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Thread: White smoke and oil

  1. #1
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    White smoke and oil

    Just looking for a few second opinions. Long story short, took car to shop to get a smoke test to find vacuum leak, and they instead tell me Iím low on coolant and that they found coolant in combustion chamber so itís a blown head gasket yadda yadda. Took me a little bit by shock but i started slowly talking myself into it because i have had some white smoke.

    But as i started thinking more and more about it, it really hasnít felt like blown head gasket and hereís why:

    1. Having used blue devil to seal a head gasket in the last, i immediately went to autozone to get a gallon of coolant and some pour and go blue devil. Now while the guys at the shop told me they couldnít see any coolant in my system, i literally only got through 1/10 of the gallon and then not even half a 16 oz bottle of blue devil. Definitely not low on coolant by any means. Still followed through with instructions even though i only used half the bottle, Let the car idle for 50 minutes, temperature perfect, exhaust perfectly environment friendly, and a couple
    Hours later when i came back to check the coolant level it was the same as before.

    2. The original reason i took it to shop was to diagnose a vacuum leak thatís been causing me some misfires (p1344 and p1348) which are misfires on start up. The shop attributed that to my ďblown head gasketĒ but hereís the twist; if i unplug the mass air flow sensor to where system runs a little richer to compensate for the leanness from vacuum leak, the car runs perfect and all codes clear. Now Iím no expert but i do know you canít hide a blown head gasket like that. The misfires would not just disappear.

    3. So this left me with one question; what and where is causing the white smoke if not for the head gasket? So that is where i need some opinions/possibilities. The smoke is ONLY at start up for maybe 10-15 seconds. It then clears out and thereís nothing. Now, the shop did tell me that my valve cover is not sealed very well because i am missing o rings on 3 bolts. They said that was where my vacuum was leaking. Upon further inspection of my spark plugs, i was unable to find any coolant residue on the plugs but every single thread had oil residue which would suggest it was leaking via cylinder side. So if my valve cover gasket isnít sealed all the way, if those cylinder o gaskets are allowing oil to seep in to those plugs, what are the odds or is it even possible that the oil is causing the misfires on start up which is in turn sending unburned fuel and oil thatís leaked into combustion chamber into the exhaust hence producing grey-white smoke?

    P.S. Best i could tell, oil is not very milky. Definitely not to where i would look at it and think ďblown head gasketĒ

  2. #2
    dworthy's Avatar
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    What is Blue Devil?
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by dworthy View Post
    What is Blue Devil?
    Magic in a can. https://gobdp.com

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  4. #4
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    How did the shop determine that the o-rings are missing? Are you talking about the o-rings that surround the spark plug openings? Did the tech remove the valve cover? Those missing rings would definitely cause vacuum leaks. However, youíre not getting the classic codes for vacuum leaks, P0171 and P0174. What tool are you using to scan the engine computer (DME)?
    Iíd perform a compression test on the engine. Iíd also perform a pressure test on the cooling system. White smoke in the exhaust is definitely water being burned. Smell the exhaust the next time the white exhaust occurs. If itís sweet smelling itís coolant and the head gasket is bad.

  5. #5
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    Marco,

    Sorry, the o ring seals for the bolts themselves so the bolts arenít providing a complete seal on the valve cover itself. I can move it with my hand. And i did have codes p0171 and p0174 prior to taking it to the shop, sorry i forgot to mention that. I was thinking that by the valve cover not being sealed all the way, the cylinder o rings arenít either allowing oil to seep when the engine is off and foul those spark plugs, causing them to misfire on start sending all that unburned fuel (system is running rich too since MAF is unplugged) into the exhaust, coming out as white smoke. As for the smell of the smoke, it has a fuel/oil smell to it. Doesnít have a sweetish-foul smell like you might expect from coolant.

    Tool to scan computer is OBD wireless 2

    - - - Updated - - -

    P085 and p083 before taking to shop too. All codes clear out when MAF unplugs. MAF is brand new so shouldnít be a fault with that

  6. #6
    dworthy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MauiM3Mania View Post
    Magic in a can. https://gobdp.com
    So garbage in a can then?

    O.P. that "Blue Devil" is going to wreck your motor, so say a prayer to the BMW gods.
    Darin
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    84 M535i gray market Burgandy Rot Met/Black Leather Lowered by Intrax on bilies, poly everywhere, B&B cat back system, K&N, and a hitch! Da Beast - Still running w/375k+!
    91 316i euro Tizianrot/Gray cloth - E-36 w/M-40 motor, such a beater, but great on gas! Best was 38 MPG
    82 528i euro Saphire Blue Met/Blue Leather RIP
    79 525 euro Green/Green RIP
    79 318 Silver/Black - The first one that got it all started
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  7. #7
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    I take it you donít have much experience with blue devil

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by dworthy View Post
    So garbage in a can then?
    I was being nice.


