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Old 10-03-2012, 01:33 AM   #1
gnome
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E46 burning oil smell - no leaks, no loss of oil

Need some advice - when I take my Touring out for a spin in the morning, after about 15 minutes there is a strong burning oil smell. You don't notice too much until you open the drivers window or walk near the car. Its bad enough to notice.
But...No loss of oil since I got the car, never have to top up, never a yellow light.

No visible oil leaks, also I park my car inside 100% of the time with cardboard under the engine - no signs of drips.
Rocco changed the valve cover gasket last year and vanos seals.
Oil and filter changed regularly, all OEM.

On a similar thread it was suggested that it could be the crankcase ventilation valve? Any ideas?
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Old 10-03-2012, 03:02 PM   #2
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You sure its oil? Check ur coolant hoses, expansion tank and thermostat.
Plus are you seeing any smoke coming from the hood when stopped at a light?
Just a thought...
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Old 10-03-2012, 06:17 PM   #3
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its your valve cover gasket. even though it is 1 yr old, they do become brittle because of the heat. These gaskets are unfortunately a regular maintenance item if you use your car on a daily basis.
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Old 10-04-2012, 01:28 AM   #4
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Do you smell oil from the exhaust?
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Old 10-05-2012, 04:52 PM   #5
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Guys, just to answer a few questions:
1. Smell is strong burning oil stench from engine bay area/sides of car. Smell comes in through vents or open window. No signs of smoke.
2. No oil smell at exhaust, no loss of oil or blue smoke, never had to top up oil since I bought the car over 5 years ago
3. Seems to be oil or maybe power sterring fluid? No coolant smell, distinctly different.
4. Coolant expansion tank, and thermostat changed by RMP last year, no apparent issues here. Vanos seals done too and VCG.

Question, any symptoms of oil separator or crankase ventilation valve leaking here?
Could be VCG but its so recent.... :^(
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Old 10-05-2012, 07:01 PM   #6
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If it is leaking and thus creating a smell it has to be hitting something hot, like the manifolds or exhaust and thus a VCG again makes sense, it could also be the CCV. Keep in mind neither will leak enough to show a loss of fluid per say and all it takes is a drop literally to get a smell. A oil housing gasket came to mind but unlikely to reach the exhaust unless a massive leak (it is ont he other side of the block (but still worth a look).

I had a pretty bad valve cover gasket leak that being lazy I waited a few months to do and by that time it was bad enough to drip just enough, but that should be VERY visable when you look around the gasket and the manifold heat shield area, may even hit the o2 sensor on top. Pop the hood, a bad vcg should be diagnosed in 2 minutes or less. Mind did drip just enough tp cause the RARE burn smell and smoke (again rarly ever did).

If it is as you may think the CCV, it could be the vale itself/body OR the hoses, may be a quick fix or a few diy hours.

Bottom line get it in a shop, hoist, degrease/clean, start/drive, back up on hoist and look.
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Old 10-05-2012, 08:38 PM   #7
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If you haven't replaced your CCV tubes then there's a good chance that it's failed in some way. There's lots of threads on it on fanatics.

Did the oil smell start after the oil change? Maybe there's a loose oil filter cap or drain plug?
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Old 10-06-2012, 06:30 AM   #8
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take a peak into the sparkplug hole and see if there is oil in there. if so, that answers your question on valve cover gaskets. 30 seconds to do that task.
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Old 01-11-2013, 09:32 PM   #9
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Much much does it cost to do a valve cover gasket?
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Old 01-11-2013, 10:19 PM   #10
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If you do it yourself, about 70 bucks in parts.
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Old 01-11-2013, 10:21 PM   #11
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Okay cool, I just watched a video on how to do it yourself and it was a lot less complicated then I imagined it would have been.
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Old 04-06-2013, 11:12 AM   #12
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mine was doing this too a month ago little by little go worst until was bad enough smoke start bellowing out of the engine bay sometimes but it was oil low and behold as the guys said valve cover gasket
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Old 05-01-2013, 10:45 AM   #13
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sounds like VCG to me... just pop off the cover and take a quick look. Perhaps do a quick tighten of all the bolts just to make sure.

I was going to also suggest your oil housing gasket, but you said no loss or leaks so that's out.
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Old 05-01-2013, 10:57 AM   #14
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Definitely valve cover gasket. It's slowly leaking down the side of the head and dripping onto the exhaust manifold. It's common and hard to spot until you remove all the plastic cladding.
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Old 05-01-2013, 07:46 PM   #15
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Guys, thanks. It was the vcg and oil housing gasket.
Stance took care of it.
Why I was surprised it was only a year after the VCG was done.
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