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5-Series (E12,E28, E34, E39, E60) Chat relating to the BMW 5-Series of all generations. Specific models include: BMW 518, BMW 520, BMW 520i, BMW 530i, BMW 528i, BMW 530i, BMW 518i, BMW 524d, BMW 525i, BMW 525e, BMW 528e, BMW 540i, BMW 535i, BMW 520d, BMW 525td, BMW 525d, BMW 530d, BMW 525i/xi, BMW 530i/xi. (BMW 5-Series Forum)

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Old 02-27-2006, 09:56 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Head gasket problem? Uh, oh.

This morning I started up my 528 cold and the idle was very rough like it was missing. I turned off the ignition, waited a few minutes and started it again which didn't solve anything.
When I backed out into the street and started moving forward, I looked in the rearview mirror and saw a small puff of smoke. I couldn't tell what color it was.
When the engine temp warmed up, everything was right in the world.

Is this indicative of a head gasket problem or could it be something more benign like spark plug wires or the spark plugs themselves?
After a search on the forums I narrowed it down to these few things. Any new ideas out there?
No codes in the computer - yet.
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Old 02-27-2006, 10:19 AM   #2 (permalink)
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All cars smoke like that when cold; the smoke should be pretty much see-through though.
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Old 02-27-2006, 10:36 AM   #3 (permalink)
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All cars smoke like that when cold; the smoke should be pretty much see-through though.
Yea but the steering wheel was shaking it was idling so rough. This wasn't the garden variety condensation/smoke that goes with cold morning start-ups. It was really a puff of light color smoke.
At ay rate - is it possible there was a build up of gas in one of the combustion chambers from the night before when I pulled it into the garage? I only moved it 15 feet. I know some cars have had this issue in the past.
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Old 02-27-2006, 01:09 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Was it abnormally cold last night or did you park in the street or was it very cold since your last time driving your car?
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Old 02-27-2006, 07:18 PM   #5 (permalink)
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To eliminate the idea of a build up of gas, gasoline smoke is black.

Coolant smoke is white and oil smoke is blueish.

It's normal to smoke a little bit and have a little bit of a rough idle when cold, especially if you were on an unusual incline or something like that.

It could possibly be leaky valve stem seals or a headgasket or simply nothing at all.

Unless you recently overheated or something, a headgasket usually wont just fail out of the blue.
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Old 02-27-2006, 11:39 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Matt and Sporky and everyone - thank you for your replies. After thinking about it I believe it was probably excess unburned fuel. After I drove off the engine smoothed out immediatley at the next stop and the engine wasn't at full operating temp by looking at the temp gauge. If it was a leaky gasket, it would need to heat up much more to stop idling so rough.

Yes I'm used to the cold engine idle and the associated roughness that goes with it. This was something much more pronounced.

Maybe I should check the vacuum lines if I can find them.
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