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      12-11-2016, 03:56 PM   #1
Anthony199
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Exclamation Crazy Coolant Consumption + Coolant Smell From Exhaust

Hello guys!

I am a big fan of the forums, and you guys always help out car owners with their problems, so here I am asking for your help on my problem for the first time

I have a 2006 325i with 109k miles on it. It's pretty clean and well maintained. I just changed my engine oil, oil filter, spark plugs and ignition coils about a month ago, and it's running really smoothly!

I live in Ohio, and the weather started to get cold. I am noticing a white smoke/condensation when the car heats up (almost no condensation at all on cold start). As the car heats up slowly on idle, the condensation gets thicker. I am using the word condensation instead of smoke since it is disappearing quickly unlike burning smoke. At first, I thought it's normal since the temperature is always under 45 in here, but I notice also a very unusual coolant consumption.

Coolant light appeared on my dash about twice in a little bit less than a year, and I topped it off with 50-50 BMW coolant and distilled water (takes about 1/3 or 1/2 gallon at most). Also, I think I am smelling some coolant with fuel smell coming from the exhaust.

I checked for any visible leaks under the hood, or on the floor, but nothing. I am assuming there is a coolant leak in a hard-to-see area, and I need your suggestions on where to check or where might the leak be, knowing that more condensation is coming from my exhaust when the car is warming up.

I am ready to upload any videos or picture of the car exhaust, and answer any questions that can help you giving me suggestions

Sorry for the long post, and thanks in advance.

BTW, my suggestions after doing some research are: coolant plate, head gasket (no idea if makes sense or not tbh).
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      12-12-2016, 11:25 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony199 View Post
Hello guys!

I am a big fan of the forums, and you guys always help out car owners with their problems, so here I am asking for your help on my problem for the first time

I have a 2006 325i with 109k miles on it. It's pretty clean and well maintained. I just changed my engine oil, oil filter, spark plugs and ignition coils about a month ago, and it's running really smoothly!

I live in Ohio, and the weather started to get cold. I am noticing a white smoke/condensation when the car heats up (almost no condensation at all on cold start). As the car heats up slowly on idle, the condensation gets thicker. I am using the word condensation instead of smoke since it is disappearing quickly unlike burning smoke. At first, I thought it's normal since the temperature is always under 45 in here, but I notice also a very unusual coolant consumption.

Coolant light appeared on my dash about twice in a little bit less than a year, and I topped it off with 50-50 BMW coolant and distilled water (takes about 1/3 or 1/2 gallon at most). Also, I think I am smelling some coolant with fuel smell coming from the exhaust.

I checked for any visible leaks under the hood, or on the floor, but nothing. I am assuming there is a coolant leak in a hard-to-see area, and I need your suggestions on where to check or where might the leak be, knowing that more condensation is coming from my exhaust when the car is warming up.

I am ready to upload any videos or picture of the car exhaust, and answer any questions that can help you giving me suggestions

Sorry for the long post, and thanks in advance.

