2003 E39 525i - White Smoke at Warm Start-Up

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  1. 2003 E39 525i - White Smoke at Warm Start-Up 
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    Does anyone know of any issues regarding white exhaust smoke from a 2003 E39 525? Our car has covered 70k and has recently started emitting a cloud of white smoke when stating a warm engine. This is not a continuous emission, but a cloud that lasts a few seconds. Also the car has started using oil in asmuch as I need to add 1 litre every 3 weeks or so.
    To me it seems like there is a problem with the valve oil seals. Any help would be appreciated. Many thanks.
    Last edited by mark@vorny.co.uk; 31-05-2011 at 01:20.
     
     

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    You pretty much answer your own question.

    Your car is using oil. And my 99% positive guess would be stem seals, allowing the warmed and thinned oil to pass through into the cylinders to be burnt.

    Are you using any water at the same time?
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    Quote Originally Posted by steviec_lj View Post
    You pretty much answer your own question.

    Your car is using oil. And my 99% positive guess would be stem seals, allowing the warmed and thinned oil to pass through into the cylinders to be burnt.

    Are you using any water at the same time?
    Thanks for the reply. No, there is no sign of any water loss therefore I don't expect there to be any issues with cylinder head gaskets etc. Although I have a background in classic cars, I have very little experience with modern engines, especially those with electronics, and therefore wondered if the problem was more an engine management issue rather than a mechanical one as the car has only done 70,000 miles and has full BMW service history. Worn valves & seals seem a bit premature at that mileage.
     
     

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    Well, car back from local BMW dealers and their diagnosis is a broken piston ring or similar. Quote for repair is c£3,500! Seems rediculous for a car that has only covered 70k miles and not been trashed!
     
     

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    Some times its happening but as i learn the engine mechanical stuff the piston ring only pushes down the oil and if the ''O'' ring on the piston will be broken you will have very low compression in this cylinder or none. But there is also small rubber seals witch stops the oil dripping in to the piston,
    Correct me if I'm wrong But my old man did it on the petrol engine and it's no problems
     
     

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    Wingco (07-06-2011)

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    I initially had lots of white smoke on cool start-up once every week or so, then became intermittent white plumes during driving, plus visible oil usage at dip stick. Replaced CCV crank case breather and pipe work for £200 last week. So far so good. CCV was very blocked with mayo gunk (ending up forced into inlet manifold and burning), probably old and too many short runs to work.

    Get a second opinion. I would expect blue smoke at higher revs with piston ring trouble.
    Any other clues? Surely a worthy BMW dealer would pressure test the crank case as the faulty CCV is a common suspect with such symptoms, ask for the results.
     
     

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    Wingco (07-06-2011)

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    Thanks for the replies. I spoke to an independant mechanic today and he too is sceptical that it is a piston ring issue. Unfortunately the only way to confirm if it is either a ring, or a valve oil seal, is to take the piston out or the head off. Either way it will be expensive and a gamble.
    Apart from the smoke, the car is running well and I have other vehicles at my disposal so I'm not under immediate pressure to find a cure. I will speak to the mechanic who made the diagnosis.
     
     

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    A simple wet/dry compression test should be all that is needed to check the rings and in any case rings almost never break but simply wear gradually.
    I would pay very good attention to what Darkhorse has to say as breather problems cause exactly your symptoms and BMW have a history of crap engine breather designs!
     
     

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    Well, an update on the white smoke problem. After seeking a second opinion from an independant mechanic, he suspected a hardened valve stem oil seal, so added a tube of Forte Seal Conditioner http://www.forteuk.co.uk/product.php...al_Conditioner and within a couple of weeks the problem has all but disappeared. Cost of the fix... £25 as opposed to £3,500 quoted by BMW!
     
     

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