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Old 02-01-2012, 07:26 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Exclamation Clouds of White Smoke!

So this 2003 BMW I purchased is blowing out clouds of white smoke. I feel like I might be in real trouble here...it does not overheat, or seem to be losing any water. It has 98000 miles on it and does list a misfire in cyl 3 on start.
I am thinking either a headgasket or a cracked head. It is 40 degrees outside today. I started the car when I got home from work and just let it warm to operating temp. I blipped the throttle a few times and it looked like clouds in the sky behind my car. I have had this car for almost 8 months and have maybe put 800 miles on it. I sure like it but I think this might be big $$$ trouble.
Any thoughts or comments would be appreciated.

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Old 02-01-2012, 07:30 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Forgot to mention....brand new Iridium plugs, Bosch coils and Full synthetic oil change with less than 40 miles put on them.
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Old 02-02-2012, 11:34 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thats bad news Jim... You need to determine what the "White" stuff is by putting your hand over the tail-pipe... If your hand gets a little wet then we need to solve this quickly !!
Could be something as simple as condensation/dew/rainwater in the silencer(s) !! It happens.

Let us know, eh?
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Old 02-02-2012, 07:31 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I drove the car to work this morning, it was in the uppeer 30's; it did the smoke-thing again. After my 10-hour shift at work was over, the day turned out nice...sunny and in the 50's. I started the car to leave for home, and the smoke was there. The first stop sign some 250 feet from my work I had so much smoke, I just wanted to hide my head in embarrasment. The funny thing was that after about 4 miles down the road the smoke seemed to vanish! Nothing was visible even at several stops I had to make prior to getting on the freeway. The car was running smooth, temp was good, and so was power...running like a BMW should. My 22 mile commute was a joy at this point, everything seemed fine! When I got home, I got out and left the car running while I retrieved my mail and opened the gate to the back yard. I closely observed the tail pipe for several minutes, and not even a whisp of smoke was to be seen.
I will go out and place my hand by the pipe as you said to do and post my results!
I will also try to post a link of a video I took after I first experienced this white smoke. The video gives abn idea of what I am experiencing just a few minutes into it. Keep in mind, it has been worse than what is shown in this clip too.
And DABSY, I really appreciate your communication!
Sincerely!

James
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Old 02-02-2012, 07:34 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Smoke video...I hope.

http://http://s489.photobucket.com/a...t=SmokeyZ4.mp4

This link did not work...next one seemed to!

Last edited by Jimbo65; 02-02-2012 at 07:39 PM.
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Old 02-02-2012, 07:35 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Smokey Z4 video by Jimbo1965 - Photobucket
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Old 02-02-2012, 07:40 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Jimbo65 View Post
After about 2 1/2 minutes into the clip you can see the smoke I am talking about. There have been a couple of times it was so bad I thought someone might call the Fire Department!
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Old 02-02-2012, 09:02 PM   #8 (permalink)
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http://Update: started car and help palm over exhaust, cupping, but not in contact with the pipe. Nothing really in the form of condensation, but I only ran the car briefly. I did discover I was low on water in the resivoir though. It took ablot 20 ounces to bring the "pole" back to the "full position". Also i pit my finger in my valve cover and was able to get just a little bit of nasty looking "Mayonaise". Grief.
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Old 02-02-2012, 09:03 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Mayo...

http://
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Old 02-03-2012, 11:48 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Yeah, you nailed it Jim... Head gasket failure I'm afraid. Strange that the temp didn't rise from cold !! All BMW's get upto temp well inside 5mins !!
If your budget is tight, why not try a bottle of K-Seal in her? If you do, this would be a temporary fix until your next coolant change when that gasket should be changed...
As you have access to a garage, I would get it sorted now. As she hasn't overheated, the head itself will be fine... HTH

Just to add, the car may feel like it's running brilliantly... This may be because there is only a slight failure with the gasket and that very minor water ingress adds hydrogen to the mixture !!!
It is, however, a definate gasket failure, a compression test will confirm it matey...
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Old 02-03-2012, 07:46 PM   #11 (permalink)
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So I have contacted an outfit named Bavarian Auto Recycling; they are soley BMW. The gent I spoke with quoted my $1200.00 for a head (bare casting), and $1900.00 for a complete one. He said that in most cases when these aluminum block/ head engines overheat, the block gets destroyed. He said by removing the valve cover and seeing if all the head bolts take torque specification, I might just be looking at a head and or just gasket. He mentioned several times customers have purchased cylinder heads only to find out that the block was damaged. At that point, I inquired on a replacement engine. He quoted me $3000.00 and said the engines come with a 2 year warantee (not sure of the exact details though). The engines have between 90,000-150,000 miles on them.
That is a real stickler considering a used head is almost 50% the cost of another used engine. I am going to check out what an engine swap would cost just to have an idea.
Sure is a tough situation considering my short ownership and what I am paying monthly in car payments for this vehicle! I hope the cylinder head bolts do not spin on me; I figure I can check this myself before taking it to a shop. Sure do like the car despite this nightmare.
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Old 02-04-2012, 10:33 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I would first remove the head and have it checked, this might end up saving you a fortune if it turns out ok, meaning just a gasket replacement
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Old 02-04-2012, 07:40 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Take it to a reputable shop and have them replace the head gasket, oil, oil filter and coolant. If the water pump has not been replaced yet (since new) you may as well have that done as well.

Join the ZSCCA and find your local chapter that will have some very knowledgeable guys that can help you.


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Old 02-04-2012, 08:27 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Thanks Zedfor, I shall do that.
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Old 02-04-2012, 08:35 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Dabsy, on an earlier message you used the letters "HTH" in your reply to the suspect head gasket failure.
What does that stand for (HTH) ?
Thanks!


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