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      05-19-2019, 02:17 PM   #1
kulxio
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Chasing blue smoke

Hi!

As the title says, I've been chasing the cause of blue smoke from my 07 335i.

It all started about 6 months ago with the typical coming-to-a-stop smoke, so I decided to replace my turbos with a pair of upgraded hybrids.
This removed 90% of the smoke, but I still hade some "passive" smoke which seemed to come and go randomly. I didn't bother since it was really minor.

1 month ago the smoke started getting worse though.
It's pretty much smoking all the time, except for when it's cold. It also seems to go away after idling for a while (about 1 minute).
I replaced the valve cover gasket, which didn't solve the problem.
I then continued by blocking the pcv ports in the head and installed an external PCV system, but it's still not better. I've also done a compression test which seemed to be fine, around 170psi on all cylinders.

The smoke is blue, and it's also using alot of oil.
My next step is to double check the turbo installation since I didn't do it myself, to make sure that the oil return lines are fine.

Any ideas since I'm running out of them myself?
Thanks!
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      05-19-2019, 11:57 PM   #2
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While newer, i'd check the front turbo. Remove the front inlet -- pull it away from the turbo -- & feel if you can pull the compressor wheel in & out of the turbo. When mine were smoking before replacing last summer with maintenanced/upgraded rb's (newer uprades from when I purchased originally), the front was bad & it excessively moved forward & back. The rear was solid and didn't do that.

I'm not sure if I had any phantom smoke or if it cleaned up right away after turbo replacement, I don't remember. It seemed pretty fixed when I got it together though & no issues since - knock on wood.

Flash tune & I try to be pretty easy on her before temp gauge moves.


--

Pre fix: Turbos would smoke coming off the freeway to a stop, coming to a stop at a light, later moved on to a great fog behind me as people assumed my car was on fire from so much smoke. It was eating oil like crazy.
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      05-20-2019, 10:26 AM   #3
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Were the valve stem seals checked while the turbos were out?
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      05-20-2019, 10:54 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kulxio View Post
Hi!

As the title says, I've been chasing the cause of blue smoke from my 07 335i.

It all started about 6 months ago with the typical coming-to-a-stop smoke, so I decided to replace my turbos with a pair of upgraded hybrids.
This removed 90% of the smoke, but I still hade some "passive" smoke which seemed to come and go randomly. I didn't bother since it was really minor.

1 month ago the smoke started getting worse though.
It's pretty much smoking all the time, except for when it's cold. It also seems to go away after idling for a while (about 1 minute).
I replaced the valve cover gasket, which didn't solve the problem.
I then continued by blocking the pcv ports in the head and installed an external PCV system, but it's still not better. I've also done a compression test which seemed to be fine, around 170psi on all cylinders.

The smoke is blue, and it's also using alot of oil.
My next step is to double check the turbo installation since I didn't do it myself, to make sure that the oil return lines are fine.

Any ideas since I'm running out of them myself?
Thanks!
Blue smoke at start up = bad valve stem seals.

You could try and solve your problem with a oil additive. Liqui Moly Stop Smoke is a great additive. You will need to change your oil & filter & add 1.5 to 2 bottles of this stuff, which = 20oz. Then add 6 qts 12 oz of oil.

It will take 500 miles for it to fully kick in. Some reviews say it takes two treatments and to not go WOT until you get 500 miles on the engine treatment.

If after 2 treatments it doesn't work, then unfortunately your only other option is to physically replace the seals.
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      05-20-2019, 11:49 PM   #5
kulxio
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Thanks for your input! I'm not sure how to quote all replies, but I'll make sure to check the turbos while I'm already checking the oil return lines. Though there is smoking equally from both exhaust tips, so I guess it has to be both turbos then. I don't think there is a leak on the intake side since there is no oil in IC / charge pipe.

The valve stem seals were not checked at turbo installation. (At least I don't think so, since a shop performed the installation)

Quote:
Originally Posted by mweisdorfer View Post
Blue smoke at start up = bad valve stem seals.

You could try and solve your problem with a oil additive. Liqui Moly Stop Smoke is a great additive. You will need to change your oil & filter & add 1.5 to 2 bottles of this stuff, which = 20oz. Then add 6 qts 12 oz of oil.

