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Ross, Diagnostic and repair technician
Category: UK Car
Satisfied Customers: 1180
Experience:  Licensed diagnostic and repair technician
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320i se 2.2 petrol: , I have an e46 2002 2.2 petrol Tourer.I'

Customer Question

Hello, I have an e46 2002 2.2 petrol Tourer.
I've had an oil leak fixed by a local garage-oil filter housing.
Since having the car back, I occasionally get a split second puff of white smoke from the exhaust. Have you heard of this before? Is it something the garage has done?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: UK Car
Expert:  Ross replied 2 years ago.
Hi I'm Ross, thanks for trusting me to help you today. I am a diagnostic and repair technician and I look forward to working with you.Does this smoke occur at at particular time such as on initial start up, when accelerating, decelerating etc.. ? As this can give i big clue as to what might be causing it. Thanks, Ross.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi, thanks for your response.
I can go days without the smoke but then it can happen on startup. Also if I drive up the mountain near my house, and down the other side, then turn left into my road and accelerate, I will get the smoke. Is this something to do with the level of the oil on an incline? My drive is on a slope.
Never happens on deceleration. I'm now on motorway journey but last 40 miles will be mountains so we will see! I never had this problem before the garage had the car in for oil leak, now I'm going from max to min in about 10 days......
Thank you.
Expert:  Ross replied 2 years ago.
Ok, well it certainly does look like its burning oil, generally people will flag up the possibility of piston rings and/or valve stem seals however there is no reason this would be effected by anything the garage did and based on your description of when it occurs I don't think this is a mechanical fault with the engine, it sounds like a classic case of faulty or blocked CCV (crank case breather valve) also known as oil separator valve. This allows the natural pressure in the engine to be vented back to the intake, if this blocks up or gets stuck the pressure in the sump becomes excessive and forces the oil into the cylinders to be burnt. It's unlikely this was caused by the garage unless they have disturbed it in some way that caused an already worn out part to fail but ultimately this is not a direct fault of the garage... but it is a common problem so the best advice I can give at this point is to have the CCV System inspected, cleaned and the valve replaced if nessasry.I hope I’ve provided the information you were seeking. If you need more help, please use the reply tab to continue our conversation. If you do not require further assistance, kindly rate my service. Thank you, Ross.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Apparently the mechanic tells me he put a camera inside the inlet manifold and saw a very small amount of oil ( this was after I had the car back) . He tells me this is not uncommon. He also saw a split in the elbow pipe at the top of the engine and put something on it to fix it but I have a new one on order anyway.
I'm just so infuriated as I paid £420 for the oil leak to be fixed and I am losing oil and smoking intermittently. All the pipes were checked.
So is your suggestion to replace the crank case breather valve?
Thank you
Expert:  Ross replied 2 years ago.
Yes, certainly before going further I would replace the valve. If a pipe has been repaired during the other work this may now be sealing the system which is allowing more oil be be drawn in where as before the vapors were going into the atmosphere, so it is possible the corrective work has now shown up this new fault.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Ross, I am away at the moment but when I return I will follow your advice and rate your service.
I have another question relating to this problem- I drove 2 miles this evening, and when I got to my destination, my husband opened the bonnet as we smelt oil burning. As soon as he opened the bonnet, a huge amount of smoke came out. Is this likely to also be caused by this breather valve being faulty?
Many thanks