BTW, my suggestions after doing some research are: coolant plate, head gasket (no idea if makes sense or not tbh).
I hope for your sake it isn't the head gasket. If your oil looks milky, or has any milky type residue on the oil filler cap/OFHG then it certainly is a head gasket issue.
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      12-12-2016, 11:41 AM   #3
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If you smell coolant smell in the exhaust, that is pretty good evidence that coolant is somehow getting into the oil where it is getting burned off within the combustion chamber. Lots of white exhaust smoke on start up is a clue to a head gasket problem. If white smoke is blowing out from the exhaust during first few minutes of a cold start up in morning and has a sweet smell, it is likely you have a blown head gasket or a cracked/warped head. If the leak is very small, or leaking into adjacent cylinders, there may not be much smoke upon starting up, and yet still enough coolant may be pulled into the combustion chamber(s) to produce a strong sweetish exhaust smell.
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      12-12-2016, 08:19 PM   #4
Anthony199
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackhawkk22 View Post
If your oil looks milky, or has any milky type residue on the oil filler cap/OFHG then it certainly is a head gasket issue.
Hey! When I changed my oil, it was in a great condition, even though I drove for about 6000 miles after it has been last replaced. It wasn't super clear obviously, and just a little dark.
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      12-12-2016, 08:23 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wilt View Post
If you smell coolant smell in the exhaust, that is pretty good evidence that coolant is somehow getting into the oil where it is getting burned off within the combustion chamber. Lots of white exhaust smoke on start up is a clue to a head gasket problem. If white smoke is blowing out from the exhaust during first few minutes of a cold start up in morning and has a sweet smell, it is likely you have a blown head gasket or a cracked/warped head. If the leak is very small, or leaking into adjacent cylinders, there may not be much smoke upon starting up, and yet still enough coolant may be pulled into the combustion chamber(s) to produce a strong sweetish exhaust smell.
Thanks for clearing this up! The first minute of a cold start, there is almost no smoke at all, and then when it starts to warm up a bit, there is more and more condensation. I wouldn't use the word smoke since as I said, it's really disappearing quickly, unlike something burning.
Also I don't really understand what you mean by a sweet smell. I can mostly smell gas smell, and it isn't very sweet, but I feel like there is a tiny bit of pure coolant smell coming out too. I was able to tell by smelling the exhaust fumes and smelling the coolant from the bottle right after.
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      12-12-2016, 10:44 PM   #6
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Sounds like blown head gasket where leak is into combustion chamber.
Does the car overheat?
You need to pressure check the system.
If the oil is not foamy or milky then the leak is not between the oil and coolant.
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      12-13-2016, 12:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by techwhiz View Post
Sounds like blown head gasket where leak is into combustion chamber.
Does the car overheat?
You need to pressure check the system.
If the oil is not foamy or milky then the leak is not between the oil and coolant.
The car does not overheat (no dash lights at all), the oil was not foamy or milky in any way. I will pressurize the system, but where could the leak be if it's a blow head gasket issue and my oil is clear and no overheating?
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      12-13-2016, 12:48 PM   #8
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Check ur oil filter housing. If that gasket is bad, it will fix oil and coolant as the radiator hose connects to it on the right side
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      12-14-2016, 01:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mojobmw_e90 View Post
Check ur oil filter housing. If that gasket is bad, it will fix oil and coolant as the radiator hose connects to it on the right side
Hey! So when I changed my oil, I replaced my oil filter too, and the housing seems pretty solid and there aren't any visible leaks around it. Also how is the oil filter housing on the right related to coolant leakage?
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      12-14-2016, 01:52 PM   #10
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So when the car is smoking from the exhaust get out and put you hand right in front of the exhaust outlets and let the exhaust condensate onto your hand. Then step away from the car and smell the condensate and see if it smells sweet like coolant. If it doesn't then you have a coolant leak which you are smelling and attributing to the exhaust smoke. Id' say you have a coolant leak somewhere because adding that much coolant in that short of a period is a bit excessive.

A headgasket leak should show up in the oil as milky-white thick residue on the underside of the oil fill cap. The early N52s were known to break head bolts both outside the head near the oil filter housing and inside the valve cover at the front of the head. Check if the head bolt is broken near the oil filter housing. The head of the bolt will either be missing or will lift out of the hole. Have compression test done to check for a headgasket leak if you can't find the coolant leak.
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      12-14-2016, 03:10 PM   #11
Anthony199
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Efthreeoh View Post
A headgasket leak should show up in the oil as milky-white thick residue on the underside of the oil fill cap. The early N52s were known to break head bolts both outside the head near the oil filter housing and inside the valve cover at the front of the head. Check if the head bolt is broken near the oil filter housing. The head of the bolt will either be missing or will lift out of the hole. Have compression test done to check for a headgasket leak if you can't find the coolant leak.
Thanks for the info, i'll definitely check this soon. I'll let everyone updated.
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      10-29-2017, 12:20 PM   #12
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Having similar problems too with my 2006 E92 325i with the 2.5l engine N52B25, 140k km

Although my coolant loss is not crazy, it's still going down slowly. Did fill it half point between min-max and after about 1500km it's nearing min again.

Getting white smelly smoke on cold engine start ups, I always start in my warm parking hall so it's not freezing ambient temps. Smoking and smelling goes away after around 5mins of driving

Can't find any white residue anywhere in the engine bay. Also the coolant and oil look normal. Maybe nothing wrong with the head, instead oil filter housing gasket could be the reason? I have also the cooler/heat exchanger on my filter housing, maybe it's gasket is broken too

No codes in INPA/ISTA

Anthony what was the problem with your car?

Last edited by yezzrr; 10-29-2017 at 12:28 PM.
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