It will take 500 miles for it to fully kick in. Some reviews say it takes two treatments and to not go WOT until you get 500 miles on the engine treatment.

If after 2 treatments it doesn't work, then unfortunately your only other option is to physically replace the seals.
It's not really smoking at startup, only once it gets warm. And when it is warm, it will mostly smoke after driving and stop smoking after coming to a stop and idling for a while.
But I'm also leaning against the valve seals. I didn't find any liqui moly additive over here, but I found something called Omega 917 which seems to be the same. I'll give it a try if the oil return lines looks fine since I already ordered some fresh oil and a filter. Hopefully it can fix it until the winter when I have time to tear the engine apart.

I'll make sure to update the thread if I do any findings, since that was my biggest issue when searching the forum. There are alot of threads about the same issue, but not many updates about the actual cause.
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      05-21-2019, 05:09 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kulxio View Post
Thanks for your input! I'm not sure how to quote all replies, but I'll make sure to check the turbos while I'm already checking the oil return lines. Though there is smoking equally from both exhaust tips, so I guess it has to be both turbos then. I don't think there is a leak on the intake side since there is no oil in IC / charge pipe.

The valve stem seals were not checked at turbo installation. (At least I don't think so, since a shop performed the installation)

Quote:
Originally Posted by mweisdorfer View Post
Blue smoke at start up = bad valve stem seals.

You could try and solve your problem with a oil additive. Liqui Moly Stop Smoke is a great additive. You will need to change your oil & filter & add 1.5 to 2 bottles of this stuff, which = 20oz. Then add 6 qts 12 oz of oil.

It will take 500 miles for it to fully kick in. Some reviews say it takes two treatments and to not go WOT until you get 500 miles on the engine treatment.

If after 2 treatments it doesn't work, then unfortunately your only other option is to physically replace the seals.
It's not really smoking at startup, only once it gets warm. And when it is warm, it will mostly smoke after driving and stop smoking after coming to a stop and idling for a while.
But I'm also leaning against the valve seals. I didn't find any liqui moly additive over here, but I found something called Omega 917 which seems to be the same. I'll give it a try if the oil return lines looks fine since I already ordered some fresh oil and a filter. Hopefully it can fix it until the winter when I have time to tear the engine apart.

I'll make sure to update the thread if I do any findings, since that was my biggest issue when searching the forum. There are alot of threads about the same issue, but not many updates about the actual cause.
It's a typical of poor valve stems to just exhibit blue smoke at start up and then smoke not be a factor once warm or driving etc.
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      05-21-2019, 01:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mweisdorfer View Post
Blue smoke at start up = bad valve stem seals.

You could try and solve your problem with a oil additive. Liqui Moly Stop Smoke is a great additive. You will need to change your oil & filter & add 1.5 to 2 bottles of this stuff, which = 20oz. Then add 6 qts 12 oz of oil.

It will take 500 miles for it to fully kick in. Some reviews say it takes two treatments and to not go WOT until you get 500 miles on the engine treatment.

If after 2 treatments it doesn't work, then unfortunately your only other option is to physically replace the seals.
I'm gonna give this a shot. I've got some oil smoke for about 2-3 minutes on a cold start...i've been thinking it's the valve guide seals. I added ATP seal conditioner with my last Castrol 0W-40 titanium edge oil change and I had to add a quart this morning after about 750 miles.

I ordered 2 bottle of liqui-moly stop smoke from germany off of ebay and a liqui-moly 0W-40 oil change kit off of FCP...I'll report back in a few months on the results...
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      05-22-2019, 06:45 AM   #8
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I checked the turbos today, no oil in sight on the exhaust side. I realized that the oil line bolts are a mess to reach, but I guess I should be able to rule out the turbos without checking the lines? The charge pipe / IC pipings are dry aswell.

Leaning more and more against the valve seals.

Edit: I managed to remove the oil return lines, and they are completely fine.

Last edited by kulxio; 05-22-2019 at 07:35 AM..
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      05-22-2019, 07:53 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bimmer_Engineer View Post
I'm gonna give this a shot. I've got some oil smoke for about 2-3 minutes on a cold start...i've been thinking it's the valve guide seals. I added ATP seal conditioner with my last Castrol 0W-40 titanium edge oil change and I had to add a quart this morning after about 750 miles.