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  9. #9
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    plug gaskets

    those gaskets keep oil off the outside of the plug, a misfire there won't clear out with running, you have the classic early warning head gasket seepage, if you loosen the rad. cap when parked, the misfire should stop, the magic" stuff can work, I've seen it, actually works better with more severe leakage..

  10. #10
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    Misfires stop when MAF Is unplugged. Drives near perfect actually. And Never really trusting shops, i decided to take spark plugs out myself (which coils were lightly torqued exactly how i left them which suggests shop didnít even look) and there was no coolant to be found. Nor did my temperature fluctuate or did i lose any coolant in the hour long idle or any since. Perhaps it is wishful thinking, just doesnít really feel like the head gasket to me.

  11. #11
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    Look, I have seen the mess that "Head Gasket sealer", and others like it make, so that is why I made the comment I did. Think of it as a band aid, except you are trying to cover a 2 inch long gach with a 1/2 in wide band aid.

    Will it work? Sure, however the results, in my experience, always end up trashing the motor.
    Darin
    Current:
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    91 316i euro Tizianrot/Gray cloth - E-36 w/M-40 motor, such a beater, but great on gas! Best was 38 MPG
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  12. #12
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    I hate to say it but I have to agree with the others, your head gasket has a leak, likely between the two misfiring cylinders. You have options, none of which involves putting junk in cooling system. Your options are (from my pov):
    - drive it to it fails
    - dump the car
    - start looking for a low mileage used engine
    - start accumulating the parts needed to replace the gasket+the ďwhile Iím in thereĒ jobs
    - donate it to get the tax write off.

  13. #13
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    Well, Iíll cross fingers that youíre wrong but prepare as if youíre right. So with that being said, what would you recommend doing for the ďwhile Iím in thereĒ jobs?

  14. #14
    MauiM3Mania's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ReevesPJ99 View Post
    Well, I’ll cross fingers that you’re wrong but prepare as if you’re right. So with that being said, what would you recommend doing for the “while I’m in there” jobs?
    I may have missed it, but what year is your 325Ci? Is it an M52 or M54 engine?

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  15. #15
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    2002 model, M54 engine

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by ReevesPJ99 View Post
    Well, I’ll cross fingers that you’re wrong but prepare as if you’re right. So with that being said, what would you recommend doing for the “while I’m in there” jobs?
    It might be time to rebuild the VANOS. Keep us updated as to what you find out and progress.

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  17. #17
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    Been a little while since last post.

    To update, almost positive at this point that it is not the head gasket. Still no coolant loss, and spark plugs are filthy with oil that i can wipe off versus being steam cleaned if there was coolant/water in the cylinders. White smoke hasnít shown up in a couple days after really securing the valve cover down, misfires were due to the oil seeping down and fouling. Replaced spark plugs = no more misfires. I had replaced them a few weeks ago so i didnít look for those to be the first culprit but i suppose it makes sense when you put it all together.

    Only codes left are the usual vacuum leak suspects, p1071, p1074, p1083, and p1085.

    Thanks for all the inputs!

  18. #18
    dworthy's Avatar
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    Then it's time to see a pro about getting the intake smoke tested. Once all the leaks are found, and the components replaced, go back to ensure you have a properly sealed intake.
    Darin
    Current:
    16 220i Active Tourer Platinsilver MET (C08)/Dakota Black (PDSW), P7ACA, P7LDA, P7LHA, P9BDA, 6sp Manual - Wife's new toy!
    05 325it Electric Red(438)/Gray(N6TT) ZCW, ZSP 5sp Manual Back set cover, trunk mat, Euro Infra-Rot front windshield, and mud flaps! Mr. Wagon My new Winter car.
    05 M3 Imolarot II(405)/Gray(N5TT) ZCW, ZPP 6sp Manual C.F. Lip, CSL diffuser, Euro Infra-Rot front windshield and a trunk liner! Mr. Go_Fast Stored for the Winter
    Past:
    95 318is Montreal Blue Met (297)/Beige(K1SN) A Hooptie!
    84 M535i gray market Burgandy Rot Met/Black Leather Lowered by Intrax on bilies, poly everywhere, B&B cat back system, K&N, and a hitch! Da Beast - Still running w/375k+!
    91 316i euro Tizianrot/Gray cloth - E-36 w/M-40 motor, such a beater, but great on gas! Best was 38 MPG
    82 528i euro Saphire Blue Met/Blue Leather RIP
    79 525 euro Green/Green RIP
    79 318 Silver/Black - The first one that got it all started
    M-Flight Member

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