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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Powertrain and Drivetrain Discussions > NA Engine (non-turbo) / Drivetrain / Exhaust Modifications > Heads up: Smoke from Engine Bay from Heating Element



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      10-25-2012, 09:51 AM   #1
DESI4life10
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Heads up: Smoke from Engine Bay from Heating Element

Hey Guys,

Just wanted to give the community a heads up on on a recent issue I had. I am hoping this thread will help others that might be in a similar situation.

I was heading out for work in the morning when I noticed a burning smell coming from the vents. I immediately popped open the hood and noticed a very thick white smoke coming from the intake side of the car. At that time, I couldn't tell where it was coming from as the smoke was everywhere, but luckily when I shut the car off, the smoke went away (right away I though something shorted/electrical failure).

As the smoke cleared out, I started to do some investigation and was surprised at what was the cause of the small fire.
Our cars have a pcv line that runs from the crankcase to the intake manifold. The main line that runs in the center of the manifold has a heating element to prevent any blockages of the air entering the manifold.

The part looks like this (from ecs tuning)

P/N: 11617561408




It is item number 7 in the picture below:



All NA cars have this heater element.

The dealer informed me that the element had some kind of internal short, that sparked a small fire inside the manifold. Even though I acted very fast to minimize the damage, the element still managed to burn a hole in my manifold.

I wanted to just make people aware of this problem if it ever happens to you. This is probably a one off kind of issue, but had I not act fast, this could have become a very serious problem.

This element turns on even with the ignition on but engine off. So I had to disconnect the wire that plugs into the connector. Because it was just a heating element, it was okay to drive the car (to move it for towing).

Car is being repaired right now. But I was shocked to see the kind of damage a small connector could do.

Hope this doesn't happen to anyone else. But if it does, be sure to not have the engine on or ignition on/engine off as it will turn on that element (if you noticed something burning in that area).

Last edited by DESI4life10; 10-25-2012 at 12:11 PM.
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      10-25-2012, 12:08 PM   #2
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I think you should report this to your country's vehicle safety authority as there may be unexplained BMW fires out there that this would provide the solution. And maybe a recall...
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      10-25-2012, 07:21 PM   #3
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Wow, this is alarming. I was just looking at that part during my manifold swap and thought what is it and if it will ever be defective. Swaped my cars part on to the disa.

Hope your 28ix is back in its wheels soon
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      10-25-2012, 08:56 PM   #4
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Whoa. Thanks for the info, although it's making me a tad paranoid now haha. It does sound like one of those freak failures. Glad to hear that it was relatively minor damage as I'm sure it could have been a lot worse if you didn't react as quickly as you did. What are you doing about the manifold since it got damaged? Put back your original one until you can get another 3-stage?
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      10-26-2012, 07:52 AM   #5
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He really just needs a 3 stage manifold shelll, his DISA should be still okay
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      10-26-2012, 08:19 AM   #6
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Thanks guys.

I'll keep you posted with the details once I get the car back today. I got everything under control ;-)
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      10-26-2012, 10:14 PM   #7
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sorry to hear that. thanks for the heads up.
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      10-26-2012, 11:28 PM   #8
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Just an update.

I got the car back today from the dealership. I'll post more details tomorrow or so with pictures of the damage. It isn't as bad as I thought. The hole in the manifold is actually right where the heating element connecter attaches to. Nothing like plasti-aid can't fix. I might repair it and just keep it or sell it cheap. I will see once I fix it up.

Dealer installed a new 3 stage manifold for me following a new vent hose as well and the connector.

Car is back to normal and feels great.

The heating element definately melted on one side (where the electrical connection is).
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      10-28-2012, 08:46 AM   #9
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Thanks for the update. Was this covered under a warranty? I would imagine a new manifold and Labour would cost a bit otherwise. Hmm..let me know what you decide to do with your old 3 stage cause it almost sounds like cosmetic damage only and nothing else got damaged once they took it off and inspected.
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      04-01-2013, 10:19 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DESI4life10 View Post
Just an update.

I got the car back today from the dealership. I'll post more details tomorrow or so with pictures of the damage. It isn't as bad as I thought. The hole in the manifold is actually right where the heating element connecter attaches to. Nothing like plasti-aid can't fix. I might repair it and just keep it or sell it cheap. I will see once I fix it up.

Dealer installed a new 3 stage manifold for me following a new vent hose as well and the connector.

Car is back to normal and feels great.

The heating element definately melted on one side (where the electrical connection is).
Sadly, this actually just happened to me about an hour ago. Did any other parts have to get replaced besides the manifold and the heating element? My damage was a little worse than yours . I had an open flame when I opened my hood. Melted into the manifold from the looks of it
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      04-01-2013, 10:58 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RazRokz.! View Post
Sadly, this actually just happened to me about an hour ago. Did any other parts have to get replaced besides the manifold and the heating element? My damage was a little worse than yours . I had an open flame when I opened my hood. Melted into the manifold from the looks of it
See my post #2. Guys you owe it to us to draw this to the attention of the vehicle safety authorities in your country. Otherwise BMW will deny the issue for ever and a day...
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      04-01-2013, 11:25 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil325i View Post
See my post #2. Guys you owe it to us to draw this to the attention of the vehicle safety authorities in your country. Otherwise BMW will deny the issue for ever and a day...
I have a unique situation in regards to that. The car is registered stateside in Kansas. However, I'm currently stationed in Europe and the car is here with me. How would I go about reporting this?
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