Hmmm .... hmmm ... hmmm... ???
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
ok, here is an update on the repair. I took the car to a indy to change the plugs and guess what he found? if you guessed oil on top the valve then your the big winner so, indeed the valve cover gasket needs to be replaced. The odd part is that both the right and left gasket needs to be done:dunno: The coolent system checks out 100%. To complete the job he is only charging me 300. Great deal considering he only charged me $75 to change the plugs:bigpimp: Thanks to everyone for his/her comments.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
for sure,once i started a post for "best mods for my bimmer" and when i checked in the next day i had tons of responses. When i started to read them they all basically said the same thing "great, another newbie that didn't search for already existing posts." lol
 

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It has been suggested over and over on these forums that if you have over 80K miles on your E39, you should do a cooling system overhaul as it is the Achilles's Heel on the car.

Once the radiator or water pump goes, the rest of the hoses, fan clutch, expansion tank SHOULD BE replaced as preventative maintenance so that you don't find yourself far from home and at the mercy of a dealer or shop. Change it, bleed it and you should be good for another 80K miles.

Unfortunately, the E39 has gotten so cheap these days that anyone who wants to get in, can. BUT most fail to budget $1,000 for yearly maintenance to keep these beasts running.
Ditto that!

and thats exactly what i did the last time, less than 15k now on the new system.

but i thought he was saying that such a leak is a sign for an engine overhaul.
i just changed the tranny last month!
 
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