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Tar Heel Faithful
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So yesterday, I took a drive out to the far western reaches of the state. Crossed three mountain passes (amazing roads) and generally it was a spectacular sight, both the scenery and the mountains.



However, my X3 seems to be burning something whenever it's put under load for extended periods of time. US-250 has a lot of relatively long, steep gradients when climbing up, and thus the X3 was seeing 3500-4500rpm for 6-7km stretches at a time. There'd be this burning smell that gets into the cabin but goes away after a bit. It's done this before, always when it's being pushed hard for extended amounts of time.

Me thinks its burning motor oil. It was not overheating. The engine actually circulates more coolant under load, and thus the operating temp of the coolant actually fell to 81-83°C when ascending (rising to 94° under normal circumstances). Ideas? Serious problem? Or is oil consumption normal. :dunno: The climate control was off all day.

By the way, I have an outrageous video of me descending a set of hairpins but I'm so NOT posting that. But let's just say, I wouldn't have the X3 suspension any other way than "stiff". :angel:
 

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Aficionado
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3,016 Posts
Valve cover gasket- Oil drips on the heat shields, gets burned and gets into the car through the cabin air filter.
Check the shields above the exhaust maniful for burned oil traces.

Come on! post that video! you know you want! ;)

Here's how our e46 looked when the valve cover gasket failed, the smell was disturbing. The reason you don't smell it all the time is maybe you have the auto air-recirculation, so it cycles between fresh and recirc by itself...

 

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Tar Heel Faithful
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14,127 Posts
Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Doesn't appear to be the valve cover gaskets, since there is no evidence of any leaks under the hood on either side of the motor. I know what a valve cover gasket leak is like; it was the most annoying problem on my old Lexus (which was never fixed).

I'm not posting the video publicly. PM me if you really want to see me descend a mountain in 2m30s.
 

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Aficionado
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3,016 Posts
Doesn't appear to be the valve cover gaskets,
Something has to be leaking, I don't think you will normaly have burning smell. Is probably just starting out and you can't see it. Was it after you took that video? :D
 

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Ukemi - that's how I roll
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4,252 Posts
Is that before or after the extra hot burrito? Lol.
 

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Tar Heel Faithful
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14,127 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Something has to be leaking, I don't think you will normaly have burning smell. Is probably just starting out and you can't see it. Was it after you took that video? :D
No, actually it 's happened before but it never lasts. It's really whenever I'm climbing a long, long hill and it doesn't even have to be really high rpm. The only thing that I've noticed out of place are some odd stains on parts of the underbody. They've been there for years and I've never really given it a second thought. I'll check oil level tonight and see if it's dropped noticeably.
 

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Registered
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767 Posts
If not oil leaking anywhere, you might consider you belt(s). If they are original they might be slipping a bit when the engine spins faster. :dunno: They do give off that burning smell when slipping or rubbing on an improperly aligned idler/pulley.
 

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BMW Enthusiast!
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5,679 Posts
Is that before or after the extra hot burrito? Lol.
Haha - yeah, mt wife complains about smells sometimes. I blame it on the cows!:rofl:
 

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about the mini part....
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1,085 Posts
My X3 did this every time when I got onto the highway, aka 3500k+ RPMs for a few seconds. I never figured it out. I looked for leaking anything and found nothing. I checked for melting plastic or something, but never found anything. My mom now drives it so it doesn't zoom zoom like it did when I had it and I've asked her to keep a nose out for it. So far nothing to report. :dunno:
 

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BMW Enthusiast!
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5,679 Posts
Just don't ask PPXYZ - probably the X3's heated seats and steering wheel are on fire!
 
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