I ordered 2 bottle of liqui-moly stop smoke from germany off of ebay and a liqui-moly 0W-40 oil change kit off of FCP...I'll report back in a few months on the results...
Any chance you can get a boroscope down through a spark plug hole and see what the cylinder walls look like?
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      05-22-2019, 09:25 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbnks2 View Post
Any chance you can get a boroscope down through a spark plug hole and see what the cylinder walls look like?
I'm gonna try another oil change first. It doesn't smoke at all once it's warmed up, and the volume of smoke on startup has decreased since I added the ATP conditioner...yet I still went through a quart in 750 miles. I also know that the intake tract is oily, I have an RB external PCV kit to install that I was gonna do after I walnut blasted but I may do it now and see how much of this is coming from the intake tract.

Are you suspecting that I may be getting blowby past the piston rings? I kinda figured the smoking is mostly because of the valve guide stems since it stops after a minute or two...
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      05-22-2019, 10:30 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bimmer_Engineer View Post
I'm gonna try another oil change first. It doesn't smoke at all once it's warmed up, and the volume of smoke on startup has decreased since I added the ATP conditioner...yet I still went through a quart in 750 miles. I also know that the intake tract is oily, I have an RB external PCV kit to install that I was gonna do after I walnut blasted but I may do it now and see how much of this is coming from the intake tract.

Are you suspecting that I may be getting blowby past the piston rings? I kinda figured the smoking is mostly because of the valve guide stems since it stops after a minute or two...
Well you stated that the inter-cooling piping is dry. To produce smoke you would need quite a bit of oil in the inter-cooler and charge-pipe. It's rare to have a guide/seal issue but it's possible. It does happen.

Are the plugs black/ashy from burnt oil?

Oil can only get into the combustion chamber so many ways. Rings, guides, or the charge pipe/intake manifold (blow-by or turbo).
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      05-22-2019, 10:50 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbnks2 View Post
Well you stated that the inter-cooling piping is dry. To produce smoke you would need quite a bit of oil in the inter-cooler and charge-pipe. It's rare to have a guide/seal issue but it's possible. It does happen.

Are the plugs black/ashy from burnt oil?

Oil can only get into the combustion chamber so many ways. Rings, guides, or the charge pipe/intake manifold (blow-by or turbo).
You're thinking of the OP...last time I had my IC and charge pipe off it was oily...
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      05-22-2019, 11:50 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbnks2 View Post
Well you stated that the inter-cooling piping is dry. To produce smoke you would need quite a bit of oil in the inter-cooler and charge-pipe. It's rare to have a guide/seal issue but it's possible. It does happen.

Are the plugs black/ashy from burnt oil?

Oil can only get into the combustion chamber so many ways. Rings, guides, or the charge pipe/intake manifold (blow-by or turbo).
I'm not sure if this was intended for me or Bimmer_Engineer, but last time I checked the spark plugs they looked fine. I'll make sure to check them again though.
I'll also inspect the cylinders with a camera later this week. I do have equal amount of smoke from both banks, but I guess 2 cylinders could have problems at the same time.

One thing I noticed while checking some logs is that I probably have one or more leaking injectors in the second bank. No symptoms other than the AFR being lazy on throttle lift up in the logs though.

Other than that, the car has 99 000 miles on it. And I've been pushing it pretty hard with FBO and hybrid turbos, boosting 22psi tapering to 20. Thinking it could be relevant to know.
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      05-24-2019, 04:01 PM   #14
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Update:

I had an inspection camera in the cylinders today, but I didn't see any damage. One of the plugs had a little bit of ash though. I'm guessing that's the cylinder with a leaking injector.
I also added some fresh oil and some oil additive, no result yet but I didn't drive that far.

I almost feel like the smoke got worse when I tapped the PCV ports in the head, but I don't see how since I'm just venting everything to atmosphere. There is no pressure from the oil cap (at least not on idle).

I also noticed that there is no smoke when reving in neutral, there is only smoke after driving and coming to a stop (or just lifting the pedal). The smoke then disappears after idling for about one minute.
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