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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > BMW E90/E92/E93 3-series General Forums > Regional Forums > UK > UK Technical Forum > Low engine oil N54 - valve steam seals?



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      10-05-2019, 04:34 PM   #1
x77md
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Low engine oil N54 - valve steam seals?

Hi all, over the last week I've had the 'low engine oil add 1 litre' message crop up Intermittently however I noticed that the message would disappear between drives and when I checked the oil level it would show up as ok. A few days ago I checked the oil level on the dash using the toggles and BC button on the lever... it showed as being maximum. Now today, the engine oil light cropped back up and I checked it just before I was about to add a litre of engine oil in and the dash is now saying that the level is below minimum. I will be now adding a litre of oil and monitoring what happens... just a bit dazed as I've had the OFHG and valve cover gasket replaced for leaks in the last 6 months. I inspected the engine bay and there doesn't seem to be any visible leaks. I've noticed a few symptoms that I was looking to get checked out by a garage including smoke from the exhaust at standstill, raised revs at standstill sometimes ~750 rpm rather than my normal 600 idle. The latter has got me thinking that it could be valve steam seals. I read that valve stem seals going can lead to high oil consumption - could this be a potential cause of the leak?

(Just for reference: Oil change was carried out (6.5L) in September of last year, and the car has only asked for a top up (1L) in July of this year and now this October)

Either I will be getting the car checked out by a mechanic this Monday but wanted to get an opinion from fellow owners on here. Cheers!
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      10-06-2019, 02:55 AM   #2
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I had this on my n52 the oil level went from
Being full to needing a litre and blipped in between the two. (I had a slow leak) but added a litre and it was fine again.

As for the higher idle, it's been getting colder is it the ambient temp causing the higher idle?

Same for condensation on the exhaust?

It could be another leak if you think you are loosing more oil. I have had the filter housing done twice the cam cover done the oil sump done. Still not convinced it's stopped
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      10-06-2019, 06:57 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Sxanth View Post
I had this on my n52 the oil level went from
Being full to needing a litre and blipped in between the two. (I had a slow leak) but added a litre and it was fine again.

As for the higher idle, it's been getting colder is it the ambient temp causing the higher idle?

Same for condensation on the exhaust?

It could be another leak if you think you are loosing more oil. I have had the filter housing done twice the cam cover done the oil sump done. Still not convinced it's stopped
After adding a litre of oil the oil level seems to be ok but will be monitoring it over the next week to see if there are any leaks.

The thing is with the raised revs is that on occasion it has occurred in late summer too when the temperature was in the 20s.. I find that it's never on startup but generally at the end of a drive. I'm thinking to replace spark plugs to 1 step colder and gapped for a smoother idle, not sure if it will help the symptoms in any way..

I'm going to try get a few videos or pictures of the exhaust condensation - just sometimes it seems excessive to the point I can see it flowing out when I look through the side mirrors in traffic... never on acceleration or deceleration just when in traffic.

Will definitely be monitoring it any further oil message come along to make sure it's not another leak. Potentially even raising the car up and having a look from under.
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      10-06-2019, 08:31 AM   #4
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The way you describe the condensation is exactly how mine is. It would only go away at idle after the car had been driven pretty hard and for a while.

I did have a search at the time and a lot of people seemed to say the same thing and I remember my old e90 330i I had years ago was the same.

So I think that is quite usual unless mines broken too
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      10-06-2019, 09:41 AM   #5
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It's normal for a 35i to put out plumes of condensation, it'll be more noticeable as the weather gets colder.

As for oil usage, I've had my 35i for over seven years & oil top up intervals were between 2,500 to 1,500 miles, since fitting new turbos they've increased to 2,600 to 4,500 miles, dependant on how hard it's been driven.

The e dipstick is very reliable, it not only measures the oil level but also it's condition.
I've always just added a litre when the cars asked for one. Many people just don't now how to use the e dipstick correctly.
Efthreeoh did a good write up, I've attached a link to his thread.

https://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1533444

The raised from at idle is also normal, mine mostly idles around 6/650 but in occasion it'll be a t 7/750rpm. That'll depend on what anncillarys are running or/& how hard the water pumps working ie, how hot the engine is, well that's what I've noticed with mine

Battery can also have an effect, if it's nearing the end of its life the alternator will be working harder to charge it.
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Last edited by Chappers 71; 10-06-2019 at 09:57 AM..
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