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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I have a 318i 2012 model that is blowing white smoke at start up on a cold engine. The smoke clears after about a minute. The longer the car is not turned on, the larger the amount of smoke. I’ve been doing a little research online and it seems it can be anything from condensation to head gasket issues. I’m concerned obviously it could be the latter or something big.

Any ideas or thoughts on what it could be?

I’ve found a bmw specialist garage near by and they will charge money to diagnose the issue. BMW themselves currently have a special offer where they will charge a similar amount? Does it make a difference where I go to get it properly diagnosed?

thank you
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks Alan. I had a water pump issue in October last year and went to the same garage. They changed the water pump and coolant. I think the smoke has been happening since. Could it be linked?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hi guys, I’ve taken the car to the independant mechanic. No faults are showing but they think the problem is either with the turbo valve or the stem seals. They don’t know unless the take the parts apart. The turbo is the cheaper one and the stem seals are the bigger job. They have suggested to wait and see if the issue gets worse, but if I want to fix it, then go with the turbo thing first. If it’s not that, they would have to charge me for both turbo and the stem valve labour.
Any thoughts/advice please? The problem has definitely got worse over the weeks so I’m reluctant to just leave it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hi Mate, no smoke at all once the smoke clears on the first start. There is no abnormal levels of smoke when I’m driving. What were you thinking?
 

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Out of their 2 possibilities I would be more inclined to think stem seals mainly because you said the smoke is worse the longer the car is left which allows more oil to leak past in to the cylinder.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hi guys, BMW will apparently be able to diagnose the fault for £99. Usually they charge something like £250 but they currently have a special offer. I think its worth doing if they are 100% able to confirm the issue. Should I bite the bullet and pay for a second diagnoses (first one being the independent garage)?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
BMW have come up with the same: they don't know until they open it up. They seem to think its the Turbo though and/or the 'rocker cover'.
They're basically saying labour will be £850 and parts can be anything from £1400 to £3000 with discounts. They will charge on pro rata and only do the minimum to get it working.
The independent garage have said they will open the engine up and do the diagnoses for £350. Then I would just need to pay for whatever is wrong - and it could be loads of things or just a simple thing so again the costs could be anything to £3k.

I'm torn between selling the car as is and taking a loss, or getting it repaired. If I decide to get it repaired, I don't know who to go with? The reliability and piece of mind with BMW but paying well over the odds, or taking a punt to save money and go with the independent garage who did call it the same as BMW. Ive had a look at similar cars on Autotrader...they still fetch around £11-12k so I'm thinking the cheaper option is the repair.

Any thoughts/guidance please guys? What would you do in my situation?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I’ve been living with it for some time now. It has got progressively worse and I asked bmw whether I can drive it and they recommended I don’t so I guess I need to do something.
definitely no coolant or oil loss. The smoke is from water or oil burning so can’t understand where it’s coming from.
 
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